Rear-end accidents are frequently assumed to be the fault of the following driver. However, the reality is more complicated than this. Indeed, in some cases, neither party is at fault.
So what happens if you’re involved in a rear-end car wreck, and how does Texas law determine who is at fault for a rear-end wreck? Our guide explains the legal procedure and how an attorney can help you claim compensation.
How Does Texas Law Determine Who is at Fault for a Rear-End Wreck?
The following driver is responsible for leaving a reasonable space between themselves and the car in front. For this reason, many rear-end wrecks are the fault of the following driver.
However, it can also be the fault of the leading vehicle. Sudden braking without good cause can lead to a car crash that is the fault of the driver in front, for example. In other cases, like if an animal runs into the road and causes a sudden slowdown in a high-speed area, perhaps neither party was at fault.
So how is fault determined in a rear-end wreck?
What is Comparative Negligence in Texas Law?
The principle of comparative negligence (also called proportionate responsibility) states that both parties can be considered partly at fault for a rear-end car crash. In these cases, the judge apportions partial blame to each party to determine how much compensation is due.
For example, in a 70/30 split for comparative negligence, the party who was 30% responsible will only receive 70% of the compensation they would have been due if the other party was fully responsible. The other party will receive no compensation at all because Texas law mandates that the other party must be a minimum of 51% responsible for the crash.
This may seem unfair at first glance, but awarding compensation to a mostly at-fault party is against the principles of motor insurance and the legal system. Furthermore, the at-fault party could have caused serious injury or even death through a crash mostly due to their negligence.
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, you could hire any car wreck lawyer, or you can hire a West Houston attorney that knows how to win auto 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 client focused auto accident attorney in Katy, TX, Joe handles all cases personally, and his staff is always available to answer questions.
Who Receives Compensation if Neither Party is at Fault for a Rear-End Car Crash?
If the judge determines that responsibility is split 50/50, neither party will receive compensation from the other’s insurer. As there is no mostly responsible party, it would be unfair to penalize either party. You may still be able to claim with your insurance company if you have full coverage or a policy that includes accidental damage from freak incidents like an animal running into the road.
For this reason, a 50/50 outcome is considered undesirable for most drivers, especially if you’re aware that it wasn’t your fault as someone present at the scene. So how can you prove in court that you were responsible for less than 50% of a car wreck? The first step is to hire a good auto accident attorney who can present your case in court.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Claim Compensation for a Rear-End Car Wreck?
Insurance companies are often happy for a rear-end accident to be considered a 50/50 split, especially if their client doesn’t have coverage for damage from freak accidents. This is because they don’t have to make any payments in this scenario; it’s considered a “truce” between the insurers.
An auto accident attorney will fight to have your case heard and demonstrate in court that you were either fully innocent in the crash or responsible for a low percentage under comparative negligence. Your attorney will listen closely to your evidence, help you prepare for cross-examination, and prove that you are due as much compensation as possible.
This is a stressful process, especially as it feels as if even a “neutral” result is penalizing you. Working with a trustworthy auto accident attorney significantly reduces the stress and saves you time, besides significantly increasing the chances of a payout.
If You or a Loved One Have Been Injured in a Car Wreck in Texas, Call Auto Accident Attorney Joe Stephens Now
So how does Texas law determine who is at fault for a rear-end wreck? Without expert help, it allows the insurance companies to dictate the process and save themselves money that should be paid out to you. If you’ve been involved in a rear-end wreck, contact the Joe Stephens law firm today for top-quality legal representation.
The Stephens Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers handles auto accident lawsuits across Texas, including these Houston cities.