What You Need to Know About Car Accident Laws in Texas

What You Need to Know About Car Accident Laws in Texas

When you get into a car accident in any state, it’s normal to think about what rights and responsibilities you have, as well as what options you have to hold the driver at fault accountable for any losses you suffered. However, since most states have different laws regarding traffic accidents, in this article you will learn more about what you can expect if you get into an auto accident in the state of Texas.


Reporting an Accident in the State of Texas

The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident has to immediately report the accident to the local sheriff or police station under Texas Transportation Code section 550.026, if the crash resulted in one of the following:

  • death or injury of any person in the auto accident
  • vehicle damaged to the extent that it can’t be driven safely from the auto accident location.


Reporting the Accident to an Insurance Company

Texas doesn’t have a law on when or whether you should report a crash to your insurance company. However, it’s required by insurance companies for the policyholder to report any accident to them as soon as possible. The sooner they get notified, the sooner they can start investigating and filing a claim. If you fail to report the accident within a reasonable time, you may not get any compensation by the insurance company.


Texas Car Accident Statute of Limitations

“Statute of limitations” is a Texas state law setting a time limit on the potential plaintiff to file a lawsuit. The time limit varies depending on the damage suffered and the case you would like to file. Most car accident-related lawsuits in Texas need to be filed within two years from the accident.


The Comparative Negligence Rule in Texas

In case the other driver is entirely at fault for the crash, the result is predictable – they will pay to compensate you for any lost wages, hospital bills, and other losses suffered.

But if you were partly at fault, the state of Texas has a rule of  “modified comparative fault” when more people share the blame. In most cases, the jury calculates two things based on evidence: the total amount for the plaintiff’s damages and the percentage of fault of each party. Under this rule, the plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by the percentage which is equal to their state of fault. Just keep in mind that if you are found to have over 50 percent of the fault, you will get no compensation.

If you need further information regarding car accident laws in Texas, turn to Legal Chiefs. We would gladly help you with your case.


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Auto Accident FAQ

Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation. There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver. Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include: ● Current and future medical bills ● Property damage ● Emotional duress ● Lost wages ● Loss of enjoyment of life ● Loss of future earnings potential On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.