The 3 Key Elements that Determine Fault in a Texas Car Accident

Texas is an at-fault state as it relates to auto insurance laws, meaning the driver who is at-fault must compensate the other driver for their damages. This differs from other states in which no-fault or choice no-fault insurance laws apply.

In almost every accident in Texas, someone is considered to be at fault. While it’s true that some crashes are caused by uncontrollable elements, driver error is the number one cause of auto accidents. If you suspect that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, call Thompson Law today.

How to Determine Who is at Fault in a Texas Car Accident

It’s often difficult to determine who’s at fault in a Texas car accident. Further, the stakes are high, and everyone involved feels compelled to defend their innocence. That’s why it’s always best for a skilled personal injury attorney to step in and apply their legal expertise.

Texas Car Accident Statistics

Unfortunately, auto accidents are a daily occurrence in Texas. If you or a loved one were injured in a crash, Thompson Law can help determine who is at fault in a Texas car accident and recover the compensation you need for hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

In Texas (2021):

  • One person was killed in an auto crash every one hour and 57 minutes
  • One person was injured every two minutes and 12 seconds
  • The fatality rate for Texas roadways increased by 4.17% from 2020
  • There were no deathless days on Texas roadways
  • There were 15,764 serious injury crashes

The 3 Elements that Determine Fault in Texas Car Accidents

Three entities hold crucial roles in a Texas car accident, ensuring that justice is served, evidence is documented, and financial compensation is provided.

1. The Role of the Police

It’s essential to call the police even if your crash is minor. Once on the scene, law enforcement will gather critical details regarding the accident. They might interview drivers, passengers, and witnesses, and they will create a crash report based on their findings.

Man speaking to a police officers after a rear end auto accident. Determining fault in a Texas car accident.

Accident reports can vary, but they usually contain the following information:

  • The location, date, and time of the accident
  • The names of the vehicle owners, drivers, and passengers
  • Information on weather, lighting, and traffic conditions
  • The names and addresses of any injured victims
  • A description of any injuries
  • The names and contact info of any witnesses
  • A description of the vehicles involved
  • A description of any property damage
  • A diagram of the accident scene: skid marks, vehicle positions, and traffic lanes

People are often hesitant to involve law enforcement after a minor crash. Commonly, one driver will try to talk the other out of getting a report. But the best way to protect yourself after an accident is to contact the police for a formal report.

2. The Role of Insurance Companies

After your accident, you’ll have to file a claim with your insurance company. Each driver will usually have their own insurance adjuster working to determine fault. It’s always best to consult an auto accident lawyer before speaking to an insurance adjuster. Even the slightest misstep or seemingly harmless answer can destroy your payout chances.

Man pointing at t-bone car accident while another man takes notes. Determine fault in a Texas car accident.

Adjusters typically handle the following:

  • Reviewing medical documents
  • Examining vehicle damage
  • Researching the accident
  • Confirming insurance policy details
  • Speaking directly with drivers and witnesses
  • Reviewing video footage of accidents, such as traffic cameras

It is an adjuster’s job to decide which driver was at fault. When a driver is found negligent, they can be held liable. For example, a driver who runs a stop sign or a red light exhibits dangerous, careless behavior, while a driver who waits at a red light does not. Other examples of negligence include drunk driving, tailgating, distracted driving, and reckless driving.

3. The Role of the Courts

If someone files a personal injury lawsuit after a car crash, the courts will determine which motorist was at fault in a Texas car accident. Negligence will be assigned based on the behavior that led to the accident.

In Texas, negligent behavior might include:

  • Running a stop sign
  • Running a stop light
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving under the influence
  • Street racing
  • Blocking a roadway
  • Negligently entrusting a vehicle to an unlicensed driver

Man sitting at a desk reviewing paperwork with Lady Justice on the table next to a gavel.

If the courts determine the other motorist was at fault, you could be entitled to financial compensation for damages like injuries, property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Elements of Negligence

In Texas, injury laws require victims to prove certain elements if they hope to hold another party accountable for negligent actions.

