Even a minor fender-bender can result in a mountain of stress. The most stressful factor is determining who is at fault and liable for damages. Sometimes the fault is simple to determine. Maybe someone rear-ended you at a red light—no questions there!
But what if the cause of the collision isn’t clear, and the other driver tries to blame you? How do you dispute fault in a car accident?
If you believe you are not at fault, don’t let yourself be held legally liable. Instead, work with a car accident lawyer to dispute fault in a car accident.
How Is Fault Determined in a Texas Car Accident?
The question of fault can be answered by several entities, such as insurance adjusters from insurance companies or a jury and/or judge if a personal injury lawsuit ensues.
The pattern of car accident claims is typically the same: you report an accident, and both insurance companies will investigate to determine fault.
This determination will stem from collected evidence, like statements from the drivers, witnesses, and passengers. Any photographs of the scene will be subject to review, and an insurance adjuster will look at the damage in person.
Once they have a reasonable belief in the cause, the provider will assign fault. In some cases, fault can fall on both parties.
Comparative Fault State
Texas is a comparative fault state. It means you compare who is more at fault. If a driver is primarily at fault, usually at least 51% or more, they are held financially liable. Victims cannot recover damages if they are 51% or more at fault.
What Are the Steps for Disputing an At-Fault Car Wreck?
If you believe you are not at fault after a car accident, you have options to dispute. So what steps do you need to take to dispute an at-fault car wreck? Follow the recommendations below:
Contact the Insurance Company
The key in a dispute is leaving a paper trail (or email!). So, immediately contact the insurance company in writing and by phone. You want to create a record of disagreement to ensure there is a clear assertion and belief that you are not at fault.
Include specific information about what you are disputing and point to any evidence that supports your assertion. Always keep a copy of these communications for yourself and a copy of the insurance company’s communications. Keep in mind this dispute may be with your insurance company or with the other driver’s insurance provider.
Review a Copy of the Police Accident Report
Insurance adjusters rely heavily on the police report. However, the report can contain incomplete or incorrect information. You have a right to a copy of this report and to amend errors. If easily proven facts, like your insurance carrier, the types of cars involved, or your identifying information, are wrong, you can correct these with proof.
If judgments in the report—like fault—are in dispute, you can write out your version of events. Ideally, it would be best if you did this with the help of a car accident attorney to ensure it provides all necessary information. You can attach this dispute to the police report as an addendum.
Fight Any Citations or Tickets in Court
If the officer makes a mistake, you want to fight the traffic ticket and keep it off your record. Sometimes you can have it dismissed in exchange for completing a defensive driving course. Fighting a traffic ticket can help you in your fight against fault determination.
You can appeal a fault determination, and then a third-party mediator will hear both sides. Based on the facts, fault determination can change. The worst-case scenario will escalate to a civil lawsuit against the insurance company.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Texas
Texas is a large state with many highways and one reportable crash occurring every 1 minute and 7 seconds in 2020. The car accident laws are complex, especially for those unfamiliar with the law. It can feel like the deck is stacked against you, especially if you take on massive insurance companies with time and resources at their disposal.
There is no need to fight this battle alone! A car accident attorney can help you:
- Collect Evidence
- Meet Important Deadlines
- Settle Fault Disputes
- Negotiate Settlement
In addition, Texas attorneys can handle the legal technicalities while you focus on bouncing back from a traumatic event.
If You or a Loved One Have Been Injured in a Car Wreck in Texas, Call Auto Accident Attorney Joe Stephens Now.
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, you could hire any car wreck lawyer in Katy, or you can hire a West Houston law firm that specializes in auto crash cases. Joe Stephens has been defending injury victims in Texas for over 3 decades from negligent individuals, companies, and greedy insurance companies. As a client focused auto lawyer in Katy, Joe handles all cases personally, and his staff is always available to answer questions.
Every car crash is different, and so are the events that follow. You need a personalized strategy for success, which is where we come in—call Joe Stephens the second you get in a car accident.
The Stephens Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers handles auto accident lawsuits across Texas, including these Houston cities.