In the aftermath of a car accident, victims will likely have a variety of questions regarding their recovery, their financial situation, and the legal process in the event that they decide to pursue litigation. One of the most common questions during the car accident settlement process is, “How is fault determined in a car accident?”
In Texas, determining who is at fault for an accident is especially important, as state law holds the at-fault party financially responsible for damages. This means that in order to receive compensation for costly expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you’ll need to be able to prove that the party or parties responsible for causing the accident are, in fact, at fault.
How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Texas?
In an auto accident settlement, there are common types of evidence that can be used to prove fault, and it’s up to the victim, authorities, and insurance companies to collect and locate this evidence. Common evidence includes photos of the damage caused by the accident, statements from eyewitnesses, copies of medical records, expert testimony such as that of an accident reconstruction expert or medical doctor, police reports, and video recordings such as surveillance cameras or dashboard cameras.
The rule of thumb in any car accident is to gather as much evidence as possible from the moment the accident occurs to the settlement process. During insurance negotiations and legal proceedings, if they occur, evidence will ultimately be the most helpful tool in proving fault.
Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident in Texas?
The fault for a car accident in Texas can be determined by different people and at different stages of the claims process.
First and foremost are the authorities. If a police report was filed in relation to the accident, the police officer at the scene typically will document and record important information about the accident, the scene, the drivers, and eyewitness testimony. Through the official police report, the office can note its determination of fault, although this is not always common. Typically, the most important aspect of a police officer’s involvement in the claims process is the evidence provided through their report.
Once the insurance company becomes involved in the process, it will assign claims adjusters and/or investigators who will determine fault for the car accident. This is done by contacting the involved parties, gathering evidence, and using driver statements. Although insurance companies generally determine fault based on the legal definition of negligence, it’s important to remember that they are going to look out for their or their insuree’s best interest. This often leads to lowball settlement offers. As a result, many victims are better off having a legal professional handle communications with insurers in order to protect their interests and maximize their compensation.
In the event that insurance negotiations fail or the settlement amount is insufficient, legal proceedings will begin. The courts will ultimately determine who is at fault and arrange settlement terms. If you believe your case should move into the stage of legal action, it’s best to do so with an experienced car accident attorney by your side.
The Lopez Law Group Can Help
The car accident attorneys at The Lopez Law Group have decades of combined experience. We understand how difficult navigating the car accident settlement process can be, so we are dedicated to offering legal services to victims and their families in order to help them recover physically, mentally, and financially. We offer free, no-obligation case consultations to help victims understand the process, including more in-depth explanations regarding how fault is determined in a car accident.
Our team at The Lopez Law Group proudly serves McAllen, Weslaco, Pharr, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Houston, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, Rio Grande City, and other areas throughout Texas.
Contact us online or give us a call at (956) 968-7800 today for a free case evaluation. Our team of experienced car accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.