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Who Is at Fault for My Dallas Car Accident?

When a car accident occurs, it can be both scary and stressful. Beyond just dealing with any injuries and vehicle damage, one of the first questions that arises is: who was at fault? Determining fault and liability is crucial for receiving fair compensation, especially when injuries are involved. This article provides an overview of how fault is determined after Dallas car accidents.

How Is Liability Determined in Dallas Car Accidents?

Texas follows traditional tort law for assessing fault and liability in auto accident cases. This means the at-fault driver who caused the crash through negligent driving may be held legally and financially responsible. To prove negligence, three main elements must be established:

1. Duty of Care

All drivers have a duty to drive carefully and obey traffic laws. This includes actions like:

  • Driving a reasonable speed for conditions
  • Paying attention to the road and surroundings
  • Signaling turns and lane changes
  • Following right-of-way rules
  • Avoiding distractions like cell phones

2. Breach of Duty

The at-fault driver must have breached their duty of care through unsafe driving actions. Common examples include:

  • Speeding or driving too fast for weather/road conditions
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Failing to yield right of way
  • Making unsafe lane changes or turns
  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, talking on a cell phone, etc.)

3. Caused Damages

The negligent driving must directly cause the accident and resulting damages. This includes vehicle repair costs, medical bills, lost wages from injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Common Causes of Liability in Dallas Car Accidents

While each accident is unique, some frequent causes of fault include:

Rear-End Collisions

The driver who rear-ends another car is typically liable for the crash. They failed to brake in time and maintain a safe following distance. Exceptions include situations where the front driver made an abrupt, unexpected stop in the road.

Left-Turn & Intersection Accidents

Drivers making left turns across oncoming traffic and running red lights/stop signs often cause serious “T-bone” crashes. Left-turning drivers must yield the right-of-way.

Sideswipe & Lane Change Accidents

Unsafe lane changes and drifting between lanes can lead to serious sideswipe or angle collisions. Drivers must use turn signals and make sure the lane is clear before moving over.

Failure to Yield Right-of-Way

Drivers entering the roadway, turning across traffic, and merging must yield to vehicles that have the right-of-way. Running stop signs and traffic lights also violates right-of-way rules.

Drunk Driving Accidents

Intoxicated drivers cause entirely preventable accidents. Driving over the legal blood alcohol limit of .08% is automatic grounds for liability.

Speeding Accidents

Excessive speeding gives drivers less time to react and stop, increasing the risk of collisions. Speeding drivers often lose control as well, causing single-vehicle rollover or run-off road crashes.

Aggressive Driving

Weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, unsafe passing, angry outbursts, and other aggressive behaviors threaten everyone’s safety. Road rage confrontations can quickly escalate.

Distracted Driving

Driver inattention is a major epidemic on Dallas roads today. Texting, phone calls, adjusting music, eating, personal grooming and more take a driver’s eyes and focus off the road.

What If Both Drivers Were Negligent?

Texas follows modified comparative negligence rules. If both drivers’ actions contributed to causing the wreck, liability may be apportioned according to each party’s percentage of fault. For example, if the claimant was 40% liable and the other driver 60%, the claimant’s damages award would be reduced by their 40% fault share.

However, the claimant cannot recover any compensation if they were over 50% at fault for the collision. Their claim would be barred in that scenario. An experienced car accident lawyer Dallas Texas can help determine if any exceptions may apply based on the specific circumstances.

Why Hire a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer?

Proving liability and obtaining full and fair compensation is complex. The insurance claims adjuster may try to dispute or downplay fault, or make a quick, lowball settlement offer. An aggressive Dallas car accident lawyer knows how to investigate accidents, establish legal negligence, demonstrate damages, negotiate firmly with insurers, and take the case to trial if needed.

Gathering Evidence to Prove Fault

Collecting strong evidence is key to showing exactly how the accident occurred and who was liable. Our attorneys promptly start gathering important evidence like:

  • Accident reports and witness statements
  • Police dash cam or body cam videos
  • Photographs of property damage, injuries, and accident scene
  • Video from nearby security or traffic cameras
  • Cell phone records and usage data
  • Vehicle black box data
  • Crash reconstruction expert analysis
  • Medical reports documenting injuries
  • Lost income records proving wage/income losses

Common Defenses Against Liability

Insurers often raise certain arguments to try avoiding or reducing liability. Our lawyers are prepared to counter any defenses such as:

  • Claiming you shared in fault for the wreck
  • Alleging failure to mitigate damages
  • Disputing the severity of injuries and losses
  • Blaming a third party or “act of God” for the crash
  • Questioning gaps in medical treatment
  • Arguing pre-existing health conditions caused the injuries

Maximize Your Settlement Value

We take all steps necessary to build the strongest claim possible and maximize your rightful compensation. Actions include:

  • Organizing medical records and bills
  • Calculating current and future income losses
  • Obtaining expert opinions on long-term disability and needs
  • Documenting pain and suffering damages
  • Assessing impairment and permanent injury effects
  • Accounting for emotional distress and loss of life quality
  • Estimating all other losses (services, caregiving, etc.)

Call Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Dallas car accident that was not your fault, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today at 800-4THE-WIN for a free consultation. We have over 20 years representing injured car accident victims in the Dallas area. Our attorneys will fully investigate your accident, establish liability, and fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront costs and no fees owed unless we win your case. Don’t wait – call now to get the strong legal advocacy you deserve!

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