If you get into a car accident in Texas, you will hear the term liability when going through the insurance process or a personal injury lawsuit. In legalese, liability means legal and financial responsibility for an accident and related injuries. Holding someone liable for your car accident means that person or party will have to pay for your medical bills and other losses.
Insurance Company Investigation
The first phase in determining liability for a car accident in Texas is filing a car insurance claim. Filing a claim will initiate the insurance company’s investigation of the crash. The sooner you contact your insurance company, the sooner it can investigate the crash and preserve key evidence. If you do not report your collision within a reasonable amount of time, your insurer may have grounds to deny coverage.
The insurance company will investigate the car accident by analyzing evidence such as:
- Photographs and videos
- Surveillance footage
- A copy of the police report
- Signed witness statements
- A driver’s cell phone records
- Crash reconstruction diagrams
- Medical records
- Testimony from experts
The insurance company will hire someone known as an insurance claims adjuster to handle claim evaluation. The claims adjuster may call you soon after your crash to ask what happened. It is important to tell the truth during conversations with the claims adjuster. However, it is also imperative to keep your answers short and do not offer any information unless requested. Do not admit fault for the car accident and do not accept a settlement until you have spoken to an attorney.
Application of the State’s Fault Law
At the end of a car accident investigation, the insurance company will implement the state’s fault law to determine liability for crash-related damages. Texas is part of the majority as a fault-based car insurance state. Under this law, the person or party at fault for causing the collision will be legally responsible for economic damages.
In Texas, the driver who caused the crash will have to pay for victims’ medical bills and property repairs using his or her insurance coverage. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, all injured parties will file claims with their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the car accident. In this way, the insurance law in the state where the car accident took place will determine liability for related losses.
4 Elements of Proof
Before you can receive financial compensation for a car accident from another driver’s insurance company in Texas, you or your car accident lawyer has to prove fault. This is how Texas’s fault-based insurance system works. As the injured victim, it is your responsibility to prove that the other driver carelessly or recklessly caused your crash.
Proving liability requires clear and convincing evidence that four main elements are more than 50 percent likely to be true:
- The defendant owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care to you (the defendant was negligent).
- The defendant’s breach of duty is what caused the car accident.
- You suffered compensable losses in the car accident.
In general, it is enough to achieve a car accident settlement by proving these four elements to an insurance company. In some cases, however, an attorney has to present evidence and witnesses at court before a judge and jury for a judgment award that adequately reimburses a victim for his or her losses.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you were recently injured in a car accident in San Antonio, do not hesitate to contact a plaintiff’s attorney for a free consultation about your rights. An attorney can help you with each phase of the recovery process, including determining and proving liability for your car accident. At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., we can use our experience, resources and personnel to investigate your collision and help you determine liability. Contact us today.