No, Texas is not a no-fault state. Like most states, Texas relies on a fault-based insurance system to resolve auto accident claims. Drivers are financially responsible for any injuries or property damage they cause. A Texas car accident victim can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto liability policy and seek compensation for their losses.
If you have sustained injuries in a Texas car accident that wasn’t your fault, the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover is ready to help. Our team is here to help you navigate the car accident claims process and demand full compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. Keep reading to learn more about how we can help you seek fair compensation for your crash-related losses. Contact our firm for a free initial case review.
What Is the Difference Between No-Fault States vs. Fault States?
When you get hurt in a car accident, your first impulse may be to contact your auto insurance provider for coverage. In fact, most policies require you to notify your insurance company in the event of an accident. However, notification of an accident is different than filing a claim. The process for filing an auto insurance claim differs in states with fault-based insurance systems from states with no-fault systems.
In states that follow no-fault auto insurance systems, crash victims file their initial claims with their own no-fault insurance providers. No-fault insurance policies typically contain coverage called personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for the policyholder’s medical expenses and related losses no matter who was at fault.
In states that follow at-fault or fault-based auto insurance systems, the at-fault motorist’s auto liability insurance pays for the losses incurred. A crash victim must file claims against the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy, either directly or through their own provider. Liability insurance coverage pays for a wider range of crash-related losses than PIP coverage, including things like full compensation for lost wages and subjective losses like pain and suffering.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of auto insurance system. Drivers in no-fault states typically enjoy quicker payouts and a lower chance of having to go to court. Drivers in at-fault states typically have lower auto insurance premiums and more opportunities to hold negligent parties accountable.
What Are the Minimum Amounts of Liability Insurance in Texas?
You may be surprised to learn that Texas does not require drivers to carry insurance. Texas only requires proof that an at-fault driver can pay for any injuries or property damage resulting from accidents they cause. Most Texas drivers choose to provide proof of coverage simply by purchasing auto liability insurance.
Although Texas doesn’t require auto insurance coverage, local drivers must be able to show proof that they can pay for the following amounts in the event of a crash:
- At least $30,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage, which pays for an individual’s medical bills and related healthcare expenses after an accident
- At least $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, which pays for medical bills and related healthcare expenses if multiple people get hurt
- At least $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, which pays for damage to vehicles and other personal property resulting from an accident
Because liability insurance policies only pay for the other party’s losses when you are at fault for an accident, many Texas drivers choose to purchase additional types of insurance coverage, such as:
- Collision coverage – This type of insurance pays for crash-related vehicle damage whether or not the policyholder is at fault.
- Comprehensive coverage – This type of insurance pays for non-crash-related vehicle damage, such as damage from acts of nature, vandalism, or theft.
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage – This type of insurance pays for crash-related losses if the at-fault driver has no liability insurance coverage.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage – This type of insurance pays for crash-related losses if the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance coverage.
- Medical payments (MedPay) coverage – This type of insurance pays for crash-related medical expenses whether or not the policyholder is at fault.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage – PIP insurance is not available in all at-fault states, but it is here in Texas. This no-fault insurance pays for medical bills, up to 80 percent of lost wages, and caregiving expenses for crash victims.
If you still owe payments on your vehicle, most auto lenders will require you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage to protect their investment. If you do not have sufficient insurance coverage for your vehicle, you may be on the hook personally for medical costs and other crash-related expenses.
What If My Losses Exceed the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Limits?
The required amounts of auto liability coverage might sound like they should cover everything in most accident cases. In fact, the values of many car accident claims exceed the limits of standard policies. What happens if you sustain injuries or property damage severe enough to exceed the other driver’s policy limits?
Fortunately, you could have several options, including:
- Suing the at-fault driver to seek compensation in court
- Researching to determine whether the at-fault driver’s insurance policy includes “umbrella” coverage or additional coverage for other vehicles
- Looking into the possibility of seeking compensation from other at-fault parties
There are few restrictions against filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, but there is no guarantee that the other driver can pay the judgment even if you win your suit. That’s why it is important to work with a seasoned auto accident lawyer who can help you explore your best options for seeking compensation.
Schedule a Free Case Review with Our Experienced San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys
If you have questions about your Texas car accident claim or wish to discuss your options with a lawyer, reach out to the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover. We can provide the answers you need and evaluate your case at no charge when you contact us for an initial consultation session.