Automobile accidents can be traumatic experiences for drivers and passengers alike. In many cases, unfortunately, the stress does not end after the collision. Dealing with insurance companies and the legal repercussions of these events can take a real toll on nerves already frayed due to injuries and repair concerns. Texas is an at-fault auto accident state. Understanding what this means for your particular case can help you navigate the claims process more effectively and can ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled. A qualified Houston auto accident lawyer can provide you with added guidance in protecting your legal rights after a car crash in Texas. No-Fault vs. At-Fault States Only 12 U.S. states currently adhere to no-fault accident policies. Texas is not one of these states and continues to assign responsibility to the parties adjudged to be at fault for causing the accident. Fault can be legally assigned to one party only or allocated between multiple parties to the accident. In the latter case, the total percentage of responsibility must add up to 100 percent. It is important to note that at-fault and no-fault regulations apply only to medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages; vehicle damages are still the responsibility of the at-fault driver even in states with no-fault insurance provisions. Determining Fault in a Texas Auto Accident Fault is determined in a number of ways:
- By examining the evidence available at the scene of the crash
- By considering eyewitness accounts of the accident, including those from all parties involved
- By examining the police report regarding the accident and noting any traffic violations cited by these public safety officials
- By reconstructing the accident with the help of trained professionals to determine who was at fault
Texas courts operate under a legal regulation called modified comparative negligence. This prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages from another driver’s insurance company if they are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. In practical terms, this ensures that at-fault drivers are held financially responsible for their negligence on Texas roads without penalizing drivers who are less than 50 percent at fault for these unfortunate incidents. The Role of the Houston Car Accident Lawyer Houston accident lawyers can provide real help for their clients in determining who was at fault in a particular accident. By enlisting the help of accident reconstruction experts and collecting evidence regarding the extent of injuries and damages suffered by their clients, these legal professionals can offer clear and persuasive arguments for insurance adjusters and jury members regarding the likely events leading up to an accident and the degree of blame assignable to each party. An experienced personal injury attorney can often negotiate a fair settlement with insurance adjusters and can represent their clients in court to ensure the highest possible award for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost earnings potential. A Word about 18-Wheeler Accidents Semi-trailer trucks are common sights on Texas streets and highways. These large trucks present special risks for Houston drivers and constitute a special case when determining fault in an accident. Truck drivers are often on the road for extended periods of time and can become fatigued or distracted. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident involving a large commercial truck, it is essential to consult with a qualified 18-wheeler accident attorney to determine if driver negligence or fatigue was a contributing factor in the crash. This can ensure the highest possible settlement or award for your claim and the most appropriate compensation for your injuries or losses in these catastrophic accidents. Retaining the counsel of an experienced Houston personal injury attorney can ensure that your rights are protected in negotiations with your insurance company or in the courtroom setting. By working with these dedicated legal professionals, you can even the playing field when managing your auto accident claim.