Roderick C. Lopez | November 22, 2023 | Car Accidents
When you hear about car accidents in Texas, you might wonder who has to pay for the damages. It’s important to know that Texas follows what’s called an “at-fault” system; it is not a “no-fault” state. This means the person who caused the accident is the one who has to pay for any harm or damage done.
In Texas, if you’re in a car accident and it’s not your fault, you can ask the person who caused the accident to pay for your medical bills, car repairs, and any other losses. This is different from some states where each person’s insurance pays for their own damages, no matter who caused the accident.
Texas Car Insurance Requirements
In the Lone Star State, every driver must have insurance to cover accidents. This insurance should include:
- Up to $30,000 for each person who gets hurt,
- A total of $60,000 for everyone hurt in one accident, and
- Up to $25,000 for property damage (like fixing a car).
These are just the minimum amounts. Sometimes, the damage or injuries can cost more than these limits. If that happens, and the person at fault doesn’t have enough insurance, you might need to take legal action to get the rest of the money needed.
It’s also important to know that Texas uses a rule called “Modified Comparative Negligence.” This means if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, you can’t get money from the other person. So, understanding who is at fault is a big deal in Texas when it comes to car accidents.
Types of Car Insurance in Texas
When it comes to car insurance, there are several different types you should know about. Each type covers different things, and it’s good to understand them. This is especially true in states like Texas, where the person who causes an accident pays for the damage.
- Liability Coverage: This is the most basic type of car insurance. In most states, including Texas, you have to have it. It helps pay for injuries or damage you cause to others in an accident. There are two parts to it: one for injuries (bodily injury liability) and one for property damage (property damage liability).
- Uninsured & Under-insured Motorist Coverage: This coverage is for situations where the other driver, who caused the accident, doesn’t have enough insurance (or any at all). It helps pay your medical bills and, in some places, even car repairs.
- Collision Coverage: This one is for your car. If you crash into another car or something like a tree, collision coverage helps pay to fix or replace your car.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Think of this as a coverage for the unexpected things. If your car gets damaged by fire, theft, or vandalism, comprehensive coverage can help pay for repairs or replacement.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP is mainly about medical expenses. If you’re hurt in a car accident, PIP can help pay your medical bills and sometimes other costs like lost wages if you can’t work.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This covers medical expenses for you and anyone else in your car, no matter who caused the accident.
- Gap Coverage: If your car is new and you’re still paying it off, gap coverage is useful. If your car gets totaled or stolen, this coverage helps pay off your auto loan.
- Besides these, there are other types of coverage like new car replacement coverage, towing and labor cost coverage, and even special coverage for ride-sharing. Depending on what you need, there are many options to choose from.
In Texas, if you’re in a car accident, the person who caused it has to pay for any damages or injuries. This is why having the right insurance is so important.
Understanding “No-Fault” States: How They Differ From Texas
In “no-fault” states, car accident expenses are handled differently than in Texas. If you’re in a no-fault state and have a car accident, you don’t need to figure out who is to blame.
Instead, everyone involved uses their own insurance to cover their medical expenses. This insurance, known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), covers medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. PIP is still offered in Texas, but it’s not required.
Additionally, there’s collision coverage for car damages in no-fault states, which pays for repairs to your car, even if you’re at fault.
Contrast this with Texas, an “at-fault” state. Here, identifying who caused the accident is crucial, as that person (or their insurance) pays for the damages. This system in Texas also makes it easier to sue for additional losses like emotional distress or lost wages, unlike in no-fault states where such claims are more restricted.