Rear-end accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries on Texas roads. Victims are usually caught off-guard, giving them zero opportunity to brace themselves for the sudden impact. Even at slower speeds, these types of collisions can be devastating, straddling victims with thousands of dollars in medical costs and repair bills.
You might think that the trailing driver is automatically at fault, but this is not always the case. Let’s take a look at how auto insurance claims are handled in these circumstances and what you should do after a rear-end wreck:
Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Accident?
Contrary to popular belief, you are not automatically at fault if you rear-ended another motorist in Texas. It’s likely that fault rests with the driver who was rear-ended. For instance, were their brake lights working? Did they suddenly stop in the normal flow of traffic? Did they fail to use their turn signal? While, as a driver, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe following distance, there is little you can do to avoid an accident if the driver in front of you is behaving recklessly, unpredictably, or disobeying the rules of the road.
Texas has adopted a comparative negligence system for handling car accident cases, which means that responsibility for causing a wreck is apportioned between the parties involved. If you bring a claim, your financial award will be reduced by a percentage reflecting your degree of liability. Additionally, you cannot recover damages in a rear-end collision settlement if your degree of fault is found to be more than 50%.
As such, you will need to gather evidence of liability to prove that the other party/parties were responsible for causing the collision. Such proof can include surveillance camera and dashcam footage, photos taken at the accident scene, expert witness testimony, and eyewitness statements. An attorney can help you collect such evidence and assist with building your case.
What Should I Do after a Rear-End Collision?
While rear-end accidents are among the most common types of collisions, few of us are prepared for this worst-case scenario. However, you will need to consider your actions carefully as any mistakes you make in the aftermath could make it difficult—or even impossible—for you to obtain fair compensation for your losses.
Here are a few steps you should always take after an accident:
- Report the Accident: State laws require motorists to report any collision that results in bodily injuries, deaths, or more than $1,000 in property damage to the police within 10 days of the wreck. Additionally, you will need to fill out a crash report.
- Seek Medical Treatment: While your injuries may seem minor, you should still visit the doctor as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could result in disputes when you file your claim. For instance, the insurer may assert that you suffered your injuries in a separate incident as the date of your medical evaluation doesn’t match up with the date of the accident. Alternatively, opposing parties may argue that your injuries cannot be as serious as you claim as you did not require urgent care.
- Notify Your Insurer: Insurance companies typically require claimants to report an accident within a certain time frame after the wreck. You should not provide a recorded statement as the insurer may misrepresent your comments to challenge your case.
Call 713-893-8808 for a Free Case Review with a Houston Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a wreck through no fault of your own, it is in your best interests to speak to a car accident attorney. Chelsie King Garza is a seasoned litigator with more than 18 years of experience overseeing personal injury claims in Houston and throughout the state. To schedule a free consultation, reach out to us at 713-893-8808 or tap through to our contact form HERE.