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How to Determine Liability in a Dallas Car Accident

June 22, 2023
Determining Liability in a Dallas Car Accident | Chris Lewis & Associates P.C.

Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roads in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, many accidents result in injuries or property damage, and determining liability can be complicated and frustrating. 

Liability refers to who is legally responsible for the accident and the resulting damages. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of determining liability in a Dallas car accident and guide how to do so. 

We’ll also discuss essential evidence-collection techniques for establishing liability and explore different accident scenarios to help you better comprehend comparative negligence. 

We’ll also examine how to prove fault in court cases by effectively presenting vital evidence.

We’ll also talk about how insurance companies defend themselves, ways to confidently handle rejected claims, and advice for working with an experienced car accident lawyer. 

We’ll walk you through the settlement negotiation process and share methods for accurately calculating damages and preparing for trial if necessary.

Table of Contents:

  • Understanding Texas Car Accident Laws
    • At-fault Insurance System in Texas
    • The Role of Negligence in Car Accident Cases
  • Evidence Collection
    • Importance of obtaining a police report
    • Tips for collecting and preserving photographic evidence
    • Securing witness statements and medical records
  • Determining Fault
    • Comparative Negligence Rules in Texas
    • Establishing Fault in Rear-End Collisions
    • Left-Turn Accidents and Their Implications on Liability
    • T-Bone Accidents: Determining Fault
  • Proving Liability
    • Burden of Proof Explained
    • Presenting Collected Evidence During Trial
  • Common Defenses Used by Insurance Companies
    • Overview of Typical Defense Tactics Employed by Insurers
    • How To Handle Denied Claims
  • Working With An Attorney
    • When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
    • Benefits of Working with an Experienced Lawyer
    • Tips on Selecting the Best Attorney for Your Situation
  • Settlement Negotiation
    • Calculating Economic and Non-economic Damages
    • Strategies for Negotiating a Favorable Settlement
  • Going to Court
    • Preparing for Trial in a Car Accident Case
    • What to Expect During the Courtroom Process
  • FAQs
    • Is the Owner of the Car Liable for an Accident in Texas?
  • Conclusion

Understanding Texas Car Accident Laws

In Texas, car accident laws operate under an at-fault insurance system, which means that the party responsible for causing the accident is also liable for compensating any resulting damages. 

To determine liability in a Dallas car accident, it’s crucial to understand how negligence plays a role in these cases.

At-fault Insurance System in Texas

You can claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer for a car accident. 

You can also take legal action against anyone responsible for the accident. The critical factor when determining fault is proving negligence on behalf of one or more parties involved.

The Role of Negligence in Car Accident Cases

To establish negligence and secure compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer or through litigation, there are elements to take into account:

  1. Duty: All drivers must drive safely and follow traffic laws.
  2. Breach: You must show that the defendant breached this duty by careless behavior (e.g., speeding).
  3. Causation: There should be clear evidence linking that their breach directly led to your injuries or property damage sustained during the crash.
  4. Damages: Lastly, demonstrate quantifiable losses (e.g., medical expenses, lost wages) resulting from the accident.

It’s important to note that Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning if you’re found partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility. 

If you’re granted $100K in damages but are determined to be 20% accountable, your recompense will be reduced to $80K.

A Dallas car accident lawyer can guide you through the complicated laws, gather evidence to prove fault, and get adequate compensation for your damages. If you’re in a car accident, you must contact an experienced car accident attorney to help you with your car accident claim or case. 

They can help you with property damage, lost wages, and non-economic damages. Insurance companies and adjusters may try to escape responsibility, but a law firm can help you prove your fault and get the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Texas car accident laws is essential for determining liability in a Dallas car accident. 

Gathering proof to back up your claim is crucial for a better prospect of succeeding; this includes procuring police documents, images, witness declarations, and medical reports.

Key Takeaway: To determine liability in a Dallas car accident, it’s important to understand Texas’ at-fault insurance system and how negligence plays a role. Failure refers to failing to exercise reasonable care while driving, leading to an accident and subsequent injuries or property damage, and proving four elements – duty, breach, causation, damages – is crucial for securing compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer or through litigation.

Evidence Collection

Collecting evidence after a Dallas car accident is crucial in determining liability and building a solid case. Collecting necessary evidence such as police records, photos, witness statements, and medical documents can strengthen your claim and increase the likelihood of receiving a fair settlement for any injuries you may have suffered.

