Understanding Comparative Fault Laws in Texas
When it comes to Texas laws concerning car accidents, it can be a bit tricky to understand. While Texas is considered a “fault” state, the fault of an accident does not fall on the shoulders of only one party, and liability is determined through “comparative” fault. Bandas Law Firm breaks down the specifics of proving fault in a Texas car accident claim.
What is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault means that the fault of an accident is shared between all parties involved in a motor vehicle crash. Each party is assigned a percentage of responsibility for the crash. Under comparative fault rules, the compensation for a victim partially responsible for an accident is reduced by the percentage of fault. For example, if you were speeding and were deemed 30 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by 30 percent. So, if your damages totaled $300,000, payment would be reduced by $90,000, and your total payout would be $210,000.
What is the 51% Rule?
There are some exceptions to the comparative fault rule under Texas laws relating to proportionate responsibility. If an accident victim is found to be more than 51 percent at fault for an accident, that person cannot recover money in an injury claim. This means that if you are deemed to be more than half responsible for a motor vehicle accident, you are not permitted to receive compensation from an accident claim.
How is Comparative Fault Proven?
Since Texas is an at-fault state, proving the other driver was negligent is critical for receiving compensation for your accident. If you cannot prove the other driver was at fault, your claim could be in jeopardy. Insurance companies can be challenging to deal with when it comes to comparative fault rules and often try to deny or offer low settlements. Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can help to protect your right to receive maximum compensation. Read on to learn more about the types of driving behaviors that can more clearly define who is at fault.
When is a Driver Deemed “At Fault?”
While in some cases, proving who is at fault may be tricky, some driving behaviors make it very clear when it comes to negligence. Some of the most common careless actions that can cause a severe accident are:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Driving while distracted.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Running a stop sign.
- Disobeying traffic signals.
Car accidents can also include crashing with the following:
If you are involved in an accident with any of the above, it’s critical to prove the other party is at fault for the collision.
Texas Drivers and Liability Insurance
Texas drivers are required to carry liability insurance to protect others in the case of a car crash. Liability insurance pays out to the other parties that have been injured if you are found to be at fault for an accident. While liability insurance does not cover your injuries and losses, you can choose optional coverage through your insurance company, such as personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and collision coverage. Here’s a breakdown of each:
Having PIP coverage means that you can receive payments for:
- Medical expenses
- Prosthetic devices
- Ambulance services
- Rehabilitation (physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Replacement services (household maintenance, cleaning, etc.)
Texas requires that drivers be offered at least $2,500 of PIP coverage. However, you can extend your PIP coverage up to $10,000. When pursuing a claim under PIP, your total payout depends on the monetary value of coverage that you chose. The policy limit extends to each person injured in an accident and includes the total amount of benefits for ALL expenses.
For example, if you and a family member were involved in a collision and had $10,000 in PIP coverage, your insurance would cover up to $10,000 in expenses for you and $10,000 in expenses for your injured family member. If your injuries included an ambulance trip to the hospital, receiving x-rays, and medication, then the maximum amount of money available to pay for those services is $10,000.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays if you are hit by a driver that does not have car insurance or not enough to pay your medical and car repair costs. This provision also protects you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident. Every insurance company must offer you this coverage. If you decide you do not want this coverage, it must be put in writing.
Whether minor or severe damage to your vehicle after an accident, collision coverage will help pay the cost of repairs. The payout for collision damage is based on the cash value of your car.
Injured in a Car Crash? Bandas Law Firm, P.C. is Here For You.
After sustaining injuries in a car accident, it can be overwhelming in many ways. From healing from your injuries to facing mounting medical bills, know that help is available. At Bandas Law Firm, P.C. our team of attorneys is ready to help you receive the compensation you deserve so you can move forward with your life.
Since comparative fault rules are tricky, our team of lawyers will assess your case to determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Let us help you seek justice and have peace of mind.
Contact Bandas Law Firm, P.C. today at (361) 238-2789 to learn your rights.