Does a Texas Car Accident Go on Your Record If It's Not Your Fault?
Driving record points, rising insurance premiums, and legal consequences a person may face long after a car accident
After a car accident, you may start worrying about your injuries, your driving record, and your insurance premiums. There are plenty of “what if” questions to keep you up at night, but the last thing you want to deal with is paying the consequences for someone else’s mistake.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you may have legal options available for holding the responsible party accountable.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about at-fault car accidents in Houston, Texas.
Permanent Driver’s Record
The state of Texas keeps a database of driver information that includes accident and ticketing history, even if the crash wasn’t your fault. This might not seem fair, but states typically keep this kind of data for reporting and statistical reasons. If you’re not at fault, you most likely won’t be penalized with points on your driving license.
An accident could, however, impact other areas of your life, including:
- Job prospects
- Insurance premiums
- Insurance coverage
Employers that require a clean driving history may see too many accidents on your record as a sign that you’re unreliable. To combat this, you would need to explain which accidents were your fault, and which ones weren’t.
Likewise, crashes on your driving report might signal to insurers that you’re a higher risk on the road, even if you didn’t cause the collisions.
When you get in accident, your driving record will reflect that accident even if it’s not your fault. In Texas, the Driver Responsibility Program assesses surcharges to drivers with reckless driving records. You might not get hit with higher premiums or even points if an accident was caused by the other driver, but it’s worth noting that your driving record could be used against you in other ways.
Insurance Premium Charges
Drivers who make a lot of mistakes on the road typically get hit with higher insurance premium rates because the insurance company has to pay out more claims on their behalf.
If you lost control of your car and crash into someone’s mailbox, for instance, your auto insurance will have to cover the damage you cause. As a result, you may pay higher premiums to make up the difference. However, this typically is not the case with auto accidents in which you weren’t at fault. In such scenarios, your premiums shouldn’t go up.
The other driver in this scenario would file a claim with his or her insurance, and that company would cover the damages. Their premiums might increase, but yours should not.
In some instances, you might see higher premiums after the accident if you have certain types of coverage on your auto policy, such as personal injury protection that covers you regardless of who’s at fault. Your premiums might go up if you make a claim against that coverage.
Check your policy to learn more about the specifics of how claims impact your premiums. And if you aren’t sure where to start, talk to a car accident attorney.
Lastly, while you may not be able to change your driving record or insurance premiums, you can do something about the cost of injuries and damages associated with your accident if the other driver is to blame. It’s critical to file an official police report when the accident happens. Having your collision on record validates the claim, and officers can offer an objective opinion on which driver should take responsibility.
If you take the case to court with a car accident attorney in Texas, you’re going to need supporting documentation, such as:
- An official police report that is dated and signed
- Insurance information for yourself and the other driver
- Witness statements that are dated and signed
- Copies of medical bills and vehicle repair bills
Even when all the evidence points to the other driver’s culpability, pursuing legal claims against another person can be challenging and difficult. Working with an attorney who is well-versed in Texas driving laws and personal injury cases may help you achieve the damages you deserve.
You or your loved ones shouldn’t have to suffer because of someone else’s errors in judgment. Contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney today to explore your options. Contact us today for a free consultation.