States determine their own auto insurance laws. Two systems are prevalent: at-fault and no-fault. Texas, like most states, applies an at-fault approach for compensation in the event of a car accident.
In a no-fault system, each party looks to their own insurance to pay damages arising from an accident. In an at-fault system, the at-fault driver bears liability for the damages suffered by other parties involved in the accident.
The No-Fault System vs. the Fault System
In a no-fault state, drivers must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP insurance offers compensation to covered parties (typically the driver, their passengers, and their immediate family members) no matter whose fault the accident was. A driver injured in a no-fault state usually cannot sue the at-fault driver unless their injuries reach a certain legal threshold of severity.
In an at-fault system, each driver is required to purchase a certain amount of liability insurance. Liability insurance doesn’t cover your own damages. It covers the damages of the other driver (and any passengers) if the accident is your fault. Any party that suffers damages (injury or property damage) can sue you or file a third-party claim against your insurance. You might bear a certain amount of liability even if the accident was partly the other driver’s fault.
What Are the Auto Insurance Requirements in Texas?
Texas requires all drivers with vehicles registered in Texas to carry a certain amount of automobile liability insurance:
- At least $30,000 per-person coverage for bodily injury liability;
- At least $60,000 per-accident coverage for bodily injury liability; and
- At least $25,000 for property damage.
There are other ways to satisfy Texas requirements for liability coverage, including depositing a large amount of cash with the state government. Most drivers choose to buy liability insurance. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute, about 8% of Texas drivers carry no car insurance.
Other Types of Auto Insurance Available in Texas
Texas insurance companies offer several other forms of auto accident insurance that are not mandatory under Texas law, including:
- Comprehensive coverage: covers theft or damage to your car.
- Collision coverage: covers damage to your car. It is especially useful if an accident was your fault.
- Extra liability coverage: ordinary auto liability insurance, but with coverage limits greater than the legal limits listed above.
- MedPay: pays medical bills for you and your passengers. It also pays for you if you are injured as a passenger or suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident or bicycling accident.
- PIP insurance: similar to MedPay, except that it covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: covers you in a hit-and-run accident or if the at-fault driver has no auto insurance or insufficient insurance to cover your claim.
If you still owe money on your car, your lender may require you to carry comprehensive insurance and collision insurance.
How Does Comparative Fault Affect Your Car Accident Claim in Texas?
Although you can sue or file a claim against an at-fault driver in Texas, the driver’s insurance company will probably try to blame you for the accident. They want to pay you as little as possible. If the dispute goes to court, a court will apportion fault among the parties on a percentage basis.
If your percentage of fault exceeds 50%, you cannot recover any damages. If your fault does not exceed 50%, the court will deduct your percentage of fault from your damages. For example, if you were 20% at fault, the court will subtract 20% from your awarded compensation.
Legal Advice in a Car Accident Claim is Critical to Optimize Your Results
If your claim is minor, you might not need a lawyer to help you resolve it. However, if you sustained any injuries or are unsure of the value of your claim, you should consult a lawyer. A skilled car accident lawyer can not only help you “win,” but can also help you obtain the full value of your claim. Furthermore, you won’t owe any legal bills unless you win your claim.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054