How Does Fault Work in a Texas Car Accident?

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Car accidents are a common occurrence on the streets of Texas and the rest of the USA. So common that experts are pushing for reforms in traffic laws and personal injury claims to lower the risk. However, for the time being, you’ll have to deal with the problem as-is.

If you want to understand how bad things are, take some time to digest this: the traffic density on the streets fell by almost half during the pandemic, but there was only a nominal difference in the number of fatal accidents and death counts.

Alarming, right?

It can happen out of nowhere, in fact, that’s how it usually comes to being, a car crash is nothing to be taken lightly. The economic pressures created by such events are hard to contend with especially under such a challenging financial atmosphere.

But you can claim your rightful financial settlement and avoid the pitfalls left behind by such events.

Before we go on and explore your right to compensation, let’s first understand why fault matters in a Texas car accident and how a personal injury lawyer can help..

Where Does The Fault Lie In A Car Accident In Texas?

Understanding negligence and fault is important for seeking compensation for a car accident attorney in Texas because it has an at-fault personal injury insurance law. This means that the responsible party, the one that caused the accident, will be liable for any damages and their insurance coverage will have to compensate you for your losses.

Thus establishing negligence in your case should be your top-most priority. To understand how that happens, you’ll first have to go through the key elements of negligence itself. Negligence does not happen out of nowhere, some principles help define it. For instance, if a person owed you some duty to show reasonable care but failed to do that, then you can call it negligence.

But for there to be negligence or neglectful behavior, you’ll first have to establish that the said person was indeed in a position where they owed you a duty of care. On the road, all drivers are legally required to drive safely and avoid collisions, thus behaviors like speeding, violating traffic light signals, aggressive driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, and so on, can be called a breach of duty.

This means that anyone engaging in such activities risks causing harm to others, and if this does indeed happen, will be held primarily liable for the losses because they failed to act as a reasonable person would’ve in their position. Thus their negligence in the matter, i.e. causing losses to the accident victims, is measured in reference to what they were supposed to do.

However, the injured party must also establish a causal link between the reckless attitude and the economic and non-economic damages they sustained. This is another important element in negligence and important for assigning the fault. You need to retrace the steps and show exactly how your losses were a result of the neglectful behavior on part of the liable party.

An experienced car accident attorney can handle all of this, of course, and in practicality, the terms duty of care, negligence, breach of duty, legal duty, and causal link are not used. The terms were only mentioned here to explain the underlying legal concept without leaving out important details.

The At-Fault Party Will Be Liable For Your Damages

If you manage to successfully prove the negligence of the at-fault driver then they will be assigned the blame for your losses. The responsible party will be liable for the damages they caused as per the at-fault insurance laws of Texas (as opposed to no-fault state insurance laws for personal injury).

However, this would only apply if the party in question is at least primarily at fault, or better yet, completely responsible for causing the accident.

What does that mean?

Well, in an ideal scenario, the blame for the accident will rest entirely on the shoulders of the responsible driver, however, this may not always be the case. In most situations, both drivers involved in a multiple-vehicle crash can be responsible for the crash.

Of course, one party has to be more responsible than the other, for instance, if someone wasn’t completely attentive when the crash happened then they’d also be responsible for the crash. But let’s say that the other driver had violated the traffic signal, then they’ll be primarily at fault.

This is called contributory negligence and in such cases, the primarily responsible party still has to pay compensation to the other person but the sum will be slashed in proportion to their share in the fault. Thus if you share a percentage of fault, your settlement sum will be cut accordingly.

For this to apply, you must not be any more than 50 percent at fault, in which case you will be primarily at fault for causing the accident.

Of course, there can be multiple responsible parties for any given case.

Let’s say that the driver’s negligence was not the only cause for an accident, i.e. there were other factors like maintenance troubles, defective vehicles, poor road conditions, unpredictable weather, and so on. In such cases, the liability will be shared by all the concerned parties that failed to act responsibly.

