Our Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a car accident lawyer to help me with my claim? How can I prove the other driver was at fault in my accident? How much is my claim worth? We answer questions like these on our car accident Frequently Asked Questions page. If your question is not there, please contact us and we would be happy to help.
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I think I was partially at fault for my accident. Am I still entitled to compensation?
You may be entitled to compensation even if you were partly to blame for the accident.
Texas laws follow a modified comparative negligence rule. That means that if you are in an accident and you are found to be primarily liable (51 percent or more) for the accident, then you will be unable to recover any damages from the other parties. However, if you are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the crash, then you may still recover compensation. Your compensation will be reduced by the amount that you are at fault.
An Example of How Comparative Negligence Works
Comparative negligence is best illustrated by an example. Imagine that you are driving above the speed limit and you go through an intersection. Another driver makes a left-hand turn at the intersection and hits you. During the course of a lawsuit against the other driver, the other driver is found to be 80 percent at fault for the accident, and because you were speeding, you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the crash. The total amount of compensation is determined by a jury to be $100,000. The rules of comparative negligence mean that your compensation will be reduced by $20,000—a 20 percent reduction in the amount that you are owed. The damages awarded to you by the court should be $80,000 in this example.
Who Decides Percentage of Fault?
The amount of liability attributable to each party may be negotiated during settlement talks with the insurance company. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the court will decide the percentage of liability attributable to each party based on the facts of the case. An experienced lawyer can help present the facts of the face clearly so that a fair agreement about the percentage of liability can be reached during settlement negotiations or can be decided by the court. If you have any questions about your own liability or about the fair damages that you should receive after a Texas car crash, please contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule an initial consultation.
What should I do if I am hit by an uninsured driver?
Car accidents happen unexpectedly, and those involved are often in shock afterward. It can be difficult to have the presence of mind to take the steps you should take after a car crash, but if you are able to get contact and insurance information from others involved, you may discover that the other driver does not have liability insurance. When this happens, you have a few options.
Your First Step Should Be to Call an Attorney
When a driver who caused a crash does not have insurance, getting the compensation you deserve becomes more difficult. An experienced car accident attorney will make sure every possible source of compensation is investigated, including the at-fault driver’s personal assets and the victim’s insurance policies.
Collecting Compensation From Personal Assets
Drivers in Texas are not technically required to have car insurance, but they are legally responsible for paying for any damage they cause. Most people protect themselves from having to use personal resources by buying insurance. When a driver does not have insurance, an attorney’s first course of action will be to look at his personal assets. If they are significant, the attorney will file a claim for compensation against the driver. Unfortunately, most uninsured drivers do not have personal fortunes to pay your damages.
Looking at Your Own Insurance Policies
If you have car insurance, you probably also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In Texas, this coverage is automatically included in every car insurance policy, and you would have to submit a request in writing to reject it. If you do have it, you would file a claim against it, and there should be no difficulty getting the payment. Other coverages you may have in your policy that would kick in in this situation include medical payments coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you have a health insurance plan, it should cover any medical treatments that are not paid for by other insurance sources.
Protect Yourself Financially and Legally
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), around 1 in 8 Texas drivers is uninsured. This means your odds of being in an accident with one are fairly high. Protect yourself by carrying as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford and by hiring Raúl Guajardo to represent you when you do not know where to turn for compensation. Connect with us today to learn more.