Car Accidents

How is Fault Determined After a Car Accident in Texas

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

Knowing the other driver is at fault for your accident is one thing. It’s another thing to prove it.

To prove fault after a car crash, you must establish the four elements of negligence and gather evidence that supports your claim. You could obtain the compensation you need and deserve with the proper evidence and a solid understanding of Texas law.

What is Negligence & How Does it Establish Fault?

Negligence is an individual’s careless or reckless act that causes harm to another. For example, if an individual drives drunk and causes an accident that injures another driver, they would be considered negligent.

Negligence is fundamental to determining fault in an accident claim, and you must establish the following elements to have a strong case against the at-fault party:

  • Duty of Care – You must establish that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care
  • Breach of Duty – The at-fault party’s action breached this duty of care
  • Causation ­­– This breach of duty was the direct cause of your car accident
  • Damages – The accident led to your injuries, medical expenses, and other damages worthy of compensation.

Common Ways Drivers Are At Fault for a Car Crash

People’s negligence can cause a car accident in any number of ways. Some of the most frequent causes include:

  • Distracted driving: Using a smartphone, eating, applying makeup, or engaging in other activities that take the driver’s attention away from the road can easily result in accidents.
  • Speeding: Driving above the posted speed limit or too fast for road and weather conditions increases the risk of losing control and causes more severe accidents.
  • Drunk or impaired driving: Consuming alcohol or drugs before driving significantly impairs judgment, reaction time, and motor skills, leading to collisions.
  • Reckless driving: Aggressive behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and sudden lane changes, can cause accidents.
  • Running red lights and stop signs: Failing to obey traffic signals and signs can result in collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Failing to yield: Ignoring right-of-way rules at intersections or merging onto highways can lead to accidents.
  • Poor weather conditions: Failing to adjust driving behavior to adverse weather conditions, like rain, snow, or fog, can increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Inadequate vehicle maintenance: Neglecting to maintain critical vehicle components, such as brakes, tires, and lights, can contribute to accidents.
  • Driver fatigue: Operating a vehicle while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel can cause a driver to lose control or fail to react to obstacles.
  • Inexperienced drivers: Novice drivers or those unfamiliar with specific driving conditions may be more prone to making mistakes that lead to accidents.

Evidence of Fault in a Car Accident

In addition to the four elements of negligence, you must gather evidence to support your compensation claim. The following evidence could help determine fault:

  • Photos & Videos – Taking pictures of your car’s damage, your injuries, and the accident scene could help support your claim. Try to include any debris or skid marks that could indicate how the accident occurred and the severity of the accident. Footage from traffic cameras could also reveal who was at fault.
  • Eye-Witness Testimonies – A bystander might have witnessed the accident unfold, and their testimony could provide powerful insight into who was at fault.
  • Expert Witnesses – Accident reconstruction experts gather evidence from the scene to create computer-generated simulations that reveal how the accident occurred.
  • Police Report – Law enforcement officers are usually the first individuals at the scene, and their reports could determine who caused an accident. Police will collect information from all involved parties and record the accident’s date, time, and location.
  • Damage Location – The location of your car’s damage could help determine who was at fault. For example, the car traveling from behind is almost always at fault in a rear-end accident. Side damage could indicate that the at-fault driver ran a red light and T-boned you.

Can You Share Fault for a Car Accident?

Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents, which means that the at-fault party is responsible for compensating your damages. However, Texas’ comparative negligence laws state that you could also share fault for the accident, which could reduce the compensation you receive.

For example, if your claim amounts to $100,000, and you’re 10% at fault for the accident, you would only receive $90,000. You can’t recover any compensation if you’re over 50% at fault for the accident.

Recovering Compensation from the At-Fault Party

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, all Texas drivers must have at least $30,000 in liability coverage per injured person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. While this may seem like a lot, you should be compensated for how your accident has impacted your life. This includes monetary damages like lost wages and non-monetary damages like pain and suffering.

Further, your injuries could hinder your earning capacity or force you to find less physically demanding work. That’s why pursuing a personal injury claim and gathering evidence that determines fault is critical.

The most common losses and expenses you can recover by proving fault are:

  • Property damage
  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of consortium (spousal relationship)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

What if the At-Fault Driver Fled the Scene?

There are cases where the at-fault driver commits a hit-and-run accident. In these cases, it gets a lot harder to prove fault.

But even when you can’t identify the party responsible, recovering compensation from a hit-and-run accident is possible. The process is exactly like the one following a crash with an uninsured driver. You will likely have to collect compensation for your damages through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is almost always included in your auto insurance policy. The only way you wouldn’t have this coverage is if you chose to deny it in writing.

Let Kemmy Law Firm Help You Prove Fault

You may know the other driver is responsible, but It’s impossible to recover the compensation you need without legally proving fault. The lawyers at Kemmy Law Firm have access to resources like accident reconstruction experts and know how to gather evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation by calling 844-334–4388.

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Contact Kemmy Law Firm Today

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Get a free consultation. We do not charge up-front fees, and you owe nothing unless you recover compensation.

When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.