How Do You Know Who Was At Fault for a Car Accident?

Car Accident
Car Accident

Behind every car accident, there is someone who is at fault. In some cases, it can be obvious who caused the crash. For example, if you are stopped at a red light and a driver crashes into the rear of your vehicle, they will be responsible.

In other situations, the negligent party may be less obvious, especially if multiple vehicles are involved. It then must be determined who is to blame.

What to Know About the Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Texas

In Texas, auto insurance follows a fault-based system. This means that the person who caused the accident will be liable for paying for the financial losses and damages of the victims of the wreck.

However, the state also follows the modified comparative negligence law. This means that any driver found more than 50% at fault is barred from recovering compensation. On a positive note, you can still collect compensation for your claim if you are assigned less than 50% of the blame. Unfortunately, this means the amount you recover may be significantly diminished.

What the Police Say

Calling the police will be one of the first things you should do after an accident. They will fill out a police report and examine the physical evidence. They will also speak to any witnesses and record anything noteworthy to piece together what happened.

While some police officers will state who caused the accident on the report, many reports do not assign a determination of fault. Even if they do, the driver who they blame isn’t automatically held legally liable. If the other driver was issued a citation for their negligent driving, this may be used as evidence along with any photos, videos, and witness statements.

What the Insurance Companies Say

After you’re in an accident, you need to notify your insurance company, even if you didn’t cause the accident. An adjuster will take over the investigation and verify all provided details. Then, a determination will be made as to who they believe to be at fault.

This is where the modified comparative negligence law will come into play. The adjuster will let you know if they’ve assigned you any percentage of the blame or if their investigation has revealed the other driver was completely at fault. It’s important to note that this isn’t the final ruling for determining who is at fault in an accident.

What the Courts Say

If you believe you are being assigned more fault than you deserve or you’re not being offered a fair settlement for your damages, you can file a lawsuit. The court will then determine who was at fault by considering all the points that compose negligence.

The court will listen to both sides and review all evidence. Either a judge or jury will make the determination of fault based on what was presented during trial. While the police and insurance determinations may be considered, they do not control the outcome of the car accident case.

One thing to note is that if the police issued a traffic citation to the other party, the court may find that this proves negligent behavior. The ruling could then be in your favor since the ticket shows the other driver’s carelessness caused the crash.

Ask a Car Accident Attorney

In every car accident, a car accident lawyer will be the one to protect your best interests and help you navigate this complicated legal process. You should sit down for a free initial consultation to get valuable legal advice about how to proceed with your claim. Car accident attorneys know what the courts look for and can let you know if they believe your case is strong enough to be successful.

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