Accidents happen. The aftermath can be hazy and overwhelming. In some instances, you are not at fault and can seek compensation for damages.
But what if you caused the accident?
A glance at a cell phone, speeding, or distracted driving can lead to a stressful and guilt-filled recovery process. On top of that, you may face legal repercussions. Should you get a lawyer for a car accident that was your fault?
Yes, an attorney can help even if the accident is your fault. Our team of legal experts will explain how below.
When Would I Need a Lawyer for a Car Wreck That I Caused?
Why would you need an attorney if you are at fault for a car wreck? Well, even if you are at fault, your rights and privileges do not extinguish. There are many benefits to having an attorney, including expert evaluation of your options.
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, you could hire any car wreck attorney near you, or you can hire a West Houston law firm that specializes in automobile injury cases. Joe Stephens has been defending injury victims in Texas for over 3 decades from negligent individuals, companies, and greedy insurance companies. As a top rated vehicle crash law firm in Katy, TX, Joe handles all cases personally, and his staff is always available to answer questions.
Here are some examples of how a lawyers knowledge of Texas law can help you after an accident.
In some cases, you may only be partially at fault. Texas follows an modified comparative fault approach which allows for recovery even if the fault is split. Texas places fiscal responsibility on the party that is more at fault. It is a 51% approach, which means that the party liable for 51% or more of the damage is liable for the whole accident.
You cannot recover if you are 51% or more at fault. So, if there is a chance you are only partially at fault, you will need the help of an attorney to prove the fault is split.
If you are partially at fault, the insurance company will reduce your recovery amount. This reduction is usually based on the percentage of fault. For example, if you were 30% at fault with $10,000 in losses, your recovery may max out at $7,000.
The answer of fault will be answered by several different parties. The insurance company will send an adjuster to examine evidence and damage. They will consider the police report and various statements to assign liability. If the case goes to court, a jury could be the one making the call for proportionate liability.
Proportionate liability is very important. It can help a negligent driver but still deserving of some financial recovery after a crash. A lawyer is an advocate who can help determine how a fault determination applies to your situation and then help with recovery.
What To Do After an Accident
Even if you’re the at-fault driver, you can help your case by knowing what to do immediately after the accident.
First off, do not leave the scene. You may be tempted to leave instead of facing possible citations or changes, but this can result in serious charges instead.
While waiting for the police to arrive, avoid some common pitfalls. For example, do not show extreme emotion, admit guilt, or display anger. You should avoid:
- Talking about where to place the blame
- Discussing what you were doing before the crash
- Asking the other party questions to determine if they are at fault
- Apologize or make a statement to indicate you were at fault
Instead, stay calm. Address injuries and provide basic information, like insurance coverage and driver’s licenses. When the police arrive, provide them with basic statements and avoid admitting fault. Your instinct may be to profusely apologize, but you may not yet know what you are apologizing for. Anything you say now will be used against you later on.
If you are physically capable, collect evidence that can be used to indicate fault later on. You should collect basic information like:
- Names and Contact Information of Witnesses, Including if Anyone Caught Video Evidence
- Names and Contact Information of Anyone Involved in the Accident
- Look in the Area for Anything That Could Have Captured Footage (Doorbell cameras, dash cams, traffic light cameras, surveillance cameras, etc.)
- Take Pictures, Including Debris, Damages, Road Conditions, and Other Factors
Finally, notify your insurance company of what happened. This might be a hard call, but a necessary one.
If You Were Injured in a Car Wreck Call West Houston Injury Attorney Joe Stephens Now
A car wreck attorney is not just for the victims of a crash. Even if you are at fault, you still have rights. Contact auto accident attorney Joe Stephens if you have been injured in a car accident.
The Stephens Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers handles auto accident lawsuits across Texas, including these Houston cities.