Is Texas An At-Fault or No-Fault State?
US insurance laws are noticeably different across states. One of these differences is the no-fault and at-fault systems. There are 12 states that use the no-fault insurance system, while the others are either choice or at-fault insurance states. If you are in Texas and are involved in a car accident, you should know whether the state is an at-fault or no-fault state. Apart from this, you may want to hire a personal injury attorney in McAllen, TX to look into your case.
What Is the At-Fault and The No-Fault Insurance Law?
The fault and no-fault insurance law determines the party that pays for the damages in case of a car accident.
No-Fault Insurance System
Under the no-fault insurance policy, the insurance provider pays for the victim’s damages, regardless of who was at fault.
The no-fault system was meant to reduce auto insurance expenses by ensuring that small claims did not have to go through the court system. If a victim suffers minor injuries, the insurance companies of both parties involved in the accident will offer compensation without the need to determine who was at fault.
In case there was a victim who wasn’t at fault in the accident, this insurance system allows them to be compensated without having to provide evidence that the other party was at fault.
To give you a better understanding, let’s use an example.
Let’s say you were involved in a minor accident with another driver called Harry. Harry tried to swerve, which made him change lanes without warning, and slammed into the rear of your car. In the accident, you suffer minor injuries and after going to the hospital, your medical expenses amounted to $5,000. If you are in a no-fault insurance state, you will file a claim with your insurance firm and it will be honored even though Harry was at fault.
Most no-fault states require drivers to have a no-fault insurance policy that is meant to cover for lost wages and injuries sustained during the motor accident. The policy also covers out-of-pocket expenses and funeral costs.
No-fault insurance only covers injuries and medical bills but not property damages. The amount required for this coverage varies from state to state.
If the policy is not sufficient to cover for the damages incurred, the victim can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance firm or file a personal injury lawsuit.
At-Fault Insurance System
With the at-fault insurance system, the person responsible for the injuries and damages incurred in a car accident compensates the victim.
In our earlier example, Harry would be responsible for the car accident as the lane change was unsafe and illegal. Therefore, in an at-fault state, Harry’s insurance company would be responsible for paying you any damages.
In an at-fault insurance state, you have limited rights to sue for personal injuries in case the matter cannot be settled outside court. The various no-fault states have put up different thresholds on the minimum amount of damages that the victim should claim for them to be allowed to sue for personal injuries. These thresholds are in the form of a monetary figure or the severity of the injuries.
Choice states allow their drivers to choose either to go for at-fault or no-fault insurance policies. If the driver chooses the latter, the no-fault insurance law prevails. If the driver chooses the former, their insurance firm becomes liable in case they are found to have caused injuries in a car accident
Is Texas a No-Fault or At-Fault State?
Texas follows the at-fault insurance system. This means that in case of a car accident, the responsibility to pay for damages falls on the insurance company of the driver who was at fault.
If you are a car accident victim and suffered severe injuries, the state of Texas allows you to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance firm. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit in the court. In both cases, you’ll need to provide evidence that shows that the other driver was at fault for you to be compensated.
Texas requires every driver to have car insurance liability coverage. This is meant to cover for personal injuries and property damages, in case the driver causes an accident.
In Texas, the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage required is as follows:
- $30,000 that covers bodily injury for each person per accident
- $25,000 coverage for property damage per accident
- $60,000 coverage for bodily injuries in case the accident involved two or more injured parties
In case the victim’s medical costs and property damages are higher than the compensating party’s insurance policy limit, the driver is expected to take care of the other expenses from their pocket.
If this does not work out or you don’t agree with the payout amount, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, the court will decide who was at fault and the amount of compensation you’ll get.
Get Help from a Texas Personal Injury Attorney
In at-fault insurance states such as Texas, the victim is required to show that the other driver was at fault to be granted compensation. This proof of liability is required whether you are filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance firm or you decide to sue for a personal injury claim.
You can prove liability by providing the needed evidence through the help of a Texas personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help you collect evidence from surveillance cameras, witnesses, and police records.
Moreover, if you intend to go through the court process, you need the help of a personal injury attorney who can gather enough proof showing that the other driver is liable. Texas law requires that comparative negligence law be followed if the case can’t be settled outside the court. This means that if you are found liable, a liability percentage is assigned to you and your compensation decreases by this amount. Further, if you are found liable by 51% or more, you won’t be eligible for any compensation.
It is also not uncommon for a driver who had admitted fault at the accident scene to change their statement once they talk with their insurance firm or an attorney. In such a scenario, an attorney will help you build a strong case showing that the other driver was at fault.
Even if the at-fault driver insurance firm accepts responsibility, you’ll still need the help of a lawyer to negotiate the settlement. Insurance firms often admit fault very quickly to discourage you from hiring a lawyer. You may later find out that they gave you an unreasonable settlement compared to the fair value you were entitled to. This is why it is prudent to hire a personal injury attorney even when you may think their counsel isn’t needed.