How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Texas?

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Texas?
Without an attorney, the insurance company will determine fault in a car accident in Texas.

You may be reading this because you were recently injured in a car accident in Texas. You may have been crashed into by another driver who was speeding, did not stop at a red light or stop sign, or failed to maintain a safe distance or lookout – or all of the above. And perhaps they were distracted as they texted and talked on their phones, listened to loud music, ate food, applied makeup, or were drunk or high as they sped down the road. We often see multiple causes for collisions. Here is how fault is determined in a car accident in Texas.

Who Determines Which Driver is at Fault?

Without the involvement of a personal injury attorney, insurance company adjusters will determine who was at fault. Perhaps it is obvious that only one driver was at fault, for example when you were at a red light and were rear-ended.

The insurance companies will attempt to find the following information:

  • Photos and videos
  • Security or traffic camera footage
  • The police report and file
  • Statements from drivers and witnesses
  • Engine data recorder downloads and reports from accident reconstruction experts – usually in larger damage cases involving commercial vehicles

Can More Than One Driver Be Found To Be At Fault?

Yes, Texas has adopted a modified version of fault that analyzes the fault of all drivers.

Since it does not want to pay you a reasonable amount for your damages, the at-fault driver’s company often claims that both drivers or even another company or factor were also partially responsible. What may look like a simple case can quickly get complicated.

For example, if you were driving while talking on your cell phone, which is legal in Texas, the other driver’s company can claim that you were not paying full attention to its driver who was accelerating through a yellow light and try to hold you 25% at fault. This will reduce your damages by that amount.

And if it can prove that you were more than 50% at fault, you will collect no money.

How to Prove Negligence in Texas

The injured driver has to produce evidence that proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver was negligent. This only means more than 50%, not the stringent beyond a reasonable doubt standard used in criminal cases.

He or she has to show that

  • The negligent driver owed you a duty of care: they were required to drive using a reasonable standard of driving care;
  • The other driver failed to uphold their duty of care: their actions or inactions caused the collision;
  • Proximate cause: your injuries were foreseeable due to the other driver’s negligence; and
  • Damages: you were injured and incurred medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

How Insurance Companies Pay Less Money on a Claim

Insurance companies will often use a series of tactics to deny or minimize fault. They do this to put pressure on the innocent driver to accept a very small offer. We have seen injured victims with cases worth many thousands of dollars who agreed to accept the often-offered $500.00 and later regret it.

Don’t fall for these common insurance company tricks and tactics, or you will not get the compensation you deserve.

If the claimant disagrees with the company’s determination of who was at fault, they can file a lawsuit and take the case to trial.

Contact Berenson Injury Law

The sooner you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, the better.

If you were injured in a car, truck, 18-wheeler, or motorcycle accident and need assistance, we are here to help you. Call us at 817-885-8000 or click on our website.

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