To assign fault in a Texas car accident, you must determine whose negligent actions caused the accident. In some cases, multiple parties may be at fault. An at-fault driver’s negligence may entitle you to recover the costs of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. However, you must prove the at-fault driver’s negligence to recover compensation.
You do not have to build your case alone. If a car accident lawyer represents you, they will explain how fault is determined in a Texas car accident. They will also explain your right to financial recovery. Many law firms will review the details and merits of your accident at no cost or obligation. They will also explain the steps they take to prove the negligence that led to your accident.
Understanding the Legal Components That Constitute Negligence in a Car Accident
You may be entitled to compensation after a car accident caused by another party’s negligence. The personal injury lawyer who represents you will aim to prove the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: The at-fault driver had a legal obligation to drive safely and obey the rules of the road while sharing it with you and other drivers.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault driver acted in a way that breached their legal duty of care. This could include driving while distracted, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It could also include disregarding traffic signs and signals. An investigation will identify the accident’s exact cause.
- Causation: Your lawyer must prove that the accident would not have occurred if not for the at-fault driver’s negligent actions.
- Damages: The accident must have had financial consequences, i.e., medical bills, property damage, income losses, etc.
Proving these elements is a complex legal process. It can also be a stressful one with many elements and moving parts. The lawyer handling your case will collect evidence that establishes negligence. While they collect and organize your evidence, you can focus on getting better or helping a loved one through their recovery.
Documenting Evidence to Establish Negligence
Evidence supporting your right to financial recovery is crucial to your case. Its weight and substance can steer your case away from a lengthy court case and toward a financial settlement.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will request proof of their policyholder’s financial liability. To bolster and support your case, your legal team will collect the following:
- Official car accident report: This report will describe the investigating officer’s observations, points of impact, and road and weather conditions. It will also provide details on the accident’s causes and contributing factors.
- Medical records and bills: These will describe your injuries, their cause, and their extent. They will also include a written prognosis that describes the medical care and costs you will continue to incur until you reach maximum medical improvement.
These are only two types of evidence that may substantiate your case. Your lawyer may also include lay and expert witness statements, accident scene and injury photos, dashcam and surveillance footage, and accident scene reconstruction in your case file.
Your lawyer will compile your evidence file and submit it to the at-fault party and their insurance and legal representatives in an organized and timely fashion.
How Texas’ Comparative Negligence Law Could Affect Your Compensation
Negligence for a car accident is apportioned in percentages. If the at-fault party alleges that you are partially at fault for the accident, it could affect your compensation based on the degree of fault apportioned to you.
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, any settlement or verdict you recover will be decreased accordingly. For example, a financial award of $500,000 would be reduced to $350,000 if 30% of the fault is attributed to you. If more than half of the fault is assigned to you, the court will bar you from recovering any compensation.
The lawyer representing you will work hard to prove where the fault lies and how it should be accurately apportioned.
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The At-Fault Party’s Negligence May Entitle You to Compensation After a Car Accident
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.001, you may recover economic damages from the at-fault party, such as:
- Past, present, and future accident-related medical bills
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Treatment-related travel expenses
- Property damage or total loss
Your lawyer can typically support the monetary value of your economic damages with bills, receipts, and other accompanying documents.
You may also be entitled to recover non-economic damages. They can be more challenging to document and may include:
- Physical disabling injuries
- Physically disfiguring injuries
- Ongoing pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Your lawyer will explain which documents and evidence substantiate the monetary value of these intangible damages.
Wrongful Death Damages for Surviving Family Members
The sudden loss of a loved one can wreak financial havoc on the surviving family. If you lost a loved one in a Texas car accident, your lawyer may be able to help your family recover wrongful death damages, which can include:
- The costs of your loved one’s funeral and burial
- Your loss of their financial and familial support
- Loss of consortium, companionship, and guidance
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, a family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, must file a wrongful death action within three months of the decedent’s death. If more than three months elapse, the decedent’s estate executor must file the lawsuit. Your lawyer will clarify this distinction, as well as the state’s statute of limitations and its potential impact on your case.
Get Your Free Car Accident Consultation Today
Were you or someone you love injured in a recent car accident? If so, our law firm can explain how fault is determined in a Texas car accident. We can also explain your rights and help you navigate the personal injury system effectively.
We represent injured parties and the surviving families of car accident fatalities. Contact one of our client-focused team members at Loncar Lyon Jenkins to get started on your quest for financial compensation today.