At least one driver is responsible for breaking traffic rules or making reckless decisions when a collision occurs. When this happens, there must be an investigation, usually by a claims adjuster or an accident attorney, to determine which driver(s) is likely to have caused the crash. A driver whose actions are deemed to have led to the accident is usually considered at fault. However, when can they be considered completely at fault?
This guide will help you understand how often someone may be considered at fault for an accident and how fault is determined in Texas. Read on to learn more.
How is Fault Determined in Texas?
Determining fault can be a straightforward or very complicated process. In Texas, the fault for an accident is determined based on evidence gathered and through expert reports. This often involves a thorough collision review, mainly by insurance adjusters. They review witness reports, your accident account, police reports, and the extent of vehicle damage.
Every insurance adjuster wants to minimize the payout to accident victims to protect their profits. This may make them assign complete fault to you, even when you were only partially at fault. As such, it is essential that you seek the help of an experienced accident attorney who can protect your rights and ensure you are not put completely at fault for the accident.
What Happens if You are Completely at Fault for an Accident?
If it is clear-cut that you are wholly at fault for the accident, your insurance company will be responsible for the medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering of the other party up to the limits of your policy. Now, if the amount needed for compensation is insufficient, you must pay the remaining amount out of pocket. Consequently, you may notice a rise in your insurance rates, or the insurance company may decide to discontinue the coverage.
How Often Can You Be Completely at Fault for an Accident?
Following an accident, three degrees of fault can be determined. You may entirely be without fault, 100% at fault, or you may share the blame with the other party. The degree of fault often depends on the evidence available and your accident’s specific circumstances.
Some instances where you may be completely at fault include the following:
- Rear-end collisions. In most cases, if you rear-end another car, you are almost always solely at fault for the accident.
- DUI crashes. The driver found to have been intoxicated, whether by drugs or alcohol, is generally completely at fault for the accident, for they did not exercise the established duty of care.
- Left-turn accidents. If you turn left immediately in front of an oncoming vehicle, you (the left-turning driver) are almost always at fault for failing to yield.
- Inappropriate U-turn. Say you missed the proper U-turn a few miles back and decide to do a U-turn since there is no vehicle in the opposite direction or your rear-view mirror. Then, a car approaches from the side, not realizing you are doing a U-turn, and you do not notice them either, and you hit that vehicle. You are 100% at fault for the accident.
However, on many occasions, multiple parties are often found at fault for an accident, making you share the blame. For instance, where the evidence points to cases of distracted driving, tailgating, weather-related or lane-changing accidents, the parties involved often share the blame. Cases in which multiple parties are to blame for an accident can be complicated, so seeking legal help is essential.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Texas is an at-fault state and follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This law allows anyone determined to hold less than 51% of the fault for an accident to pursue compensation for their losses.
For example, if you are 20% to blame, your compensation will be reduced by 20%. So, if you are awarded $80,000 for the accident in which you are 20% to blame, you would receive $64,000. The percentage of fault assigned to you can significantly affect your compensation. Therefore, hiring an experienced accident attorney to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve is best.
Our El Paso, Texas, Personal Injury Lawyer is Here to Help
If you have been involved in an accident where you are accused of being completely at fault, you need to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. They can guide you throughout the entire process and negotiate on your behalf. Our qualified El Paso, Texas, accident lawyers at the Ruhmann Law Firm can fight for you and help you recover just and fair compensation. Contact us at 915-910-5600 or online to schedule a free consultation today.