For instance, in the case of commercial vehicle crashes, the responsible driver and the owner of the vehicle are both held liable for the damages, and so on.

In short, the primarily responsible party will have to pay compensation to the accident victims and if they too happen to have a share in the fault, the settlement sum will be slashed accordingly. And, even if the other party is uninsured, you have options like personal injury protection insurance, so don’t despair.

What Do The Texas Car Insurance Laws Say About Being At-Fault?

We already discussed how Texas has at-fault car insurance laws and what that means for someone responsible for causing an accident. This, of course, is only applicable once the negligence has been established before the insurance claims adjuster.

At a minimum, all car drivers are supposed to get liability insurance coverage of $30,000 for every injured individual, $25,000 for property damage, and $60,000 for auto accident injuries. This, of course, is the bare minimum insurance coverage that drivers need to buy.

In case they have a bigger auto insurance policy, the accident victim can sue them for a bigger sum too, granted that the damages were indeed bad enough to demand such a sum. Moreover, drivers can opt to have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage added in there as well.

The uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is optional but highly recommended. In case the liable party turned out to be uninsured and not in possession of anything valuable that could be sold to pay your compensation, you’ll be in a rough spot.

This is where personal injury protection policy and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage comes into play. In such a scenario, you’ll be able to cover your economic and non-economic damages from your own insurance company and avoid hitting rock bottom, financially.

Some people choose not to include this coverage in their insurance policy, as we mentioned, it is optional. But we highly recommend that you do include this in there because it might serve you well in the worst-case scenario.

Once you’ve been in an accident, you’ll have to seek medical attention as soon as possible and start gathering all the evidence needed to support your claim. When everything is in order, you can send your compensation demand letter to the at-fault insurance company rep.

The insurance provider must respond to your claim within 15 days. If they reject your claim, they are legally bound to send an explanation for doing so. Just remember, if your claim does get rejected, there is still hope, so don’t give up.

And if they accept your demands, you’ll receive the sum within 5 business days, but of course, this rarely happens without a tussle.

Be sure to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you want to get compensated fairly..

What To Do After A Car Accident In Texas?

To get fairly compensated for your losses, you’ll have to provide ample evidence supporting your claims, seek legal consultation as soon as possible, and not lose ground during settlement negotiations. This is all imperative for securing a payout that covers your economic and non-economic damages.

Here’s what you need to do step-by-step:

  • Gather firsthand evidence at the accident scene by photographing everything and making videos where needed.
  • Exchange information (vehicle registration, contact information, insurance company, and so on) with the other party but don’t discuss fault, not yet.
  • Contact the police department and report the incident and wait for a police officer to show up at the scene; get your copy of the police reports for your record.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible, don’t delay it for more than 72 hours.
  • Document all of your losses, i.e. medical expenses (short-term and long-term medical bills for treatment and therapy), property damage (vehicle damage), extra expenses, lost wages, etc.
  • Journal your pain and suffering and record statements from family and friends.
  • Contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer and get started with the settlement negotiations (as per the auto insurance policy limits) or go ahead with a lawsuit.

Call Us Today For Legal Representation On All Levels

The office of McDonald Worley has been catering to the needs of personal injury victims for years now and we have dealt with every case with the utmost professionalism, compassion, and understanding. You should never delay calling us for legal representation because the earlier you get our personal injury attorneys involved, the better your chances will be of securing a fair payout for your losses.

Remember, the insurance company can use anything you say or do against you and they will try their best to minimize your payout. Thus never handle matters on your own. If you’re worried about not being able to afford our premium-level services then you don’t have a thing to worry about.

We work on a contingency fee basis which means that you’ll only have to pay when you win your settlement, not before that. In essence, you won’t have to pay us from your pocket, instead, only a fraction of your winnings will cover our legal fees and the rest will compensate you for your economic and non-economic damages.

Initial consultation for cases is free so don’t hold back from calling us today and getting things sorted out, we’re eager to hear from you and will help you win your accident claim.