According to the Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts, there were a total of 14,299 crashes in Texas in 2017, in which more than 17,000 people sustained serious injuries.
Apart from the physical and emotional trauma victims of an accident have to go through, they have to deal with a number of insurance agencies, which is not always easy. This is because insurance companies are profit-oriented, and in most cases, they would like to pay as few claims as possible to preserve their profit margins.
How vehicle insurance works in Texas
Texas laws require that all drivers have a liability insurance cover. If your vehicle is financed, your lender may also demand that you obtain a collision and comprehensive insurance cover. Such an insurance policy covers you against property damage and injuries that you may cause to others in an accident. For instance, the insurance cover will pay for vehicle repair or replacement costs, medical bills, and other expenses associated with an accident.
Currently, the minimum insurance policy limit in Texas is 30/60/25, that is, $30,000 for every person who’s injured, $60,000 for injuries per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. These are merely minimum coverage requirements, and insurers normally indicate them on the front page of the policy document.
Apart from the liability coverage, other forms of insurance covers available to Texas drivers include personal injury protection (PIP), collision coverage, uninsured or underinsured coverage, and medical payments coverage.
Besides, insurers may provide you with lower premiums on your coverage than their competitors to lure you. Therefore, simply because you have a car insurance cover does not imply you are fully covered.
Why should I report the accident to my insurer?
It’s difficult to know whether or not you should report all accidents to your insurer as not every accident warrants an insurance claim. Failure to report an accident could lead to severe consequences, including forfeiting your chance to be compensated for any damages. In Texas, most insurers require you to report the accident within a day or two.
Ideally, you should report even a seemingly minor accident, so that you are covered should there be problems later on or if the other driver files a lawsuit. Reporting an accident to your insurer will not raise your premium rates if you do not file a claim.
The sooner you inform your insurer of the accident, the sooner they can investigate. Once you contact them, be clear and concise on what happened. State only the facts without admitting fault. Should the other driver’s insurer contact you, avoid volunteering any information. Instead, ask them to speak to your attorney.
Who pays for the damages after an accident in Texas?
If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident, you may be wondering who is responsible for the resulting medical bills and vehicle repairs. This largely depends on the circumstances of the accident, including who was at fault.
Texas is a ‘comparative fault’ state. This implies that the other party or his insurance company is responsible for any damages if they were at fault. However, you have to be less than 50% responsible for the accident. If you are awarded any damages, they will be deducted depending on your percentage fault. For example, if you are determined to have been 25% at fault and you were eligible for $10,000 as compensation, you will only be awarded $7500.
If you were at fault or you were in a single-car accident, you are likely to be responsible for the damages unless you have personal injury protection or a medical payments insurance cover. Your attorney may help you prove that something else such as debris on the road or a vehicle defect caused the accident.
When should I involve an attorney after an accident?
In case you are involved in a minor accident where no one is injured, and there is insignificant or no damage, you might not need the services of an attorney. You should consider getting an attorney as soon as possible if:
- The accident has caused severe injuries such as bone fractures, paralysis or other permanent injuries, or even death
- You are uncertain who was at fault
- The accident happened in a construction zone or a protected area such as a school or pedestrian crossing
- There are concerns when it comes to your liability limits, your insurance status, or if you do not have an insurance cover
- If you have sustained serious injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence, an attorney will help build your case and ensure a fair settlement.
If you have been involved in an accident and you are unsure of where you stand legally, contact Thompson Law Injury Lawyers for a free case review.