Houston Texas Lawyer Blog

How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

March 23, 2020 Vehicle Wrecks

How do you determine who is at fault in a car accident? That can be decided based on the evidence showing the cause of the crash and applicable Texas law. An insurance claim or car accident lawsuit depends on a thorough investigation of the accident. The facts could show one or more parties are at fault in a car accident. As long as another party is more at fault than you, you may have a car accident case and receive compensation for damages to your car and for your injuries. Damages are calculated by assigning a dollar amount to the harm done.

How Do You Decide Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident? Look at the Facts and the Law.

Texas has “proportionate responsibility” as part of its negligence laws. The percent of fault assigned to each driver in an accident proportionally impacts the amount of damages you can receive. If your share of responsibility for the accident is greater than 50%, you can’t recover damages. Also, your share of the blame for the accident would be deducted from your damages award. For example, if a jury decides you’re 25% at fault and your award is $100,000, you will end up with $75,000.

Depending on the situation, you may have two roles in a car accident case. It is possible to be both a claimant (the party filing the lawsuit) and a defendant (the party being sued by another). Some accidents involve more than two vehicles. In this situation, who is more at fault may be a close call, especially if the accident has many possible causes.

Negligence Plays a Role in Determining Fault in a Car Accident Case

Negligence law is at the heart of car accident cases. The person bringing the lawsuit (the plaintiff) needs to show the other driver was negligent. There are several elements of your case that play a role in proving negligence:

  • The other driver had a legal duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner.
  • The other driver breached that duty and was unsafe in their driving. For example, he or she weaved through traffic at high speed or ignored a stop sign, or unsecured cargo on the back of a truck spilled onto the roadway.
  • That unsafe driving was the cause of the accident.
  • The accident caused injuries and/or economic harm.

If it is proven that a driver was negligent, then they are obligated under Texas law to compensate you, the injured party.

For your case to be successful, it’s important to act fast. One of the reasons we ask potential clients to contact us as soon as possible after an accident is so we can start our investigation. Our attorneys, staff, and outside experts want to move quickly to track down as much evidence as possible before it’s lost or memories fade.

Many Types of Evidence Can be Used to Decide Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

How does evidence play a role when you determine who is at fault in a car accident? There are many kinds of evidence that can be used to show fault. It can help build a successful argument for calculating liability in a car accident. Here are the types of evidence and the role it plays in our investigation of car accident cases:

  • Police reports can be critical in getting our investigation started and convincing an insurance company that you deserve fair compensation for your claim.
  • Witness statements are essential. They include your version of what happened as well as descriptions by other parties. However, memories of an accident can be unreliable because of the trauma of the event.
  • Outside witness statements especially can be compelling. They can be seen as more credible since those witnesses don’t have an interest in the outcome of your case.
  • Physical evidence is crucial. It includes damage to the vehicles, skid marks, and what happened to the surrounding area. Physical evidence may be a better way to determine how one vehicle struck another, at what angle and speed.
  • Surveillance video could make all the difference in a case. Video cameras may be owned by a government agency or by private businesses near the crash scene. If a camera is at the right place to capture the accident, it could make or break a car accident case.
  • Data can come from the vehicles themselves. Vehicles are increasingly computerized. Data stored in a car’s computer can provide its speed, acceleration, braking, and steering angle before the crash.
  • A driver’s smartphone could show whether a driver is at fault because he or she was distracted at the time of the accident. Data may establish that the person was texting, on the phone, recording a video, using an app, or searching the internet up to the moment of the collision. The topic of the texts or phone calls could show the driver was very angry, upset, or distraught, making them a less safe driver.
  • Both sides may hire experts in car accident reconstruction. They would look at the police report, witness accounts, and physical evidence. They may perform experiments to find out what happened, how, and why, then decide which driver is more to blame. If the case doesn’t end in a settlement, the experts may testify at the trial.
  • The parties’ statements to others, especially on social media, can be considered. It’s important not to talk to others about your accident because they might be called as witnesses against you. Social media posts inconsistent with your statements to the police or the insurance company will make you look untrustworthy. If you deny any wrongdoing at the accident scene but admit to speeding or being intoxicated before the crash on social media, you will have a hard time with an insurance company, judge, or jury.

The many types of evidence show how complex a car accident case can be. This is why you should turn to our attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law for help. It’s our job to obtain this evidence and explain it and the law. Whether you’re dealing with an insurance company, a judge, or a jury who will decide who is at fault in a car accident, our legal team will work hard to get you the best possible outcome.

A Car Accident Lawsuit May be the Right Option for You and Your Family

Insurance companies have enormous resources at their disposal. You need to level the playing field by getting help from attorneys who have sufficient experience and resources to compete against this… Our Houston car accident lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have decades of experience helping crash victims with their bodily injury claims. If you or a family member is in this situation and have questions about your car crash case, call us now at (713) 973-8888.

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