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04/01/2021

When auto accidents happen in Texas, one question arises: How is fault determined in a car accident in Texas? The answer to this question is very important, because it will have implications on determining financial compensation for the injured party. Since this is a very complex issue, that has a direct impact on the possibility to recover your medical expenses and vehicle damage repair costs, you should let an experienced car accident attorney at Calhoun, Meredith & Sims Law Firm advise you and handle your case.

What Elements Indicate a Fault Driver in a Car Accident?

Texas is a fault state when it comes to filing an auto accident claim. In this case, the accident victim will file an insurance claim with the other party's insurance company, not their own. This means that the victim of an automobile accident has to prove that the other driver involved is responsible for causing the crash. The elements of fault in this case are:

  • Then the responsible party has a duty of care
  • they breached their duty of care and caused the accident
  • the victim suffered bodily injury and property damage as a direct consequence of the accident.

In order to have the right to recover expenses and damages, the accident victim must prove that the negligent party was more than 51% at fault for the event. This is how the comparative negligence law works in Texas: it allows victims of vehicle traffic crashes to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, even if they are partly responsible for the crash.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Texas?

Insurance Adjusters Make Their Own Determinations of Fault

You've just been involved in a motor vehicle traffic accident. How do you prove that the other party was at fault and get your fair settlement from the other driver's auto insurance carrier? There are several things you can do in this respect:

  • Call the law enforcement representatives to prepare a police report
  • take photographs of damage and videos to document the accident scene
  • ask witnesses for their contact information.

You may think that a police report will close the case in your favor, but it is not so. Police officers may state who, in their professional judgment, is responsible for the accident. But in many cases their report does not contain this information. At most, the police can issue traffic citations, which may be useful in proving fault in a lawsuit.

The insurance adjuster is the person who will determine the proportion of fault. They may accept that their client was a negligent driver and pay the financial compensation you request. They may accept fault, but offer a smaller compensation amount. Or they may deny fault and refuse your claim to damages. This is why you need to hire an experienced auto accident attorney to conduct insurance settlement negotiations on your behalf..

How an Accident Injury Lawyer Makes Determination of Responsibility

Your lawyer will work on your behalf to establish fault and prove that you are entitled to receive compensation for your hospital bills, expenses to repair your car and other associated costs and expenses. In order to do so, the accident attorney will collect various types of evidence, including:

  • The detailed police report prepared at the accident scene.
  • medical reports indicating the extent and severity of your injuries
  • obtaining footage from traffic cameras
  • if necessary, hiring accident reconstruction professionals to recreate the crash.

In some cases, it is very simple to establish fault. The responsible driver failed to pay attention to traffic signs or was driving recklessly. In other cases, especially when several vehicles are involved, causing major disruption to traffic, it is a more complex matter.

Initiating Settlement Negotiations with the Insurance Carrier

The auto accident lawyer will prepare your claim and present the insurance adjuster the evidence demonstrating their client's percentage of fault. In most cases, auto accident claims are settled out of court, during these negotiations. However, there are situations when you may consider filing an auto injury lawsuit.

As stated above, one situation is when the insurance adjuster denies your claim. They may backtrack once it is clear you are prepared to take the matters to court. However, some insurance companies feel confident that they can win the case in court.

The other situation is when insurance policies do not cover the expenses for your medical care and other costs.

The Minimum Liability Insurance Drivers Are Required to Carry

In the state of Texas, drivers are required by law to carry the following minimum coverage:

This means that if you alone were injured in an accident, you may recover maximum $30,000. However, if you had passengers in your car and they were also injured, the total amount for all accident victims is $60,000. That may be nowhere close to the cost of medical care to recover after you were injured in a car accident.

If you want to recover more costs, your only option is to file a lawsuit against the other driver for the difference of money.

How Courts Determine Fault

The judge will use the legal definition of negligence in order to determine whether the defendant is at fault for your bodily injuries and damages. In he legal sense, negligence means failing to exercise the level of caution that any reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation. For instance, in bad weather condition, failure to decrease speed and drive prudently, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles represents negligent conduct.

When it comes to taking a negligent driver to court for damages stemming from a car crash, you need to consider two key aspects: the statute of limitations and your ability to collect the award amount.

The statute of limitations in Texas is two years after the date of the accident - it is the timeframe you have to file a lawsuit. Any legal action taken after this period will be dismissed.

The ability to collect the award money is another crucial issue. The court will not assist you in any way in enforcing the decision. It is your responsibility to do so. And, in some cases, you may find out that there is nothing to collect, because the defendant does not own valuable assets you may pursue.

Car accident

An experienced auto accident attorney can advise you on the likelihood of being successful in your endeavor.

Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm Dedicated to Your Cause!

At Calhoun, Meredith & Sims Law Firm, we believe in justice for all personal injury victims. You are going through difficult times, and you need peace of mind to recover from your physical and emotional hurt. You don't want to worry about your lost wages and the ability to pay for medical care.

This is where we step in to protect your best interests and negotiate the maximum compensation on your behalf. We know how to counteract insurance companies' tactics and how to present our evidence demonstrating the other driver's fault.

 We know that you may need us at any moment, so we are available 24/7 for a free case review. Once you hire us, you don't owe us any fee until we win your case, so call us: 855-644-0273!

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