According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas drivers traveled over 260.580 billion miles in 2020. Unfortunately, a car crash-related death occurred every single day of the calendar year. In 2020, crashes injured 205,498 people, gave 14,656 people serious injuries, and killed 3,623 people. Additionally, car accidents caused the deaths of 717 pedestrians and 482 motorcyclists. Further, the Texas Department of Transportation estimated that in 2020 Texas car accidents resulted in $43,400,000,000 in economic losses. Experiencing a car accident may be challenging and feel overwhelming. Drivers may wonder what to do after a car accident to protect themselves from legal consequences, defend their rights, and help others. Understanding the answers to Texas car accident frequently asked questions (FAQ) may help drivers respond to accidents with confidence. To discuss these Texas car accident FAQs further, contact Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548.
Does Texas Law Require Texans to Report Car Accidents?
Under the Texas Transportation Code, drivers must report major car accidents. A car accident is major when the car accident causes death, injury, or significant property damage. When property damages are greater than $1,000, people must report the accident. Section 550.026 of the Texas Transportation Code provides that drivers must report accidents involving death, injury, or property damage as soon as possible. Drivers must contact the local police department or nearest sheriff's office if the accident occurred outside a municipality.
When drivers are unsure whether injury or property damage occurred, it may still be advisable to call the police after a car accident. This helps ensure that people do not miss injuries or damages. Additionally, the police may make an official report. Section 550.062 of the Texas Transportation Code requires police officers to create reports on accidents involving death, injury, or greater than $1,000 in property damage. The officer has ten days after the accident to submit the report. Obtaining a police report may be beneficial. Specifically, the police report may support an insurance claim.
Does Texas Law Require Drivers Remain at the Scene of The Accident?
Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 requires drivers to stay at the scene of the accident involving death or injury. It is illegal to leave an accident resulting in death or injury. Section 550.021 states that drivers must stop or return to the scene as soon as possible when an accident occurs. When they stop, drivers must not obstruct traffic. They must examine the scene and find out whether someone else was involved in the accident. Abandoning the scene of an accident in Texas carries penalties of up to one year in jail, up to five years imprisonment, and a $5,000 fine.
Do Texas Drivers Have to Help People Injured in Accidents?
Texas Transportation Code Section 550.023 provides that all drivers have a duty to provide information and help after an accident involving death or injury. They must give their name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance provider to other drivers, passengers, and injured pedestrians. The driver must also produce their driver's license if another driver, passenger, or injured pedestrian asks, and the driver has it available. The driver must also render reasonable aid to people injured in the accident. Reasonable aid includes helping them if it is safe and prudent to do so.
What Should Texas Drivers Who Hit Unattended Vehicles Do?
Section 550.024 of the Texas Transportation Code requires drivers who hit unattended vehicles to do several things. First, drivers must stop. Second, they must attempt to find the owner or operator of the vehicle and give them their name and address. If they cannot locate the owner or operator, they must leave a note with their name and address. Failing to stop and provide contact information is a misdemeanor. The severity of the misdemeanor depends on how much damage the vehicle sustained.
Whose Insurance Pays for Car Accident Damages in Texas?
Section 01.051 of the Texas Transportation Code makes clear that all Texas vehicle owners must bear financial responsibility for their vehicles. Owners must have vehicle liability insurance or must establish that they can pay for damages in another way, such as a surety bond, deposit, or self-insurance. Generally, when a driver causes an accident, their insurance covers the car repairs and medical costs.
When Can Injured People Bring Lawsuits After a Texas Car Accident?
In Texas, a two-year statute of limitations constrains personal injury cases, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003. Thus, people injured in car accidents have two years to file a lawsuit against another driver, manufacturer of the vehicle, or anyone else who may have caused the injury. This two-year time limit also applies to actions for car accident deaths. People wishing to bring lawsuits to compensate for car accidents may consider speaking with an attorney and reaching out to Jason English Law.
When Can People Sue for Property Damage Following a Texas Car Accident?
A two-year statute of limitations also pertains to personal property damage lawsuits in Texas. Texas vehicle owners have two years after an accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for property damage sustained in the accident.
Can Drivers Who Contributed to an Accident Sue for Damages in Texas?
As Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, drivers who contributed to a car accident may sue for damages in some cases. Under Section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, whether a driver may sue for damages depends on how much the driver was responsible for the accident. If the driver was the primary cause of the accident—and the other driver only contributed a little—the driver may not sue. However, a driver who bears less than half the responsibility for the accident may sue to recover money damages in Texas.
Texas Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents cause hardships for many Texas drivers, including property damage, injuries, and deaths. Jason English Law represents Texans involved in car accidents. You may wish to reach out to Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548 for more information about your Texas car accident FAQs and to schedule a free consultation.