Being involved in an automobile accident can be stressful. Even if you are not seriously injured, you must deal with property damage, rental vehicles, and insurance adjusters.
When you are the person being blamed for causing the accident, the matter takes on another level of stress and anxiety. The other driver and accident victims could sue you.
Texas is an at-fault state for auto accident claims. Before you can recover any money for injuries, economic losses, or other damages caused by a car crash, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident. The requirement to prove fault before you can recover compensation for a traffic accident includes all types of motor vehicle accidents. It applies to accidents involving:
- Commercial vehicles
- Government vehicles
- Mass transit vehicles
- Rideshare vehicles
If you are being blamed for causing a car accident, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. You could face substantial financial liability if a jury finds that you are the negligent party that caused the collision.
Doesn’t Car Insurance Cover Accident Claims?
Texas requires drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance coverage for car wrecks. When you cause a car accident, the accident victims file a claim with your insurance provider.
The insurance company investigates the claim. If the company determines you caused the accident, it may negotiate a settlement with the accident victim. However, there are two potential problems you could face.
First, you might not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay the claim. The minimum amount of liability car insurance you must purchase is $30,000. You can purchase additional liability insurance coverage, but many drivers have the minimum coverage amount to save money.
Car accidents involving minor injuries can have damages that exceed $30,000. A few weeks of missed work, physical therapy, and “pain and suffering” damages can add up quickly. Any damages that exceed the terms of your insurance policy could be your responsibility.
Second, your insurance company might decide not to settle the accident claim. You cannot force your car insurance company to pay an injury claim. If the insurance company denies the claim or the victim refuses to accept a settlement offer, you could be named in a personal injury lawsuit.
Even though you have car insurance, the lawsuit is filed against you. Insurance companies generally hire attorneys to defend car accident lawsuits involving their insured. However, you might need to hire an attorney to ensure that your best interests are protected.
Being Unfamiliar With Laws and Insurance Company Tactics Could Be a Problem
Most individuals are not familiar with personal injury laws, rules of evidence, court procedures, and other matters related to a personal injury case. If you have never been involved in an accident, there is no reason for you to be familiar with the claims process and laws. However, a lack of knowledge could be costly if you decide to represent yourself.
You may also not be aware of the tactics used by insurance companies to avoid liability for claims. Blaming the victim is a common tactic used by insurance companies to avoid liability for claims.
Insurance companies use the comparative fault laws in Texas to shift the blame and reduce their liability for claims. By claiming you were partially at fault for the cause of the car accident, the insurance claims adjuster can reduce the value of your claim. The amount of money you can receive as compensation for damages is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing the crash.
For example, a jury accepts the insurance company’s allegations that you were speeding at the time of the accident. The jury decides the fact that you were speeding contributed to the cause of the wreck by 30 percent. Any money the jury awards you for damages is reduced by 30 percent.
If the jury finds that you are 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of the car accident, you cannot recover any money for your injuries and damages.
A personal injury lawyer protects you from false allegations of contributory negligence and bad faith insurance practices. The attorney also understands the laws governing personal injury claims and how to use those laws to your advantage.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me if I Am Blamed for a Car Accident?
When you retain an attorney to represent you in a car accident case, your law firm handles all communications with the insurance company and other parties regarding the claim.
You do not need to worry about saying something wrong to an insurance adjuster or investigator that could hurt your case.
Your lawyer provides support, legal advice, and guidance to help you avoid making errors that could hurt your case.
Your personal injury attorney investigates the cause of the automobile accident to determine fault and liability.
Some of the steps that your attorney may take during the investigation include, but are not limited to:
- Gathering and analyzing evidence from the accident scene
- Searching for videos of the accident, such as videos from surveillance cameras or traffic cameras
- Identifying and interviewing eyewitnesses
- Discussing your accident injuries with your physicians and obtaining copies of your medical records
- Obtaining copies of accident reports and police reports
- Requesting data collected by vehicle systems, such as a truck’s black box or a GPS system
- Monitoring deadlines, including the statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits
- Working with experts to investigate the crash and gather evidence, including engineers and accident reconstructionists
Your lawyer may take other steps to investigate the case, depending on the facts and circumstances involved in your case. An insurance company has a team of professionals protecting its best interest. The professionals have substantial resources and experience.
Hiring a personal injury attorney ensures that you have someone working on your behalf to protect your best interest. An attorney has the resources and skills to conduct a thorough accident investigation. Taking on a large insurance company alone could result in financial losses and other adverse consequences.
Contact Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Protect yourself if you are blamed for causing a car accident by seeking legal advice immediately. It could be a tactic by the insurance company to avoid paying full value for your claim. It could be a mistake based on a police officer’s incorrect statement of fault on a police report.
If you are unsure whether you need to hire a lawyer for a car accident case, you can talk to one of our lawyers free of charge. We do not charge for a consultation. You learn about your legal rights and receive an honest assessment of your case from an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer.