Understanding Texas At-Fault Damages Rules
Whether you are entitled to compensation for your accident injuries, how much and from whom in Texas depend on several factors. First, what type of insurance do you carry? Was the accident your fault? If so, how much were you to blame?
Texas is an at-fault state, which means if you sue somebody for damages, you must prove that the person caused your car crash and that you did not. However, even if you are partly to blame, you may have options for recovery for your injuries and other damages.
What If You Are Only Partly At-Fault?
Often, both parties contribute to the automobile accident. In this case, each party is responsible for the amount of damages she or he caused. But, you cannot collect any damages if you are more than 50 percent at fault. This system of allocating damages is called the modified comparative fault rule or the 51 percent bar rule.
So, if you are found to be 50 percent at fault, you are entitled to damages from the other party, but only 50 percent of your damages. Likewise, if you are found to be just 10 percent at fault you are entitled to 90 percent of your damages. However, if you are found to be 51 percent at fault, you cannot collect anything, but you must only pay 51 percent of damages to the other party who sues you for the accident.
To further illustrate how this rule works, imagine that you sustain $100,000 in damages in a car crash, for which you are found to be 10 percent at fault. You have the right to $90,000. However, if you are found to be more than half responsible for the accident, the other party owes you zero damages.
Texas 30/60/25 Coverage Laws
Because most people do not have thousands of dollars on-hand to pay for an automobile wreck, Texas law requires every driver to carry a minimum amount of insurance. At least, you must have a basic liability policy that covers 30/60/25 of any accident you cause:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to another person who was injured in the accident
- $60,000 for bodily injury if two or more other people people were injured,
- $25,000 for property damage caused by the accident
Your Insurance Company Must Offer You Greater Protection — It’s the Law
Coverage under a basic liability policy does not come close to covering the extensive medical bills resulting from a serious accident. You risk being held liable for the difference in an accident you caused. And if the other party is at fault, she or he likely does not have assets or income to pay much above the policy limit.
Although Texas laws do not mandate you purchase more insurance, the laws do require your insurance company to offer you greater protection under an additional uninsured/ underinsured motorists policy. Berenson Injury Law Firm also suggests purchasing personal injury protection (PIP), which pays your bills even if you caused the accident or the other party has inadequate coverage.
Why Hiring an Auto Accident Lawyer is Crucial
Remember, your insurance company is a business and so is not always on your side. Berenson Injury Law Firm is on your side. I have been exclusively handling auto accident cases for the past 35 years. I understand the importance of proving you were not at fault and then finding viable resources to pay your damages. Call me for a free consultation at 817.885.8000. I can help.