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What Happens if I’m at Fault in a Car Accident?

Williams & Cannon, PLLC

Have you ever been in a car accident and questioned who was at fault later on? Even if you are certain of who the guilty party is, predicting what will happen next can be difficult.

Car accidents carry a lot of risk; depending on the circumstances, you may have to deal with costly fines, negative legal repercussions, and insurance issues.

What should you do next, even if it is very evident that you are to blame for an accident?

This piece will explore both the short-term and long-term effects of causing a car accident.

Along with learning what will probably occur in court or with your insurance provider, you’ll also learn why it is best to get good accident lawyers in these unfortunate circumstances.

What Happens If I Cause a Car Accident?

Finding out who the blame can be assigned to is the first step if you suspect the automobile accident might be your fault. In an at-fault state, insurers will examine the accident’s specific details to determine who is at fault.

If one person admits fault, that person’s car insurance should pay for any property damage and medical bills.

However, if it’s unclear who caused the accident, an insurance adjuster may carry out additional research to pinpoint who was at fault.

Any losses incurred by those hurt in an accident must be paid for by the party who caused the accident in states where culpability exists.

On the other hand, each person’s auto insurance normally covers their own damages in no-fault states.

So, if you were at fault in an auto accident and you live in a state that assigns blame, you (or your auto insurance) are responsible for paying for the damages caused to the other drivers.

Who Decides Who’s at fault?

When an accident occurs, it is not always immediately clear who is at fault. Auto insurance companies may look at what the police officers see and what the people involved say, but this is not the only thing they look at.

Many things can be taken into consideration, including:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographic evidence of the scene
  • Any information the authorities and insurance companies deem relevant

What Happens if I Am Only Partially to Blame?

When more than one motorist is at fault in an automobile accident, Texas uses a modified comparative fault approach to decide who is eligible to receive compensation.

The Modified Comparative Statute in Practice

In accordance with this statute, you may be eligible for compensation from the other motorist if you were 40 percent at fault for your accident and the other driver was 60 percent at fault.

However, you would not be entitled to damages if you both were equally at fault.

In a comparative fault system, your damages are lessened by the amount of blame you are given. This “percentage of fault” works like this:

If you were 20% at fault for the accident and sustained $20,000 in damages, for instance, your damages would be 20% lower.

In this case, instead of getting the whole $20,000 back from the other party, you could only get $16,000 back.

Should I Ever Assume Blame for an Auto Accident?

An accident is a very traumatizing experience, but your actions at the scene can influence later legal outcomes. It’s important to maintain your composure, contact the emergency services, and follow instructions from the authorities.

Other reasonable actions to take:

  • Record all details about potential witnesses.
  • Remain at the scene until given permission to leave.
  • Make sure that the other driver and yourself exchange details.

Do Not:

  • Make statements of fault.
  • Discuss the accident’s causes at the scene.

When speaking with a police officer about what you remember, do not admit fault, as this could have legal implications later on.

Can I Still be Compensated When I Was at Fault?

We’ve already introduced the terms “at-fault state” and “no-fault state.” If you’re living in Texas, it is qualified as an “at-fault state.” In the event of an accident, this means that the onus is on the responsible party to foot the bill.

You cannot expect remuneration from the other party if you were the one responsible.

However, as blame for accidents is decided through the courts of law, it is crucial that you have a good legal team representing you.

Don’t just assume that you are at fault; even if it seems obvious, the legal system needs to figure this out. It might be the case that you will be found blameless or, at the very least, partially responsible.

Both of those situations will dramatically change the financial outcomes of any settlement.

How Will Being at Fault Affect Future Insurance Rates?

Your future insurance rates may significantly increase if you are found at fault in a car accident. The information from an accident is used by insurance companies to assess the level of risk you represent to other drivers and to modify your premiums as necessary.

If you are found to have caused an accident, your insurance company may raise your rates or even cancel your policy.

It is in your best interest to avoid the possibility of future increased insurance premiums, so solid legal advice is critical to determining if you were at fault.

Additionally, insurance companies are highly experienced in these matters. It’s likely that you haven’t been in many accidents and probably don’t fully understand your rights.

This puts you at a distinct disadvantage against the insurance companies’ knowledge and experience.

Again, having a good law firm behind you won’t allow the insurance companies to take advantage of your ignorance.


In the end, it’s important to know the legal consequences of being at fault in an auto accident and to take the steps you need to protect yourself.

Even if you have good liability and collision coverage, the best way to avoid problems in the future is to be aware of all the possible outcomes and try to reduce them as much as you can.

When dealing with the aftermath of an accident, professionals should deal with insurance agents, find the person who was at fault, and do other unpleasant tasks like pursuing bodily injury claims.

Contact JZSW Law for a free consultation today.


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