Who Pays for the Damage to My Car After an Accident?
According to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 474,549 total traffic crashes statewide in 2020. Traffic accidents in Texas often result in minor to severe injuries, property damages, or sometimes death. As a vehicle owner involved in an accident, you may be worried about how to get your car fixed and back on the road. If your car sustains body damage or mechanical faults after a traffic crash, you may be eligible to pursue fair compensation to cover property damages.
As an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, I'm dedicated to offering compassionate representation to clients in their car accident claims. I will review the circumstances surrounding the incident, conduct an in-depth investigation, determine whether the at-fault driver’s insurance policy covers vehicle damages, and explore your available legal options to recover damages. My firm, Joe Orihuela, Attorney at Law, proudly represents clients throughout Houston, Texas, as well as neighboring communities like Alvin, Webster, Pasadena, and Clear Lake City, Texas.
Liability for Car Accidents in Texas
Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state. Under Texas's at-fault system, the driver who caused the traffic crash (at-fault party) will cover the costs of medical expenses, vehicle damages or car repairs, and other accident-related losses suffered by the accident victims. In order to seek damages, you can proceed by:
- Filing a claim with your own insurer
- Filing a third-party claim against the at-fault driver's insurance carrier
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver
Texas Insurance Requirements
Motorists in Texas are obligated to have minimum liability coverage of the following limits:
- $30,000 for bodily injuries per person in a single accident
- $60,000 for total bodily injuries to two or more persons per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
This basic coverage is designed to pay for medical expenses, property damages, and other accident-related costs of the passengers, driver, and pedestrians involved in the accident. You are allowed to carry additional coverage to cover significant vehicle damages and auto accident injuries.
Who Pays for Car Damages in a Texas Auto Accident?
When two or more insured drivers are involved in a traffic accident, the at-fault driver's insurance will pay for vehicle damages or car repairs. You will file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance provider and be entitled to damages up to the at-fault driver's policy limits.
However, if the driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can file claims under your own underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage). This kind of insurance policy can help cover the cost of repairing damages to your vehicle.
When you're involved in a Texas auto accident, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including ongoing medical treatment
- Property damages, such as cost associated with vehicle repairs or replacement
- Lost wages/income, including potential earnings and benefits
- Compensation for pain, discomfort, and suffering,
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life due to your injuries
- Compensation for any loss of companionship
Punitive damages may also be awarded to serve as additional punishment to the at-fault party. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate every aspect of your case and determine a fair settlement amount.
Modified Comparative Fault State
Additionally, Texas operates using the modified comparative negligence principle, with a 51% bar. Under the rule, you may recover damages if you were partially or equally (50% or less) responsible for the car accident or your injuries. However, the amount of compensation that you may recover will be reduced by your fault percentage.
For example, if the judge awards $30,000 in total damages against the at-fault driver, and you were found to be 10% liable for the auto accident, your damages will be reduced by $3,000. You may only recover 90% of $30,000 ($27,000). Under Texas's modified comparative negligence rule, you will be barred from pursuing damages if you were mostly (51% or more) responsible for the car accident.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Being involved in any kind of accident can be overwhelming. A traffic crash may leave your car with minor scratches, dings, and dents. In some cases, your vehicle could be undrivable. You don't have to bear the repair costs all on your own. When you’re involved in an accident, hiring a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is crucial to help protect your legal rights and pursue deserved compensation to cover property damages or car repairs.
I've devoted my career to handling personal injury cases and protecting the rights of vehicle owners involved in traffic collisions. As your attorney, I will evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your unique circumstances and enlighten you about your available legal options to seek compensation for your vehicle repairs. Using my extensive experience, I can fight compassionately to protect your legal rights, help you recover deserved compensation to cover your car damages, and take additional legal action, if necessary.
Vehicle damage claims following a car accident can involve several complexities. Call my firm today to schedule a simple consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. I can offer you the detailed legal guidance you need and help you pursue rightful compensation for your vehicle damages, replacement, or repairs. My firm is proud to represent clients throughout Houston, Alvin, Webster, Pasadena, South Houston, and Clear Lake, Texas.