Am I Liable If My Spouse Causes a Car Accident in Texas? 

Can you imagine being sued for your husband or wife’s wrongdoing? This nightmarish scenario is possible in the state of Texas. The little-known truth is that accident liability in Texas can extend to one’s spouse.

So, are you liable for damages if your spouse cases a car accident in Texas? The short answer is ‘maybe’. Whether or not you’re held liable is based on how responsible you are for the wreck. Here are some crucial details.

How liability is determined for car accidents in Texas

Legal liability for a car crash in Texas is determined by whose fault the accident was. But it can be hard to prove who is at fault. 

Read more >> What To Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault in Texas

If a spouse’s negligence played a role in a car accident, they are held legally liable for damages.

Do they have to pay for all of the damages caused?

Many people think that a single party is almost always responsible for a car crash, but that’s not always the case. In many cases, two or more individuals share fault for car accidents.

The question is, How much of a role did the spouse’s negligence play? That’s what determines how much damages must be paid. 

For example, if a Texas personal injury lawsuit proves a spouse is 70% liable (or responsible) for a car crash, that person will be required to pay 70% of how much the damages cost.

The one time you don’t receive compensation

Texas uses a system referred to as “modified comparative negligence”. That basically just means that if a person is more than 50% responsible for car wreck, they don’t receive compensation for damages. That’s because they’re more responsible for the crash than the other parties.

If you’re less than 50% responsible for a car wreck in Texas, you can pursue legal action and get financial compensation.

Keep in mind that the quality of your car accident lawyer in Texas is just as important as the facts of your case. An experienced Texas car crash attorney will develop a legal strategy for your case that will increase your chances of getting financial compensation.

The track record of your attorney’s success matters if you are the spouse of a negligent driver or the victim of a negligent spouse. An artfully presented argument has the potential to tip the scales of justice in your favor more than any other factors, so make sure you call a lawyer before it’s too late.

Read more >> When Is It Too Late to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Texas? Key Moments You Can’t Miss

How can someone be responsible for their spouse’s car accident?

Ok, so we’ve established that a person can be considered responsible for their spouse’s car wreck, at least partially. But how?

Here’s an example: A person gives his or her wife or husband several alcoholic drinks. The person then encourages the drunk husband or wife to drive to the corner store. If the spouse got into a wreck, a strong argument could be made that the completely sober spouse who did not drive the vehicle or cause the accident is still guilty.

What matters most is whether the driver of the other car can prove the spouse was negligent. If that happens, then the spouse could be considered legally liable for damages. The non-driving, spouse in our example probably won’t be found 100% liable, but partial liability is possible.

What if my spouse was driving my car?

If the car your spouse is driving is legally your property, then you are responsible for whoever you allow to drive it. So if you consent to your spouse driving your car, you could be held liable for any damages they cause.

Imagine a situation in which a wife entrusts her spouse to drive her vehicle to pick up pizza and chicken wings for dinner. The wife is aware her husband has been smoking marijuana and downing shots of whiskey, yet still gives him her car keys and asks him to pick up the family’s dinner. 

 If the husband crashes into another vehicle and causes damage, injury or death, the negligent spouse who knowingly entrusted her husband to drive her car might be found liable.

Every Texas married couple should be aware that negligence when allowing their spouse to drive puts shared assets at risk. Most marital property is owned jointly by both spouses so a lawsuit against one spouse will inevitably put the other’s assets at risk.

What if my spouse was on my auto insurance?

Some married couples have all of their assets separated and choose to have separate bank accounts. They might do this to protect their personal finances. But that protection would not be there if the spouse who got in a car wreck is on the same insurance policy as the other spouse.

It might be safer to have your spouse on a separate insurance policy in order to protect your insurance rates. If your spouse is on your insurance policy and gets into a wreck, your premiums might go up. The charges for damages will also go through your insurance policy, which might actually be your pockets.

Married partners in Texas should be aware that it is possible for spousal liability to arise when a spouse is on the other’s auto insurance. Even if the spouse is not found vicariously liable, a car accident in Texas is almost guaranteed to cause an insurance rate increase for everyone on the policy.

If you’re not sure if your spouse is on your auto insurance or if you have enough coverage, call your insurance provider.

A Texas car accident attorney can make this easier

An experience attorney can help to defend you if your spouse was in a car accident. It can be a confusion situation, so we offer free consultations where we’ll answer any questions you have.

Give us a call at (972) 565-6160 to schedule your consultation.

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