Texas may bring to mind ranches and cowboy hats, but these days the state is becoming most well-known for hosting the SXSW festival every year in Austin, Texas. While it might seem more complicated to identify the driver responsible for your injuries if you get into an accident with a self-driving car demonstrating its features, in most cases, Texas car accident compensation laws will likely allow you to recover damages for your injuries.
Texas “Fault” and “50% Modified Comparative Negligence” Laws
To recover damages for your injuries, you will need to prove that another driver was at fault for your injuries. If you took a turn a little too quickly right before another driver rammed your passenger door, you may still be able to recover because the State of Texas is a 'modified comparative negligence' jurisdiction. This means that the judge or jury will determine the levels of fault for all of the drivers involved in a car accident, and then as long as you were no more at fault than the driver you are suing, you will be able to recover damages. The Texas court will merely reduce your damages in proportion to your level of fault.
To learn more about Texas car accident compensation laws, take a look at the chart below.
Statute of Limitations
2 years (§16.003(a))
Limits on Damages
• $100,000 if the accident occurred during the scope of a public's servant's job (§108.002)
• Liability limited for claims arising from community service (§65.106)
• Exemplary damages limited to greater of three sums (§41.008):
- 2x the amount of economic damages + $750,000, or
- 2x the amount of economic damages + the amount of non-economic damages
50% Modified Comparative Negligence (§33.001)
Types of damages
Typically, when people think of car accident damages, they think of 'economic damages'. Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses you might incur as a result of a car accident.
Some typical economic damages available:
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost earning capacity
- Household services
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
Generally, non-economic damages are also available to injured parties. Non-economic damages encompass the hedonic damages, such as pain and suffering, disability, or loss of companionship that you or a loved one might suffer.
In rare cases, you may be able to recover exemplary damages if your injuries were caused by the willful act or omission or gross negligence of another driver.
Limits on Damages
Even if exemplary, also known as punitive, damages are available in your case, the State of Texas has a complicated method of limiting those damages. The maximum you will be able to recover in exemplary damages is the greater of three sums: $200,000, two times the amount of economic damages plus $750,000, or two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages you were awarded.
If the party responsible for your claim was engaged in a city or county community service program at the time of the accident, Texas limits any damages you might receive from that city or county to $100,000 per person, $300,000 total per accident in the case of personal injury or death, and $10,000 total per accident in the case of property damage.
In all cases, Texas has a state-imposed limit for how long you can wait to file a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries suffered in an accident, also known as a statute of limitations. You can wait no longer than two years to file a claim for injuries to you and/or your personal property (such as your car).
Contact a Texas Car Accident Attorney Regarding Compensation Laws
If you were hurt in an accident in the Lone Star State and another party is responsible, Texas has protections in place to help you bounce back. The Texas legal system can be difficult to navigate and can make it tough to estimate the strength and value of your claim, but you do not need to navigate the system alone. Contact a Texas attorney for more information.