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How do I determine fault in a car accident?

How do I determine fault in a car accident
Auto accidents happen every day throughout Texas. The injuries sustained in these motor vehicle collisions can be life-changing, requiring ongoing medical treatment for several months or even years. In order to recover compensation for costly medical care and other accident-related damages, the injured party must prove the other driver was at fault. In some cases, this can be pretty straightforward, but in others, the injured party should consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who can conduct an in-depth accident investigation to uncover the truth. 

How to Prove Fault in Auto Accident Cases

Working with a car lawyer will give your case the best chance of success. An attorney has the resources, skills, and experience needed to investigate an auto accident and identify all liable parties.

To determine fault, an attorney will:

Gather and Analyze Evidence

An attorney will gather vital evidence that can help determine which party was at fault.

Evidence can include:

  • Photos of the accident scene, injuries, vehicle damage
  • Video footage, if available
  • Phone records
  • Medical records
  • Witness testimony
  • Medical bills
  • Pay stubs
  • Police report/accident report
  • Expert testimony

Consulting with Experts

A car accident attorney will often consult with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the collision to determine how the accident occurred, why, and which party was at fault.

Obtain a Copy of the Police Report

Once a police report has been completed, your attorney can obtain a copy. This report will contain important accident details, such as:

  • A diagram of the crash site
  • Any citations issued or arrests made
  • Witness statements
  • Statements made by drivers and passengers
  • The responding law enforcement officer’s opinion regarding which party they believe was responsible for the crash

Additionally, if the reporting law enforcement officers believe that one of the motorists violated the law, they will issue a citation or even arrest the driver.

For example, if one of the drivers appeared to be intoxicated, the police officer could administer sobriety tests, blood tests, or breath tests to obtain evidence that the driver was operating their vehicle under the influence. This information can significantly strengthen the other driver’s case.

Both an attorney and an insurance adjuster will pay close attention to the contents of an accident report when determining liability. An accident report serves as an unbiased account of the accident and can help prove which party was responsible for the crash.

What is the 51% Bar Rule?

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. Under this rule, accident victims can recover compensation for their medical bills and other losses, even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, if they are 51% at fault or more for the collision, they will be unable to recover any compensation for their losses. If they are 50% or less at fault, they can still recover damages, but their damages will be reduced based on the assigned percentage of fault.

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

A car accident lawyer will use the evidence they have gathered, including the police report, to negotiate a fair settlement with the other driver’s insurance provider. During this time, the claims adjuster will try to pay out as little as possible. It will be up to your attorney to negotiate a fair settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf. An attorney will only file a lawsuit if they believe you will stand a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve in court. During this time, they will continue to negotiate with the insurance company. Fortunately, the majority of these cases are settled out of court. An insurance company always wants to avoid a long and costly trial.

Author

Ben Dominguez

Founder

Ben Dominguez, a seasoned attorney based in Houston, offers exceptional legal guidance and representation. With 27 years of experience, Ben has a strong track record of litigating high-profile cases, securing damages for clients, and achieving not-guilty verdicts in serious criminal charges. His expertise extends beyond the courtroom; he has spoken before Texas legislative committees, contributed to political campaigns, and engaged with national media. Located a block from the Museum of Fine Arts, his law firm embodies a commitment to justice, demonstrating a work ethic and personalized approach that are key to successful legal outcomes. Ben’s dedication to respect and understanding for all clients sets him apart in the legal field.  Learn More

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If you were involved in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the personal injury lawyers at the Ben Dominguez Law Firm are here to help.

Let our legal team handle every aspect of your case, so you can focus on what matters most, your health and moving on with your life. Contact us today to learn more.