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Liability in Texas Car Accidents

Texas is known for its varied scenery, oil refineries, long-horn cattle, bluebonnet flowers, and world-famous barbecue and chili dishes. Unfortunately, it’s also known for its dismal car accident statistics. In 2022, there were 15,299 car accidents with serious injuries in Texas, without a single day of zero traffic fatalities. Car accident claims in Houston and throughout the Lone Star State often cite distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and intoxication as common causes of Texas car accidents.

Like the majority of states, Texas follows a modified comparative negligence insurance law that requires car accident victims to prove liability on the part of the driver or other entity at fault for the accident. If you or a loved one recently experienced a car accident in Texas, you may be wondering how to prove liability in a Texas car accident and how the state’s comparative negligence laws may impact your claim for damages like property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Proving Liability in a Texas Car Accident

Unlike the handful of no-fault insurance states where accident victims only file claims against their own insurance policies, Texas requires those with property damage and/or injuries to file a claim against the driver or other party who caused the accident. It often takes an accident attorney’s skilled investigation to determine the cause of the accident and identify the negligent action and liable party responsible. Then, the attorney calculates the victim’s damages and sends a demand package to the insurer of the at-fault party. The injury victim and their attorney must document evidence showing the negligent driver or other entity meets the following legal points of liability:

  • The party at fault owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent causing accidents and injuries to others on the road or to act the way another “reasonable” driver would have acted under the same circumstances
  • They breached this duty of care through negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions
  • Their breach of duty caused an accident and injuries
  • The injury victim experienced significant economic and non-economic damages from the injury

Negligent drivers are the most common liable parties in Texas car accident claims but other at-fault parties in some cases include negligent road maintenance agencies, negligent car repair shops, or the manufacturer of a defective car part.

Liability and Comparative Negligence in Texas

The fault-based insurance laws for Texas car accident claims allow even those partly at fault for an accident in Houston or elsewhere in the Lone Star State to recover a portion of their damages minus their percentage of fault. For example, if the investigation shows that an injury victim in a Texas accident was 25% at fault because they were exceeding the speed limit at the time of their accident but the other driver was 75% at fault because they rolled through a stop sign, the injury victim could still collect $75,000 on a $100,000 claim. The party with the greater percentage of fault in this instance couldn’t collect on their damages because any negligent party who is more than 50% at fault cannot recover compensation in a Texas car accident claim.

Insurance Companies May Use the State’s Comparative Negligence Laws Against You After a Car Accident in Texas

It’s important to be wary of insurance companies that take advantage of the comparative negligence laws in Texas and assign injury victims a greater percentage of fault than they’re due in order to minimize the amount they must pay out or to deny the claim completely. An experienced car accident attorney in Texas can counteract these and other common insurance company tactics used to protect corporate profits.

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