If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver in Texas, you have plenty to think about. The fact is, however, that understanding the basics regarding your claim will help ensure that your best interests are well protected from the outset.
Texas: An At-Fault State
In the State of Texas, the driver who is responsible for injuring you is liable for the damages you suffer, including:
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost hours and wages on the job
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Modified Comparative Negligence
Texas applies what is known as modified comparative negligence to personal injury claims. This means that, if you partially share the blame for the accident that caused you to be injured, your compensation will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are determined to be responsible for (up to 50 percent). For example, if you are found to be 20 percent responsible for the injury-causing accident, you are entitled to 80 percent of the full compensation amount.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations after a Texas car accident is two years. This means that, in general, if you fail to file your case before two years elapses, you will likely lose your right to be compensated for the damages you endured.
Car Insurance Minimums
Texas has car insurance minimums regarding liability insurance that every car owner is legally required to carry. Said insurance has specific minimum coverages that must be met, including bodily injury and property damage. Additional coverage is, of course, available but is not required under the law. If the negligent driver who caused you to be injured only carries minimum liability insurance – or carries none at all – an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you explore further options for recovering on your damages.
Helping Your Case Post-Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident, you are probably overwhelmed and may have no idea where to turn for assistance. After seeking immediate medical attention and contacting a skilled personal injury attorney, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind:
- Exchange names and contact and insurance information with the other driver; and collect evidence at the scene of the accident (to the best of your ability), including photos and contact information and statements from witnesses.
- Do not admit fault. We often equate saying we are sorry with being polite. A car accident is not the occasion, however. An apology can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt.
- Do not make a statement about the accident unless an officer asks you to do so – then answer the exact questions you are asked as succinctly as you can.
- Do not give a statement to the insurance company; your personal injury attorney will deal with the insurance company on your behalf.