Rear end car accident on public road

Is Texas a No-Fault State?

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP July 27, 2022

Whether a state is a no-fault state or an at-fault state for auto insurance makes a tremendous difference in a victim’s ability to file a personal injury claim. In Texas, injury or damage lawsuits filed as a result of an auto accident hit a record high in Texas courts in 2021. Injury cases from accidents other than vehicular also increased every year from 2018 to 2021.

So, is Texas a no-fault state or an at-fault state? Who’s at fault makes a difference, and so do the Texas laws governing who’s responsible for compensating victims of negligence.

For help with this question and any others pertaining to personal injury, contact Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP. We represent personal injury victims in Pearland, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas. 

Is Texas a No-Fault State for Personal Injury Claims?

Texas is not one of the 12 no-fault states in the country. The Lone Star State is an at-fault state, meaning the person whose negligence causes an accident that results in the injuries of others is financially responsible for compensating those victims for their damages. This gives victims the opportunity to file a personal injury claim against the liability insurance coverage of the person at fault for an accident.

Texas law requires auto owners to carry liability insurance with the following minimum coverage:

  • $30,000 per person;

  • $60,000 per accident; and,

  • $25,000 for property damage.

Although these are the minimum liability policy limits required by law, many auto owners, especially those who own commercial motor vehicles, carry much higher liability limits to insure them should their driver be at fault for an accident in Texas.

No-fault states require auto owners to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and to use their own coverage to pay for damages. Only if a victim’s injuries rise to a certain level of severity can they file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Although Texas is an at-fault state, it still requires insurance companies to offer PIP coverage to their insureds.

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage?

PIP covers medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as lost wages. You can file a claim for your own PIP benefits immediately and regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Therefore, you can begin paying your medical bills right away, rather than waiting to settle a third-party liability claim or obtain a judgment in a personal injury lawsuit.

PIP will cover your medical expenses and other losses, as well as your passenger’s up to the coverage of limits. You can also access your PIP benefits if you are injured when you are not in a vehicle. For example, you can use them if you are injured by a motorist while walking or riding your bicycle.

Insurance companies are required to offer this coverage, although you can refuse coverage in writing. Many auto owners do this because they don’t want to pay the premium required, but you will be glad you have this coverage if you are injured in an accident.

You can also choose to purchase medical payment coverage. “Med pay” works much like PIP, paying for medical expenses regardless of who causes the accident. However, med pay does not compensate you for lost wages.

How Can I Sue the Negligent Driver?

If the insurance company for the negligent driver will not compensate you fairly after filing a liability insurance claim and you cannot reach a settlement, you have the option in Texas of filing a personal injury lawsuit.

You will need to prove the other driver’s fault was 50% or more for the accident, that your injuries were the result of the accident, and that you incurred medical expenses and other damages as a result. Texas observes a modified negligence rule, which means more than one party can be held liable for an accident. The other driver’s insurer will work very hard to prove you bear at least some percentage of fault.

If you are found to be partially at fault, your recovery will be reduced by that percentage. As an example, let’s say a jury determines that you sustained $90,000 in damages but you were 20% at fault. You would then receive $72,000 because the $90,000 judgment would be reduced by 20%.

You should also know that the Texas statute of limitations in personal injury claims is only two years from the date of the accident. You must either settle the third-party liability claim or file a personal injury lawsuit before the two years expire.

Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Guidance

At Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP, we have handled thousands of personal injury claims for clients in Pearland and throughout Texas. Many have settled before opening statements in court and others have been presented to a judge and jury. We always strive to achieve the best result possible.

If you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, call our office now to schedule a free case consultation. We are here to help.