No-Fault vs. At-Fault Insurance
The primary difference between no-fault and fault car insurance is the right of the accident victim to sue or file a claim against the at-fault driver for damages. Insurance laws are mainly left to the states to determine. Therefore, some states are no-fault states while other states are at-fault states for car accident claims.
Texas is an at-fault state for car accident cases. You have the right to file a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage if they caused the car crash.
Being an at-fault insurance state does not mean that the other driver is automatically responsible for your lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. You must prove that the other driver caused the car accident before receiving any money for damages.
What is No-Fault Car Insurance?
Before discussing Texas’s at-fault laws for car accidents, let’s define no-fault insurance.
Approximately a dozen states have no-fault insurance or modified no-fault insurance for car accidents. No-fault insurance is generally referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Med Pay coverage.
No-fault insurance pays a portion of your medical bills regardless of who causes a car accident. PIP insurance also covers a portion of your loss of income caused by the car accident. PIP coverage may also pay for some incidental costs, depending on the state.
However, no-fault insurance does not compensate victims for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Also, in most cases, the coverage only covers a portion of the medical bills and lost wages. Therefore, an accident victim may be responsible for some of these costs even if the other driver caused the crash.
Many states with no-fault insurance allow accident victims to file personal injury claims if they sustain serious injuries. A few states allow accident victims to seek damages if their medical bills exceed a specific amount. It depends on the laws in each state.
Texas Is an At-Fault Insurance State
If you sustain bodily injury in a car crash caused by another driver, you can file a claim against that driver’s liability insurance policy. If the insurance company denies liability or refuses to settle for a fair amount, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for damages.
Accident victims may receive economic damages. These damages include reimbursement for your monetary losses, such as lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses.
You may also receive compensation for non-economic damages, which compensate injured parties for the pain and suffering caused by the crash and their injuries. Non-economic damages include physical, mental, and emotional suffering. In addition, permanent impairments, a decrease in the person’s quality of life, and disfigurement are included.
How Do You Prove Fault for a Car Accident in Fort Worth, TX?
Because Texas is a fault state for car crashes, you must prove “fault” before you can recover compensation for damages.
Demonstrating fault generally requires you to prove the elements of negligence:
- Breach of duty;
- Causation; and
All drivers have a duty to follow the Texas traffic laws when operating a motor vehicle. They also have a duty to act reasonably to avoid causing traffic accidents. They breach the duty of care when their unreasonable conduct causes a car crash.
For example, failing to yield the right of way or following too closely could be considered a breach of duty. Likewise, driving under the influence and speeding could be considered breaches of duty.
You must also prove that the breach of duty was a direct cause of your injury, and you suffered damages because of the breach of duty. If you cannot prove all four elements of negligence, you may not recover compensation for your damages.
Evidence that may be used to prove fault include:
- Statements from the drivers and passengers
- Eyewitness statements
- Videos of the collision
- Physical evidence and photos from the accident scene
- Damage to the vehicles
- Accident reconstructions
- Cell phone records and vehicle onboard data recorders
Car accident lawyers will investigate the cause of the crash to gather evidence to establish fault. Establishing fault is the first step in proving liability for damages.
What Is the Impact of Comparative Negligence on Car Accident Claims?
Texas adopted a modified comparative fault law that applies to car accident cases. If you are partially to blame for the cause of the crash, you are not entitled to full compensation. Instead, the value of your claim is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing the crash.
In other words, if your actions contributed to 30% of the cause of the car wreck, you only receive 70% of the value of your damages. However, if your fault is 51% or more, you are barred from receiving any money for your claim.
Texas Car Insurance Requirements
Texas requires drivers to purchase liability coverage in the amount of $30,000 for injuries to one person and $60,000 per accident. Liability insurance covers damages caused by the insured. Therefore, it will pay for damages, including medical bills and other covered expenses, if the other driver proves that the insured was at fault.
Contact a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer For a Free Consultation
Proving fault for a car accident can be challenging. Insurance companies try to shift the blame for the crash to the accident victim. The company’s goal is to deny your claim or undervalue your damages.
An experienced personal injury attorney will have extensive experience investigating and pursuing car accident claims. Schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth car accident lawyer to discuss your case and determine your legal options.