Is Texas a No-Fault State For Auto Accidents?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a Texas auto injury lawyer at McDonald Worley may be able to help. Call now for more information.
Texas sees thousands of car accidents on the roads caused either by negligence, distraction, speeding, drowsiness, drunkenness, and so on. But what about the victims? Do they get compensated for all the losses incurred upon them due to the negligence of the other party?
This applies not only to car accidents or pedestrian accidents but all forms of automobile accidents ranging from motorcycle accidents to trucking accidents.
Is Texas a no-fault state or an at-fault state?
It is the latter.
But what does that even mean?
This article will cover the differences between the two statutes and how you can seek compensation for your losses in Texas. The McDonald Worley law firm is committed to helping clients in all such situations. If we’re able to take on your case, a skilled Texas auto injury lawyer will fight to get you compensated fairly for their losses.
But what about the state laws in Texas, how do they affect your right to a fair settlement from the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver after a motor vehicle accident?
Here’s all you need to know:
What Is A No-Fault State & Is Texas One?
The states of the USA are divided into two categories when it comes to motor vehicle accident liability: at-fault and “no-fault” states – these are the two statutes that govern who compensates the victims for their losses. The more prevalent statute is the former which dictates that in the event of a crash, the party that caused the accident will have to deal with the financial responsibility, i.e. offering a fair settlement to the victim.
This means that the victim will be able to file a claim against the responsible party and demand monetary compensation for all the damages sustained because of the accident. Even in such states, some exceptions can make getting compensated difficult, for instance, if the at-fault party is uninsured or under-insured, or if there are policy limits (in such cases, one has to fall back to one’s own insurance policies like personal injury protection and underinsured motorist coverage).
Another, less popular (and far less widespread) system exists. The no-fault statute dictates that regardless of who was at fault for causing an accident, all injured parties, including the victims, must seek compensation from their own insurance companies. In other words, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident, you’ll have to seek reimbursement from your own insurer. This means that all people in such states should have minimum coverage for auto insurance policies to cover vehicle damage per accident and minimum liability limits in case they are involved in a crash.
Of course, even in such states, there are certain exceptions to this rule, allowing people to demand a settlement from the liable party if the damages incurred upon them exceed a threshold level. But generally, this system is not as widespread and is only applicable in a few states.
Is Texas one of those states?
No, as we mentioned earlier on, Texas follows the at-fault laws rather than the no-fault ones meaning that the at-fault insurance carrier will have to tap into their bodily injury liability coverage to compensate for their losses.
This means that in Texas, victims of car accidents can hire a personal injury lawyer in Texas, file an auto accident claim, and demand compensation from the party that caused the said damages. This arrangement is also referred to as the tort liability system.
How Do Texas Car Accident Compensation Laws Affect You?
As the injured party, you’ll be able to demand compensation from the liable driver for causing the accident and causing you harm. This will involve proving negligence on part of the responsible driver, linking that negligence with the damages you sustained, and giving a fair estimate of your losses.
If the settlement negotiations with the other party don’t bear fruit, you can simply file a lawsuit against them and make them pay for the damages. This is also true if the insurance coverage is inadequate and you need to cover the difference.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re the one who caused the accident, the victim will be able to bring you to account for their losses.
The at-fault system is more popular in that it includes an element of justice and takes the pressure off the victim’s shoulder.
What Does The Compensation Cover?
The financial settlement or compensation for your personal injury claim must cover both the economic and non-economic damages done to the victim. Economic losses, such as medical bills, are more easily measured since all one has to do is sum up the bills and expenses, however, for non-economic damages, your lawyer will most likely use the multiplier method (assigning a multiple between 1.5 and 5) to make up for your total losses.
In total, your losses will encompass things like:
- Short-term medical expenses
- Cost of long term medical costs
- Expenses for medicine
- Property damage, i.e. repair shop expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Out of pocket expenses
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disability
- Loss of joy of life
- Death of a loved one (wrongful death claim)
In most cases, only some of the aforementioned is true, but severe accidents can leave people with serious and devastating injuries.
When To Call a Texas Auto Injury Lawyer?
Your lawyer should be the first person you confide in. Make sure that you don’t dive into deep discussions with the negligent party or their auto liability insurance representatives until you’ve discussed matters with your lawyer. There is no fixed deadline for you to contact a personal injury attorney, just do so as soon as you can if you want to better safeguard your interests.
Your lawyer should know all the details, even things that you might not feel the need to be discussed. If those facts are revealed by the other party, the damage will be irreversible. Avoid the liable party’s insurance adjuster during this whole time until you’ve been completely debriefed by your lawyer. After that, you can discuss things with the liable party as instructed.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations?
There is a time limit to when you can file a lawsuit against the liable party for causing a car accident in Texas. This is called the statute of limitations and it is two years long in Texas which means this is your window for filing the lawsuit. If you violate this deadline, your case will be dismissed.
What Happens If You Too Were Partly Responsible For The Accident?
Usually, proving negligence against one party is not as simple, i.e. if you too were at fault in causing the accident. This can happen, but as long as your share in the occurrence is lower than 50%, meaning that the major responsibility falls on the other party, not you, you will still get compensated for your losses.
However, your bodily injury insurance settlement amount will be slashed accordingly, as per the comparative fault rule.
It is best to avoid discussing blame with the liable party until you’ve talked with your lawyer because the other side will most likely try to inflate your share in the blame. This is one of the reasons why you should never approach the insurance adjuster on your own.
Your lawyer will hear out your details and then give you clear instructions in this regard.
Reach Out to a Texas Auto Injury Lawyer at the McDonald Worley Law Firm
Car accidents can leave victims absolutely devastated, but luckily, Texas is not a no-fault insurance state which means that the auto insurance rules favor the victim.
You should reach out to the highly qualified and experienced personal injury lawyers at the McDonald Worley law firm who are endlessly engaged in helping people like you claim their rightful compensation. Even if you can’t pay upfront, don’t hold back from contacting us, we work on a contingency fee arrangement which means that we’ll only charge you once you’ve got your settlement.
Feel free to fill out the online contact form or call us for an appointment, we assure you that you’ll get the level of personal attention that no one else offers in Texas!