Of the 100 most hazardous roads in the US, 15 are in Texas, meaning there is a high chance for motorists to be involved in a car accident. The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) even stated that 2021 is the second deadliest year in Texas roads since 1940. With car accidents becoming an alarming problem, those involved in car crashes must know their legal rights and responsibilities.
They should understand that as a motorist, they have a responsibility to follow road rules. Car accident victims should also know they can get legal help for a fair and just injury claim.
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Texas Car Accident Laws
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning the liable party is responsible for any costs to accident victims. These may include expenses for treatment of car accident injuries, serious injuries, and pain and suffering.
Texas car accident laws exist to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. They aim to prevent injury or death due to another person’s negligence in a car accident. Here are some laws you should know if you live in Texas.
Minimum insurance requirement
In Texas, drivers must have minimum insurance coverage. The amount should cover the accident, injury per person, and property damage per accident. The current minimum auto insurance requirement in Texas is as follows:
- $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
- $30,000 for injury/person
Duty to report an accident and stay at the scene of the accident
Texas law states that motorists involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must report the incident. The law enforcement officer will then draft an accident report detailing the circumstances of the accident. Leaving the accident scene is a criminal offense.
The sanction for leaving an accident scene is up to five years in county jail and up to $5,000 in fines. If you cause serious injury to someone, they can sue you and get damages for their medical care.
Overspeeding is a dangerous and irresponsible behavior that can have serious consequences for the driver and others on the road. These include an increased risk of accidents due to less time to react to road hazards and the ability to control a vehicle. It can also result in greater damage in a crash because of more impact force at higher speeds.
It is important to always drive at a safe and appropriate speed for the road conditions. Texas roads have set speed limits that drivers must follow. The maximum is 70 mph unless otherwise stated. For example, several counties in the I-10 and I-20 can have maximum speed limits of 80 mph.
Cell phone use
All motorists should refrain from using their cell phones when operating a vehicle. Texting or answering calls while driving is considered distracted driving. Cell phone use poses a threat to everyone on the road.
Offenders can receive a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine between $25 to $99. Repeat offenders may receive a penalty of $100 to $200. However, if distracted driving results in serious injury or wrongful death, the charge can be elevated to Class A misdemeanor. It comes with jail time and a $4,000 penalty.
A seatbelt protects passengers in a car accident by holding them securely in their seats and reducing their movement during a collision. This can help prevent them from being thrown from the vehicle or colliding with other objects inside the vehicle, reducing the risk of serious injury or death.
During a car accident, the force of the impact can cause the vehicle’s occupants to be thrown around inside the vehicle or even ejected from the vehicle. A seatbelt works by spreading the force of the impact across the strongest parts of the body. These include the hips and shoulders and securely holding passengers in their seats. Seatbelts also help prevent the passenger from colliding with other objects inside the vehicle or being thrown out.
All drivers and passengers on Texas roads must wear seatbelts. Children under eight years old must use a child safety seat system. The only exception is when they are taller than 4’9”. In such a case, they should wear a seatbelt.
Driving under the influence
Motorists shouldn’t drive if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) hits 0.08 percent. Low BAC levels but with considerable impairment in driving are also considered illegal. Police officers can charge first-time offenders with Class B misdemeanors. This violation requires them to spend 180 days in jail and pay a penalty of $2,000.
If the BAC levels reach 0.15 and higher, the charge becomes a Class A misdemeanor. Texas motorists will have their driver’s licenses revoked for 90 days to 12 months. It’s possible to request a temporary driving permit, with a hearing within 15 days of the arrest. Additionally, violators must install a vehicle ignition interlock device that must be in place for a year after the license suspension.
Dangerous Cities in Texas for Motorists
Driving in Texas can be a thrilling experience, with its wide open roads, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant culture. However, some cities in Texas are significantly more dangerous to drive in than others. From traffic congestion to poor road conditions and lack of pedestrian safety, these cities pose a significant risk to motorists. A car accident attorney in Texas can attest to this.
Aceable did a study comparing the number of the population against the incidence of traffic accidents in Texas. They identified the following cities as the most dangerous for drivers. Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provided 2021 crash data that generally bolster the Aceable findings.
According to TxDOT data, Dallas had a high number of accidents and fatalities in 2021. The city recorded a total of 35,355 car crashes. This may be due to several factors:
- Drunk drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Not wearing seatbelts
The coastal city of Beaumont is another dangerous city for drivers. Aceable reported the city to have 14.35 accidents per 100,000 residents. It’s home to many oil refineries, which can cause its roads to become busy and prone to accidents.
