Being in a car accident can be inconvenient, confusing and stressful. You may suffer serious injuries as well as expensive property damage. You will also have to deal with the insurance claims process, which can be difficult on its own. Although your first instinct may be to apologize or admit fault for a car accident, this is not a good idea for many reasons.
About Car Accident Investigations
Texas is a fault-based insurance state. This means that after a car accident, the party responsible for paying damages is the one who caused the crash. In a no-fault insurance state, on the other hand, all drivers will seek financial compensation from their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the car accident.
If you admit fault immediately after a car accident, this can place 100 percent of financial liability for the wreck with you and your insurance provider, without further investigation. The other driver’s insurance company will make you pay for the accident even if a full investigation would have found evidence of someone else’s fault. The insurance company will not waste time or resources on investigating if you are willing to absorb fault for the accident from the start.
If you do not admit fault, the insurance company will have no choice but to investigate the crash. The insurance company will look at evidence such as the police report and eyewitness statements to piece together how the collision occurred. The insurance company will also send a claims adjuster to visit the scene of the accident and inspect vehicle damage in person. Then, the insurer will determine fault based on its investigation, rather than taking you at your word.
Texas’s Comparative Negligence Law
An important reason not to admit fault for a car accident in Texas is the possibility of shared fault among multiple parties. Although you may think you caused the car accident, there may be factors you are unaware of that also contributed to the crash.
For example, you may have been texting and driving, but the other driver might have run a red light without you noticing. In this scenario, it would be unfair for you to absorb 100 percent of fault for the crash since the other driver also contributed to the collision.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means even if you were partially to blame for a car accident, if someone else was also at fault, you can share liability and still recover at least a portion of a financial award.
In Texas, you can still recover damages with up to 50 percent of fault for a car accident. The court will reduce your compensatory award by an amount that is equivalent to your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent to blame, however, you will be barred from financial recovery.
How to Speak to an Insurance Company
In the aftermath of a car accident in Texas, you will receive a phone call from someone called an insurance claims adjuster. It is important not to admit fault to the claims adjuster, as he or she will be searching for reasons to deny your claim.
Do not allow the adjuster to pressure you into admitting fault. Do not speculate about fault, either; instead, state the facts of the auto accident as you understand them. Do not offer any additional information besides answering the questions asked. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.
Get Help From an Attorney
Admitting fault for a car accident to the other driver, the responding police officer or an insurance company could end your case before an investigation. This can rob you of the possibility of discovering fault with the other driver or a third party, such as an auto manufacturer or the government, barring you from the financial recovery you deserve.
Rather than admitting fault, contact a car accident attorney in Dallas if you believe you’re partially at fault for a collision.