Car accidents seem to happen all the time. Those involved may suffer no injuries, minor or perhaps serious ones. Others result in fatalities. Crashes may involve one vehicle or many. You see them, read, or hear about them all the time. They are ubiquitous, that is unless they happen to you or a loved one.

Every driver on Texas roadways owes everyone else sharing those roadways a duty of care. They are required by law to observe the rules of the road and to operate their vehicles in a manner that keeps them and others safe. Breaching that duty of care is negligence, and when a negligent driver injures or kills others, they can and should be held financially responsible.

At Rodman Law Office, I started my legal career in the Marine Corps. When I left the military, I worked for a private practice defending insurance companies from claims filed by victims injured by their insureds. For nearly 20 years, I have represented personal injury and wrongful death plaintiffs, like you, fighting insurance companies for just compensation for injuries, damages, and death in Austin, Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties and throughout the state of Texas.

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Who’s Liable for Car Accidents in Texas?

Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents, and as such, those at fault for a car crash are financially responsible for compensating their victims. Victims suffer damages far beyond the damage to their vehicles, such as the cost of medical treatment, wages lost while they’re unable to work, and pain and suffering.

There are three ways to seek compensation for your damages:

  1. You can file claims for benefits under your own auto insurance policy. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payment coverage, those benefits are accessible regardless of who caused a crash. You can usually garner your benefits quickly, which will help much sooner with paying for such things as the cost of medical expenses or making up for lost wages. You can also file a claim against your policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage if the at-fault driver had no liability insurance or their policy limits are insufficient to compensate you fully for your damages.

  2. You can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage in their auto insurance policy. The negligent driver’s insurance company will do everything to assign partial fault to you, undervalue your damages, or deny your claim completely.

  3. If the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster refuses to offer a fair settlement for your claim, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in civil court to have a judge and jury decide the value of your claim. If a loved one died as a result of the crash, certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit. The driver’s insurance company’s attorneys will defend them in a lawsuit.

What Auto Insurance
is Required in Texas?

Texas requires auto owners to carry minimum liability insurance limits of $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.

As far as your auto policy is concerned, Texas insurers are required by law to offer you UM/UIM coverage and PIP coverage; however, if you declined those coverages, they will not be included in your policy.

What Texas Laws Affect
Personal Injury Claims?

One critical Texas law regarding personal injury and wrongful death claims is the statute of limitations. This is the time limit for either settling a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company or filing a lawsuit against them. That limit is only two years in Texas.

Moreover, in addition to being an at-fault state for auto insurance, Texas observed modified comparative fault. Fault may be attributed to more than one party in a car wreck. So long as the other driver was more at fault than you were, you can pursue a claim against them. However, any settlement award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

To illustrate, let’s say your damages are $80,000. If you are assigned 20% at fault for the crash and awarded $80,000 by a jury, you would receive $64,000 in a settlement. That number reflects a 20% reduction in the total award.

What About a Wrongful Death Claim?

If your loved one would have been able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver had they lived, certain people may file a wrongful death claim in their stead. Those eligible under Texas law to file include the decedent’s spouse, parents, adult children, or the personal representative of their estate.

Car Accidents Attorney Serving Austin, Texas

Pursuing compensation for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is always a battle. Insurance companies do not care about you, but I do. Moreover, I know how they operate. My experience gives me the knowledge I need to provide a tenacious offense on behalf of my personal injury and wrongful death clients in Austin, Texas, and throughout the state. Consultations are free, so reach out to my firm, Rodman Law Office, now.