When a car accident happens, finding out who caused it is key to getting compensation for your injuries. But how do you determine who is at fault in a car accident? Determining fault in a car accident can be very complicated. Many drivers involved in accidents don’t admit fault. And as a driver involved in a crash, you shouldn’t either. Admitting fault could negatively affect your insurance or legal claim.
It is usually wise to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer when you have been injured in a wreck in Texas. A car accident attorney can answer your questions about your case and tell you what evidence you will need to prove that the other driver caused the crash. Attorneys who have successfully handled car accident claims know the steps involved in determining and proving fault. They understand what insurance companies look for when resolving claims.
PROVING WHO WAS AT FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT
In order to determine fault, negligence must be proven. Negligence in legal terms basically means that another driver acted carelessly or recklessly and their actions caused an accident. There are a number of things you can do toward helping prove that the other driver was at fault in a car accident.
First, there are important steps to take right after an accident happens. The information you gather at the crash scene will help in determining fault.
Steps to Take Right After a Car Accident
After checking for injuries and calling 911 if needed, be sure to:
- Exchange driver’s license and insurance information with the other driver.
- Get names and contact information for everyone involved in the crash, including passengers in the other vehicle.
- Be polite but, beyond exchanging information, don’t spend a lot of time talking with the occupants of the other car.
- Don’t speculate with others at the scene about how the accident happened. Just give your honest side of the story to police.
- Get names and badge numbers of police who respond to the accident. Also, ask them how and when you can get a copy of the police report.
- Take photos of damage to cars and accident scene from different angles.
- Get contact information from witnesses to the crash.
Of course, if you are severely injured and taken to the hospital, you won’t be able to gather evidence at the scene. If you have a car accident lawyer, they can gather evidence for you while you focus on your own well-being.
See a Doctor after a Car Accident
Even if you don’t think you were hurt, see a doctor right away after a car accident. Sometimes injuries don’t show up right away. If you don’t get medical care and later find out you are injured, the insurer may not believe your claim that your injury was caused by the accident. Keep records of all of your doctor visits and medical treatments. This evidence may be important in your claim.
HOW AUTO INSURERS DECIDE WHO IS AT FAULT IN AN ACCIDENT
Insurers look at several things to try and determine fault, or negligence, in accidents. They review police reports. They examine the claims from all sides involved in crashes. If people admit fault at the scene, they will take that into account. They may speak to eyewitnesses and review photos taken at the scene. They will review the crash circumstances to determine what traffic laws were broken and by which driver. Sometimes fault is very clear. For example, rear-end accidents are often found to be the fault of the driver who rear-ended the driver in front. Even in these cases, however, sometimes fault can be argued.
Under Texas’ modified comparative negligence system, fault can also be divided. When fault isn’t clear, or if an insurer thinks both parties share blame, the insurer assigns a percentage of fault to each driver. The percentage of fault you are assigned affects how much money you get for your claim.
For example, if you are found to be 25% to blame and the other driver was 75% at fault, your settlement is reduced by 25%. If your settlement was worth $20,000, you would receive $15,000. When a driver’s share of fault is more than 50%, they cannot get compensation.
A skilled Texas attorney with in-depth understanding of how fault is determined, and of state traffic laws, can help you build the strongest possible claim.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T AGREE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
If you have filed a claim and disagree with the insurer about your degree of fault, a knowledgeable car accident attorney can argue with insurance adjusters on your behalf. If you are offered an insurance settlement that you don’t think is fair, you don’t have to accept it. An attorney can help you by negotiating for more money. Insurance companies are often more willing to negotiate when claimants have attorneys.
In some cases, it makes sense to have a car accident claim decided in court. When a car accident case goes to court, a judge or jury decides the degree of fault and the appropriate amount of compensation to be awarded.
In any case, having the help of a lawyer who understands Texas traffic law, insurers and the courts, can make all the difference in your accident claim.
CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY FOR HELP
Car accidents are frightening. And they cause both physical and emotional injuries. When you have been in a car accident that was the fault of another driver, you deserve to be compensated for the losses and trauma you have experienced. An experienced attorney at Hanna Law Firm in West Texas will stand up for you.
Our lawyer will work to build the strongest case possible when representing your interests in the insurance claims process. And if the insurance company doesn’t offer you the compensation you need for your damages, we will advise you about possibly filing a legal claim. Call us today at 432-220-2649 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.