You get into a car accident. Your injuries are severe and you spend months in the hospital recovering. When you file the claim with the insurance company, you get a notice that says the company found you liable for the accident. What does this mean? And what does this mean for your case?
Liability, also known as fault, is used to determine how much to pay a victim of a car accident in damages. Liability is assigned to one or parties that were in the accident. There are three different parties that could make the decision of who is at fault — the police, the insurance company, and the courts.
How Police Determine Fault
The police will be the first to investigate the accident. They will conduct interviews and examine the evidence to discover how the accident occurred. When the police have completed their investigation, a report will be created and will be submitted to their department. The officer may issue one or more traffic citations based on the evidence found at the accident scene.
Not all police reports include a determination of who is at fault. And even if the report does mention who is responsible, this does not mean that person is legally liable for the accident if a lawsuit occurs. The same goes with the traffic citation. Although it does not prove fault, it could be used as evidence that the driver in question was negligent.
How the Insurance Company Determines Fault
The insurance company will assign an adjuster to the case once the claim is filed. The adjuster is responsible for the investigation into the accident and determining the settlement of the claim. Just like the police, an adjustor will speak with witnesses, examine the damage, and verify all details about your insurance policy, such as coverage amounts.
The insurance adjustor is the one who will determine who is at fault for the accident and may even assign percentages. For example, you may be found 10 percent responsible for the car accident and the other driver 90 percent at fault. If you are found to be less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, under Texas’ modified comparative negligence laws, you will be able to recoup loses.
How the Courts Determine Fault
If you decide to file a lawsuit after a car accident, then it’s up to the court to decide who is liable for your accident. The court will listen to arguments from both parties as well as the evidence presented. Testimony may be given by witnesses, police officers, and medical professionals. The outcome of the case rests on the judge and jury – even if the insurance company and the police have claimed someone as responsible, the outcome may be different.
Once liability is determined, damages will be assigned to compensate the one who, as a result of the accident, suffered a loss.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you get into a car accident, it’s important to understand how you can be held responsible for the crash. Even if you are injured, you may be found liable. This is why it’s so important to have legal representation when pursuing a case in Texas.
If you were injured in a Houston car accident and need legal help, the Houston car accident lawyers at de Lachica Law Firm, PLLC, are ready to lend you a hand. Contact us today for a free consultation. Hablamos Espanol.