Normally, when someone is in an auto accident, the matter is pursued in civil court, with the plaintiff seeking damages from the defendant. However, in some auto accidents, such as the alleged shooting on Thanksgiving night on I-10, near Loop 410, both a civil cause of action and a crime may have occurred. If you have been in an accident of this type, it is easy to be confused about what is civil, what is criminal, and what your role is in either or both actions.
The majority of auto accident cases wind up as civil actions, if they go to court at all because usually no laws are broken. Civil cases are mounted by one private person against another, or against an entity deemed to have been negligent. Money damages are being sought, as opposed to jail time, usually as recompense for injuries sustained (medical bills, but also lost wages, lost quality of life, and lifestyle adjustments like needing a wheelchair or an addition to one’s home, and so on). In some states, there are caps on damages for intangible causes of action, such as lost quality of life, but as of this writing, Texas does not have one except in medical malpractice cases. This means you can sue for as much as you believe you can get - with the caveat that the amount will almost certainly be reduced by a jury.
Once a civil action goes to trial, Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule to determine whether a plaintiff can recover, which means that if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries, they cannot recover. This means that even if a plaintiff is responsible for part of their own injuries, as long as it is less than half, they can collect an award from the defendant (minus the percentage they are ruled at fault). A defendant may wind up being judgment proof, however, meaning that they lack the resources to pay the award....