The Texas Rear-End Laws Explained
Rear-end accidents are the most common type of car accident in the country, and although many people think of rear-end accidents as low-harm fender benders, this type of accident has caused a massive number of severe injuries and fatalities every year.
We know that rear-end accidents happen every day and that their consequences can be devastating. And while it’s easy to assume the car in the back is the one that caused the accident, that isn’t always the case. So, according to the Texas rear-end laws, who is at fault in a rear-end collision in Texas?
The Houston car accident lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta are here to explain the Texas rear-end laws, as well as tell you what to do if you are involved in a rear-end collision. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, don’t wait — call the experienced and aggressive personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta at (713) 224-7644 today.
Is rear-ending always your fault in Texas?
Is the person who rear-ends always at fault? No! Then who is in the wrong in a rear-end collision? Liability in Texas is assigned based on negligence, so whichever driver fails to exercise reasonable care and causes the accident is at fault in a rear-end collision.
While this is often found to be the driver who rear-ends another vehicle — because drivers have a duty to maintain a safe distance — there are many situations in which another party would be at fault.
For instance, if you rear-end someone who stopped suddenly, your vehicle experienced a mechanical failure, or the other driver engaged in dangerous driving, you would likely have significantly reduced liability for rear-ending another driver. Occasionally, even auto manufacturers (in the case of injuries like airbag burns) and municipalities (if the accident was caused by road defects) can be found culpable for accidents and injuries.
Additionally, under certain circumstances, liability can be shared between parties in Texas, because of a system called modified comparative negligence.
Comparative fault explained
Texas is what is called a modified comparative fault state, which means that liability in personal injury and negligence claims is assigned based on comparative fault, and people involved in accidents may share liability for the harm caused.
Because multiple parties can be at fault, culpability in personal injury claims (and therefore damages, occasionally) can be assigned proportionally.
Texas allows plaintiffs to collect damages if they are found to be 50% or less responsible for their accident, but not if they are 51% or more at fault. The amount of damages that a plaintiff is able to claim is often reduced based on how at fault they are determined to be for their accident.
So if you rear-end somebody and are found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident, you would still be able to claim damages, but if you are found to be more at fault than the car you rear-end (i.e. over 51% culpable) you cannot recover compensation at all.
Because this comparative negligence system can get so complex, make sure that you work with experienced personal injury attorneys in Houston if you’re involved in a serious accident. You cannot count on the insurance companies and the courts to get things right, and you might end up without the compensation that you need to recover.
What to do if you are rear-ended in Texas
Whether you’ve rear-ended someone or someone has rear-ended you, the steps for what to do after a car accident are essentially the same.
- Call the police. Having a police report on file will help your personal injury case, and will ensure that medical attention arrives on the scene as soon as possible.
- Wait for medical attention if you need it. If you are not hurt, assess the injuries of anyone else that has been involved in the accident and let the 911 dispatcher know that you need an ambulance.
- Gather evidence while you wait. If you are not too hurt to do so, and no one on the scene needs your immediate attention, you can begin to gather evidence. This can include:
- Photos and videos of the scene
- The contact, license plate, and insurance information of all drivers involved
- Eyewitness testimonies and contact info for witnesses
- Contact a winning Houston personal injury attorney. You may be able to get a minimal settlement from the insurance company, but without proper representation, you have little chance of getting what you need in civil court. Either way, working with an experienced car accident lawyer is always recommended to make sure that you get what you truly deserve.
Additionally, after the accident, you will want to gather:
- Medical bills and documentation
- Doctor’s notes
- Any documentation related to injuries, treatments, physical therapy sessions, or diagnoses
- A copy of the police report or any documentation of communication with the police
- Documentation of any communication with the other drivers
- Documentation of any communication with the insurance company
Once you have received the medical care that you need, you can work on getting the documentation you need for a successful car accident claim. The more information your personal injury attorney has to work with, the better chance they have of proving fault in your accident claim. So, when in doubt, document.
The attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta know Texas rear-end laws inside and out
While Texas rear-end laws are not always completely straightforward, working with an accomplished personal injury attorney can make sure that you are taken care of after being in a serious rear-end collision.
Whether you need an attorney for a rear-end collision or a Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyer, the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here for you. We give each client the personal attention that is required to understand their case and set their mind at ease. We know that each claim is as unique as the person filing it, and we will fight to get our clients what they deserve.
Call Grimes & Fertitta today at (713) 224-7644 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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