Odessa is one of the most dangerous cities to drive to in Texas. Many factors contribute to this ranking, but one that stands out above all others is accidents. According to Aceable data, Odessa has 12.44 accidents per 100,000 residents based on 2018 data. Drunk driving and distracted driving are the common causes of vehicular accidents in Odessa.
Fort Worth is a large city with a population of over one million people. It’s the third-largest metro area in the state, located just north of Dallas.
Fort Worth’s traffic congestion problems are well documented. In 2021, the Dallas-Fort Worth area had 17 percent congestion, up four percent from last year. The city also has an extremely high accident rate compared to other Texas cities. The Aceable report stated that the city had 10.61 accidents per 100,000 residents.
This city’s I-20 area recorded the highest car crash data for commercial vehicles.
Wichita Falls’ miles of roadway, including US 277, US 287, and I-44, are among the most dangerous to drive in Texas. In 2021, Wichita recorded an average of 10.52 accidents per 100,000 residents despite being small. The high accident rate is due to poor driving conditions and road maintenance. Some of the most common accidents include t-bone accidents, rear-end and head-on collisions, and pedestrian accidents.
This city has a suburban feel and is among the most populated cities in Texas. It is a major transportation hub for land, rail, and air cargo. Due to this, one can expect the roads to be congested. Aceable estimated the city to have 9.56 accidents per a hundred thousand residents.
Denton is famous for having a small-town feel but bustling with activities. It’s attracting tons of local and international tourists for its vibrant entertainment culture. However, due to the rush of people on the roads, it’s also a dangerous city to drive in. It has an average of 9.38 car crashes per 100,000 residents.
The Midland-Odessa stretch of the I-20 is a site at high risk for commercial vehicle car crashes. The rate of car wrecks in this area may be because of the high density of commercial transportation of oil. With trucks traversing the highways, the risk of accidents is higher. Aceable reported 9.13 motor vehicle accidents per 100,000 residents in Midland.
El Paso has earned itself a place among the most dangerous cities to be in Texas. This Lone Star city has a high rate of car and pedestrian accidents. This rate is due to several factors, including a population density of 2,660 per square mile. El Paso also has a high traffic volume.
Without accounting for population, the number of motor vehicle accidents is highest in Houston at 66,988. If ever you’re involved in a car wreck in this city, a Houston car accident lawyer can help with your case.
Many factors play a role in a Texas car accident. Most of it would be due to the weather condition, road situation, vehicle status, or driver experience.
A Texas-based personal injury law firm can process a car accident claim on your behalf. Whether for property damage or wrongful death caused by fender benders, they can build your case.
Get a free case evaluation from an experienced Texas car accident lawyer.
Steps to Handling a Car Accident in Texas
After a car accident, it can be tricky to navigate the process of what to do next. You may feel overwhelmed, stressed, and confused about the steps you should take. It’s important to stay calm. Remember, there are some basic steps to ensure everyone is safe and someone is always ready to help.
From gathering information to filing a claim and handling insurance, there are some essential things to consider after a car accident. The following guide will provide the necessary information you need to know. This way, you can get your life back on track following a car accident.
Check for injuries
After a car accident, check for injuries. It may be tempting to start gathering information and dealing with your insurance company. However, your priority is to ensure that everyone involved in the accident is unhurt.
You may be in shock or have some other reaction to the accident. It may be easier to notice injuries once you have time to process what happened. If unsure about your ability to assess your injuries, ask someone to help you. Check if you and your passengers have any injuries.
Make sure you look for any apparent injuries, such as bleeding, broken bones, or large amounts of pain. If there’s anyone requiring medical attention, alert EMS.
You don’t want to leave a wound untreated or fail to address an injury that could lead to long-term health complications. Whether in the accident or you were a passenger in someone else’s car, you should seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel pain or notice visible injuries, you could have internal injuries without knowing it.
You don’t want to miss necessary medical treatment because of a false sense of security. Detail what happened during the accident. The information you provide will give medical professionals an idea of any injuries they should examine. After the check-up, get the names of any doctors or medical professionals you visit. You also need to secure medical records for a possible personal injury claim.
Get to safety
It’s generally unsafe to stay inside your vehicle or sit in traffic after an accident. A two-vehicle fender bender can quickly turn into a multiple-vehicle pile-up. If you’re mobile, move to a safe place. Help passengers to get to safety as well. If possible, move your vehicle away from traffic. But only do so after you’ve taken photos of the accident scene from various angles.
Alert the police
You should call your insurance provider, but hold off until you’ve called the police. You want to ensure that an official report is filed and that all relevant information is collected. The more information you have, the better your case will be.
The police will ask you for information about the accident, and you can provide them with any information you’ve gathered. This includes the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance information.
