Motor vehicle accidents happen daily in every state across our nation; the way that claims are handled varies from state to state. In terms of automobile liability, there are four categories: no-fault, choice no-fault, tort liability or fault, and add-on. Texas is in the fault or tort liability category, which dictates how auto insurance claims are handled. Texas auto accident lawyers advise that it is very important for drivers to understand how auto accident liability claims are determined and how that affect a settlement if found to be at-fault for an auto accident in Texas.
Fault versus No-Fault
In the United States, auto liability insurance is mandatory. The two primary types of categories for auto insurance are no-fault and fault or tort liability. Texas is classified as a fault state, which means that a person involved in a car accident who is found to be at fault is responsible for paying for property damage and bodily injury costs resulting from the involved accident.
Accident Claims in Texas
There are some very important things to understand about auto insurance in Texas, all of which can effect a person’s ability to seek compensation for damages or injuries if involved in an auto accident:
Coverage Requirements – Texas requires basic insurance coverage of 30/60/25. What this means is that a policy must carry $30,000 per person and $60,00 per accident for bodily injury claims and $25,00 for all total property damage claims. These amounts are basic requirements and lawyers who handle auto accidents recommend that higher insurance limits than the basic amounts be carried to protect against a more serious accident. It is also important for policyholders to carry underinsured motorist coverage for protection against policies that do not cover all valid injury or property damage claims..
Time Limits for Lawsuits – The statute of limitation in Texas for filing an insurance claim lawsuit is two years. This time frame relates only to filing a lawsuit and not for actually making a claim against an insurance policy for a loss. Auto accident lawyers also point out that the statue of limitations is tolled or no longer applicable once a lawsuit has been filed. Timing of settlement will be determined by the process of the action through the judicial system.
Modified Comparative Fault – As part of its auto accident fault system, Texas uses what is called a modified comparative fault determination that can apply when more than one person is found to be negligent. Fault is calculated as a percentage and any insurance award is based on this figure. The lawyers who handle auto accidents that involve comparative or contributory negligence work with the involved insurance companies or through the filing of a legal action to determine a percentage of negligence against each at-fault party to the accident. Settlement such as this is premised on the plaintiff being found 50% or less at fault.
Texas drivers who are involved in accidents may require the assistance of knowledgeable and experienced auto accident lawyers, especially when comparative negligence is involved. Anyone who has been involved in an auto accident and found to be at fault should contact an attorney with experience in auto accident claims in order to receive the best advice about settlement of property or injury claims.