When a driver is negligent while operating a vehicle and that act of negligence results in another person sustaining serious or fatal injuries, the responsible driver can be held liable. Determining who caused a car accident is not always a simple task. In many instances, it is a matter of “he said, she said,” and there is a conflict in determining who was at fault for causing the crash.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s (NHTSA) most recent report indicates that 32,719 fatalities and upwards of 2.3 million injuries were sustained in car and other motor vehicle accidents over the course of one year, establishing fault can be one of the most difficult obstacles for those who pursue compensation for their losses.
Unless the cause of the accident and the liable party can be accurately determined, the victim of a car accident may not have grounds to file a lawsuit seeking compensation to pay for medical expenses, car repairs, lost income, pain and suffering and other costs associated with the crash.
Fortunately, the attorneys at The Bob Richardson Law Firm are well-versed on Texas car wreck law. We also have the knowledge and skills necessary to thoroughly investigate accidents to establish fault, and have done so on countless occasions. With our firm on your side, you could have a much greater chance of proving the other party’s negligence was responsible for your injuries. This will then allow you to seek fair and just compensation following a car accident.
To learn how we can help you establish fault in your car accident case, call us today or use our online form. We can provide you with a free case evaluation and answer your questions. We won’t charge you for our services unless we recover for you.
Types of Driver Negligence That Cause Crashes
For drivers to avoid causing a collision, it is important that they remain alert and attentive at all times and obey the rules of the road. Drivers who engage in risky driving behaviors often cause accidents that result in serious injuries or death. Some of the more common types of driver negligence seen throughout Austin, Waco and the rest of Texas include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Texting and driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to yield
Evidence That Can Be Used to Help Prove Fault
Evidence can have a significant bearing on the outcome of a case. If there is sufficient evidence to conclusively prove the other driver’s negligence did in fact cause the accident and your injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be required to pay damages. Damages you may be eligible to recover include medical expenses, lost income, lost earning potential, compensation for permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and the cost of vehicle repairs, among others. Some cases may allow for punitive damages.
To establish fault, evidence needs to be secured. Police reports made at the scene of an accident can be used as evidence in a case, however for civil purposes, these accident reports do not have final say regarding fault. Detailed photos of the accident scene, eyewitness statements, video camera evidence, accident reconstruction, medical reports, repair reports and records, towing records and cell phone records can all be used in the effort to establish fault, as can many other forms of evidence.
Conducting an independent investigation or getting help from an accident reconstruction specialist are among the most effective ways to determine the true cause of a crash. In an independent investigation, not only is additional evidence likely to be uncovered, but no bias is involved. Investigators simply review the facts and the evidence from the scene, and reconstruct what occurred to establish the cause of the collision.
How Comparative Fault Laws in Texas May Affect Your Case
Comparative fault laws in Texas dictate that the victim of a car crash or any other accident has the right to recover damages, even if it is determined that he or she was partially at fault. The judge or jury in the case will review the submitted evidence and use it to determine the percentage of fault for each party.
Under Title 2, Chapter 33, Section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault for your injuries, you have the right to pursue damages. If it is determined you are more than 50 percent responsible, you will not be entitled to recover damages from the other party. Your final settlement amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages, but you are found to be 30 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover only $70,000 – 30 percent less than the total award.
Benefits of Hiring a Skilled Austin Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in or around the Austin or Waco areas, you should retain legal representation at once. Following a car accident, you will need a legal advocate who is committed to protecting your interests. You cannot count on your insurance company to have your best interests as a guiding principle.
When you hire a skilled car accident lawyer, it can dramatically improve your chances of establishing who was at fault, as well as minimizing your degree of fault, so as to maximize the value of your claim. Lawyers at The Bob Richardson Law Firm are prepared to conduct an independent investigation into your accident, as well as bring in experts to help substantiate your claim and validate your case if necessary.
Without the help of a lawyer, you may find yourself coerced into accepting a settlement offer for far less than you rightfully deserve. You could even find yourself at odds with the at-fault driver’s insurance company that presents facts in an effort to hold you fully or partially responsible for the accident. If the judge or jury can be convinced, you could lose the ability to recover monetary damages.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Traffic Safety Facts: 2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview
- Texas Statutes: Civil Practice and Remedies Code: Title 2. Trial, Judgment, and Appeal: Subtitle C. Judgments: Chapter 22. Proportionate Responsibility: Subchapter A. Sec. 33.001