If you’re in a car accident, you’ll want to know whether the state you reside in is an at-fault state or a no-fault state. Your state’s stance regarding fault during automobile accidents will determine how you seek compensation following a collision. Drivers in car accidents in Houston, TX should consider hiring a car accident and injury attorney to ensure their interests are defended during the claims process.
Is Texas a “No Fault” State?
If the thought of handling your car accident claim and repairs through your own insurance company sounds off-putting, the Lone Star State is the place for you. Texas is an at-fault state, which means that the individual who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damage.
The at-fault party’s insurance company will be tasked with paying for vehicle repairs and medical care for the injured driver. At-fault states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of automobile insurance to help cover damages from collisions.
Texas Minimum Insurance Requirements
The requisite minimum coverage amount is the lowest amount of insurance drivers can have in Houston, TX or anywhere else in the state. The amount is divided into three categories: the coverage amount for each injured person, the coverage amount per accident, and the amount for property damage per accident.
The minimum insurance requirements in Texas are referred to as 30/60/25. That means drivers must have at least $30,000 in bodily injury insurance, $60,000 per collision, and $25,000 for property damage repair and replacement.
Both Drivers Benefit
In a collision, automobile insurance protects both parties by paying for any injuries and damage sustained by one driver and preventing the other driver from paying for the other party’s care out of pocket. However, since collisions can quickly rack up bills that blow past minimum coverage plans, injured drivers have the legal right to sue for the difference.
Whether you are the at-fault driver in a collision or the driver who suffered damage to their person and property, you’ll want to contact a Houston, TX car accident and injury attorney to represent you.
What If the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured?
Drivers who hit the road without insurance can face fines, penalties, and even license suspension. Texas takes insurance requirements seriously, so uninsured drivers can expect repercussions for choosing to drive uninsured.
How Is Fault Proven?
Since the driver who holds the least amount of fault can sue the at-fault driver for their injuries and repairs, drivers in Texas try to avoid claiming responsibility. Once an accident has occurred, fault can be determined formally by a judge and jury or informally by an insurance adjuster. The decision will be based on evidence such as police reports, expert reports, and witness statements.
To ensure you aren’t blamed unfairly for an accident, you’ll want a lawyer with extensive experience proving fault in cases like yours. In addition, since proving fault often requires a good amount of effort, you’ll want to work with an attorney who’s eager to prove your contributions to the accident were minimal.
Evidence Used to Prove Fault
The types of evidence used to prove your innocence will depend on the specific circumstances of your collision. For example, establishing which driver is responsible for a crash may require collecting evidence such as:
Pictures and Videos of the Actual Accident
Unless the accident occurred on a back road, there’s a chance your collision was captured. Store security cameras, dashboard cams, and redlight cameras can help back up your side of the story and provide insight into what occurred.
Photo or video evidence of the accident is hard to refute and can’t be altered by memory or emotion. When you work with a lawyer, they will explore all the possible avenues for finding the footage you need to prove you are not at fault.
Pictures and Videos of the Accident Scene
If the actual event wasn’t captured on film, the next best thing is photos and videos of the aftermath. The position of vehicles before they’re moved out, current traffic and weather conditions, property damage, and injuries can paint a clear picture of what happened.
Reviewing material from the scene can also help you remember what happened. Collisions often occur so quickly that it can be hard to remember the sequence of events. Accident scene footage can help ensure you don’t miss anything when putting together your statement.
Your lawyer will get a copy of the police report to defend you if possible. Sometimes police reports will be a treasure trove of information proving your innocence, but other times they may contain the bare minimum and be unhelpful to your claim.
Having professionals recreate the accident scene can illuminate who is truly to blame. Crash reconstruction is usually only used for serious collisions resulting in severe injuries, fatalities, or extensive property damage.
A witness statement can help you by confirming your version of events. If witnesses didn’t leave information with the police, your attorney could help you track down witnesses and convince them to share what they saw.
What to Do If You Are in a Collision
Stay at the Site
Don’t leave the collision site if you’re involved in an accident. It automatically makes you appear as if you have something to hide, and it’s also a crime in certain situations. Do not leave the location of the accident until you have filed a police report, everyone involved in the crash has received any medical care they need, and you’ve exchanged information with the other driver.
Make Sure You’re Safe
If you are experiencing severe pain in your spine, neck, or head, stay still and wait for emergency responders to arrive. However, if you aren’t badly injured, you’ll want to move out the road and onto the shoulder where you are safer and out of traffic.
Check on the Other Driver
Once you’ve evaluated your situation, check on the other driver and passengers. If they’re seriously injured, they should stay where they are unless doing so puts them in greater danger. If they are in a dangerous location, you’ll want to help them move to a safe place.
Call 911 or a Non-Emergency Number
If no injuries resulted from your crash or it was a fender-bender, the best thing to do is call the non-emergency number for your area. Using this number prevents you from using emergency resources for a non-emergency situation. If anyone involved in the accident is injured or believes they might be, call 911 immediately. You’ll also want to call 911 if the accident takes place on a busy road or somewhere that puts other drivers at risk.
Take Pictures and Videos
While the last thing you may think of doing when you’re rattled from an accident is pulling out your cell phone and documenting the scene, once you know everyone is safe and first responders have been called, that’s what you need to do. Photos and videos will be helpful later in determining who is to blame for the accident and proving any statements you make about the incident.
Swap Information With the Other Driver
No matter how minor the accident, always swap contact information with the other vehicle’s driver. You’ll want to know their name, insurance information, license plate number, and the make and model of their car. Be sure you share your information with them, as well.
Collect Witness Information
Unfortunately, responding officers don’t always collect witness information or statements. By asking the witnesses for their contact information, you make it easier on yourself and your lawyer if you need to contact them during the resolution of your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
If you receive any injury during the crash, seek medical care immediately. Choosing to wait to seek care gives the appearance that your injuries are not severe and can make it more challenging to pursue compensation. Don’t wait and see if head pain subsides or assume that a hot bath will fix your aching back: seek medical care and begin building the paper trail documenting your injuries.
Call a Car Accident and Injury Attorney in Houston, TX
The sooner you call an injury lawyer after your accident, the sooner you can begin seeking compensation for your injuries and proving your degree of fault. Without an attorney looking out for you, it can be difficult not to be manipulated by insurance adjusters. Remember that the other driver’s insurance company will do everything in its power to prove you are at fault for the accident so that they do not have to compensate you for your losses.
A skilled lawyer can keep you from being unfairly blamed for a collision that isn’t your fault and ensure you receive the reimbursement you deserve for your injuries. If you are involved in a car accident, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, as soon as possible.