In 2019, the highest number of fatal car accidents in the US was reported from Texas. While you may take all precautions to prevent a crash, you cannot really vouch for others. If you end up in an accident in or around Houston, you should be aware of your rights and interests. Talking to a reliable Houston car accident attorney can help in understanding the legal options. Texas is an at-fault state, which means that the party responsible for your losses and injuries should compensate financially, typically through their insurance company. Before we talk about hiring a lawyer, here are some quick facts about Texas laws.
Reporting the accident
Texas laws require involved drivers to report an auto accident if injury, death, and vehicle damage were involved. You are required to inform the accident to the local police or sheriff’s office. Vehicle damage refers to a situation where the car cannot be moved from the accident site safely. In short, you need to report an accident, no matter what.
Filing a civil lawsuit
There is a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after an auto crash. The statute of limitations in Texas allows two years to file such lawsuits from the date of the accident. If you lost a loved one in the accident, you could consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit, for which the deadline starts from the date of the deceased person’s death. For suing for vehicle damage alone, the deadline remains the same.
Comparative fault in Texas
Like many other states, Texas has a modified comparative fault system. This means you can file a lawsuit against the other person or claim financial recovery only if your share of fault is less than the other driver. In practice, this may mean losing a substantial part of the settlement. If you go to court, the same rule will be considered for deciding the compensation. For example – When someone is 20% at fault and is given $10,000 in a settlement, they can only get $8,000.
Finding a lawyer
A skilled attorney is your best bet at winning a settlement against the other party. Keep in mind that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will want to reduce the settlement, especially if you have a share in the fault. They might use the “modified comparative fault rule” against you. Contact an attorney to improve your chances of getting compensated for your losses.