What are my rights in a car accident in Texas?

Getting into a car accident is scary in any state. However, getting into a car accident in Texas can be particularly frightening. According to TxDOT, there has been a traffic fatality on Texas roads every day since November 7th, 2000. Moreover, in 2022, there were 15,299 serious injury crashes in Texas and 4,481 traffic fatalities.

If you’re fortunate to survive a car accident or you experience a minor one, you have rights. Let’s look at some of the rights you have if you’re in a car accident in Texas.

Who Is At Fault and How That Affects Your Rights

If you live in Texas, you must first determine who is at fault as this will directly affect your rights and insurance. In Texas, there is the “fault” car insurance system. This means that if you are responsible for the accident, your insurance company is responsible for all the damages. These damages include vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and other losses. Conversely, if the other party is at fault, their insurance company is responsible for your vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and other losses.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault, though. This is why you may need insurance adjusters, police, a court, and even an auto accident attorney in Texas. The court may need to get witness statements and evidence from the scene to make a decision.

Once fault is assigned, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for all the damages up to the limits of their policy. If the damages and medical costs are more than the policy limits, the rest must be paid out of pocket.

Although Texas is a no-fault state and follows a tort system, drivers may opt to include personal injury protection (PIP) insurance in their policy. PIP insurance can help with your medical expenses even if the accident was your fault.

What to Do Immediately After You Have a Car Accident in Texas

It’s always unsettling to experience a car accident, but knowing what steps to take immediately after is important. If the accident is minor and you don’t have to go to the hospital, you can do the following:

Check for Injuries

Make sure that you and any passengers in your vehicle are okay. Check the driver and passengers of the other vehicle. If anyone was hurt, call for medical assistance immediately.

Move Your Cars to Safety

A traffic accident can leave you disoriented. However, you still must move your vehicle to a safe location and out of the way of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights so the vehicles behind you know that there is an issue up ahead.

Having an accident on a freeway can be especially dangerous as vehicles are going up to 70 miles an hour, if not more. It’s easy to be hit by a passing vehicle while inspecting the damage to your car. That’s why, moving your cars to safety is crucial.

Call the Police

Texas law requires that you call the police to report a vehicle accident if there is injury, death, or damage that is above $1,000. The police will fill out a form called the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (Form CR-3). If you need to obtain your crash report, you can obtain it at TxDOT, and if you need help deciphering your crash report for your case, contact a car accident lawyer in Texas for help.

Exchange Information

Exchange information with the other driver. Important information to get is a name, address, phone number, car insurance information, and a license plate number. You may also want to take photos of your vehicle and the other vehicle. Photos may help with your case later on.

Document Everything at the Scene

Alongside the photos, make a note of any details such as the weather, traffic signs, road conditions, and more. Were there witnesses? Are any witnesses willing to state what they saw? If so, get their information as well.

Call Your Insurance Company

As soon as you can, call your insurance company and tell them about the accident. They will ask you for all the details.

Make a Doctor’s Appointment if Necessary

Some injuries may develop or worsen over time, such as whiplash. Many whiplash injuries happen when you’re rear-ended by another vehicle. It’s a good idea to have a physical to ensure you haven’t sustained any physical injuries.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Texas

Texas is a huge state, so you’ll want to contact a car accident attorney that’s close to where you live. Discuss the details of your accident and see how an attorney can help.

What to Do If Your Car Is Damaged in a Car Accident

It can be very disheartening to see your car damaged in an accident. Not only will you be out of transport until it’s fixed, but you may be looking at thousands of dollars worth of repairs (if you’re the at-fault driver).

The first thing you should do is assess the damage and take photos of everything. Next, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop to get a repair estimate. Your insurance company may have repair facilities they prefer working with. Alternatively, if you have a repair shop that is affordable and honest, you can take your vehicle there.

At this stage, follow the procedures laid out by your insurance company. There will be specific steps you’ll need to take when filing a claim and repairing your vehicle.

If you’re having a problem with your insurance claim, you may want to consider contacting an auto accident lawyer in Texas for advice.

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Fortunately, Texas gives you plenty of time to file a car accident lawsuit. This time limit, called the statute of limitations, lets you file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. The time frame applies to anyone involved in the accident: drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. If you don’t initiate legal proceedings within this time frame, you may lose the right to seek compensation for any injuries or damages that you sustained. The statute of limitations isn’t ingrained in stone, however. Some circumstances can affect this two-year deadline. Here are some examples.

Wrongful Death

If one of the individuals involved in the car accident passes away, the two-year countdown starts on the day the person passes away rather than the date of the accident.


