After a car accident, you might be wondering how to move forward with your case. One of the first things you need to know is who is at fault for the accident. This may seem straightforward, but there are many legal complexities that can make this more difficult than you would think. Therefore, it helps to hire a car accident lawyer to help you determine legal fault for your car accident.
Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case?
There are many reasons to hire a car accident lawyer after a crash. Your lawyer is your legal guidance throughout the process, from collecting evidence to sending a demand letter to the at-fault driver. Your attorney can help you with a wide range of things as you fight for compensation, including:
- Keeping documentation of damages
- Gathering evidence of fault
- Determining the value of your case
- Filing paperwork on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver
One important way your attorney can help is helping you determine who was at fault for the accident and helping you prove their negligence. This is a necessary step in getting compensation for your damages and injuries after a car crash.
How Your Car Accident Lawyer Helps You Determine Fault for the Accident
One of the very first steps in a car accident claim is identifying the party who is at fault for your car accident. It’s very rare for there to be no one at fault for a car accident. These are typically called Acts of God cases and are incredibly rare. Instead, typically someone is to blame for causing an accident.
To understand fault, we first need to break it down. Fault is another way to say negligence. For a party to be negligent, they need to have an expected duty of care, have breached that duty of care, and caused your damages and injuries.
In a car accident case, the duty of care for the at-fault driver is to drive safely, which means following all the traffic laws and also driving safely according to weather and traffic conditions. So, even if someone is going the speed limit, they could be breaching their duty of care by going too fast for the current weather conditions, such as if the roads are slick from heavy rainfall. Your auto accident lawyer can help you explore different parties who may be at fault for your specific case.
Your Auto Accident Lawyer Offers Legal Knowledge About Fault and Personal Injury Law
One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer for your car accident case is that they have a lot of knowledge about personal injury law. This means your car accident lawyer can provide you with counsel for your case. For instance, figuring out who was at fault for your accident. In many cases, it’s the other driver. However, sometimes there are multiple parties at fault for your accident, some of whom weren’t even on the road that day. One example is a car parts manufacturer whose faulty brakes caused the other driver to crash into you. Having a professional on your side can help you explore many different options for your case to help you get maximum compensation.
Also, your lawyer can provide advice on how to proceed with your claim. For instance, in many cases it does no good for your case for you to personally speak to the insurance adjuster. In some cases, it may even be harmful. That is because insurance adjusters are well-versed in personal injury law. Some may try to use this to their advantage to get out of paying you a fair settlement after a car accident. Your attorney can advise you on these matters to help you avoid issues with your case.
Your Car Accident Lawyer can Help You Gather Evidence
Another way your car accident lawyer can help with your case is gathering evidence. For every case, you need to have evidence of the other party’s fault. However, many people don’t know what type of evidence is needed or how to obtain it. Would you know how to subpoena phone records for a driver you believe was texting while driving and caused your accident? How about getting copies of footage from nearby traffic cameras? An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you with all of these and more to build your case against the at-fault driver.
Fault for Car Accident Cases in Texas: Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
If you’re seeking compensation after a car accident, it’s essential to understand how the laws will affect your case. In Texas, we have what is called modified comparative negligence. These laws affect who can seek compensation after a car accident. For your Houston car accident, it’s important to look at everyone who may share some fault in the accident, including yourself. There are a few reasons for this. First, if you’re more than 50% at fault for the accident, you likely can’t receive compensation for your damages and injuries. Also, if you share even some fault, the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced.
Here’s a quick example:
Let’s say you were driving down the road going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit when another car drifted into your lane and caused a head on collision. The car accident totaled your car and also left you with a head and spine injury. In total, your accident expenses for your car, your medical care, and the amount of pain and suffering you experienced amount to $100,000. You send a demand letter for this amount to the at-fault party.
However, an investigation shows that if you hadn’t been speeding, you may have been able to slow down and either avoid the accident or reduce the severity of the accident. Therefore, the law finds you’re 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault for the accident. In most cases, this means you can only recoup 80% of your damages, so you receive $80,000 from the at-fault party. This is how Texas modified comparative negligence laws work.
Ask Your Car Accident Lawyer How Modified Comparative Negligence Affects Your Case
Because of these car accident laws in Texas, it’s important to talk to your car accident lawyer about whether you may be partially at-fault for the accident. This can have a large impact on your case. Your lawyer can review the evidence and help you get a realistic picture of your case so you can create a strategy for how to move forward.
Who Do You Need to Prove Fault To?
Now you know a little about how and why your personal injury lawyer helps you prove fault in your case, you might wonder who needs this information. Generally speaking, there are two ways to seek compensation after a car accident: through an insurance claim or through a lawsuit. In either situation, you will need to prove fault to win your case.
When you choose the insurance claim route, then your attorney will present the evidence to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster then looks at the evidence to determine how much they are willing to settle for. However, keep in mind that adjusters try to pay as little as possible for claims to keep profits high, even when their covered driver is at fault for the accident. Your car accident lawyer may need to negotiate firmly and advocate for you to receive a fair settlement.
Most car accident cases are settled out of court, but sometimes they do go to trial. In this case, your attorney will need to prove fault for the accident to a jury. The jury generally determines who is at fault and how much to award to the victim.
Maida Law Firm: Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
When you need experienced legal services for a personal injury case, our team at Maida Law Firm is here for you. We have helped countless clients recover maximum compensation after car and truck accidents, as well as other types of personal injury claims. Get in touch today for a free case evaluation with our legal professionals.