Posted in Car Accident on December 18, 2020
When two cars collide, one of the drivers is most likely liable for damages. Liability refers to responsibility for an accident, especially in a legal sense. Determining liability is often necessary before an injured victim can recover compensation for his or her losses, such as medical bills and property damage. Whether you need to determine liability, and who is to blame for your accident, are questions that might need attention from a car accident lawyer in San Antonio.
Fault Laws in Texas
Fault laws refer to whether a state has a fault or no-fault insurance system. In a fault state, fault for the crash determines who will have to pay for damages. The driver or party most responsible for causing the crash will bear financial liability. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, fault is irrelevant. Regardless of who was at fault, both drivers will seek damages from their own auto insurance companies in a no-fault state.
Texas is a fault state, like most states in the US. Under Texas’ fault law, injured crash survivors must pursue compensation from the party who was at fault for the car accident. Every driver in Texas must carry a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage insurance to pay for these expenses. Before you can receive insurance benefits from someone else’s insurer, however, you may need to prove that driver’s fault.
If the other driver’s insurance company investigates the claim and tries to refute its policyholder’s fault, it may be up to you or your car accident attorney to prove otherwise. Proof of the other driver’s fault could come in the form of eyewitness statements, a police report, photographs and medical records. In some cases, it is not the other driver who ends up being liable for the crash at all. Depending on the circumstances of the car accident, other liable parties may come to light.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Most motor vehicle accidents in Texas trace back to driver error. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drunk drivers caused 961 deaths in 2018, while distracted drivers were responsible for taking at least 403 lives. An at-fault driver will be liable for a motor vehicle accident if he or she was guilty of negligence, carelessness or recklessness that caused the vehicle collision.
A driver is not the only party who can be held liable for a motor vehicle accident in Texas. Liability by law will go to whoever is responsible for the proximate or main cause of the accident. Upon investigation, this could be the manufacturer of a vehicle for a defective part or the city or state government for a road hazard. In other cases, liability could go to a driver’s employer if the driver was at work, such as a trucking company for a truck accident. These are three examples of other liability options in a car accident case.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Am Partly at Fault?
Yes, it is possible to recover compensation if you are partly at fault for a car accident in Texas. Although these rules vary by state, Texas uses a modified comparative negligence law. Under this law, you could still recover at least partial compensation if the courts find you partly to blame for the collision. In a contributory negligence state, on the other hand, even 1% of fault for a car accident would bar you from financial recovery.
The amount of compensation you can recover from the other driver with the comparative negligence defense will depend on your percentage of fault. The courts will reduce your award based on your amount of liability. If you were 25% at fault, for example, you would receive 25% less of your settlement or judgment award. If you are more than halfway responsible for the car accident, however, the Texas courts will reduce your payment to $0. Learn more about how car accident liability works in Texas by contacting an attorney.