Things You Need to Know When Involved in a Car Accident in Austin, Texas

In 2021, the Austin Police Department (APD) documented 120 fatalities due to road crashes. That is more than the 94 incidents in 2020 and 88 in 2019. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recorded 12,433 vehicle crashes in 2021.

According to the Austin Fire Department, a 10-vehicle crash in South Austin resulted in one fatality. The accident happened on Ben White, and officials asked motorists to avoid driving in the area.

Another car crash involved a driver who ran the red light, colliding with a Chevrolet. Police arrested the Dodge driver for driving under the influence (DUI). Unfortunately, the Chevrolet driver died at the scene, while two passengers suffered serious injuries.

A 23-year-old man also admitted that he had been tailgating another car which caused a sideswipe accident and a chain reaction crash. After the incident, he hid in a parking garage, failing to stop and lend aid to the other persons involved.

Contact a car accident attorney in case of an auto accident in Austin, Texas. They can investigate the accident, collect evidence, and provide legal representation so that you can receive compensation.

Auto Accident Laws in Austin, Texas

Drivers in Austin should know relevant car accident laws. These include insurance requirements, at-fault insurance systems, and duties after a vehicle collision. Injured victims should also know the statute of limitations for recovery of damages.

Insurance requirements

Section 601.051 of the Texas Transportation Code (Code) requires drivers to have liability insurance. Other acceptable proofs of financial responsibility include surety bond, deposit, and self-insurance. 

Moreover, Section 601.072 provides the minimum insurance coverage. Drivers should have at least $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury or death in a motor vehicle accident. If the crash injures two or more persons, the insurer should cover at least $60,000 per accident. The law also requires $25,000 coverage for property damage.

Under Section 601.191, failure to comply with the minimum coverage can lead to a fine of up to $350. If a driver or owner commits a second offense, they might pay up to $1,000. Section 601.231 also authorizes the Department of Public Safety to suspend the violator’s driver’s license and vehicle registration.

According to Section 601.193, the driver may present certain documents as a defense. They can also argue that they do not own the vehicle and only possess it for maintenance or repair, as allowed by Section 601.194.

At-fault system

Texas follows the at-fault auto insurance system where the driver who caused the accident should compensate the other party. For example, you can file a claim with the rear driver’s insurer if your vehicle was in a rear-end collision. After notifying them of the incident, an adjuster will investigate and provide an initial offer.

Suppose the adjuster offers an unacceptably low settlement amount. In that case, accident victims can claim against the insurance company or the other driver. This way, the injured parties can recover fair compensation for their losses. An Austin personal injury attorney can negotiate with insurance companies and file a case on your behalf.

Duties after an Austin crash

Chapter 550, Subchapter B of the Code, provides the involved persons’ duties after an accident. Section 550.021 requires drivers to stop the vehicle immediately and find out if the other drivers and passengers need assistance. 

Failure to follow this rule can lead to a $5,000 fine or five-year imprisonment. If the traffic crash only resulted in property damage and no serious injuries, the violator might pay up to $2,000. Law enforcement officers can also detain them for up to 180 days.

Another obligation of drivers involves giving information and rendering aid. According to Section 550.023, drivers should exchange names, addresses, vehicle registration numbers, and insurance details with one another. They should also assist the injured parties, especially if the first responders take too long to arrive.

Section 550.026 states that drivers should report the incident immediately in case of injuries, fatalities, or significant vehicular damage. If you hit an unattended vehicle, Section 550.024 requires you to locate the owner and give your contact information. If you cannot find the owner, you must leave a note containing your name, address, and brief details about the crash.

Statute of limitations

Austin, Texas, imposes a two-year limitation on filing personal injury cases and wrongful death suits. Anyone who lost a loved one due to a traffic crash must file a claim within two years. Otherwise, the court may no longer allow the suit to go forward.

Accident victims who fail to follow Texas’ statute of limitation may be barred from recovering compensation. Hence, it is important to hire the services of an attorney because they know when and how to file cases. 

Modified comparative negligence

Austin, Texas, follows the 51 percent bar of the modified comparative negligence system. Section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code concerns proportionate responsibility. It states that plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent at fault may not recover damages.

Suppose the court awarded $100,000 in damages because of a rollover collision. If person A sustained injuries and was 48 percent liable, they could still receive $52,000 in damages. But person B, who is 52 percent responsible, could not recover any compensation for their injuries.

The comparative negligence system affects the damages a person may get. Winning a claim does not necessarily mean the claimant receives all the awards.

Did you know?

The TxDOT documented 4,489 deaths involving motor vehicle crashes in 2021. Moreover, the agency discovered that road accidents caused more than $51 billion in economic losses.

Connect with Austin Car Accident Lawyers

A car accident in Austin, TX, can have significant financial and legal repercussions. Know your rights and responsibilities after a traffic accident in Austin to help you get through it. 

If you or a family member sustained injuries in a negligent accident, find personal injury attorneys near you for legal guidance. Book a free consultation with The Personal Injury Center to access our database of experienced lawyers who can help your case.

Have you suffered injuries due to a vehicle crash in Austin, Texas? The Personal Injury Center provides legal information regarding auto accidents. Schedule a free consultation today!

FAQs on Texas Auto Accidents

You can purchase a crash report by visiting the LexisNexis website. You can visit the Main Police Headquarters from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. If you want to receive the report through mail, send a stamped envelope containing $6 to the APD.

Most road crashes in Austin, Texas, involve speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and aggressive driving. Make sure to follow traffic regulations to prevent fatal accidents.

Insurers calculate insurance premiums by considering your driving records, credit score, claims history, residence, and type of car. You can avoid higher premiums by being a defensive driver at all times.