After a vehicle accident occurs in Texas, there are various steps involved in determining liability. In order for any party involved to recover compensation for injuries or property damage, evidence must be gathered to determine who caused the incident. In some cases, fault is straightforward, but there are cases where instances of shared fault complicate the process. A Houston car accident lawyer can help determine who may be at fault, particularly after a complex collision.
Determining Fault After a Texas Accident – You Need Evidence
Fault is determined after an accident by examining every bit of evidence possible. Sometimes, this evidence gets gathered at the scene of the incident, but there may be additional types of evidence an attorney can gather at a later date. At the scene of an accident, some of the most common types of evidence available include:
Photographs of any vehicle damage, injuries, debris, and causes of the collision
Possible video surveillance footage from nearby cameras
Statements from any eyewitnesses to the incident
The police report
Sometimes, fault for an incident is relatively clear, but that may not always be the case. There may be situations where an accident reconstruction expert is needed to examine the available evidence, conduct a more thorough investigation, and use computer models to recreate the scene. An attorney may need to obtain vehicle black box data or mobile device data, depending on the nature of the crash and the need for additional evidence.
Evidence determines liability. Evidence is supposed to help individuals uncover negligent actions so that fault can be assigned properly. Ultimately, the goal of an investigation is to determine which party or parties breached their duty of care and caused injuries or property damage.
What if More Than One Person Is At Fault?
There are certainly situations where more than one party could be responsible for a car accident in Texas. The reality is that, even though incidents may commence with the negligent actions of one party, other drivers could also make mistakes at the same time that lead to them sharing the blame.
Texas handles situations of shared fault with a “modified comparative negligence” system. This type of system is similar to the method used in other states and allows individuals to recover compensation if they are 50% or less responsible for causing their own injuries. Any person 51% or more at fault for an accident is ineligible to recover compensation.
Those who are 50% or less responsible for causing a collision can recover compensation, though the total amount they receive will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault for the incident. For example, if an individual sustains $100,000 worth of damages as a result of a T-bone collision caused by another driver, but a jury determines that the individual was 20% responsible for the incident, the victim would receive $80,000 instead of the complete $100,000 to account for their level of fault.
Shared fault matters, even if you, as the accident victim, did not share any blame for the incident. If more than one party does share blame, this can complicate the compensation recovery process if you sustained injuries or property damage. We strongly encourage you to work with an attorney who can help you deal with the insurance carriers if a shared fault scenario arises.