Who is Liable in a Texas Car Accident?
A car accident can have devastating consequences for the injured victim, both physically and emotionally. Add to that mounting medical bills and wage loss and an already stressful situation can quickly become worse. When an accident occurs, it is vital to determine liability in order to hold the negligent party responsible and obtain your rightful compensation.
Texas is a Fault State
Under Texas fault law, the party which causes a car accident and any resulting injuries is responsible for providing financial compensation. To show they can pay for an accident they cause, Texas motorists purchase liability insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage. However, you may have to prove the other driver’s fault before you can be compensated. This is why you should have an experienced Texas car accident lawyer on your side that can investigate your claim, collect evidence, and establish a strong case for compensation.
Proving Fault in Texas
One of the first things your Texas car accident attorney will do is to obtain a copy of the police report, which may contain vital information to support your personal injury claim. However, a police report is only the starting point, and it is rarely enough on its own to establish liability of the at-fault party.
Your attorney should have the skills, network, and resources to build a comprehensive case for compensation by proving the other party’s negligence or recklessness that caused your injuries in a car accident. A seasoned car crash lawyer in Texas will:
Who is at Fault for Your Injuries?
Under Texas negligence laws, the other driver is “at fault” for your car accident and personal injury, if he or she:
In other words, drivers on the road have an obligation to conduct themselves with care and attention. If a failure to do that causes you or your vehicle harm, they’re responsible. Your Texas car accident attorney should be able to do what it takes to prove all three of these elements. If even one cannot be legally proven, your claim for compensation will fall apart.
Car Owner's Liability in Texas
Under Texas law, even if a car owner was not driving, but had negligently entrusted the car to another driver who caused your injuries, you may be able to hold the owner partly or fully liable for damages. Insurance in Texas generally follows the automobile and not the driver.
The key is to prove that the car owner should have reasonably known or was already aware that the driver who borrowed their car was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless. A skilled car accident attorney in Texas will try to maximize your claim by holding all possible negligent parties, including the car owner, liable for your injuries in such cases.
What if the At-Fault Driver is On-The-Job?
If the at-fault driver who caused your injuries was operating the vehicle during the scope and course of their employment (such as a UPS driver) you may be able to hold the employer liable. This is known as “respondeat superior” or vicarious liability in Texas. A knowledgeable car accident attorney in Texas will also examine whether negligent hiring, improper training, failure to properly maintain the vehicle, or poor maintenance of employee driving records contributed to the car accident and your injuries.
When is the Car Manufacturer at Fault for Your Accident?
Sometimes the motorist who injured you in a car accident may have been driving a vehicle with a manufacturing defect or design defect unknown to them. If that defect contributed to your injuries, your Texas car crash lawyer may be able to hold one or more third parties, such as the vehicle manufacturer or an auto repair shop partly or wholly liable for your injuries. Experience in handling auto product liability claims will enable your lawyer to identify and establish claims such as:
Shared Liability for Car Accidents in Texas
Texas is a “modified comparative fault” state with a bar of 51%. What this means is that if you are found to be partly at fault for your own car accident and injuries to the extent of up to 50%, you can recover compensation from the other at-fault party for your injuries and losses in proportion to their share of fault.
However, if it is determined that your own fault was 51% or more, which resulted in your accident and injuries, you will have no case for compensation and will recover nothing from the other party. This is a rather harsh law for personal injury victims in Texas, which makes it absolutely essential to have a competent car crash lawyer on your side.
The defendant and their insurance provider may do everything possible to deny your entire claim by attempting to put 51% of the blame on you. A committed attorney on your team can defeat this aggressive attempt and put forward a robust evidence-backed case for maximum compensation by proving the other party’s fault of at least 50% or more.
How to Recover Damages Once the Liability is Determined?
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes! After receiving the necessary medical treatment, your next step following your car accident should be to speak to Law Offices of Laird & McCloskey in Texas. Our dedicated legal team, led by seasoned personal injury lawyer Steve Laird will leave no stone unturned in pursuing your case for maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. For a free case review, call us today at (817) 754-5848 24/7 or fill out the form on this page.