Figuring out if you’re at fault in a Houston car accident is complicated and convoluted. Under Texas law, the principle of comparative negligence is applied, which means that fault is not assigned to a single party but rather distributed among all involved based on their respective level of responsibility. This approach takes into account the actions of each driver leading up to the accident to determine their contribution to the occurrence of the incident. It’s a system designed to ensure a fair assessment of each situation, acknowledging that accidents often result from a combination of factors rather than a single error.

At Abraham Watkins, we take pride in helping victims of major car accident cases in Houston. With our extensive experience, we can assist you in building a compelling case to prove negligence. Our team of knowledgeable attorneys is well-versed in dissecting the details of an accident, analyzing the actions of each party involved, and establishing a clear understanding of the contributing factors.

When you’re faced with the comparative negligence system, having Abraham Watkins by your side provides a strategic advantage for major car accidents. Our commitment to ensuring a fair assessment aligns seamlessly with the principles of this legal framework. By enlisting us, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost diligence, aiming for a favorable outcome in the resolution of your car accident claim. Call us today at 713-535-9319 to set up a free initial consultation to learn about your next steps.

Understanding Fault in Houston Car Accidents

When an accident occurs, determining who is at fault can be a difficult process. The fault could lie with one driver or be shared among multiple parties. Texas operates under an at-fault system, holding the driver deemed responsible for the accident liable for any damages incurred.

Texas At-Fault System

The Texas At-Fault System for auto accidents employs a tort liability system to determine who is responsible for the damages in a car accident case. The party held responsible for the accident, otherwise known as the at-fault driver, must cover the damages. These damages can include economic and non-economic damages, exemplary damages, and nominal damages. Some examples of non-economic damages are emotional suffering, mental anguish, pain and suffering in the past and future, and permanent disfigurement. However, drivers who are 51% or more at fault are ineligible to receive compensation.

Hence, in Texas, if you’re deemed the at-fault driver in an accident, your insurance company will bear the costs associated with damages and medical bills for the other party. This financial liability can significantly impact the at-fault driver’s insurance premiums and their ability to secure affordable auto insurance in the future.

Comparative Negligence in Texas

The concept of comparative negligence in Texas is used to assess proportionate responsibility when multiple parties are at fault in a car accident. Under the ‘modified’ comparative negligence rule, damages are allocated based on each party’s percentage of fault in the accident. This rule takes into account the circumstances in which the accident happened and the actions of each party involved.

The compensation in a Texas car accident claim is directly impacted by the degree of fault assigned to each party. If a party is found partially at fault, their compensation for damages can be proportionally reduced. In such cases, the car insurance of the at-fault party will cover the damages, but the amount may be reduced based on the injured party’s level of fault.

This underscores the importance of having a seasoned car accident lawyer by your side to guide you through this process and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Key Factors in Determining Fault

It is often not easy to determine who is at fault in a car accident, as there are many factors to consider. Assigning blame can be complicated and may require a thorough investigation. Several factors come into play, including the information contained in police reports, any traffic laws that were violated, and evidence gathered from the accident scene. These factors collectively contribute to establishing the car accident fault and ultimately determine which party or parties should be held financially responsible for the accident.

The police report typically provides a detailed account of the accident, including the date, time, and location, as well as observations made by the police officer at the scene and statements from the involved parties and witnesses.

Committing traffic offenses, like speeding or running a red light, can serve as proof of negligence, which is crucial in determining fault. The evidence gathered from the accident scene, such as vehicle damage and debris, is also crucial in helping to determine fault.

Police Reports

Police reports are an essential piece of evidence in car accident cases. They provide factual information about the accident, the investigating officer’s opinions, specific crash details, and statements from the involved drivers and parties. This information aids in establishing fault by offering insights into the incident, witness accounts, and occasionally the officer’s viewpoint on potential fault.

To obtain a copy of a police report after a car accident in Houston, Texas, individuals have the option to visit the HPD Records Division in person or to submit a request online through the Houston Police Department’s Online Police Report Form. The police report is of great importance as it contains crucial information that can serve as evidence in insurance claims and lawsuits, potentially influencing the amount of compensation that can be recovered.

Traffic Laws and Violations

Traffic laws are put in place to ensure the safety of all road users. However, when these laws are violated, it can lead to accidents. In such cases, the traffic violation can serve as a clear indication of which driver was negligent and therefore, responsible for the accident.

Common traffic violations that are often associated with car accidents, including auto accident cases, involve drivers involved in:

  • speeding;
  • running a red light;
  • using a phone while driving;
  • not wearing a seat belt; and
  • driving under the influence.

In Houston, traffic offenses typically result in a fine of up to $200.00 and additional litigation costs. The final amount can vary significantly based on the unique circumstances of each case.

The impact of these violations goes far beyond financial penalties. They play a significant role in influencing the determination of fault in a car accident, as the police reports, investigations, and the reason for the citation all contribute to the assessment of liability and fault.

Accident Scene Evidence

Evidence from the accident scene can be instrumental in establishing fault in a car accident. This evidence includes:

  • photographs of the accident scene;
  • photographs of damages to the vehicles involved;
  • photographs of the tractor-trailer and any DOT number listed if the accident is with a truck;
  • the presence of any debris; and
  • witness statements.