These elements are:

  1. Duty of Care:  The driver had a duty to operate their vehicle with the care and skill of a person with “reasonable sensibilities”;
  2. Breach of Duty of Care:  The driver breached that duty through their actions or a failure to act;
  3. Causation:  Because of that breach, they caused both an accident and the resulting injuries; and,
  4. Damages:  The victim has suffered physical, emotional, and or financial damages as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident, and that they deserve compensation.

One example of motorist negligence could be running a red light and colliding with a car that was going on green. Another negligent act could be a motorist who follows dangerously close and causes a rear-end collision.

Evidence That Helps Determine Fault

When it comes to determining who is at fault in a Texas car accident, several factors come into play. Multiple types of evidence will be considered to conclude liability. Generally, the more documentation, the better your chances of prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit.


With a personal injury lawsuit, proving injuries through evidence is critical. Evidence that helps establish the nature and extent of injuries includes medical records, a doctor’s testimony, and professional opinions on any future medical treatment.

Property Damage

Law enforcement and insurers can both play a role in assessing property damage, particularly damage to your vehicle. Documentation like photos and videos can show the kind of damage to your car. For example, if the rear of your car is crushed, this could help your case that the motorist behind you is at fault.

Forensic Analysis

When a case is complicated, the evidence might be examined by a forensic analyst. As someone who specializes in reviewing medical records, witness statements, photographs, and police reports, they can help all parties fully understand an accident. Their expert analysis builds the story of your crash from start to finish, ultimately determining fault.

Surveillance Footage

In some instances, surveillance footage at the crash site can be valuable in helping prove fault. You may have dash cam footage, or you might be able to retrieve a copy of a video from a nearby shop, residence, or public space. Looking into video evidence of your crash is critical because few things paint a clearer picture and will help to determine who is at fault in a Texas car accident.

How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

If another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, Thompson Law can help. As your advocate, your personal injury lawyer will ensure you get fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

To help determine who is at fault in a Texas car accident, your personal injury attorney will gather information, review evidence, and use their legal expertise to help determine what kind of compensation might be fair in your personal injury case. Don’t depend on insurance adjusters to advocate for you; call the trusted team at Thompson Law so you can focus on getting the treatment and care you and your family need.

No Win No Fee for Personal Injury Case. How to Determine Who is at Fault in a Texas Car Accident

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Fault in a Texas Car Accident

How soon do I need to get a lawyer after a crash?

Immediately after a car accident, the priority is to call 911 and seek prompt medical attention for any injuries sustained. Once you are in a safe and stable condition, your next step should be to reach out to an auto accident lawyer without delay. Acting swiftly is crucial for gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and communicating with the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case.

Do I really need a lawyer for a personal injury lawsuit?

Yes. An auto accident lawyer possesses substantial expertise in dealing with insurance companies and personal injury law. While you are recuperating from a collision, the last thing you need is the hassle of handling adjusters who aim to present you with a lowball offer or outright reject your claim.

What are some common causes of car accidents in Texas?

Common factors that lead to car accidents in Texas include: driving under the influence, engaging in phone conversations or texting while driving, exceeding speed limits, following other vehicles too closely, and exhibiting aggressive behaviors such as road rage. Although drivers might feel inclined to multitask, even a brief lapse in attention can result in a serious or potentially deadly collision.

How can a car accident attorney help?

A car accident attorney can provide indispensable assistance following a collision by leveraging their expertise to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. They begin by conducting a thorough investigation, meticulously collecting and analyzing evidence such as police reports, medical records, and witness statements. This comprehensive approach builds a robust case to counteract any attempts by the insurance company to minimize your claim.

Additionally, attorneys handle all communications with insurance adjusters, effectively negating lowball offers and aggressive tactics, thus allowing you to focus on your recovery. With their legal acumen, they can also negotiate a fair settlement that encompasses not only your current medical expenses but also future costs and lost income, providing you with financial security during a challenging time.

Who determines fault in a Texas car accident?

Deciding who is at fault in a Texas car accident might look different in each case. Liability depends on the unique details of your auto accident and whether you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Law enforcement and insurance adjusters make specific judgment calls regarding fault, but if you sue for personal injury, the courts will ultimately decide.

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State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.