Importance of obtaining a police report

A police report is an official record of an accident that includes information about the parties involved, property damage, and any citations given out. 

Requesting a copy from local law enforcement agencies will help establish fault by detailing their observations at the scene. Additionally, insurance companies often rely on these reports when evaluating claims.

Tips for collecting and preserving photographic evidence

Photographic Evidence, including pictures or videos taken with your smartphone immediately following an accident, can be instrumental in proving fault. 

Be sure to capture the following:

  • The positions of vehicles involved in the collision;
  • Damaged areas on all cars;
  • Road conditions (e.g., wet pavement or debris);
  • Traffic signs or signals that may have contributed to the crash;
  • Injuries sustained by yourself or other individuals affected.

To preserve this vital evidence effectively:

  1. Avoid altering images through editing software;
  2. Date-stamp each photograph if possible;
  3. Maintain original copies securely stored both digitally and physically.

Obtaining witness statements and medical records

Witness statements can provide an unbiased account of the accident and help corroborate your events. Approach potential witnesses at the scene, ask for their contact information and request a written statement detailing what they observed.

In addition to witness accounts, medical records play a significant role in proving liability by documenting injuries sustained during the crash. It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you don’t feel hurt. This can help you get better faster and also prove that any injuries you have were caused by the accident.

Gathering thorough evidence after a car accident in Dallas can boost your chances of proving fault and getting fairly compensated for damages. It is important to remember that evidence collection is the foundation of any successful car accident case. It’s important to know why gathering photo proof, witness accounts, and medical information matters when figuring out who is responsible for a car crash.

Key Takeaway: After a car accident in Dallas, it’s essential to collect evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and photographs to determine liability. A police report is crucial for establishing fraud, and insurance companies rely on them when evaluating claims. Additionally, photographic evidence should be preserved without alteration or editing software to prove fault effectively.

Determining Fault

Understanding how fault is determined in a car accident case is crucial for obtaining fair compensation. Texas follows the comparative negligence rule, which affects liability and the damages an injured party can recover. 

This section will discuss comparative negligence rules in Texas and how to determine fault in scenarios like rear-end collisions, left-turn accidents, and T-bone crashes.

Comparative Negligence Rules in Texas

Texas applies a modified type of comparative negligence, labeled “proportionate responsibility,” which assigns each person in an automobile accident a certain degree of fault depending on their role in the incident. 

If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any damages from other parties involved (Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 33.001). However, if your share of responsibility is less than or equal to 50%, you may still receive compensation, but your percentage of fault will reduce it.

Establishing Fault in Rear-End Collisions

In rear-end collisions, the driver who hits the car in front is usually responsible because they didn’t keep enough distance or could not control their vehicle properly. 

However, there might be situations where both drivers share some degree of blame – for example, if one driver suddenly stops without warning or cuts off another while merging lanes.

Left-Turn Accidents and Their Implications on Liability

Left-turn accidents often occur when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way while making a left turn, resulting in a collision with an oncoming vehicle. 

In such cases, the turning driver is typically found at fault for not yielding or misjudging the speed and distance of approaching traffic. However, they may share some responsibility if the other driver was speeding or running a red light.

T-Bone Accidents: Determining Fault

A T-bone accident occurs when one vehicle collides with another at an intersection, forming a “T” shape. The fault determination depends on factors like traffic signals, signs, and road markings that dictate which party had the right-of-way. 

For instance, if Driver A runs through a stop sign and hits Driver B, who had no stop sign or signal to control their movement through the intersection, then Driver A would be considered primarily responsible for causing this type of car accident.

Determining fault in a Dallas car accident can be complicated, but understanding the comparative negligence rules and establishing liability for rear-end collisions or left-turn accidents is critical to building a successful case. 

Demonstrating responsibility demands more thoroughness; hence, being aware of the obligation to prove and how data should be shown in court is essential.

Key Takeaway: Understanding fault in a Dallas car accident is crucial for fair compensation. Texas uses “proportionate responsibility” to assign fault percentages; if more than 50% are found at fault, no damages can be recovered. Rear-end collisions usually find the following driver at fault, left-turn accidents typically hold turning drivers responsible for not yielding or misjudging speed and distance, while T-bone accidents’ liability depends on right-of-way factors like traffic signals and signs.

Proving Liability

In a Dallas car accident case, proving liability is essential to secure compensation for injuries, property damage, or other losses. To establish liability, the injured party must demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and resulted in their damages. 

