What Happens When You Are at Fault for a Car Accident?
Like most Texans, you probably know that if you get into an auto collision for which another motorist is responsible, you can claim compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. But what happens when you are at fault for a car accident? The skilled personal injury lawyers at Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC, are here to tell you everything you need to know.
What to Do If You Think You Caused a Car Crash in Texas
Getting into an auto accident can be a scary experience – especially if you believe you caused it. No matter how nervous you are, though, you should try to keep your wits about you as best you can. The steps you take in the minutes and hours immediately following the crash can have a substantial impact on your future.
So, what should you do if you think you caused an accident in Texas? The team at Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC, recommends that you:
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
It is never advisable to leave the scene of a car accident that you believe you may have caused. Doing so could cause the police to arrest you on a hit and run charge – a crime that could land you in jail.
Instead of leaving, stay on the scene and participate in the post-accident process to the best of your abilities.
Call for an Ambulance
In the immediate aftermath of an auto accident in the state of Texas, you ought to check yourself and other involved parties for signs of injuries. If someone requires medical attention, call 911 as quickly as you can.
The sooner an ambulance arrives, the better the injured person’s outcome is likely to be.
Call the Police
As soon as the individuals who were involved in the accident have gotten the medical attention they need, you must next contact law enforcement. They will send an officer to your location to compose a police report and determine fault for the crash.
As part of their investigation, the police may ask you to provide them with a brief statement. In doing so, you should try to stick to facts like:
- Where the accident happened
- When the collision occurred, and
- Who owns the vehicle you are driving
Under no circumstances should you admit fault for the collision or provide them with information about what you were doing in the moments leading up to the crash.
Report the Accident to Your Auto Insurance Company
When you finish speaking to the police, your next phone call should be to your auto insurance company. You have to let them know that you were in an accident, even if the authorities have not yet determined that you were to blame for the collision.
Speaking to your insurance company is much like talking to the police. Try to stick to the facts and avoid giving them any details they can potentially use against you if you later file a claim for compensation.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Before you leave the scene of your accident, it is always advisable to take a minute to exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the collision.
The main details you will need to swap include:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your phone number, and
- Your insurance coverage
This information will help you or your representatives to get in touch with each other in the future, if necessary.
Gather Evidence from the Scene of the Crash
If you suspect that you are at-fault in a car accident, it is always smart to spend some time gathering evidence from the scene that may potentially absolve you of some blame.
A brief list of materials you should aim to collect would include:
- Photographs of the damaged vehicles
- Videos of the accident scene, and
- Contact information for any witnesses
The more evidence you can gather, the more likely it is that you will locate something that proves the other driver holds a portion of the blame.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
The final thing you must do before you wrap up your post-crash activities is to reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. They will help you by:
- Conducting an independent investigation into your car crash
- Walking you through the legal options that are available to you
- Answering any questions you might have about the legal process
- Providing you with an overview of the Texas legal system
- Filling in and filing documents with the court on your behalf
- Communicating with your insurance company for you
- Presenting evidence and argue on your behalf at trial, if necessary
The legal team at Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC, has been helping Houston residents deal with the aftermath of their car accidents for many years. To have us do the same for you, all you need to do is give us a call.
How Your Car Insurance Company Will Handle the Accident
Texas is one of the fault states when it comes to auto accidents. As such, if the police name you as the at-fault driver in your crash, the other party will be able to file an insurance claim under your policy.
Once they look into the accident, your insurance company should pay the other party compensation up to the limits in your policy. If the other driver requires more funds, you may need to delve into your own bank account.
When the dust settles on the claim, you are likely to notice an increase in your insurance rates. You might even receive a letter from your insurance company telling you that they no longer wish to cover you.
What Happens If You Are Only Partially to Blame for Your Crash?
If you hold all of the blame for an auto accident, the other party can take legal action against you to help them pay for their medical bills. But what happens if you are only partially at-fault for the crash?
The state of Texas has a modified comparative negligence law that gives anyone who holds less than 51 percent of the responsibility for a collision the right to pursue compensation. So, if you are only 25 percent to blame for the accident, you might be able to recover damages.
Unfortunately, the fact that you hold a portion of the fault will prevent you from recovering your full compensatory award. Texas law stipulates that a judge must reduce payouts in line with responsibility before releasing any funds.
So, if a jury awarded you $100,000 for the accident in which you held 25 percent of the blame, you would receive $75,000.
The Lone Star State’s comparative fault laws can be tricky to understand. If you need any additional information, please feel free to contact our law firm at any time.
What Happens When You Are at Fault for a Car Accident? Contact Our Law Firm for More Information
“What happens when you are at fault for a car accident?” The attorneys at Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC, hope that we have given you all the info you need to know about this topic. However, if you still have questions, please give us a call to set up a free consultation at our law office in Houston.