vehicle accident lawyer

Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: Who is at Fault in Texas?

After a car accident in College Station, it is natural for both parties to assign blame to the other. However, when it comes time for insurance to pay out damages, it is the adjuster who will ultimately decide where the blame lies. For most accidents, adjusters are able to use police reports along with standard rule of thumb guidelines to assess who caused the accident and who should pay up. Having a car accident lawyer on your side can help you fight back if you believe the other party is at fault.

Rules for Determining Fault According to a Car Accident Lawyer

There are a handful of rules or guidelines that adjusters use to determine who is at fault in an accident. These guidelines are based on extensive research into various types of accidents and how they typically occur, which gives adjusters a basic understanding of where fault lies. Even so, these guidelines do not cover all possibilities, so you can always fight back if you feel that blame was wrongly assigned. Here are a few common scenarios:

1. Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end accidents may be the most common type of accident on any road, and in nearly every case, the blame is assigned to the car in the back. These accidents happen most often when a vehicle is stopped and an approaching vehicle does not slow down fast enough to avoid the collision.

In other cases, the car in front must brake suddenly and the car behind did not leave enough following distance to avoid the collision. In either case, it’s easy to see why adjusters assume that the person in the back was not paying attention.

2. Left Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents are also very common and can be very costly. In these cases, the adjuster will likely rely upon eyewitness statements or red light cameras to determine who had the right of way at the time of the accident.

If it can be proven that one party was trying to squeeze through on a yellow light or misjudged the gap before they turned, the adjuster will know who to blame. In addition, the traveling speed of both parties comes into consideration if it is believed that one person was not moving too fast when approaching the intersection.

3. Other Accidents in College Station

For other types of accidents, adjusters often rely on witness statements, accident recreation models, and any evidence that could show one party was not paying attention. Whether you had a cell phone in your hand or a sandwich, what you were doing while you were driving is a key aspect of determining fault when the above guidelines do not apply. You should keep this in mind if you regularly drive with distractions because it could cost you big in the future.

Another key point is that insurance adjusters will often use traffic citations from the officers to help assign fault. That means that if the responding officer seemed to feel you were negligent enough to deserve a ticket, the adjuster will likely be swayed by their determination. This can have lasting effects on your insurance rates and possible payouts in the future, even if you eventually convince the court to lower the charges.

Why Fault Matters

In Texas, fault is used to determine whose insurance is responsible for covering the accident and when you can collect compensation for personal injuries and damage to your vehicle. However, it’s not as simple as pointing fingers at one party or the other. In fact, blame for an accident is often split between both parties, and an adjuster is responsible for determining what percentage of the accident is your fault.

Due to Texas’s comparative negligence laws, you may not be entitled to recoup any damages at all from the other party if you are assigned more than 50% of the blame for the incident. This is when you might need a College Station car wreck attorney to argue on your behalf and prove that you were not the primary cause of the accident and that you deserve compensation.

Don’t Admit Fault

Whatever you do, it is always best to avoid admitting fault, even if you feel compelled to apologize to the other party. Admissions of fault overheard by witnesses or the other driver can be used against you in court and prevent you from seeking compensation in the future. When in doubt, wait until you’ve spoken to your car accident lawyer before you say anything else.

Many people believe that officers and insurance companies will see things their way when it comes to deciding who caused an accident, but blame is rarely placed entirely on one driver. If you’ve been found at fault for an accident, it is best to consult with an attorney right away to discuss how you can fight back and what to expect if the other person seeks compensation.

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About the Author

Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan is CouponAnnie's Contributing Writer. He lives life on the cheap, but that doesn't mean a boring existence. Josh loves helping people focus on frugality without giving up the things they enjoy. When he's not getting deals, he's probably drawing or writing something amazing.