This section will discuss how to prove liability by understanding the burden of proof and effectively presenting evidence during the trial.

The Burden of Proof Explained

The burden of proof is the obligation to present convincing evidence for a claim. In a car accident case, it falls upon the plaintiff (the injured person) to prove that:

  • The defendant (the at-fault driver) owed them a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached this duty through negligent actions.
  • This breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff experienced tangible losses, including medical costs, lost wages, and anguish due to the defendant’s negligent actions.

To meet this burden of proof requirement in Texas courts, plaintiffs need substantial evidence demonstrating each element mentioned above beyond reasonable doubt.

Presenting Collected Evidence During Trial

Evidence is crucial in proving fault and establishing liability in Dallas car accident cases. 

After an accident, it’s essential for those involved to gather evidence such as police reports (obtainable from the Texas Department of Public Safety), pictures of vehicle damage or road conditions taken at the scene, and statements from witnesses who can verify what happened before the collision. 

Medical records documenting treatment received for injuries sustained are also essential in proving damages.

Once collected, the evidence must be presented effectively during the trial to convince the judge or jury of the defendant’s negligence. This may involve:

  • Calling expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists who can testify how the collision occurred.
  • Presentation of visual aids like diagrams and photographs illustrating damage caused by the crash.
  • Utilizing witness testimonies that support the plaintiff’s account of events; and,
  • Demonstrating a clear connection between the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff’s injuries, and incurred losses.

An experienced car accident attorney is invaluable when presenting evidence in court. They will know which pieces of information are most persuasive and how best to give them for maximum impact. 

By successfully proving liability through the effective presentation of evidence, plaintiffs increase their chances of securing fair compensation for their damages. Proving who is responsible for a car accident in Dallas can be difficult, but if you have strong evidence and a good strategy, you can show what happened. On the other hand, insurance companies may use various defenses to deny claims or reduce payouts; understanding these tactics is essential for successful outcomes.

Key Takeaway: The injured party must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident to secure compensation for injuries and damages incurred in a Dallas car accident. This involves meeting a burden of proof requirement by providing substantial evidence demonstrating each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Effective presentation of collected evidence during the trial, including expert witnesses and visual aids, is crucial to proving liability and increasing the chances of fair compensation.

Common Defenses Used by Insurance Companies

In many Dallas car accident cases, insurance companies employ various defense tactics to minimize their financial responsibility. 

Understanding these common defenses can help you counter them effectively and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for injuries and damages.

Overview of Typical Defense Tactics Employed by Insurers

  • Comparative Negligence: One strategy insurance companies use to argue that the injured party was partially at fault for the accident. Under Texas’s comparative negligence law, if an injured person is found to be more than 50% responsible for the crash, they cannot recover any damages from other parties involved in the incident.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Another tactic insurers use is claiming that a victim’s injuries were not caused by the car accident but instead resulted from pre-existing medical conditions. To counter this argument, it’s essential to provide thorough medical documentation proving that your injuries are directly related to the collision.
  • Mitigation of Damages: In some cases, insurance adjusters may argue that an injured person failed to mitigate their damages (e.g., not seeking prompt medical treatment or following doctor recommendations). It’s crucial to document all efforts made towards recovery and adhere closely to healthcare professionals’ advice throughout the rehabilitation process.

How To Handle Denied Claims

If an insurance company denies your claim outright or offers a settlement far below what you believe is fair compensation, do not accept defeat immediately; there are steps you can take in response. First, request a written explanation detailing the reasons behind their decision. This information can be helpful when building a case to challenge their denial.

Consider hiring an experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas. They can help you navigate the complex process of appealing denied claims and negotiating with insurance companies. A skilled attorney will understand how to effectively counter common defense tactics employed by insurers while advocating for your best interests throughout settlement negotiations or court proceedings if necessary.

By understanding the common defenses insurance companies use, you can better prepare to dispute a denied claim. 

Engaging the services of a qualified legal professional can be an effective strategy to guarantee your rights are safeguarded, and you receive reasonable recompense for any losses or harm endured in a car accident.

Key Takeaway: Insurance companies often use various defense tactics to minimize their financial responsibility in Dallas car accident cases. These include arguing comparative negligence, claiming pre-existing conditions caused injuries, and alleging failure to mitigate damages. To counter these arguments, it’s essential to provide thorough medical documentation and seek the help of an experienced attorney who can navigate the complex process of appealing denied claims and negotiating with insurers on your behalf.

