Minor Car Accident, My Fault: Should I Report It?
Minor car accidents, such as "fender benders," are pretty common in the United States, and in most cases, these do not result in injuries or fatalities. However, it is important to take all types of motor vehicle collisions seriously.
Whether it is a minor car accident or a major one, state laws can help determine the next course of action. Even if a driver is responsible for the incident, it's crucial that they do not admit fault and reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their case.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience helping car accident victims in Houston, Texas. They can advise on who is at fault in a car accident in an intersection. They have the resources to investigate the case and guide the injured parties on their legal options.
Houston Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Law
In Texas, the state follows the modified comparative negligence rule. It allows injured parties to recover damages after an accident, even if they're partially liable. However, under this law, the plaintiffs lose the right to recovery if they're more than 50% (51% and over) responsible for the incident.
Here is an example to help injured victims understand how the modified comparative negligence law works:
John drives down to his local supermarket in Houston, Texas, unaware that he is speeding. His reckless actions result in a car accident, causing injuries to John and the other driver.
After seeking medical treatment, John files a personal injury claim against the other driver's insurance company to recover $50,000 in damages (medical bills and vehicle repair costs).
When assessing the case, the insurance company finds that John is 40% liable for his injuries as the other driver ran a red light, resulting in the accident.
In the above example, under the modified comparative negligence rule, John will receive $30,000 instead of $50,000, as he was partially responsible for the incident.
Although he was speeding, the other driver was also liable for the accident, allowing John to recover some of the damages.
Suppose John was 51% liable for the accident. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, he loses the right to recovery.
Should Injured Drivers Pursue Compensatory Damages After a Minor Car Accident?
Although a driver may suffer minor injuries in a car accident or escape it unscathed, seeking medical assistance is essential. Sometimes, injuries can take time to manifest, or slight neck pain can turn into a medical complication if left untreated.
In some cases, the victim may suffer from internal injuries. This can be difficult to diagnose, especially without conducting CT scans, MRIs, and other imaging tests.
Whether it's a minor accident or a severe car collision, it's essential to head to a hospital for a medical evaluation. This can help identify any injuries, allowing the injured party to receive the necessary treatment.
Suppose the injured driver is at fault and they've suffered injuries in an accident. In that case, under the state's modified comparative negligence rule, there is still a chance that they can recover some damages.
What Should Injured Drivers Do After a Minor Car Accident in Houston, Texas?
Since injured victims in Houston, Texas, can pursue an insurance claim to recover damages in an accident even if they're partially responsible, taking the right steps to protect their personal injury case is crucial.
However, even if they're entirely responsible for the incident, they must follow certain steps to ensure their financial protection. Failure to comply with their insurance policy terms and conditions can result in the car insurance company denying coverage, which can adversely impact their finances.
The following are the steps a driver needs to take after a minor car accident (even if there are no injuries or visible vehicle damage):
Exchange contact details, vehicle registration numbers, and insurance information with the other parties involved in the car accident.
Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, any markings or road signs, nearby traffic signals, and other relevant details.
Call the non-emergency law enforcement number and let them know about the car crash so that they can send a police officer over to prepare an accident report.
Do not admit fault.
Does the Driver Need to Report the Car Accident to Law Enforcement Agencies in Houston, Texas?
Under Texas law, drivers must report a car accident if it results in serious injuries, fatalities, or property damage in excess of $1,000. They may also have to inform the Texas Department of Transportation of the incident within 10 days.
It's best for the driver to reach out to the police on their non-emergency number ((713) 884-3131) in Houston if they're not sure what to do.
Minor Car Accident, My Fault: Does the Driver Need to Report the Car Accident to Their Insurance Company?
In most cases, the drivers involved in a minor collision often fail to report the car accident to their insurance company for fear of higher premiums or because they believe they can "work it out" with the other party.
However, it is essential to note that if an automobile accident could qualify for coverage, drivers must report it to their insurance company. Failure to do so can result in policy cancellation.
Suppose the other driver goes home and realizes that the damages they've incurred are much greater than they thought, or they are now experiencing symptoms of neck or back injuries.
In that case, they might file an insurance claim, and if the at-fault driver has not informed their insurance company about the accident, they may have to cover the damages from their own pocket.
Should the At-fault Driver Pursue an Insurance Claim After a Minor Car Accident?
If the at-fault driver starts experiencing symptoms of injuries later on, they may want to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. Under Texas's modified comparative negligence rule, they may be able to recover damages even if they're partially responsible for the incident.
However, if the other party suffers injuries, the at-fault driver's auto insurance company may cover the losses up to the policy limits. In cases involving severe damages exceeding the policy limits, the other party may take the at-fault driver to court for more money.
The only time it makes sense for the at-fault driver to pursue a car insurance claim is when they have collision coverage. They can file a claim against their own insurance company to recover the property damages incurred to their vehicle if they're responsible for the accident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help with situations like, lease car accident not my fault.
Victims Should Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Houston, Texas
Those who are suffering from injuries due to a car accident in Houston, Texas, need to call (833) 692-5038 to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help investigate the case, determine the degree of fault, analyze their car insurance policy, and protect the victim's rights.