A car accident can be distressing and even more so when it occurs at an inconvenient time. For example, you crash into a car while driving your car in Austin, Texas, with an expired registration tag. Where the other party was at fault, you may incorrectly assume that being in an accident with an expired registration tag would automatically disqualify you from filing a claim against their insurance plan. Fortunately, you may be surprised to learn that this is not the case!
What’s in This Guide
- Driving With an Expired Tag in Austin, Texas
- Filing a claim with the Other Party’s Insurance:
Driving With an Expired Tag in Austin, Texas
Texas law requires all drivers operating a vehicle to have a current or unexpired vehicle registration tag.
If you have been in a car accident and did not have a current registration tag at the time, here are a few things you need to know:
- Fine: You will face a $75 fine if found to have been driving your vehicle without an expired tag.
- Grace period: If you may be in the clear if five days have not passed since the registration expired.
- Penalty: if you are found to be driving with an expired registration and if you were additionally arrested or issued a citation, then you will be a delinquency penalty which is paid with your initial registration renewal fee.
- Renewal: You must pass a vehicle inspection before renewing your tag, which you can easily complete online, by mail, or in person.
- Damages: An expired tag doesn’t stop you from claiming damages, nor can it justify the other party’s insurance company from barring your claim.
Filing a claim with the Other Party’s Insurance:
It is critical to have a skilled car accident attorney with experience on your side. Specifically, seek help from an experienced personal injury attorney who will effectively advocate on your behalf. An attorney should possess experience with Texas-specific car accident law and helping accident victims who were driving with an expired tag.
Importantly, such an attorney will:
- Be prepared to anticipate and argue against any defenses raised by the other party’s insurance provider. For example, the insurance company will likely try to blame you for your accident in order to reduce your damages under Texas’ modified comparative negligence system.
- The attorney will effectively negotiate with the other at-fault driver’s insurance company to persuasively establish that the other driver was, in fact, at fault and should cover the costs of your damages.
Texas’ Approach for Apportioning Fault
Texas is among several states which utilize a Texas’ modified comparative negligence approach to apportioning the percentage of fault and damages between parties. Under modified comparative negligence, if you are discovered to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, then you are prevented from recovering any compensation. Alternatively, if young to be less than 50%, then your total award will be reduced by that percentage of fault. For example, if you were 15% responsible and you are seeking $50,000 in compensation, then that amount is deducted by 15%.
A Texas personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex issues and legal process of dealing with liability and damages. Such an attorney is critical to ensuring your rights to full compensation are protected where the other driver is liable for your injury by gathering evidence and facts to support this position. Going without legal support puts you at risk of losing the chance at any recovery if it is determined you were mostly at fault.
If the at-fault driver caused you an injury that resulted in damages, you may be entitled to compensation even if you were driving with an expired tag.
For example, common compensatory damages consist of economic and non-economic damages, which may include:
- Medical: Medical expenses such as bills and visits directly related to the accident, such as hospital stays and doctor visits. This also includes future medical costs such as surgeries and ongoing care.
- Loss of income: If the accident caused you to be out of work, even into the future, you can be compensated for these lost wages.
- Damage to property: If your vehicle was damaged because of the accident, you can fight for repairs and/or replacement.
- Diminished quality of life: For example, you are experiencing chronic pain that prevents you from engaging in hobbies that brought you joy before the accident occurred.
- Loss of consortium: if a loved one lost their life in the accident, you might be impacted by no longer having their support, affection, and relationship.
- Emotional distress: you may be suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder due to the accident.
In addition to the insurance claim issues, an attorney can help you with other concerns related to the accident, such as traffic tickets if applicable to your situation. While you understandably may be tempted to just pay off the ticket and plead guilty to get the situation resolved quickly, an attorney can assist you with fighting off any traffic citations. For example, if you have been ticketed due to expired tags, then you have a chance to avoid serious consequences such as points on your license, an increase in insurance rates, and are mandated to appear in court. A knowledgeable attorney can explore your legal options with you.
If you face other issues not covered here, such as driving with an expired license—a Texas personal injury attorney can help you with these aspects.
- Who May Be Liable for a Stolen Vehicle Accident in Austin, TX?
- Health Insurance Vs. Personal Injury Protection Insurance After a Austin Car Crash
Call Us Today to Speak with an Austin Car Accident Attorney
If you have been in a car accident and are considering filing a claim with an expired tag—don’t delay! The committed Personal Injury Attorneys at the Patel Firm have the experience and skills to represent your case and advocate for your best interests. Our priority is to help alleviate the added stress of an injury to you and/or loved ones impacted by the accident and navigate the complex legal aspects on your behalf. The best way to get started is to call (361) 400-2036 to schedule a free evaluation where we will discuss your best legal options.