What Happens if I’m at Fault in a Car Accident?

March 22, 2021 | Car Accidents

Being involved in a vehicle accident can be a terrifying experience. Any person injured in a crash caused by the negligence of another driver should be able to receive compensation fairly easily. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, the injury victim faces accusations of causing the crash themselves. The good news is that even those partially at fault for a vehicle accident in Texas can still recover compensation for their injuries and other losses. Here, we want to discuss how Texas handles modified comparative negligence.

Can I Recover Damages if Partially At Fault?

The answer to whether or not a person can recover damages if they are partially at fault is, “It depends.” Various states around the country handle this situation differently, and Texas operates under what is considered a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that, yes, those who are partially at fault for a vehicle accident may still be able to recover compensation. However, this only applies if a driver is 50% or less at fault for the incident.

Any driver who is 51% or more at fault for a crash will be unable to recover compensation for the incident. However, those who are 50% or less at fault can still recover compensation, though the total amount they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

Suppose Johnny is rear-ended by Bob while stop at a stop sign. In general, we find that in situations like this, the rear driver would likely be at fault and be responsible for covering all of Johnny’s expenses. However, suppose that Johnny’s brake lights were out. While this may not be enough evidence to completely absolve Bob of fault, it may shift some of the blame to Johnny.

For this example, let’s assume that it is determined Johnny is 30% at fault in this case. If Johnny sustained $10,000 worth of medical bills and property damage losses, he would then receive $7,000 in total compensation. This is $3,000 less than the total bills, but accounts for his 30% of fault.

what happens at fault car accident Austin

Will My Insurance Rates Increase If I Am At Fault in a Car Accident?

We understand that many people are worried about whether or not their auto insurance rates will rise after being involved in an accident. When determining whether or not insurance rates will go up, we have to look at whether the incident is a chargeable event or not.

A chargeable accident is going to be one that will likely lead to an insurance rate increase. When determining whether or not an accident is “chargeable,” we find that the insurance carrier generally means an incident where the insured was more than 50% at fault for the incident, and the incident caused damage to property, and injury, or death.

To answer the question, yes, it is very likely that an at-fault driver’s insurance rates will increase when their insurance policy comes up for renewal after an accident. Insurance carriers are likely going to see the insured person as being a higher risk than they were before they caused the crash. According to information available from BankRate.com, the range of rate increase ranges from $200 to $900 annually, depending on the company involved.

Some insurance carriers have accident forgiveness programs that ignore the first at-fault accident of the insured driver. If you are involved in an accident, we encourage you to thoroughly read the terms of your policy so you understand whether or not your first accident will be forgiven.