Is Texas a No-Fault State?
Is Texas a no-fault state? How do we determine fault in car accidents? When it comes to liability, there are two types of states: fault and no-fault states. After an accident, it’s essential to understand the type of state you live in.
This factor has a major impact on your ability to pursue compensation. In some states, drivers have to file a claim with their own insurance companies. For other states, drivers file claims with the other person’s insurance company.
Texas is not a no-fault state. Texas is an at-fault state or a tort state. In this legal framework, the person who causes the accident is responsible for the cost of the damages to the other party.
No-Fault vs At-Fault States
In no-fault states, injured individuals file insurance claims with their own insurance. There’s no need to prove or determine fault in order to receive compensation. However, this limits your ability to bring a suit against the liable party.
Oftentimes, these states require drivers to have personal injury protection insurance (PIP). This form of insurance allows you to approach your own insurance company after an accident.
In an at-fault state like Texas, injured drivers have the ability to sue the liable party for a multitude of damages after an accident. This ranges from injuries to lost wages and emotional distress.
Typically, tort insurance is cheaper than insurance in no-fault states.
In a state like Texas, liable drivers use their insurance to cover the other driver’s bills when they cause an accident. The legal process determines fault. That’s why it is essential to work with a Houston car accident lawyer after a collision.
When Damages Exceed Insurance
When the damages exceed a driver’s coverage, injured parties in at-fault states have the right to sue the liable party to collect the difference.
At-Fault Drivers Without Insurance
When an at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance, a personal injury attorney helps you file a claim with your own insurance company. However, this requires that you carry uninsured or underinsured motorists insurance.
Typically, this coverage is optional on car insurance policies.
An Overview of Texas Car Insurance
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to understand how different types of car insurance work. Luckily, you have options as a policyholder. Here’s a refresher on different options for car insurance.
- Liability coverage accounts for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, wrongful death, and emotional distress.
- Collision coverage accounts for damage to your vehicle. Either they compensate you for the full value of your vehicle (when totaled), pay the cost to repair your vehicle, or provide the amount designated in your specific policy. Typically, they choose the lowest amount.
- Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car from incidents aside from collisions. This includes vandalism and weather damage.
- Uninsured motorist coverage accounts for vehicle damage caused by someone without insurance.
Insurance Companies Occasionally Avoid Fair Compensation
Oftentimes, insurance companies try to pay out as little as possible. Unfortunately, this leaves injured drivers with expensive costs to cover as they heal. Some companies utilize bad faith tactics to withhold the compensation that you deserve.
Here are a few examples of these attempts.
- Denying a claim without reason
- Failing to communicate appropriately or promptly
- Taking too long to resolve a simple claim
- Failing to investigate your claim
- Purposefully undervaluing your claim
Proving Fault in a Car Accident
With a car accident lawyer on your side, you have an advocate to help you prove fault after an incident. As personal injury lawyers, we have extensive experience investigating cases. Moreover, we know how to prove fault.
With the help of an attorney, you have a better opportunity to establish evidence of liability and negligence. This helps whether you have to settle with an insurance company or file a lawsuit.
What Kind of Evidence Proves Fault?
Many forms of evidence help to prove fault in a case. When you sustain an injury in a car accident, the following types of evidence help you prove negligence.
- Images and videos of the scene
- Pictures and videos of the damage
- Testimonies from witnesses
- Expert witnesses
- Police reports
- Cell phone records
- Crash scene reconstructions
What Damages Are Available After an Accident?
When you work with a car accident lawyer, they help you maximize your settlement. This means pursuing all available damages. However, compensation depends on your experience during and following the accident.
Here are some common types of damages.
- Medical expenses – past, present, and future medical costs related to the accident
- Lost wages – covering time missed from work as a result of the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished earning capacity – when someone is permanently unable to earn as much as before the accident
- Property damage
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Because Texas isn’t a no-fault state, how you react following an accident is important. When you follow these steps, you help prepare for a personal injury case.
Stay at the Scene
Remain at the scene of the accident. Don’t leave unless you leave in an emergency vehicle.
- Talk to the police and file an accident report.
- Ensure everyone receives appropriate medical care.
- Swap information with the driver and any witnesses.
Ensure Everyone’s Safety
If you feel extreme pain, don’t move after the accident. Stay put and wait for help.
If you are able to move, make sure you get out of harm’s way. Never stay close to traffic or your vehicle in unsafe conditions.
Give everyone at the scene the same care you give yourself. Make sure everyone else is safe and okay. If someone is hurt, be certain they are in a safe location.
Document the Scene
When able, collect documentation of the scene. From photos of damage and weather conditions to witness information, this helps build your case from the start.
Oftentimes, there’s evidence within these photos people don’t immediately notice. For instance, skid marks or damage to nearby objects help identify the cause of the accident.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s essential that you seek medical attention after any type of accident. In some cases, you receive attention at the scene. However, they may take you to emergency care.
Regardless, set up an appointment with your doctor. They examine you for signs of delayed symptoms and can answer your questions about your treatment plan.
Additionally, be sure to follow your treatment plan and stick to any follow-up appointments.
Work with a Trusted Car Accident Lawyer
In a no-fault state, this wouldn’t matter. However, with the legal structure of Texas, hiring a lawyer is beneficial.
While you don’t have to hire a lawyer after an accident, it is of great benefit. At AP Law Group, we offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options.
Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose!
After your consultation, there’s no obligation to hire us. Your case evaluation is an opportunity for us to showcase why we are the advocates to maximize your settlement. Because Texas isn’t a no-fault state, it’s important to understand your options.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney: Do I Need to?
When it comes to no-fault states vs at-fault states, a personal injury attorney makes a great difference. Because Texas is an at-fault state, you have the option to pursue more compensation for the damages resulting from the accident.
Do you have to hire an attorney? No, you don’t. However, we advise partnering with an advocate who protects your best interests.
Insurance companies use shady tactics to protect their profits. Similarly, you need someone to fight for the compensation you deserve. With an attorney on your side, you have a better chance of obtaining fair compensation.
When you or a loved one sustains an injury in a car accident that is not your fault, our car accident lawyers are here to help. We fight for our clients in a wide range of cases. No matter your situation, we advise seeking guidance.