Working With an Attorney

When you’re involved in a Dallas car accident, it’s essential to recognize when hiring an experienced attorney specializing specifically in local traffic laws is necessary. 

Chris Lewis & Associates, P.C. will help you choose the right lawyer for your specific needs by discussing the benefits of legal representation and giving tips on selecting the appropriate lawyer.

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

Hiring a skilled car accident attorney is crucial if you’ve sustained significant injuries, incurred substantial property damage, or faced disputes over fault determination. Additionally, seeking legal counsel can be beneficial if:

  • The insurance company denies your claim or offers an insufficient settlement amount.
  • You require assistance calculating economic and non-economic damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering.
  • Your case involves complex issues like multiple parties or government entities.

Benefits of Working with an Experienced Lawyer

An experienced car accident lawyer can offer numerous advantages throughout your claim process. 

These include:

  1. Navigating Legal Procedures: A knowledgeable attorney will guide you through filing a lawsuit or negotiating with insurance companies while ensuring compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
  2. Gathering Evidence: Your lawyer will help collect vital evidence such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and scene photographs – all crucial components in proving liability during trial proceedings.
  3. Negotiating Settlements: Attorneys have experience dealing with insurance adjusters, increasing your chances of obtaining a fair settlement that accurately reflects the extent of your injuries and damages.
  4. Representing You in Court: If negotiations fail to yield satisfactory results, an attorney will advocate during trial proceedings to secure the compensation you deserve.

Tips on Selecting the Best Attorney for Your Situation

To find the right car accident lawyer for your case, consider these factors:

  • Seek out attorneys who specialize in personal injury law and have experience with matters similar to yours.
  • Research their reputation by reading online reviews or seeking recommendations from friends or family members who’ve had positive experiences with local legal professionals.
  • Schedule meetings with potential candidates to discuss their approach and fee structure. Evaluate their communication style and rapport-building skills to determine whether they fit well.

Having a lawyer experienced in car accident cases can guide you through the intricate legal system and ensure your rights are safeguarded. 

To improve your chances of getting a reasonable settlement for your car accident case in Dallas, knowing how to calculate both economic and non-economic damages and having strong negotiation skills is essential.

Key Takeaway: Hiring a lawyer is crucial if you’ve sustained significant injuries or incurred substantial property damage and can help navigate legal procedures, gather evidence, negotiate settlements with insurance companies, and represent you in court.

Settlement Negotiation

After determining liability in a Dallas car accident, the next step is negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or other negligent parties. Settlement negotiation can be complex and requires understanding how damages are calculated and effective strategies for securing fair compensation.

Calculating Economic and Non-economic Damages

In Texas, car accident victims can claim both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include quantifiable losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and future earning capacity. To calculate these damages accurately:

  • Gather all relevant bills and receipts related to your injuries.
  • Determine any lost income due to missed work.
  • Evaluate the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property; and,
  • Consult with experts (e.g., vocational specialists) to determine future earning potential.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, cover intangible losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress that result from a car accident injury. These types of claims are more subjective but may still be factored into your overall settlement demand by considering factors such as:

  • The severity of your injuries;
  • The impact on your daily life activities;
  • Your age at the time of injury; and,
  • Potential long-term effects resulting from sustained trauma.

Strategies for Negotiating a Favorable Settlement

To negotiate a fair settlement, presenting a solid case backed by evidence and expert testimony is essential. Here are some tips for successful negotiation:

  • Prepare a comprehensive demand letter outlining your damages, liability basis, and any supporting documentation.
  • Maintain open communication with the insurance adjuster while remaining firm in your demands.
  • Utilize an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer who can provide valuable insight into local laws and precedents; and,
  • Avoid accepting initial offers without careful consideration or consultation with legal counsel.

To receive proper compensation for your injuries after a car accident in Dallas, you must learn how to calculate damages and use effective negotiation tactics accurately.

Settlement negotiation is a critical step in any car accident case, and the right strategies can be invaluable to securing a favorable outcome. If negotiations don’t work, going to court may be necessary. Those involved in a car crash must know what to expect during the trial.

Key Takeaway: To get compensated for a Dallas car accident, prove negligence caused it, present a strong case, communicate openly with the insurance adjuster, avoid quick settlement offers, and use effective negotiation strategies. Accurate damage calculation is crucial.

