Texas Car Accident Laws: How They Work and What You Should Know

Texas Car Accident Law

Even long-time drivers can be at risk of a car crash that can cause physical and financial stress. If you have been involved in a wreck, it is important to understand Texas car accident laws, how they work, and what you should know to protect your rights. After you have begun to heal, you can benefit from consulting with a Houston car accident lawyer at Dax F. Garza, P.C.

Responsibility for Damages After a Car Accident in Texas

First, it is important to know that Texas adheres to a fault-based system. This means that the party liable for a car accident is responsible for compensating the victim for the injuries and losses they sustained as a result of the collision. Car accident victims have two primary options for recovering damages for their car accident injuries and property losses: making a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.

You should also know that there are many parties who can potentially be held liable for your Texas car accident. These can include other drivers, pedestrians, and vehicle or part manufacturers. Sometimes, government entities can also be to blame for your accident if it involves a driver in a government-owned vehicle, a poorly maintained road, or malfunctioning traffic signals.

An experienced car accident lawyer in Houston can help you navigate all options for recovery. At Dax F. Garza, P.C., we will investigate the crash, establish liability, and determine your losses. This helps us determine whether it is in your best interest to file a claim against the insurance company or file a lawsuit against the liable party. It is wise for you to contact us as soon as possible so we can help you determine the best course of action after your Texas car accident.

Texas Car Insurance Requirements

Texas Car Accident Law. Car InsuranceBecause Texas is an at-fault state, all drivers are required to show that they are financially responsible for any accidents they cause. This financial responsibility is demonstrated through the purchase of car insurance. Texas law requires all drivers to obtain insurance coverage that meets minimum limits.

In Texas, you must have liability coverage that pays for bodily injuries and property damage caused in an accident. You must have minimum liability coverage of $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. You can also opt for higher liability limits and additional types of coverage.

There are certain penalties for driving without insurance in Texas. These penalties can include a fine, suspension of your driver’s license, impoundment of your vehicle, and a requirement to file an SR-22 with the Department of Public Safety for two years. An SR-22 is a document issued by your insurance company verifying that you are maintaining the proper motor vehicle liability insurance.

Reporting a Car Accident in Texas

If you are in a car accident that results in an injury, fatality, or vehicle damage, Texas law requires you to take certain steps. Your responsibilities after a collision are outlined in Chapter 550 of the Texas Transportation Code. These requirements include the following:

  • Immediately stop at the accident scene or as close to it as possible.
  • Avoid obstructing traffic when able.
  • If your vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident, return to the scene immediately.
  • Determine if anyone involved in the collision requires aid.
  • Immediately notify your local law enforcement department of the accident.
  • Remain at the scene of the accident until you provide your name, address, registration number, and insurance information to the other parties involved in the collision.

If you fail to comply with these requirements, you can face legal penalties. These penalties can include misdemeanor or felony criminal charges, depending on the extent of the victim’s injuries. Such criminal charges can be punishable by imprisonment and fines.

Liability in a Texas Car Accident

As mentioned, if someone else was responsible for your car accident, you can seek to recover your damages through their insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. However, you may have also been partly at fault for your collision, which is known as comparative negligence. If this is the case, you may still be entitled to obtain monetary compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Texas operates under a modified comparative negligence system, referred to as proportionate responsibility. This means that you can still recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault. If you are found 50% or more responsible for your car accident, you are not eligible for compensation for your losses through a legal claim.

Being found partially at fault reduces your compensation potential by the same percentage. For example, if you were 25% liable and sued for $100,000 and won, you are only eligible to recover $75,000 (75% of the total award).

Fighting back against the defendant’s claim of your liability is critical, and our Houston car accident lawyers will strive to prove you are eligible for the most compensation possible.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas

texas car accident lawIt is important to be aware that if you decide to file a legal action for damages after your Texas car accident, you must do so within the time provided by state law. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is typically two years from the date of your car accident.

If you fail to file your lawsuit within two years from the date of your collision, you forfeit your right to seek legal recourse for the injuries and other losses suffered in your accident. In certain instances, you may be required to provide a notice of claim where the statute of limitations may be shorter. For example, if a state motor vehicle operator is liable for your accident, you may only have up to six months to file your lawsuit.

Filing a proper legal claim in Texas after your car accident can be complicated and overwhelming. There are numerous legal rules that must be followed, and unless you have some legal training, you could risk failing to comply with important deadlines. As such, it is in your best interest to consult with a car accident attorney in Houston as soon as possible after your collision.

Who To Call After a Car Accident in Texas

It is important that you have an understanding of the car accident laws in Texas so you know your rights after being injured in a collision caused by someone else’s negligence. However, navigating your options for obtaining compensation for your injuries and other losses can quickly become confusing, even with a basic understanding of the state’s accident laws. An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected after your accident.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, contact a skilled personal injury attorney at Dax F. Garza, P.C. right away. We will investigate your crash, determine who was liable, collect evidence proving your damages, and file a claim on your behalf. Reach out to us today so we can explain your options for recovery and help you get the compensation you are owed after your collision.

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