When you’re involved in a car accident, your life can suddenly change to something you may have never imagined before. If you suffer broken bones or other permanent injuries, you may end up spending the rest of your life dependent on family and friends. Apart from the physical pain that you’ll be subjected to, you’ll most likely suffer huge monetary losses as you seek medical care. If your savings diminish in the process, or your employer declares you unfit to go about your daily job, the financial implications of treating your injuries after an auto wreck may leave you bankrupt.
Fortunately, personal injury claims allow for recovery from the negligent driver. While proving that someone else was responsible for the accident may seem straightforward, it’s not always the case. Some car accident cases require the input of expert witnesses such as an accident reconstructionist to determine fault. Worse still, you may also be held responsible for your injuries up to a certain percentage. As expected, this affects the value of your claims. It is essential to understand liability in Stafford car accident cases. Reach out to one of our knowledgeable auto wreck attorneys to learn more.
When evaluating a negligent injury case, the judge or jury will assess the pieces of evidence presented before the court by both sides in the case. Once they have reviewed the evidence from your attorney and the Defense insurance company, the court then decides how liability is to be shared, based on the degree of fault by parties involved in the car accident. The ratios then determine how much each party is to pay as damages, while your ratio of negligence is used to lower the amount payable to you as claims. Depending on your case, several laws can be put into action for compensation purposes. These laws are comparative negligence and contributory negligence.
Stafford courts use the comparative negligence rule when handling vehicle collision cases. This means that liability can be spread among all the involved parties based on their degree of fault. As such, the final compensation will be a reflection of each party’s level of negligence.
Under Texas’s modified comparative fault approach, the plaintiff is legally allowed to be up to 49 percent at-fault for the accident and still receive compensatory damages. While this is a silver lining, this approach has its downside too. If you’re found to be more than 50 percent at-fault for the crash, you lose all your legal rights. In this case, you will receive no compensation regardless of the severity of your injuries.
Other states use different rules. Under the contributory negligence rule, the plaintiff cannot be even 1 percent at fault for the incident. Unlike in comparative negligence where the decision to award a settlement is largely based on the 49 percent fault cutoff, contributory negligence factors in any degree of fault, whether high or low. If the Plaintiff is found to be at fault, even in the slightest, they will be barred from recovery.
As mentioned earlier, your ability to recover damages after a vehicle collision in Stafford is dependent on how well you prove negligence in your case. There are several legal entities responsible for the collection, preservation, and presentation of evidence to determine fault. One of the most common ways of determining liability is through the police report. Legally, they’re the first persons expected to come to the scene of the crash for investigation purposes.
After an accident happens, you are required to inform your insurance company about the crash. This allows them to visit the scene for independent investigations if they wish. Normally, all these are done through an insurance adjuster. Being an employee of the insurance company, they will leave no stone unturned to investigate the cause of the crash to find any degree of fault from you. But regardless, it is advisable not to engage with the insurance companies without professional legal representation.
Lastly, retaining a seasoned lawyer can help you determine fault in your case. He will carry independent investigations by involving expert witnesses such as road safety authorities, Accident Reconstructionist, and many others. Your attorney can also retain a copy of the official police report for your records.
Determining liability in Stafford car accident cases is not easy. It requires time, resources, and dedication to get to the truth. You will want all available evidence for maximum compensation for your injuries. But remember, the insurance adjuster will not let you off the hook easily. To help you keep them at bay and prove that the defendant was fully or largely at fault for the crash, consult with a lawyer at our firm. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.