You may still receive coverage if you’re partly responsible for an accident in Texas. Texas employs a modified comparative fault doctrine. This means that, so long as you were less than 51% responsible for your accident, you may receive coverage.
What Is Proportionate Responsibility?
Texas law assigns proportionate responsibility to those involved in an accident. This means that each party is responsible for their share of fault in the accident. The statute states that “a claimant may not recover damages if his percentage of responsibility is greater than 50 percent.”
You may technically receive a financial recovery if your share or responsibility is 50% or less.
How does Proportionate Responsibility Work in Reality?
The concept of proportional responsibility seems simple enough on paper. However, determining a percentage of fault is rarely easy. Insurance companies will make the final determination of fault. Once they establish the percentage of fault, you’ll have an idea of how much coverage you may receive.
Consider an example to explain how Texas’s modified comparative fault doctrine works. Say you were on your cell phone driving through an intersection. A vehicle in the oncoming lane of traffic blew through a red light and struck your vehicle.
The insurance companies may assign you fault for 10% of the accident because you were on your cell phone. The driver who ran the red light is responsible for the other 90% of the accident. Rather than being responsible for 100% of your losses, the other motorist is responsible for 90% of your losses. If your losses totaled $100,000, the other motorist would have to cover $90,000.
How do Insurance Companies or Juries Determine Fault?
Insurance companies may first determine fault. If a case proceeds to the civil justice system, then a jury may determine fault. Either of these parties may determine fault by:
- Reviewing video footage of the accident
- Listening to expert testimony
- Observing a physical or digital reconstruction of the collision
- Listening to or reading witness accounts of the accident
- Reviewing photographs of damage to vehicles
- Reading a police report for the accident
- Considering motorists’ accounts of the accident
One or more attorneys may put these factors into context. A jury or insurance company may consider all evidence when determining fault.
How does an At-Fault Party Cover the Victim’s Losses?
Texas is an at-fault state for auto insurance purposes. Per the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), every motorist must hold liability coverage of:
- $30,000 to cover a single victim’s medical bills
- $60,000 to cover two or more victims’ medical bills
- $25,000 to cover property damage to another vehicle
An accident victim will file their claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. A personal injury lawyer can explain the claim filing process when multiple parties are at fault. The insurance process may be more complex when:
- Multiple parties are at fault
- The share of fault for the accident is unclear
- One or more parties lack insurance
- A victim’s losses exceed the liable party’s coverage limits
If you cannot secure adequate coverage through insurance, then you may file a personal injury lawsuit.
Why Would an Accident Victim in Texas File a Lawsuit?
An accident victim generally files a lawsuit when insurance doesn’t cover their losses. A lack of coverage may stem from:
- A motorist’s complete lack of insurance
- A motorist being underinsured
- Severe injuries
- An insurance company’s bad faith in settling a claim
A lawsuit may cover losses that insurance does not. If you need to file a lawsuit, then do so with a lawyer’s help.
Should You Hire a Lawyer After an Accident in Texas?
Hiring a lawyer may be in your best interest. You may have to deal with insurance companies shortly after your accident. A lawyer can handle these interactions for you. A personal injury firm may also:
- Determine fault for your accident
- Negotiate a settlement with insurance companies
- Gather evidence
- Document your losses
- File any lawsuit that you pursue
- Resolve your lawsuit through a settlement or judgment
You may be quickly overwhelmed by an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you’ve suffered injuries, your focus should be on recovery. A lawyer can handle your entire case.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ Today to Discuss Your Case
You have no obligation when you call our firm. We will discuss your case and explain how we can help. D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ is a full-service firm that will fight for you. Our clients rave about our legal care, and we’ll provide the same level of service to you.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today at (713) 850-8600 for your FREE consultation. Don’t delay. Your case may include deadlines. Time permitting, we’ll file your case right away.
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