The police will also ask you for your account of what happened, and any other information that you feel is relevant. They will also take photos of the accident scene and gather additional evidence. Be sure to provide the police with your full name, address, and insurance information. If passengers in your car witnessed the accident, ask them to share it with the police.
You want to ensure you have as many details as possible about the accident and what caused it.
Ask your passengers for their full names and contact information. Get the other drivers for their names, driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and license plate number, insurance information, and contact details.
You should also gather information about the vehicles in the accident. This detail helps accurately describe the accident and provide the facts to your insurance company.
You should also gather any information that may be valuable to the claims process. This includes details, such as the weather conditions during the accident, traffic conditions, and nearby landmarks.
While you should gather as much information as possible, you should also take the time to document the scene carefully. This will help you remember what you saw, which a car accident attorney can use as substantial proof of your claim.
Make sure to take pictures of the scene immediately, including close-up photos of any damage to your car, the road, street signs, etc. You can also take video or audio recordings if you have a way to do so.
If law enforcement officers are present, get their details as well. Make sure they create a police report of the accident.
Call your insurance provider
Contact your insurance company within three days or 72 hours from the time of the incident. This timeframe is enough to gather as much information to help you in your insurance claim.
Get the names of the insurance adjusters you speak with, and take notes during your call. Be sure to ask questions, and don’t hesitate to get clarification. Once you know the procedure, you can streamline the claims process.
Make sure to provide your insurance company with as much information as possible, including the names of those involved. You should also supply them with information about the accident. They may ask you to get medical records and an accident report.
The insurance company will likely offer you a car accident settlement offer. Only accept the initial amount of compensation after talking to your lawyer first. They will know if the payout is enough to cover damages.
Consult with a Texas car accident lawyer
After gathering all the information and seeking medical attention, you should contact an attorney.
Personal injury lawyers can help you go through the insurance claim process. They will be able to walk you through the process and give you the compensation you deserve.
An auto accident attorney can help you navigate legal issues and ensure the proper reporting and handling of the accident. Drunk driving accidents result in many types of injuries or even wrongful death. Your attorney can help you report the driver and ensure they pay for the consequences of their actions.
Your attorney can help you gather information and take the necessary actions to ensure you get proper compensation for your injuries. If another party caused the accident, they could help you file a claim against their insurance company. They can provide guidance during the process and proper representation, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer will consider the circumstances of the accident, including the nature of the injury and the medical bills. For example, car accident victims suffering from serious injuries like whiplash would need physical therapy. They will compute the past, present, and future expenses for appropriate compensation.
When choosing a car accident lawyer, look at their track record. Research their law firm and go for one with years of experience handling a personal injury claim.
Get legal representation today!
Let Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Help You
Being in an unfortunate situation, such as a car accident, can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Knowing the correct steps after a car accident can help mitigate any issues you may encounter. It helps save you time and money. It will also help streamline your injury claim and get you the proper compensation to cover medical bills.
Stay calm, remain at the scene, and contact the necessary authorities. From there, document the details of the accident and exchange information with the other parties involved. Report the accident to your insurance company. If uninsured, contact your Texas personal injury lawyer.
Taking the right steps after an auto accident can help you protect your legal rights. They also ensure the adequate addressing of any damages or injuries to you or a loved one. A law firm well-versed in car accident cases can give you sound advice on what steps to take. You can also check out resource sites like The Personal Injury Center for a free case evaluation and a referral to the best lawyer who can help.
Get fair and maximum compensation for car accident cases, loss of income, and more. Let The Personal Injury Center help you find a car injury attorney in Texas today!
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Texas
What if the at-fault driver is uninsured?
Car accidents happen to most car owners, and more unfortunate events can happen. One of the things is when the driver at fault admits that they don’t have driver’s insurance. If this happens, you must involve the police, even if it is a minor accident.
It's a crime in Texas if you are driving without insurance and it is punishable with a citation. Driver's can have their licenses revoked. Penalties can go up to $1,000 as punishment to the driver at fault.
It's essential to call the police at the moment of the accident. The police can hold the uninsured driver at fault for the misconduct.
How much time does one have to file a police report following an auto accident in Texas?
A car accident in Texas has a statute of limitations to file claims is the same as personal injury claims. Texas’ statute of limitations is two years from when the accident happened. This limit applies to claiming damages for damage to property from an accident. You should seek help from a lawyer for your case, even if you have already exceeded your statute of limitations.
How do you establish fault in a three-way accident in Texas?
There are various ways to determine fault in a three-way accident. One of which is the police report. This accident report prepared immediately after the accident will hold relevant details. It will provide the position of the vehicles during the accident and statements from those involved and witnesses.
That’s why it’s also essential to document the scene. This will provide investigators and lawyers ample material to prove the party at fault.