After a car accident, there's one big question that needs answering: who's at fault? The answer to this question determines a lot, including whose insurance is going to be paying for the damages and injuries.
In some states, one person is always responsible for 100 percent of the accident. In Texas, however, fault can be shared. This means that even if the accident was "your fault," you might still be able to make an injury claim against the other driver. (In other words, you can ask THEIR insurance company to pay for your damages and injuries).
If You're 100 Percent At-Fault for the Wreck
If you're truly one hundred percent responsible for causing the wreck, then no, you can't make an injury claim against the other driver. However, you CAN still make a claim using your own insurance.
The rule is that whoever mostly caused the accident, that's the insurance you'll use.
Are You Truly At-Fault, Or Only Partially At-Fault?
To know if you're "more" responsible for the accident, you'll need to look into some details. In Texas, if you're more than 50 percent at-fault for a wreck, you can't make a claim against the other driver for compensation. On the other hand, if you didn't "mostly" cause the wreck, you can still file a claim against the other driver to get money for damage to your car and medical bills.
To explain this idea, I'll use an example. Let's say Jim is running late for a work meeting. He's speeding and crashes his car into Frank's truck, sending them both to the hospital with serious injuries. Jim believes he's 100 percent at-fault for the wreck until he learns Frank was texting while driving. Since Frank wasn't paying attention to the road, he contributed to the accident. Jim is no longer 100 percent at-fault, but how "at-fault" is he?
During claim negotiations, Jim will come up with one percentage; the adjuster may come up with another percentage and explain why Jim bear greater responsibility for the accident. Jim and the adjuster will negotiate until they agree.
How Much Compensation Can You Get If The Accident Was Partially Your Fault?
Remember, if the accident was more than 50 percent your fault, you can't get anything. However, if you partly caused a wreck, but the other driver was more negligent, you can still receive compensation from them. The amount of money you can recover is determined as a percent, as we've been discussing. So, if you were 25 percent at-fault and the other person was 75 percent at fault, the other driver has to pay 75 percent of your medical bills and car repairs.
This rule is called "comparative negligence" in Texas.
(Want to learn more about how to make a successful car accident claim in Texas? Download my free guide instantly).
What To Do Next
If you're hurt, get medical care. Don't put it off while you wait for these questions to be sorted out. I wrote a helpful article on why you should always go ahead and use your own health insurance even if you didn't cause the wreck.
Next, contact your own insurance company. They'll help you start the claims process and let you know if there's any chance of recovering compensation from the other driver.
Last, if you think you deserve compensation but the insurance adjusters don't agree, you should contact your local personal injury attorney. An attroney will ensure that you aren't wrongfully charged fault for an accident and that your rights are protected.
To talk to Mark Anderson in Fort Worth, call 817-294-1900. All consultations are free.