How Fault is Determined After A Car Accident in Austin, TX
How is Fault Determined After A Car Accident in Texas?
When you’re in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless behavior, you may feel betrayed and angry, in addition to the physical pain you’re facing every day. You just want to get better, but you have to fight for all of the money that’s legally owed to you.
Sometimes, it may not be totally black and white when it comes to who was at fault, and that may leave you wondering, “How is fault determined after a car accident?” “What if I’m only partially responsible for the accident?“ Certain states have different rules when it comes to this, so keep reading to learn more about how fault is determined after a car accident in Texas.
Texas Has “At Fault” Insurance Rules
Different states handle what happens after a car accident differently. One of the biggest factors is what kind of insurance laws a particular state has. Insurance laws fall into two categories: fault and no-fault. Texas has “fault” insurance rules.
What does that mean for you? After an accident, the party who is deemed to be “at fault” for an accident is responsible for the resulting costs. More specifically, if the at-fault party has insurance, as is legally required by law, their insurance company is on the hook for damages.
So, after an accident that’s not your fault in Austin, you can file a claim for damages directly with the at-fault party’s insurer. You don’t have to try to recover benefits through your own car insurance policy first.
Fault Will Be Contested, So Make Sure You Have Proof
Since the at-fault party (or their insurer) will be primarily responsible for accident-related damages, it’s not unlikely that fault could be contested. Insurance companies aren’t always quick to accept responsibility to cut a check. So, it’s possible they could try to blame you for the accident and resulting injuries.
There are some steps you can take, however, to protect yourself from these allegations. You should do your best to gather information and preserve evidence immediately after your accident. Here’s how:
- Call the police to report the accident, and ask to have a police report completed at the scene.
- Visit the emergency room so that your injuries are recorded in a medical report as soon as possible after the crash.
- Take photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries.
- Speak with witnesses and ask them for their contact information.
These simple steps can make a world of difference down the line if you decide to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your attorney can use the evidence you’ve gathered and created to protect you from claims that you’re at fault.
Don’t Settle Too Early
After an accident that is not your fault, the responsible party’s insurance company might try to contact you. The adjuster might tell you that he has a check with your name on it. However, he may add that the offer is attached to a very short clock, and if you don’t accept this offer now, you’ll probably get nothing at all.
These tactics are designed to take advantage of your fragile emotional state and uncertainty after an accident. If the fault for an accident is pretty clear, insurance companies will be eager to make a deal with you and settle your claim before you get an attorney involved. That’s because they know that things will change once you’re represented by a lawyer. So, they’ll work hard to scare you into accepting an early offer. Beware: while those early offers might be attractive, they tend to be for much less than a case is really worth.
The best thing you can do is decline to speak with insurance companies about anything other than very basic details – your name, address, and maybe even your own insurance information. If adjusters continue to put pressure on you, don’t respond. Wait until you’ve spoken with a lawyer and found someone you trust. Once you’ve hired a car accident attorney, let them handle all conversations and negotiations on your behalf.
Hurt in a Car Accident? We’re On Top of It
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, even if you weren’t at fault, it can be hard to know what to do next. Fielding calls from insurance companies and navigating claims can be overwhelming, so that’s why we always recommend working with an experienced car accident attorney after an accident. Attorney Ted Lorenz and our team at Lorenz & Lorenz knows how to handle each step of the process, and he’ll work hard to get you every penny you deserve.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. Get in touch with our team today to get started on your free case review. Just give us a call or fill out our online form, and we’ll handle it from there. We’re on top of it!