Your injuries may not be immediately apparent. If you have injuries that emerge later on, the court can extend the statute of limitations. The two-year clock starts once you discover your injuries.


If there was a minor in the car, the statute of limitations is paused until the minor reaches 18. Once minors turn 18, they have two years from their birth date to file a lawsuit.

Missing Defendant

If the individual being sued flees Texas, the time the person is “missing” may not count towards the two years.


If the party you intend to sue is a government employee, your timeline may be significantly shortened.

To help with your legal case, contact a car accident lawyer in Texas.

Can the “Modified Comparative Fault” Rule Affect You?

The “Modified Comparative Fault” or “Comparative Negligence” rule can affect both drivers in a car accident. The “Modified Comparative Fault” rule assigns fault for an accident within a range of 0 to 100%.

Texas follows the “51% Bar Rule.” This rule states that if you are responsible for the accident by 51% or more, you cannot seek compensation from the other driver for any vehicle damages or medical injuries. On the other hand, if you are less than 51% responsible for the accident, you can seek some compensation. That compensation will match your final percentage number.

For example, if you abruptly change lanes on the 35 freeway because the lane next to you is moving faster, the car you cut in front of may not have enough time to break. Although the driver in front is typically not responsible in a car accident, this is a special circumstance where you will be partially at fault. Since you abruptly changed lanes without signaling first, the rear-end collision is not 100% the fault of the other driver. You may be 30% at fault. If your vehicle damage is $10,000, you won’t receive the entire $10,000. Instead, you would receive 70% ($7,000) because you were 30% at fault.

When the “modified comparative fault” rule comes into play, you may want to consult with an auto accident lawyer in Texas to determine who is at fault and by what percent.

Do You Have to Report Your Car Accident?

Some car accidents can be so minor that people prefer not to report them. If you feel that an accident will result in $1,000 or more of damage, though, then you should report it.

In Texas, there is a law that states you must report a vehicle accident if it meets certain criteria, such as:

Injury or Death

If one of the passengers has been injured or dies, you must report it. The “injury or death” rule extends to pedestrians and cyclists as well.


If there is vehicle or property damage that exceeds $1,000, you must report the accident.

Hit and Run

Any hit-and-run accident should be reported by the party that stays behind.

To report the accident, call the police. If law enforcement doesn’t show up, however, you can still report the accident. Simply file a crash report on the TxDOT website within 10 days of the accident.

Do You Have to Report Your Car Accident to Your Insurance Company?

If the accident is minor and there is no vehicle damage or injuries on either side, it may not be necessary to report the car accident to your insurance company.

However, if either vehicle is damaged and the damage costs more than the deductible, you should report the accident to your insurance policy. The sooner you inform your insurance company of the accident, the better. Your insurance company can then start assessing the damage and arranging repairs.

Moreover, if you report the accident as soon as possible, you’ll meet all the necessary deadlines. Your insurance policy has a deadline for filing claims and not meeting that deadline could result in your claim being denied.

Another reason to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible is that you’ll still remember the details of the accident. This can help prevent any misunderstandings later.

Is Car Insurance Required in Texas?

Yes, Texas law requires that all drivers have a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. While some drivers may be tempted to secretly avoid getting insurance, the state has “checks” in place.

When you renew your vehicle registration, for example, you must have it inspected. The company performing the inspection will ask to see your insurance before they carry out the inspection. Once your car passes the inspection, the results are sent to the DMV, and your Texas registration is renewed.

Texas law requires what’s called 30/60/25 coverage. This means you must have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries for each person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. The $25,000 covers the repairs or replacement of other vehicles or structures.

The Car Insurance Claim Process in Texas

The car insurance claim process can seem intimidating, especially right after the stress of a car accident. However, understanding the process thoroughly can help ease the stress. Here is the process that you will need to go through.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Once you are in a calmer state of mind, call your insurance company and report the accident. Many insurance companies offer a 24/7 claims reporting hotline. Write down all the details of the accident, such as what speed you were driving at and approximately what speed the other driver was going when the collision happened.


After you report the accident, your insurance company will investigate everything. They will gather evidence, ask for photos, get any witness statements, and gather police reports. The company may call you again to collect more details.

Tallying the Damage

Next, an insurance adjuster will assess the damage to your vehicle and let you know what the costs will be to repair or replace it. You can also take your vehicle to your preferred repair shop for another inspection.


Once your insurance company has completed the investigation and assessed all the damages, the company will resolve the claim with the other party’s insurance company.


If your claim is approved, your insurance company will send you payment for the damages covered in your policy. This money will be for vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and other related costs.