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Proving Liability in a Fort Worth Car Accident

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How do you win your case?

Car accidents can be overwhelming. If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that someone else is at fault, you naturally feel that you are entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Screaming at her or him is not going to help you. Proving liability is the key, as the at-fault driver often denies responsibility and their insurance carrier refuses to make any payments.

Accidents, by definition, are not intentional. They occur due to someone’s negligence, i.e. carelessness. The first step to winning your case is proving liability. To show that the other driver was at fault, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she and/or the company that hired them or owned the vehicle was negligent.

The crash triggers a complicated legal process that involves drivers, police officers, witnesses, insurance companies, and lawyers.

What is negligence?

Let’s start with what you have to prove. Negligence is defined as “failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.”

Proving liability can be tricky because to establish negligence, you must establish the following four elements. The at-fault driver doesn’t have to prove anything.

  1. The defendant (the negligent driver) owed you (the plaintiff) the reasonable duty of care, i.e. to obey traffic laws. All drivers owe a duty of care towards other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.
  2. The defendant breached his or her duty of care. The breach or breaking of that duty is the crux of a personal injury claim.
  3. The breach of duty by the defendant proximately caused the collision. For example, you must prove that the bad driver ran the red light. However, he or she can and often does claim that it was you who did, or that another driver or factor caused the collision to happen, totally or partially. In chain reaction crashes or ones involving several vehicles, the actions of all drivers must be scrutinized.

It is not enough to show a little negligence. This has to be established by more than 50% of the evidence that his or her specific act of negligence — not some other cause like bad weather or road conditions — was the main cause of the car crash.

  1. The accident caused you damages. They may include medical bills, physical pain and mental anguish, lost wages and lost capacity to earn wages, impairment, disability, disfigurement, and property damage.

In rare occasions, punitive damages may also be awarded to deter outrageous conduct, e.g. driving while intoxicated. For example, our law firm just recovered $250,000 for our client who hurt his shoulder and a large portion was due to the drunkenness of the defendant driver.

Role of police in the determination of fault

If a car or truck accident involves bodily injury or property damage, the police will examine the physical evidence and talk to drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Once the wreck has been investigated, the officer will prepare a police report that summarizes the facts and who is at fault.

The police might issue a traffic citation to the driver that they believe is responsible for the car accident.  While the report and the ticket are not the same thing as proving liability, the testimony of the officer can make or break the case during negotiations before trial or in court.

Determining fault in a Fort Worth car accident

The determination of liability has a huge impact on you and the other parties because the liable party’s insurance will have to pay for the other parties’ damages.  It is the job of the insurance company to determine who or what caused an accident.   Once you have filed a claim with your insurance company after a car accident, the company will assign your claim to an adjuster.

The insurance adjuster handles the investigation, determines liability, assesses damages, and attempts to negotiate the settlement of the claim. There can be more than one adjuster on the claim. Further, they often are rotated so you may have to educate the next person.

Adjusters speak with witnesses, study medical records, examine vehicle damage, and verify details about the insurance policies.

Sometimes the adjuster might attempt to assign a percentage of fault to each driver. For example, he or she may claim the plaintiff is 25% at fault – even when they did nothing wrong. This is something a good personal injury lawyer will vigorously fight since that lowers the amount of damages their client can receive by 25%. And if the Plaintiff is accused of being 51% or more negligent, they get zero dollars.

A Fort Worth car accident lawyer can build a solid case on your behalf before this happens and take your case to court if it does.

What happens when your case goes to court?

Almost all cases are settled out of court.  Very few cases go for trial.  A trial can be a lengthy, frustrating, and expensive process.  If your case makes it to court, a judge or a jury will determine who was at fault. This is a complicated subject that needs to be discussed with your injury lawyer.

While deciding case, the court will examine evidence and consider arguments from the attorneys of the parties involved in the case.

Police reports and insurance companies have no control over the outcome in a court case.

Statistics show that only about 1% of car and truck wrecks go to a trial. The other 99% are settled outside of a courtroom.

How much compensation can you recover in a car accident claim? 

Factors that determine the amount of compensation you can recover include

  • The severity of the collision
  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you were taken to an emergency room
  • The results of diagnostic testing
  • How long you treated with physicians and therapists
  • Whether you had surgery or need surgery in the future
  • Your future medical care and expenses
  • The amount of your medical expenses and how much health insurance or other sources has paid them
  • Whether you have missed time from work due to the accident
  • If you had previously injured the same parts of your body
  • The impact of the accident on your life

Given below are the types of damages that a victim of a car accident may be able to recover in Texas.

Economic damages:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost wages and wage-earning capacity

Non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Impairment
  • Disfigurement

Hire the best car accident attorney you can find

Berenson Injury Law is one of the top-rated car accident law firms in North Texas. We know how to get maximum financial recoveries for our clients.

If you retain our services, Mr. Berenson and his team will

  • Obtain copies of all police reports and medical records;
  • Identify and interview witnesses who were present at the scene;
  • Photograph, inspect and investigate the site of the crash;
  • Hire and consult with experts who are needed to determine the cause of the accident and medical issues;
  • Help victims locate the best doctors and rehabilitation facilities;
  • Help determine fault and liable parties; and
  • Help you get the most compensation possible

If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident anywhere in the Dallas – Fort Worth area due to the carelessness or negligence of another driver, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages.

Call Berenson Injury Law for a free case evaluation at 888-801-8585 or click here. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

 

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