When it comes to recovery from motor vehicle accidents, one key factor is whether your accident took place in a “no-fault” state. In a no-fault state, a driver’s auto insurance covers their injury and damage claims regardless of which driver was at fault.
A driver may have the option to sue if their damages meet a certain financial threshold. However, the driver typically does not have the right to sue for automotive injury or damage claims because state law requires all drivers to carry insurance instead. This system is intended to keep the state courts clear of motor vehicle damage claims and make recovery faster for all parties concerned. Currently, twelve of the fifty states are no-fault states.
Texas is not one of them. Instead, claims arising out of a motor vehicle crash, like other personal injury claims, are resolved according to the principles of tort liability.
Covering Auto Accidents under Texas Law
In Texas, an injured driver may sue the other driver, regardless of the amount of damages. But as a practical matter, they are more likely to make a claim on the driver’s insurance or their own insurance. If the injured driver makes a claim on their own insurance policy, the insurance company can then subrogate—that is, they will sue the other driver’s insurance company for the damages.
Texas follows what is known as the modified comparative negligence rule. When an injured party had some responsibility for their accident, they can still recover their damages, but the damages will be reduced by the amount to which they were at fault. A judge or jury—or, in most cases, an insurance company adjuster—determines how much at fault they were, expressed in a certain percentage. For example, a court may determine that a driver was 20% at fault; if they had $10,000 worth of damage, they would be entitled to recover $8,000. However, if a driver is found to be over 50% at fault for a crash, they cannot recover any damages at all.
Under Texas law, drivers must demonstrate financial responsibility for potential accidents. Most people do so with a liability insurance policy. The policy must meet the state’s minimum coverage standards, often referred to as “30/60/25”:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in one accident
- $60,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage to others in one accident
Although these limits are higher than in some other states, they may not meet your needs, especially if you should become involved in a multi-car accident or one resulting in several injured people. These parties could sue you personally for any damages over and above the limits of your insurance coverage.
Note, too, that liability insurance covers damage to others, not to insured parties. Collision insurance covers your own car, and comprehensive insurance covers incidents that damage your car other than motor vehicle accidents. For further information on auto insurance options in Texas, you can consult consumer guides from the Department of Insurance.
If you would prefer to have an option for no-fault recovery, you can purchase PIP (personal injury protection) or MedPay (medical payments) insurance. Auto insurance agents are required to offer you PIP coverage in the state, although you may refuse it. Regardless of fault, PIP can cover medical bills, home help, funeral expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and more, depending on the particular policy. Similarly, MedPay insurance covers medical expenses without reference to fault, although PIP often covers more.
After a motor vehicle crash, your own expenses are likely to include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Lost future earnings, if an injury results in disability
How do you navigate the insurance procedures to get what you need, especially when you are trying to recover from a traumatic event?
Protecting Yourself after a Crash in Texas
In theory, insurers should be able to work with each other and with their insured parties to pay people what they are owed, but this is often not the case. Insurance companies do not make money by paying out settlements. Insurance adjusters reviewing the evidence from the crash may claim that you had a higher percentage of fault than you did, reducing or even eliminating the damages you could receive. They may try to pressure you to settle for less than you need or even claim that your accident could not be covered.
The Crash Angels at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels deal with insurance companies every day, and we know how this system works. Our San Antonio car accident lawyers can shield you from the pressure of handling the claims process directly while working to maximize your damage recovery, and if necessary, we will take it to court.
Our office handles many types of motor vehicle claims, including:
- rideshare accidents
- motorcycle crashes
- bicycles and pedestrians involved in collisions with autos
- crashes with trucks, including 18-wheelers and other commercial motor vehicles
Don’t hesitate to get the help you need. If you have been in an accident in Texas, call the Crash Angels NOW at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels at 210-801-9314 to schedule a free consultation in our San Antonio offices.