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How Is Fault Determined In A Texas Car Accident?

Posted on 12/07/22

Determining fault after a vehicle accident in Texas is absolutely crucial. This is a fault-based state when it comes to vehicle accidents, which means the party who caused the incident will be responsible for paying compensation to injury and property damage victims. Here, we want to discuss how fault is determined after a Texas car accident, and how a Laredo accident lawyer can help. 

Examining the Evidence to Determine Fault

The most important aspect of determining fault after a Texas car accident is evidence. There will be various types of evidence gathered right after the incident occurs and in the days and weeks that follow a crash that will help determine liability.

Some of the main types of evidence used to determine fault include the following:

  • Photograph taken at the scene of the crash
  • Video surveillance from nearby homes, businesses, or dash cams
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Statements from other passengers or drivers involved
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Mobile device records
  • The police report
  • Evidence of traffic citations or criminal charges related to the incident

In some cases, it may not be possible to determine fault based on the evidence gathered. This could be because there is not much evidence involved or because fault could be in dispute between multiple parties. It may be necessary to work with a skilled accident reconstruction expert who can use computer 3D modeling to input the evidence already obtained and help paint a clear picture for insurance carriers and personal injury juries about what likely occurred.

What if There is Shared Fault?

Vehicle accident claims are not always cut and dry, and there may be more than one party responsible for the incident. However, just because a person is partially responsible for causing a crash does not mean they deserve no compensation at all. Speak to an injury attorney in Laredo to learn more. 

Texas operates under a modified comparative negligence system. In this state, the modified comparative negligence doctrine means that individuals who are 51% or more responsible for their own injuries will not be able to recover compensation. However, individuals 50% or less responsible for the incident can still recover compensation, but the total amount they receive will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault. 

For example, suppose an individual comes to a nearly complete stop at a stop sign but then rolls through. If that driver is then T-boned by another driver who was operating at an extremely high rate of speed due to intoxication, there are going to be questions of shared fault. A jury will likely need to hear this case, and for this theoretical example, we do not have the totality of evidence that a jury would have. However, let us suppose that the first driver is found to be 40% responsible for the incident because they failed to come to a complete stop, but the other party was found to be 60% responsible because they were intoxicated and speeding.

If the jury were to award the first driver $1 million for their injuries and property damage, this compensation would be reduced by 40% because that was how much they were found to be responsible for the incident. This individual would receive $600,000 instead of the full amount.