Texas Car Accident Laws: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Rights
A car accident has far-reaching implications for those involved. Victims must cope with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial struggles in the aftermath. Texas car accident laws offer a beacon of hope for injured victims seeking legal remedies. The experience of a skilled Texas car accident lawyer can protect the victim's interest, ensure fair compensation and facilitate a smoother recovery process.
Overview of Fault-Based System in Texas
Texas has a fault-based legal system. This concept means that the person who is at fault in any given car accident is the one responsible for paying all damages that result. This system differs from the no-fault concept, where each party's insurance pays for damages regardless of who's at fault.
The Impact of the Comparative Negligence Rule
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. The rule influences the amount of compensation you can recover based on your level of fault. The good news is you can recover damages even if you contributed to the accident. The downside is if it turns out you were 51% or more at fault, you will walk away empty-handed. Let's say your auto accident claim damages amount to $100,000. If you are 30% responsible for your accident, your compensation will be reduced by that amount. So, you'll be awarded $70,000. If your liability exceeds 50%, your compensation is zero.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Car Accident Claims
The statute of limitations establishes a specified timeframe for filing personal injury claims. In the Lone Star state, you have two years from the car accident date. A car accident lawyer would encourage you to file a claim as soon as possible, and there are several reasons why. First, it gives you the best chance for a favorable outcome. Second, it gives your skilled personal injury lawyer ample time to conduct a thorough investigation. Finally, the longer you take to file, it increases the likelihood of evidence being lost or witnesses forgetting details about the car accident.
Mandatory Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements
Anyone driving on Texas roads must carry the minimum amount of auto insurance. The legal requirements include the following:
Liability Coverage: This liability insurance covers the bodily injury and property a driver causes others. The minimum limits follow a 30/60/25 breakdown, which is:
- $30,000 for bodily injury per individual
- $60,000 for bodily injury per car accident (if multiple people are injured)
- $25,000 for property damage per auto accident
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Options
Texas drivers have the option of purchasing uninsured and underinsured coverage. Many individuals add these to their car insurance as a form of extra protection. Even though Texas law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, sadly, everyone on the roads doesn't obey this law. So UM/UIM protects drivers against those without insurance or insufficient coverage. Here are the consequences of driving without insurance:
- Fines and Penalties: If the police catch a driver without insurance, the fines range from $175 to $350 for a first offense and even higher for additional offenses.
- Suspension of Driving Privileges: A motorist can have their driver's license and vehicle registration suspended.
- Legal Liability: Uninsured motorists may be responsible for covering the damages and medical expenses resulting from an accident they caused.
If you find yourself injured in a car accident with a negligent uninsured driver, consider contacting a car accident lawyer. They can guide you through the intricacies of personal injury law to help you choose the best course of action to recover compensation.
Most Frequent Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
Car accident injuries vary. However, some occur more often than others. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the most pervasive injuries associated with auto accidents include the following:
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Scrapes, cuts, and bruises
These common car accident injuries have a profound impact on a person's life. Fortunately, Texas car accident lawyers can aid victims in recovering financial compensation for lost wages, physical therapy, future medical bills, and more.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages You Can Recover
Car crash victims can seek compensation for their losses. These financial damages fall into the following classifications:
- Economic: These damages have a direct monetary valuable and are easily calculated. Examples include medical bills, property damage, lost earnings, and rehabilitation costs.
- Non-Economic: Although these intangible losses don't have a direct monetary value, they still have a major impact on car crash victims. They include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium (companionship), and decreased quality of life.
You can strengthen your case to receive compensation for your injuries and damages by seeking legal representation. Texas car accident attorneys have the legal know-how and resources to gather the needed evidence, medical records, and testimonies to support your claim for the best possible payout.
Tips for Dealing With an Insurance Company
A car insurance company may not have your best interest in mind. Even the friendliest insurance adjuster has their marching orders: to get you to accept the lowest possible settlement for your car accident claim. So there are a few key points to consider when interacting with an insurance company:
- Share only unbiased facts about the incident.
- Keep documentation of conversations, emails, and any relevant paperwork.
- Don't rush to accept the initial settlement offer.
- Avoid giving recorded statements because what you say could be used against you.
- Consult with an auto accident lawyer who can negotiate with insurers.
The advantage of having an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner is that they can handle all the correspondence and communications with the insurance company so you can focus on healing from your injuries while they focus on seeking the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
When to Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer for your personal injury claim is crucial in some situations. For instance, Houston car accident lawyers and other Texas lawyers can assist in scenarios that involve:
- Serious injuries: Medical bills pile up quickly when your car crashes and you need medical treatment for severe bodily harm. A Houston car accident lawyer can help you secure fair compensation.
- Liability disputes: In some car accidents, it's not easy to identify the liable party. In cases where the fault is contested or unclear, car accident lawyers can sort through the evidence and pinpoint liability.
- Insurance problems: Dealing with an insurance company alone can be a stressful, uphill battle. A personal injury attorney can handle all communications on your behalf.
Knowledge of the law is your best weapon when rebuilding your life after a devastating car wreck. This knowledge is needed to ensure your rights are protected. Seeking legal counsel from a qualified auto accident attorney ensures the best possible outcome for your automobile accident case.
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