After a car accident in Texas, you may wonder who is responsible for paying your damages. Whether you caused the accident or not, it is important to know how the insurance system works in your state. Like most of the 50 states, Texas uses a tort system to determine financial responsibility for auto accidents. This means Texas is a fault state, not a no-fault state. In Texas, the party that was responsible for causing the accident will be likewise responsible for paying for victims’ damages.
Difference Between a “Fault” and “No-Fault” State
Fault and no-fault refer to car insurance systems each state uses to determine liability for an accident. In a fault state such as Texas, the at-fault party will be liable for damages. In a no-fault state, both parties will seek restitution from their insurance providers no matter who was at fault. The key difference is that one state relies on determining fault while the other does not. In a no-fault state, there is no need to find out which party caused the crash before filing an insurance claim. All parties will seek benefits from their insurance companies regardless.
In a fault state, however, victims must identify the at-fault party before they can file insurance claims. An insurance company might deny a claim if it believes its policyholder was not the responsible party for the collision after investigating the crash. Only the party that caused the crash will be legally accountable for damages. If you do not know who was at fault for your car accident, do not admit fault or speculate. Contact a car accident attorney in San Antonio for assistance investigating the cause of your crash before you file an insurance claim.
Proof of Financial Responsibility in Texas
Car insurance, also called proof of financial responsibility, is a requirement for all drivers in the state of Texas. In case a driver causes a car accident, his or her insurance will cover victims’ damages, such as medical costs and vehicle repairs. For this reason, all drivers must carry at least the minimum required amounts and types of vehicle insurance.
- Bodily injury liability insurance. Drivers must have at least $30,000 per person, per accident, as well as $60,000 per accident involving two or more injured victims.
- Property damage liability insurance. Drivers need to carry at least $25,000 in insurance to cover other people’s vehicle damages.
- Optional types of coverage. Other types of insurance are optional, not required, in Texas. These include uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.
Unlike no-fault states, Texas does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance. This type of insurance is important in no-fault states since it pays for the policyholder’s damages regardless of fault. In Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy should cover your damages. If the driver’s minimums do not cover the extent of your damages, however, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be better.
Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Case
A personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate after a car accident if you suffered serious injuries, catastrophic injuries or the wrongful death of someone close. In these cases, it is more likely for an insurance company to limit your payout to less than your injuries demand. The other party may not have enough insurance or the insurer may try to downsize your settlement using bad faith tactics. Either way, a personal injury suit may be the best way to fight for compensation from the at-fault party.
A lawyer can help you file a civil injury lawsuit in Texas against one or more responsible parties. The at-fault driver, a vehicle manufacturer or the city government could be liable for causing your car accident or injuries. A civil lawsuit could hold the correct party or parties accountable and give you compensation for economic and noneconomic wages. A successful lawsuit will most likely result in better compensation than an insurance settlement in Texas.