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Determining Fault: Unraveling the Legal Aspects of Car Accident Liability and Lawsuits

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Why is Determining Fault So Important After an Accident?

Each state follows its own set of rules to determine how each party may pursue damages. For some states, if you are partially at fault, you typically can’t seek damages, which is referred to as contributory negligence. In other states, if you are partially at fault by 50% or less, you can still pursue damages at a reduced rate based on your percentage of fault. Texas follows this rule, and it’s referred to as comparative negligence. Furthermore, Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you generally cannot pursue damages.

What Evidence is Used To Determine Fault?

Several things can help either side of the courtroom determine fault. Pictures or videos can be submitted and used to help determine what happened leading up to or at the time of the accident. If there is video surveillance in the area, that is a great resource to use. If not, having pictures of all involved vehicles after the accident, showing the damages incurred, can be impactful. Eyewitness statements can also be used. If you are in an accident, it’s helpful to reach out to others who may have seen what happened and retain their contact information so they can be questioned later to be used as evidence. Documentation that you may have gathered regarding the date and time the accident occurred, the weather that day that may have played a role in the accident, such as if the roads were slippery or there were obstacles in the roadway, and more.

Why Is It Important to Only Discuss the Accident With Your Trusted Attorney?

Keep in mind that insurance companies will have their company and their client’s best interest at heart, and not yours. They are notorious for nudging accident victims to settle for an amount that they deem appropriate, which may be far less than what they deserve. In communicating with them, if you inadvertently assume fault for the accident, they can use this information to push you to settle for less. By ensuring that you are only discussing the details of your accident with your attorney, they can handle all communication and necessary negotiations with the insurance companies and the other relevant parties involved.

What Types of Damages Can I Pursue Following a Car Accident?

Damages are typically categorized by either economic or non-economic damages. Economic, as titled, refers to any economic damages that you may have incurred following an accident. The medical costs involved, any lost wages from work to tend to your medical needs, and the damages your vehicle incurred would all be considered economic damages. Non-economic damages are typically more challenging to calculate but can involve pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more. For example, suppose you were significantly injured in a car accident and now no longer enjoy hobbies or activities that you once did due to your injuries. In that case, damages can be calculated and pursued. Suppose you were an active person who loved to ride a bike or motorcycle, for instance, and now can no longer participate in those activities due to injury. In that case, this can be a factor in the damages your attorney will pursue. Punitive damages or exemplary damages can also be pursued in some cases. Punitive damages are typically reserved for instances where the actions of one of the parties were particularly harsh, such as a drunk driver who was speeding down the roadway and colliding with another vehicle. Punitive damages are not relevant in all cases, and there is a cap on how much you can pursue in Texas.

Why is Determining Fault Crucial to a Car Accident Case?

Based on the comparative fault rule discussed earlier, even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still successfully pursue damages. Suppose you are found to be more than 51% at fault. In that case, however, you are typically not entitled to collecting damages, meaning the percentage of fault assigned to you following an accident is imperative. There may be details regarding the accident that you are unaware of. You may have been driving and obeying all traffic laws and rules other than perhaps speeding right before the accident, and therefore, assume that you were at fault. The other driver could have been distracted by testing or other means or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, making them assume a higher percentage of fault for the accident.

Your Tireless Advocate

An experienced attorney can review your case and help investigate the details appropriately, ensuring that you are not assuming more of the fault in an accident than necessary and, therefore, can pursue damages. With several years of experience defending our clients against the negligence of others and other areas of law, you can count on us to be a fierce and tireless advocate with compassion and Christian values. If you or a loved one was recently in an accident and is seeking help, don’t hesitate to call us at (713) 999-6549. You can schedule your initial free consultation, and we can review the details of your case and formulate a strategy together to help you effectively pursue the damages you deserve rather than settling for less. We are a husband and wife team, so we value family incredibly. Let our family help you protect and provide for your family, even amidst inconvenience and the unknown.
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