Were you recently injured in a car accident in Texas?
It is important to learn more about Texas’s auto accident laws and to determine whether you may be eligible to file a claim. In general, most people who sustain injuries in a Texas motor vehicle crash will begin the claims process by filing an auto insurance claim.
In situations where an auto insurance settlement cannot provide an injured person with full compensation, then that injured victim will often file a car accident lawsuit against the negligent party or parties in order to get financial compensation for losses.
At the Francis Firm, we are committed to providing professional representation to each of our clients in a wide variety of accident claims. If you need assistance seeking compensation, a Texas car accident lawyer at our firm can help.
In the meantime, we will provide you with detailed information about auto accident laws in Texas and how they could affect your settlement.
Filing a Texas Auto Insurance Claim
The first step in seeking compensation for most individuals injured in a Texas car accident involves filing an auto insurance claim.
Since Texas is a “fault” state, anyone who is injured in a traffic collision because of another party’s careless or reckless behavior typically has one of two options for filing a claim:
- Third-party claim through the negligent driver’s insurance company; or
- First-party claim through their own insurance company.
By filing a third-party claim, you can avoid paying your deductible, but insurance limits could prevent you from obtaining full compensation for your losses. We will explain more about insurance limits below.
If you file a first-party claim, the process can move quicker, and you will not have to contend with potential insurance limits. However, you will need to pay your deductible up front.
You should speak with a Texas auto accident lawyer about the best way to move forward with an auto insurance claim after a crash.
Car Insurance Minimum Requirements Under Texas Law
What are the Texas auto insurance limits?
The Texas Department of Insurance explains that, in order to drive on Texas roads, motorists must carry a minimum amount of insurance.
Those minimum amounts include:
- $30,000 for one person in an accident;
- $60,000 total for all people in an accident; and
- $25,000 property damage.
In accidents where there is significant damage and serious injuries, the minimum amounts often are insufficient.
For example, if a driver causes a collision involving multiple vehicles, numerous people may sustain injuries. In such a scenario, the $60,000 limit per accident (for all people injured) likely will not be enough to provide full coverage for each of those injured parties.
Even if an injured person files a first-party claim, insurance limits could still prevent that person from obtaining full compensation for severe and debilitating injuries.
Time Limits for Filing a Texas Car Accident
If you need to file a car accident lawsuit, it is important to pay close attention to the statute of limitations. Under Texas law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003), most auto accident lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the accident.
Two years might seem like a significant amount of time, but it can go quickly when you are moving through the insurance claims process first.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within the two-year time window, your claim can become time-barred and you will not be able to obtain compensation through a lawsuit.
How Proportionate Responsibility Affects Auto Accident Claims
Texas law on proportionate responsibility (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 33.001), which is known in some states as comparative fault or contributory negligence, can affect the total amount of a plaintiff’s recovery.
Texas follows what is known as a “modified comparative fault” rule, which means that a plaintiff can still recover damages if she or he is at fault, as long as the plaintiff is not more than 50
When the plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault, damages are reduced proportionately based on the plaintiff’s fault. However, once a plaintiff is 51 percent or more at fault, that plaintiff is barred from recovery.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney in Texas
If you need assistance handling an auto accident insurance claim or help with filing a car accident lawsuit in Texas, an advocate at our firm can get started on your case today.
Do not hesitate to learn more by getting in touch with a Texas car accident attorney.
Contact the Francis Firm for more information about the personal injury services we provide to plaintiffs. We offer free case consultations.