Many Texans assume immediately after a crash that insurance should take care of their costs. State law mandates liability coverage, and therefore people expect to have the right to file a simple and straightforward insurance claim.
However, a small but significant percentage of the crashes that occur in Texas eventually lead to civil litigation. People file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits after collisions to hold a driver or sometimes a third party responsible for the wreck.
Why do so many crashes eventually lead to lawsuits in civil court?
Some drivers don’t have insurance
While the law about insurance is very clear, some people intentionally break it. They obtain insurance before they register their vehicles for the year and then cancel the policy to save themselves a few hundred dollars.
Other people may not intentionally cancel their insurance but fall behind on their monthly payments. Insurance providers may cancel their coverage because of those missed payments, meaning that they can not provide property damage or bodily injury coverage to those negatively affected by the crash. A lawsuit may be the only other option available to someone hurt in a crash caused by someone without insurance.
Many drivers have mediocre insurance
For every uninsured driver out on Texas roads, there are probably multiple motorists with the lowest level of coverage allowed by state law. Drivers need $25,000 of liability protection to pay for property damage expenses they cause.
They also need at least $30,000 of bodily injury coverage if they cause a crash that hurts one person. The coverage requirement increases to $60,000 if a crash leads to the injury or death of two or more people. If someone misses weeks of work, requires surgery or dies, $30,000 or even $60,000 of insurance won’t be nearly enough.
Policy limits are absolute, which means the insurance company cannot pay for losses beyond the coverage carried by the driver at fault for the incident. The only way for people to recoup their losses is to take the driver at fault for the incident to court.
Provided that there is evidence that someone was negligent or violated traffic laws, the people affected by the crash may have the necessary legal grounds to hold them accountable for the collision in civil court. Understanding why car crashes lead to lawsuits may help people better weigh their options when a collision injures them and causes major expenses.