Car accidents happen every day. According to 2019 data from the Texas Department of Transportation, a person was killed in a vehicle crash every two and a half hours, and someone was injured in an accident every two minutes that year.
Whether a crash is severe and causes major injury or is minor and results only in bumps and bruises, there are concrete actions that drivers should take immediately after and in the weeks following the accident. Regardless of who was at fault, these protocols are in place to protect everyone involved and to help streamline the settlement and legal processes involved, if any.
What To Do After a Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault
After a car crash, regardless of severity, the following steps are essential and might even be legally required. These steps are in place for your protection, and they will help your case if there is any dispute regarding who was at fault.
- Report the accident immediately. Regardless of the severity of the accident, immediately report the accident to authorities. This creates a documented police account of the accident and can help support your claim. Under Texas Transportation Code section 550.026, drivers of vehicles involved in accidents must immediately report the incident to the local police department or sheriff’s office if there are injuries or more than $1,000 worth of damage.
- Write down all relevant information. Document all the details of the accident immediately. Include the time, your recollection of events, the contact information of involved parties, their insurance information, and any other relevant items.
- Document the accident with photos, videos, and witness accounts. Any and all information you have regarding the accident can serve as evidence later on and help support your case. Take photos and videos of the involved vehicles, the scene, and the surrounding area if possible. Also, be sure to document all witness accounts and get their contact information for a later follow-up.
- Contact your insurance provider. Even if the accident was not your fault, it will be bad for your case if you don’t alert your insurance company in the days following the accident. It’s important to be as transparent about the event as you can.
- Consider contacting an attorney. Not all accidents will become legal cases or complicated settlement agreements, but if yours does, you’ll need the support of a reputable attorney. An experienced legal team can also help determine whether or not to pursue legal action. Many victims find that a car accident lawyer can help guide them through the process and help them optimize their compensation amount.
Fault Laws in Texas
Regardless of who is to blame for the accident, the steps above are critically important — especially in Texas, where laws regarding fault are key aspects of determining who receives damages.
Texas follows the “modified comparative fault” rule when it comes to car accidents. This means that drivers who are more than 50 percent responsible for the crash will not receive any compensation. Drivers who are less than 50 percent responsible will receive damages based on the percentage equal to their level of fault in the accident.
For example, if you were determined to receive $100,000 for your damages but you were deemed 30 percent responsible. In Texas, you would only receive 70 percent of the damages awarded, or $70,000. This differs from many other states, which typically follow the “pure comparative fault” rule.
This demonstrates just how important it is to prove fault in Texas. Claims adjusters as well as juries will make choices regarding your case based on the evidence available for the accident. By taking the steps listed here, you can help support your case and accurately prove your level of fault. Seeking the help of a personal injury attorney can be a helpful tool in this regard.
Johnson Garcia Law Can Help
Proving you were not responsible for your accident will be key in optimizing the value of your damages. Victims beholden to modified comparative fault laws should be especially vigilant about proving their level of fault.
Johnson Garcia law believes in helping victims recover the damages they’re entitled to following a car accident. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in personal injury law, giving us the keen perspective needed to help determine whether to take your case to court or not. Our legal experience helps us to make effective arguments before the judge or jury in your case if taking your case to court is deemed necessary.
We are dedicated to helping accident victims who were not at fault prove their case and optimize their compensation. We’re so confident in achieving positive results for our clients, we won’t take payment unless we win for you. Contact us today or give us a call at 832-400-6130 to schedule a completely free consultation.