These pieces of evidence provide a clear picture of what happened, thereby helping to establish who is at fault.

Photographs from the accident scene serve as crucial evidence, providing an objective record of the accident’s details, property damage, and collision angle. Similarly, witness statements offer detailed accounts of the events preceding the accident and aid in determining the responsible party. Therefore, it is always recommended to gather as much evidence as possible from the accident scene to support your claim.

How to Strengthen Your Case After an Accident

Following a car accident, it’s vital to undertake certain measures to fortify your case.

  1. You should call the police and ensure an official report is made. This report will serve as a key piece of evidence in your case.
  2. Take photos of the accident scene, including your vehicle, any other vehicles involved, and any visible injuries you may have sustained.
  3. Talk to any witnesses at the scene and get their contact information. Their statements may be crucial in proving what happened during the accident.
  4. Even if your injuries seem minor, seek immediate medical attention. This not only ensures your well-being but also serves as official documentation of your injuries, which can be used as evidence in your case.

Insurance Company Involvement

Dealing with your own insurance company after a car accident can be overwhelming. Once you’ve filed a claim, you may need to negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. Understanding how this process works can help you navigate it more effectively.

To lodge an insurance claim in Texas, you’ll need to:

  1. Collect details of the other driver, which include their insurance card and driver’s license.
  2. Submit the claim to your insurance company.
  3. The insurance company is required to either accept or reject the claim within a timeframe of 15 to 45 days.

It’s important to keep in mind that car insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts. Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company before hiring an attorney, they may also try to get you to give your full social security number – do not give it to them. Having an experienced car accident lawyer to help you negotiate can greatly improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement.

Filing a Claim

When lodging a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a car accident, it’s important to furnish all required details. This includes:

  • the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance policy numbers of all parties involved in the accident;
  • details about the weather conditions at the time of the accident;
  • photographs of the damaged vehicles; and
  • copies of any relevant police or accident reports.

To avoid common errors when filing a car accident claim, be sure to:

  • seek immediate medical attention;
  • do not admit fault or apologize at the accident scene;
  • involve the police; and
  • gather as much evidence as possible.

Remember, you have a limited time frame to file a claim, so it’s important to start this process as soon as possible.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Negotiating with insurance companies after a car accident can be challenging. It’s important to refrain from hastily accepting the initial settlement offer and to provide comprehensive documentation of the damages incurred. Evaluate offers in an unbiased manner, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses. Ensure thorough follow-up on all medical treatments, promptly file your claim, and establish a predetermined minimum settlement amount.

Engaging an attorney can notably enhance your prospects of achieving a fair settlement. An experienced attorney can:

  • collect evidence;
  • strategically leverage the strength of that evidence; and
  • represent your interests in mediation meetings with the insurance company’s lawyers.

How Abraham Watkins Can Help You with Major Car Accidents

It’s essential to understand how fault is determined in car accidents in Texas, and how this fault determination affects compensation for injuries. Key factors such as police reports, traffic laws and violations, and evidence from the accident scene play a crucial role in this process.

Handling insurance claims and negotiations can be complex, and having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of reaching a fair settlement. At Abraham Watkins, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation for their major car accidents. We offer a free initial consultation and case review for potential clients, enabling them to discuss their cases and gain insight into their legal options. We also operate on a contingency fee basis, we believe everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation without an upfront cost.

While our primary focus is on car accident cases, our experience and knowledge extend to a wide range of practice areas. We handle cases involving:

  • maritime accidents;
  • truck accidents;
  • explosions;
  • work accidents;
  • oil and gas accidents;
  • aviation accidents; and
  • wrongful death cases.

Regardless of the nature of your case, our team of experienced lawyers is dedicated to providing you with the best possible legal representation.

Our attorneys have a proven track record of obtaining multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients. We proudly serve clients across the southern region of Texas, including major cities like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, as well as areas such as Katy, Sugar Land, Galveston, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville.

Call us today at 713-535-9319, and let us begin the journey toward securing the rightful resolution for your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out if my car accident is at fault in Texas?

To find out if your car accident is at fault in Texas, you can rely on sources such as police reports, insurance company adjusters, judges or juries, evidence from the scene, expert testimony, and a car accident attorney for support. Multiple drivers of three or more cars being involved can also be a determining factor in assigning fault.

Is Texas a no-fault state?

No, Texas is not a no-fault state. It operates under an at-fault insurance system, which means the driver who is found to be responsible for causing the accident is liable for the damages incurred.

The Texas At-Fault System holds the responsible party, known as the at-fault driver, accountable for covering the damages in car accident cases. If you’re deemed responsible, you’re responsible for the costs.

Does insurance payout if it’s your fault?

Insurance may pay out if it’s your fault depending on the state you live in. In fault states, the person at fault is liable for the damages, while in no-fault states, each person’s insurance covers their damages.

What role does a police report play in car accident cases?

A police report is crucial in car accident cases, as it provides factual information, including crash details and witness statements, which helps in establishing fault. It also offers insights into the incident and the officer’s viewpoint on potential fault.