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Car AccidentsIs Texas a No-Fault State?

December 13, 2023by Crystal Henry

In the intricate aftermath of a Texas car accident, deciphering the legal landscape becomes paramount. 

A prevailing question often surfaces: Is Texas a no-fault state? 

Texas is not a no-fault state. Instead, it follows an at-fault system for car accidents. 

Under this system, the party found to be responsible for causing the accident is liable for the damages incurred. 

This means that if you are involved in a car accident in Texas, the person who caused the accident (or their insurance) is typically required to pay for any damages or injuries resulting from the accident. 

This system contrasts with no-fault states, where each party’s insurance covers their own damages regardless of who caused the accident. 

For individuals in Texas, understanding this distinction is crucial, especially when dealing with insurance claims and potential legal actions after a car accident. 

As we delve into the complexities of this at-fault framework, we unravel the intricacies of Texas’s minimum insurance requirements, explore the challenges with insurance companies, and shed light on the crucial role of SR-22 insurance.

Fault vs. No-Fault States

In no-fault states, individuals file claims with their own insurance companies, regardless of fault, to receive compensation. 

However, Texas, as an at-fault state, allows accident victims to hold the responsible party accountable for damages. 

If the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient, victims have the option to file a car accident lawsuit to recover the remaining expenses.

Minimum Insurance Requirements in Texas

To navigate the at-fault system effectively, it’s crucial to understand Texas’s minimum insurance requirements. 

The state mandates drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance, known as the requisite minimum coverage amount. Currently set at 30/60/25 coverage, this includes:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury insurance per person
  • $60,000 per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage repairs

Fulfilling these requirements is essential, as failure to do so can lead to fines, penalties, and even license revocation.

Dealing with Insufficient Coverage

In cases where damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, injured parties retain the right to sue the at-fault driver to recover the difference. 

Additionally, having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM insurance) provides an extra layer of protection. 

This coverage allows individuals to file a claim with their insurance company if the at-fault driver lacks adequate coverage.

Related: What if the At-Fault Driver in a Texas Accident is Uninsured?

Types of Auto Insurance in Texas

Understanding different types of auto insurance is vital for informed decision-making. The key types include:

  1. Liability Coverage: Accounts for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and wrongful death.
  2. Collision Coverage: Covers damages to the insured vehicle.
  3. Comprehensive Coverage: Addresses damages from incidents other than collisions, such as weather damage or vandalism.
  4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Covers vehicle damage caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers.

Challenges with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may attempt to evade fair compensation using tactics such as denying claims without explanation or undervaluing claims intentionally. 

Seeking legal assistance can be crucial in navigating these challenges and ensuring rightful compensation.

SR-22 Insurance in Texas

SR-22, or Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, is a requirement under Chapter 601 of the Texas Transportation Code.

It serves as proof that a driver has liability insurance. 

This certificate becomes essential in various scenarios, such as license suspension due to a car accident or multiple traffic violations.

Getting SR-22 insurance involves:

  1. Confirming with the current insurer or finding one that provides SR-22 coverage.
  2. Paying a filing fee for the insurer to file the SR-22 form on the driver’s behalf.
  3. Paying a license reinstatement fee to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
  4. Monitoring the driver eligibility status on the DPS website, which changes from “ineligible” to “eligible” after successful processing.

The cost of SR-22 insurance varies based on factors such as the type of vehicle, location, coverage amount, and the driver’s record.

Proving Fault in Car Accidents

In the at-fault system, proving fault is essential. An experienced attorney can assist in gathering evidence, which may include:

  • Pictures and videos of the accident
  • Damage documentation
  • Witness testimonies
  • Expert opinions
  • Police reports
  • Cell phone records
  • Crash reconstructions

Also Read: How are Fatal Car Accidents Investigated?

Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident

Working with a lawyer after a car accident can help pursue damages, including:

  • Medical bills (past, present, and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Property damage

Steps After a Car Accident

In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s essential to take specific steps:

  1. Stay at the Accident Scene: Leaving can be considered a crime.
  2. Ensure Your Safety: Stay still if injured or move to safety if possible.
  3. Ensure Others’ Safety: Assist others involved and call 911.
  4. Document the Scene: Take photos and videos of injuries and damages.
  5. Swap Information: Exchange details with other drivers.
  6. Collect Witness Information: Gather contact information from witnesses.
  7. Seek Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor, seeking medical attention is crucial.
  8. Find a Reputable Lawyer: Consult with an experienced car accident attorney.

The Role of a Car Accident Attorney

While handling a car accident case without a lawyer is possible, partnering with an attorney can enhance the chances of obtaining fair compensation. 

Attorneys with expertise in car accident cases can navigate complex legal processes and safeguard the rights of the injured party.

Crystal Henry Personal Injury Lawyer
3730 Kirby Dr #901, Houston, TX 77098, United States
281-888-3731
intake@helpfixmywreck.com

Conclusion

Understanding the fault system, insurance requirements, and the role of SR-22 certification is vital for Texas drivers. 

Navigating these complexities with knowledge and compliance ensures legal and financial protection in the event of a car accident. 

Consulting with a qualified attorney can provide further guidance and assistance in navigating the legal aspects of the at-fault system in Texas.

FAQs

Is Texas a no-fault state for car accidents?

No, Texas operates under an at-fault system, meaning that the party responsible for the accident is financially liable for damages incurred.

What is the difference between at-fault and no-fault states?

In at-fault states like Texas, the responsible party bears the financial responsibility for damages. In no-fault states, individuals file claims with their own insurance companies, regardless of fault, simplifying the compensation process.

What are the minimum insurance requirements in Texas?

Texas mandates drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance, known as the requisite minimum coverage amount. As of now, it includes $30,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage repairs.

What happens if damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage?

In such cases, injured parties retain the right to sue the at-fault driver to recover the difference. Additionally, having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM insurance) provides an extra layer of protection.

What types of auto insurance are crucial in Texas?

Understanding various types of auto insurance is vital. Key types include Liability Coverage (for medical expenses, lost wages, and more), Collision Coverage (for damages to the insured vehicle), Comprehensive Coverage (for incidents other than collisions), and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (for damages caused by inadequately insured drivers).

How does SR-22 insurance work in Texas?

SR-22, or Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, is required in Texas under specific circumstances, such as license suspension due to a car accident or multiple traffic violations. It serves as proof that a driver has liability insurance.

When do you need an SR-22 certification?

An SR-22 certification becomes necessary after certain traffic violations, such as a DUI or multiple convictions for failing to have car insurance. It is required to prove proper insurance coverage when regaining driving privileges.

What are the requirements for SR-22 insurance in Texas?

The requirements include having at least $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, at least $60,000 of total bodily injury coverage per accident, and at least $25,000 in coverage for property damage caused by accidents. SR-22 insurance in Texas is purchased in 6-month increments.

How can I prove fault in a car accident in Texas?

Proving fault in a car accident involves gathering evidence, including pictures and videos of the accident, damage documentation, witness testimonies, expert opinions, police reports, cell phone records, and crash reconstructions. An experienced attorney can assist in this process.

What damages can be recovered after a car accident in Texas?

Working with a lawyer after a car accident can help pursue damages such as medical bills (past, present, and future), lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and property damage.

What steps should I take after a car accident in Texas?

After a car accident, it’s crucial to stay at the scene, ensure safety, assist others involved, call 911, document the scene, exchange information with other drivers, collect witness information, seek medical attention, and consult with a reputable lawyer for legal guidance.

Can I handle a car accident case without a lawyer in Texas?

While it is possible, partnering with an attorney is advisable, as they can enhance the chances of obtaining fair compensation. Attorneys with expertise in car accident cases can navigate complex legal processes and safeguard the rights of the injured party.

About the Author

Crystal Henry, a highly respected and compassionate personal injury lawyer based in Houston, is a force to be reckoned with in the legal field. With years of experience and a genuine passion for helping others, Crystal has become a trusted advocate for her clients. Her journey in law began with a strong desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives during their most challenging times.