In Texas car wrecks, someone is always held responsible. The driver who is found to be at fault in a car accident is held liable. This driver is responsible for all injuries, property damages, or even deaths caused by the accident.
Determining which driver should be held liable may be easy in some cases, but it can often be quite difficult. Different parties may identify different drivers as having been negligent, causing confusion and complicating the situation.
After a motor vehicle collision in Texas, it is always best to contact a lawyer. This is especially true in a collision in which there is difficulty determining who is liable. AP Law Group’s car accident lawyers are ready to fight for you.
How do different parties, such as law enforcement, insurance companies, and the court system, determine fault in a car accident? Let’s examine how these entities determine fault in auto accidents.
How the Police Determine Fault in a Car Accident
After someone reports a car accident, the police arrive at the scene. It is their job to interview everyone involved and submit a police report of what has happened.
Police speak with drivers, passengers, and anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Based on these interviews, they then attempt to determine the sequence of events that occurred.
In their report, police officers do their best to identify who is at fault for the incident using their professional judgment. When they have made their determination, they submit this completed report to the police department.
Police Reports Are Not A Verdict
Although police officers attempt to determine fault in a car accident, their report is not a final verdict. Their judgment can be used as evidence in a case, but it alone does not hold the person legally responsible. A police report is nothing more than a third-party summary of events.
Police reports do not approve or reject any damages caused by the car accident. If a police report incorrectly identifies you as being at fault for a car accident, experienced car accident lawyers can help.
The insurance company or the court may consider the police report when making their own deliberations, but they consider other factors as well.
How Insurance Adjusters Determine Fault in Auto Accidents
Following any motor vehicle collisions, those involved will file a claim with their insurance company. There are various types of claims that may be filed, such as personal injury claims or wrongful death claims. Once these claims are filed, the insurance company assigns an insurance adjuster to the case.
Insurance adjusters investigate the wreck to determine fault in a car accident. They research the incident, speak with witnesses, read medical reports, and more. The insurance adjusters then use this information to identify which driver was at fault.
Rules of Negligence
An insurance adjuster may assign a percentage of fault to each driver. Texas courts follow a rule known as ‘modified comparative negligence.’ This rule means that drivers with less than 51% of fault in the accident can typically recoup their losses.
Courts, lawyers, and insurance providers determine fault based on legal definitions of negligence in the location where the accident occurred.
Negligence occurs when a driver does not exercise reasonable caution while driving. For example, if one driver ran a red light and hit another vehicle, the driver who ran the light displayed negligence. A reasonable person would have exercised more caution and not run the red light, and thus the driver is considered negligent under Texas law.
How Courts Determine Fault in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Some people may file lawsuits after their motor vehicle collisions. In your lawsuit, the court determines who was at fault for the incident by questioning the defendant’s negligence.
In a lawsuit, the court considers arguments and evidence presented by both parties’ lawyers. This may involve testimony from the drivers, passengers, witnesses, police officers, or medical personnel.
When determining fault in a car accident lawsuit, the judge or jury examines all of the evidence to determine whether the other driver was negligent. If they rule that the other driver was at fault, that driver must compensate you for injuries and other losses.
Remember that police reports and insurance company determinations do not control the outcome of a court case. While these may be used as supporting evidence, they may also be considered hearsay, in which case they are not allowed as evidence.
Even if the evidence is allowed, skilled car accident lawyers can ensure that they do not determine the outcome of your lawsuit.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
In the aftermath of a car accident, it is important to hire legal representation. Car accident lawyers can have a tremendous impact on your case.
Having the right lawyer on your side can make all the difference when speaking with insurance adjusters. Hiring a lawyer shows the insurance company that you are serious and that you will not be taken advantage of. Even if it never comes to a lawsuit, it is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before discussing any motor vehicle collisions with the insurance company.
Lawyers can also be of great help in a court case. When you file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, it is essential to hire the right lawyer to argue your case.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in a car wreck due to a negligent driver, hire AP Law Group’s car accident lawyers today. With years of experience in the field, we know how to navigate the legal aftermath of a car wreck.
Do you have questions about whether you were negligent during a car accident? Are you worried about being held liable for a wreck that was not your fault? With Houston car accident lawyers, you have someone to provide you with valuable information, advice, and legal assistance.