Is Texas a No-Fault or At-Fault State for Car Accidents?
When you’re in a car accident, you likely want to know who will be responsible for your injuries and other damages. State laws vary.
Typically, each state is either a no-fault or at-fault state.
In a no-fault state, you pursue claims through your own insurance policy, regardless of fault. Is Texas a no-fault state? No, Texas does not follow no-fault state rules for car wreck claims. If you need assistance following a car accident in Texas, contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C.
If you are involved in a collision and not at fault, our professional legal team stands ready to help. We have years of experience assisting injured victims in Texas to protect their rights following an accident.
Is Texas an “At-Fault” State?
Yes, Texas law allows you to pursue a claim for damages against the responsible party following a car accident.
Before successfully collecting any compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the other driver is liable, or “at fault.” Proving liability against the responsible party is not necessarily easy or straightforward, which is why we recommend speaking with a lawyer before proceeding on your own.
How do No-Fault and At-Fault Laws Differ?
The requirement to prove liability against the defendant is one of the main differences between a no-fault state and an at-fault state. Following an accident in a no-fault state, you likely would present a claim through your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This policy will pay a portion of your medical bills and possibly some of your lost wages, up to a certain amount. However, you cannot claim compensation for fault-based damages, such as pain and suffering.
Some PIP policies only pay a percentage of your medical expenses, and limits can be relatively low. If your medical expenses exceed your available limits, insurance will not cover all your bills. Standard PIP limits are $10,000 for injury-related costs. Not all PIP policies cover a percentage of your lost wages either. You might need to purchase extended coverage if you want these damages to be available to you after a collision.
In some limited cases, victims can pursue a claim outside the no-fault system. But the rules are stringent and usually require your injuries to be catastrophic. A broken leg might not be severe enough to meet the burden, but you would almost certainly meet that standard with something like a permanent spinal cord injury.
When you pursue an injury claim in an at-fault state such as Texas, you could be entitled to full reimbursement of your medical expenses and lost wages, plus compensation non-economic injuries such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Texas At-Fault Accident Laws
Texas motorists must carry minimum liability insurance to help pay for any damages they cause to others.
The minimum required coverage in Texas is:
- $30,000 in bodily injury insurance (per person);
- $60,000 in bodily injury insurance (per accident); and
- $25,000 in property damage.
If the other driver in the car accident is without insurance and you’re not at fault, Texas law allows another option for recovery. You can pursue a claim under your own uninsured motorist plan if you have purchased such coverage.
You are not legally required to have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Instead, it is an additional and separate type of insurance you can pay extra for under your liability policy. Texas insurance claim laws work differently with UM claims.
Although you present a claim to your insurance company, it’s not treated as a typical first-party claim. Instead, your insurance company assumes the role of the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster—in other words, they treat it as a third-party claim. This means they will treat you as though you are presenting a liability claim to the other driver’s policy.
However, this can be confusing. When speaking to your own insurance company, you might not realize that they are treating you as the opposition.
You might drop their guard and say something that the adjuster can then use to claim you bore some responsibility for the crash. So be careful about what you say to your insurance company during the UM claims process.
Proving Liability Against the Responsible Parties
Proving liability against the defendants requires you to have evidence of these four things:
- The defendant owed you some type of legal duty;
- The defendant breached the duty;
- The breach of duty is what led to the collision and your injuries; and
- You have damages (medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, etc.).
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. Why is that important? Because it means you can still receive compensation even if you are up to 50% at fault for the accident.
For example, if a jury concludes you’re 20% at fault, you could receive 80% of your damages. If the jury says you are more than 50% at fault, you will receive nothing.
Contact a Texas Car Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, let our skilled legal team help you pursue a claim for damages. We understand what a stressful time this is. You should be concentrating on healing, not fighting for reimbursement of your damages
Contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. online or call (800) 433-2408 to learn more about how we can assist you.