Going to Court

If your car accident case in Dallas cannot be resolved through settlement negotiations, you may need to take the matter to court. Understanding the courtroom process and preparing for trial is crucial in ensuring a favorable outcome. 

Before the trial, it is essential to understand the courtroom process and gather evidence to be used in your favor.

Preparing for Trial in a Car Accident Case

The first step towards preparing for trial is gathering all relevant evidence, such as police reports, photographs of the scene, witness statements, and medical records. Your Dallas car accident lawyer will help you organize this information into a compelling narrative that supports your claim.

In addition to organizing evidence, you must familiarize yourself with Texas traffic laws and legal procedures related to personal injury cases. This knowledge is crucial in ensuring your case complies with local regulations. It also gives you an edge by providing valuable insights into possible defenses that could be employed by insurance companies or other parties involved in the case.

  • Discovery: During discovery, both sides exchange information about their respective cases. This phase allows each party to gather additional evidence from one another or request specific documents like medical bills or employment records.
  • Motions: Before going on trial, attorneys often file motions requesting specific actions from the judge – such as dismissing parts of claims due to insufficient proof – which could impact overall proceedings if approved.
  • Jury Selection: Selecting unbiased yet knowledgeable regarding matters at hand remains critical throughout every stage of any lawsuit; this ensures fair representation among those deciding verdicts while also providing an impartial perspective on presented arguments.

What to Expect During the Courtroom Process

The trial process in a Dallas car accident case typically begins with opening statements from both sides, where each attorney presents their client’s version of events. 

Following these introductions, the plaintiff (injured party) will present their evidence through witness testimony and exhibits such as photographs or medical records. The defense can cross-examine witnesses and challenge any presented evidence before submitting its case.

After both parties present their cases, the attorneys make closing arguments. They summarize key points and persuade the jurors to reach specific conclusions based on the information submitted during the trial. 

Finally, after receiving instructions from the judge regarding applicable laws governing personal injury claims within Texas state jurisdiction – including comparative negligence rules – jury members deliberate privately until they reach a consensus concerning liability along with appropriate compensation amounts for damages sustained during accidents caused primarily due to other parties’ negligent actions.

Key Takeaway: If negotiations fail, go to court for a Dallas car accident case. Collect evidence, know traffic laws, and present cases via witnesses and exhibits. The jury decides on liability and compensation for damages from accidents caused mainly by other parties’ negligence.


After reading this guide, you should better understand how liability is determined in car accidents in Dallas. You learned the importance of evidence collection, fault assessment, common defense tactics, and strategies for handling denied claims.

For the best possible outcome, enlisting an experienced attorney is essential for successfully navigating the legal process and obtaining a favorable settlement. If you’re facing criminal charges related to a car accident in Dallas, contact Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. today for expert legal representation. 

Our team has years of experience defending clients against state and federal charges, including white-collar crimes and appeals. Entrust us to safeguard your rights and preserve your future.

Determine Liability in a Dallas Car Accident FAQs

Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident in Texas?

In Texas, the determination of fault in a car accident is typically made by insurance adjusters during their investigation. They assess evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and vehicle damage. However, if there is disagreement on liability or if the case goes to court, a judge or jury may ultimately decide who is at fault.

What is the Liability Law for Car Accidents in Texas?

Texas follows an "at-fault" system for car accidents where the person responsible for causing the crash must pay damages to other parties involved. Additionally, Texas uses comparative negligence, meaning that each party's percentage of responsibility affects their ability to recover compensation.

How is Fault Determined in Texas?

Fault determination involves analyzing traffic law violations, driver behavior (e.g., speeding), and road conditions. Insurance adjusters will evaluate these aspects alongside collected evidence, such as photographs and eyewitness accounts, before assigning blame percentages based on comparative negligence rules.

Is the Owner of the Car Liable for an Accident in Texas?

The owner of a vehicle can be held liable under certain circumstances through negligent entrustment. This occurs when they knowingly allow someone unfit (e.g., intoxicated) or unlicensed to drive their vehicle resulting in an accident. Otherwise, it's generally up to individual drivers' actions that determine liability. If you have been involved in a car accident in Dallas, it's essential to seek the help of an experienced car accident attorney.  Our firm, Chris Lewis & Associates P.C., has a group of skilled car accident attorneys based in Dallas. They can assist you with your car accident case or claim. We can help you with property damage, lost wages, personal injury, and non-economic damages.  We can help you deal with insurance companies and prove fault to escape responsibility. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.


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