After a crash, you may wonder, “What if I am at fault for the car accident?” This is a question that many drivers in Louisiana and Texas ask themselves after crashes. It’s normal to get worried and panic after a crash.
If you think — or know — you caused an accident, stay calm. There are crucial steps to take after an accident, whether or not you are at fault. More importantly, there are things that you should do and not do after an accident.
A motor vehicle accident is stressful enough. What happens when the other driver and their insurance company blame you for the crash? Regardless of the percentage of fault you share in an accident, a lawyer can help you.
Motorists who believe they are to blame may think they aren’t entitled to any compensation. That may not be true. At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys in Louisiana can review your case and advise you regarding your legal options and how to proceed with your claim.
What Does “Fault” Mean?
If you are involved in a crash, you’ll probably hear the term “fault” a lot. The other driver, their insurance representatives, the police, and your car accident lawyer may all use this word after the accident.
When you are “at fault” for a crash, you are to blame for the accident. In other words, you are liable or responsible for the accident. In personal injury insurance claims and lawsuits, the at-fault driver carries the blame for the accident due to their negligence. If you did something — or failed to do something — that contributed to the car wreck, you may be partially or entirely at fault.
Common examples of driver negligence in at-fault auto accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Failing to stop at a red light
- Failing to maintain their vehicle
What Happens if a Car Accident Is Your Fault?
Fault in car accident cases primarily depends on where you live in the U.S. There are two types of states in relation to fault determination: “fault” and “no-fault” states.
- In fault states, the person responsible for the crash is liable for injuries and losses.
- In no-fault states, injured parties must turn to their auto insurers to cover their losses.
Most states are at-fault states, including Louisiana and Texas. If you are entirely at fault and live in either state, you, or typically your auto insurance provider, are responsible for the other party’s damages. The other driver may file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their injuries and losses, which your insurance company may cover.
What Happens if I Am Partially Responsible for a Car Accident?
Sometimes, more than one driver may share the blame for an at-fault auto accident. This is common if more than two vehicles are involved in an accident. In such a scenario, the legal team at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers may advise you on how the laws in your state may affect your case.
Louisiana follows pure comparative negligence laws when assigning fault in motor vehicle accidents. Here, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by their share of fault. Consider this scenario: If you are involved in an accident and the court rules that your percentage of fault is 30%, you may only recover 70% of the compensation. In this case, if the court rules that all available damages amount to $150,000, you may only recover $105,000 for your damages.
Texas, on the other hand, follows modified comparative negligence laws, also known as proportionate responsibility. Plaintiffs in Texas may not recover damages if their percentage of fault is greater than 50%. This implies that you may only recover damages if the court rules that your fault in an accident is less than 51%. For example, if you and the other driver were backing up in a parking lot and hit each other, the court may decide that your fault is 40% and the other driver’s fault is 60%. In this case, you may be eligible to recover 60% of the available damages. Your percentage of fault reduces the settlement you receive.
At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, our car accident lawyers will let you know how your state will treat your case. Our legal team will assess the full extent of your damages, even though you may be partially at fault, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the claims process. We will thoroughly investigate the crash to determine whether the other driver played a significant role in contributing to it.
It’s important to note that your auto insurance policy will cover damages incurred by the other driver and occupants of their vehicle. The minimum liability coverage is 15/30/25 and 30/60/25 in Louisiana and Texas, respectively.
What Effect Does Partial Liability Have on My Insurance and License?
All types of auto insurance policies are meant to cover losses during accidents. However, the specifics of the type of coverage vary depending on where you live and the type of insurance you have, be it personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, MedPay, or comprehensive insurance.
If you’re partially liable for an accident, your insurance rates may increase when you renew your policy by around 47% for drivers with a clean record who caused injuries. The severity of the at-fault auto accident and how much your insurance pays out may affect your insurance rates. For example, a parking lot accident might not raise your rates as much as a drunk driving accident that results in a wrongful death lawsuit. You should contact your provider before renewing your policy to find out whether your rates will increase.
When it comes to your driver’s license, you risk suspension or revocation after an accident. Under the Texas Safety Responsibility Act, your license may be suspended if your accident leads to “injury, death, and/or property damage of $1,000 or more.” In Louisiana, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections may suspend your license for 12 months if you are a first-time offender who causes injuries to other road users.
Contact Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today for Legal Help and Representation
If you are at fault or partially to blame for a car crash, contact an experienced auto accident attorney who can handle your case. Enlisting the services of a lawyer can help you determine if you are truly to blame — even partially — and help prevent you from paying an obnoxious settlement to the other party.
- Comparative Fault. Louisiana State Legislature. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- Proportionate Responsibility. Texas State Legislature. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance. Louisiana Department of Insurance. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- Shopping for Auto Insurance: What To Know Before You Buy a Policy. Texas Department of Insurance. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident? Forbes Advisor. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- Crash Suspension. Texas Department of Public Safety. Accessed on August 11, 2023.
- Suspension, revocation, renewal, and cancellation of licenses. Louisiana State Legislature. Accessed on August 11, 2023.