When you’re in a vehicle accident in Texas, the repercussions can stretch on for months, years, or even the rest of your life. Medical expenses lost income, and other costs can mount up after an accident. There are lots of results that happen after a wreck and these can take time to resolve. Ultimately, someone has to pay for them. You are responsible is determined by rather your state is an “at-fault” state or a “no-fault” state.
That’s why you need to understand how you can get compensation for a car accident in Texas. The insurance system is complex, and a mistake can significantly affect your future. The best way to pursue car accident compensation is to get a lawyer who knows the system on your side. Walker Texas Lawyer is that personal injury attorney.
Texas Is An “At-Fault” State
Also known as a “tort” state, Texas is one of the 38 at-fault states. This means that the party that is found to be at fault for the accident will be responsible for compensating the injured party for the amount he or she is responsible for. A state’s status as a “fault state” has a greater impact on the responsibilities of insurance companies.
Because fault states require the at-fault driver to compensate the injured party, each fault state has its own required minimum coverage amount. Generally, these coverage amounts are separated into three categories:
- The amount each injured person is covered.
- The coverage amount per accident.
- The coverage amount for property damage per accident.
In Texas, the current minimum liability limits are listed as 30/60/25 coverage, which means that the limits are:
- $30,000 for each injured person;
- Up to $60,000 per accident; and
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Generally speaking, when you’re hurt in a car wreck, you have two options:
- File a “third-party” injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- File a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In this method, their interests will be represented by their insurance company.
If you have certain types of coverage on your auto insurance, you may also be able to file a “first-party” claim with your own insurance company.
What Happens If You Are Partially At Fault?
Texas is a “modified comparative fault” state with a 51% bar. That means damages for a car accident are divided between the at-fault parties in proportion to their percentage of fault. For instance, if two other motorists were each 70% and 30% responsible for your accident, then you would get 70% of your compensation from the first motorist and 30% from the second motorist.
The modified comparative fault rule means that you can recover as long as you aren’t more at fault than the other party. So if you are 30% at fault, you can recover, but your recovery will be reduced by 30%. If you are 51% or more at fault, though, you can’t recover compensation at all.
Other Parties Could Potentially Pay
Most car accidents are the responsibility of a careless driver. However, there are situations where another party can be held responsible.
- Vehicle manufacturer: Manufacturers are responsible for making sure their cars are safe and reliable. They can be held accountable if they don’t meet that responsibility. For example, if you were hit because the brakes failed on the car behind you, you may be able to sue the manufacturer to get compensation for the rear-end accident.
- “Dram shop” liability: The Texas “dram shop” law allows victims to pursue compensation for drunk driving accidents from bars, restaurants, and other businesses that serve alcohol, under some circumstances. To have a dram shop claim, you need to show that the business served alcohol to someone who was “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others”. Also, you need to prove that the patron’s intoxication caused your injuries.
Your Car Accident Claim Should Include Compensation For All Your Losses
Depending on the extent of your injuries, your car accident could be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Some of the damages that should be included in your claim include:
- Medical bills, medication, medical devices, surgery, physical therapy, ongoing care, and other medical expenses.
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability.
- Pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
- The reasonable cost of replacement services that you cannot perform due to your injuries.
- Property damage, including the diminished resale value of your vehicle.
For example, if you sustained a spine injury in a car accident, your claim should include not only immediate medical treatment but ongoing care like physical therapy or pain medication. Your claim should pay for any medical devices you may need or mobility aids. If the accident increased the likelihood that you will need future back surgery, that cost should be accounted for in your injury claim as well.
Work with Walker Texas Lawyer
After being involved in a vehicle crash, insurance companies are typically one of the first entities that will contact you or that you might contact yourself. All major insurance companies have lawyers on their team that are ready to minimize the compensation that you receive. They may even deny your claim altogether. Walker Texas Lawyer can provide you protection from the other party’s insurance legal team’s tactics. With Texas bing an “at-fault” state, don’t handle the insurance companies alone. James Walker will protect your rights and guide you through the legal process.
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a stressful experience. The statute of limitations is usually two years from the date of the accident, but that can vary depending on the circumstances. Moreover, it’s important to start investigating and building your case before evidence disappears and witnesses forget what they saw. Having legal experience on your side will help you maximize the compensation and justice. Walker Texas Lawyer has over 40 years of legal experience. He will fight for you. Remember, “You Don’t Pay Unless We Win”. He is the Houston Car Accident Attorney. Call us today or fill out our form online for a free initial consultation.