Around a dozen states require drivers to carry no-fault insurance. This means no matter who is at fault in an accident, victims must first use their own policies to get compensation. Texas is not one of those states; it is an “at-fault” state when it comes to filing insurance claims after an accident.
Put simply, the driver who caused a wreck in Texas is the one whose insurance company should pay up. But, what if you partially caused the wreck? What if you were seriously injured and the insurance company tells you your injuries were “pre-existing” and they won’t pay? Will you still get compensation? These are common questions, and this blog will cover the key points you should know about Texas laws concerning fault.
Texas, like every other state, requires licensed drivers to have a certain amount of insurance. In Texas, the minimum policy a driver must carry is known as a 30/60 policy. What that means is that if a driver is in a wreck, their insurance will pay out up to $30,000 to cover injuries to another person AND up to $60,000 total per accident. If a driver carries the minimum insurance, their policy covers an additional $25,000 per accident for damage to someone else’s property.
Beyond Texas’ status as an at-fault state, drivers are subject to the modified comparative fault rule that comes into play after a wreck. While some accidents are clear-cut when it comes to determining the at-fault driver, sometimes both drivers are at least partially to blame.
To illustrate this point, let’s say you are cruising down a side street on the way home from work. You’re texting someone on your phone, but you’ve driven the stretch of road you’re traveling on a thousand times. This time, though, another driver blows past a stop sign and T-bones you. While the other driver clearly disregarded a road sign, you were going a little over the speed limit and texting – classic driving while distracted. You call the police, a report is made, and you make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
After an investigation, the insurance adjuster decides that you were 25 percent at fault for the accident. Based on that determination, the insurance company offers to pay you $30,000 or 75% of your damages; the total cost of your damages (medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your car) is estimated to be $40,000. Because the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company arbitrarily found you 25 percent at fault, the insurance company feels justified in refusing to pay you $10,000 of your damages.
If you believe that $30,000 is woefully inadequate to cover your expenses, you could choose to file a lawsuit and try to prove in court you were not 25 percent at fault for the accident. No longer would an insurance adjuster determine your compensation, a judge or jury would determine fault and the amount of damages to award.
If there is any conflict or disagreements over fault in a car accident you were involved in, it’s important to retain a car accident attorney with experience handling these cases. S. Dylan Pearcy has handled countless lawsuits for and against insurance companies and knows how to guide Texans through their personal injury cases. Our firm would be honored to represent you, call us at (210) 686-HURT or get in touch with us here so we can set up a consultation and get to work today.