When it comes to car crashes in Texas, there are some alarming statistics. In 2020, a crash occurred every one minute and seven seconds. An injury-causing crash occurred every two minutes and 34 seconds. Every two hours and 15 minutes, someone died in a crash. Nearly 33,000 auto accidents were reported in New Braunfels and Dallas alone. That’s 90 incidents every single day!
Everyone operating a motor vehicle on Texas roadways owes everyone else on the road a duty of care. When drivers fail to uphold that duty by allowing themselves to be distracted, driving too fast, or by simply not paying attention, they can do significant harm. If you have been injured or a loved one incapacitated or killed, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and more.
Here at my firm, the Law Office of Marco Sanchez, P.C., I represent clients from New Braunfels and Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Hays County, Comal County, Collin County, and Bexar County whose lives have been changed in an instant due to the negligent actions of someone else on the road. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a car accident in Texas, call or reach out to my firm today for a free case consultation.
Texas is considered an at-fault state for auto insurance claims, which means the person responsible for causing a crash is also responsible for compensating those who have been injured in the accident.
The at-fault driver’s auto insurer indemnifies them, which means the insurer provides a certain dollar amount of coverage to be paid for damages when their insured is found to be at fault for an accident. There are three ways you can recover compensation for your bodily injuries and property damage:
Medical payment (med pay) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage are both optional in Texas, however, if you have either you can file a claim for those benefits. Neither requires any finding of fault. Med pay can help you pay for medical expenses while you settle your claim against an at-fault driver. PIP benefits can pay for any medical expenses and lost income due to injury.
If the other driver was uninsured or has bodily injury liability limits below the value of your damages, you may file a claim under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Texas auto insurers are required to offer UM/UIM coverage when you purchase a liability policy unless you opt-out of this coverage in writing.
You also have the option to file a third-party claim against the negligent driver’s insurance coverage for up to the policy limits.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim or offers an insufficient sum in full settlement of your claim, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in civil court. The lawsuit will be defended by attorneys employed by their insurer and you will likely require the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate for you in court.
Texas auto owners are required to carry minimum liability coverage, including bodily injury liability coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage. This is typically referred to as 30/60/25 liability coverage.
There are two key state laws that will be relevant to your liability claim. The first to be aware of is the statute of limitations for filing a claim in Texas, which is two years. This means that you will have two years from the date of the crash, or the date of a loved one’s death as a result of their crash injuries, to either settle a personal injury or wrongful death claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer or to file a lawsuit in civil court.
The second law to be familiar with is the modified comparative fault rule in Texas. Percentages of fault are always assigned to vehicle operators based on the circumstances of a crash. If you share any level of fault for causing the accident, it will impact the amount of compensation you receive, as your percentage of fault will reduce the damages you are eligible to receive.
For example, if you are injured in an accident and assessed 20% of the fault for the accident while the other driver is assigned 80% fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20% to account for your level of fault in causing the accident. If the other driver’s bodily injury liability insurance limits are $100,000 and a jury awards you $100,000 in damages, you would only be eligible to collect 80% of the settlement, or $80,000, because the damages would be reduced by 20% to account for your level of fault.
It’s also important to note that if you are found to be 51% or more at fault for an accident, you will not be allowed to recover damages from the other driver under Texas law.
When someone is injured due to the negligence of another driver, they would be entitled to assert a personal injury claim against the driver. If the person dies as the result of their injuries, Texas law provides that certain individuals can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.
A wrongful death action can be filed in civil court by the following individuals, either separately or jointly:
A surviving spouse
Any children of the deceased, including adopted children
The parents of the deceased, including adoptive parents
If none of these individuals choose to file a wrongful death claim within three months of the victim’s death, one can be filed by the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate, unless the executor is asked by the spouse, children, and/or parents not to pursue a wrongful death claim. Any recovery in an action filed by the executor will be used to benefit the heirs of the estate.
No amount of financial recovery can fully compensate you for your injuries or for the death of a loved one. It can, however, help pay for things such as current and future medical expenses, compensate you for lost income, as well as provide compensation for any additional pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure. If you lost a loved one in an accident, you can also pursue compensation that can cover funeral and burial costs.
Insurers for at-fault drivers will work diligently to reduce damages, prove comparative fault, or deny your claim altogether. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to investigate a crash, retain medical experts and engineering professionals for expert opinion, and fight aggressively to protect your rights and advocate for your needs. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, don’t face this challenge on your own. Call or reach out to my firm, the Law Office of Marco Sanchez, P.C., today for reliable legal counsel and strong representation.
At the Law Office of Marco Sanchez, P.C., I put my experience to work every single day for my clients who have been injured or killed by the negligent actions of others. I handle cases personally and devote the time necessary to prosecute personal injury and wrongful death claims so that these victims can pursue the justice they deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in New Braunfels or Dallas, Texas, or in the surrounding communities of Hays County, Comal County, Collin County, or Bexar County, reach out today for your own free consultation!