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Who is at Fault for Car Accidents?

As a car roars through a red light and slams into another, it's obvious who's at fault for the car accident – or is it? Determining fault isn't necessarily a simple matter. For example, what if the car's brakes malfunctioned, preventing the car from stopping as expected when the brakes were applied? In some car accidents, drivers can share fault with other drivers, equipment manufacturers, or even the local government responsible for the road.

The Types of Fault in Car Accidents

Car accidents are often caused by negligence (carelessness that can cause harm) or recklessness (willful acts that can cause harm. For example, if you run a red light because you were distracted by your dog barking at other cars, you might be considered negligent whereas if you ran the red light because the intersection looked clear and you were in a hurry, you might be considered reckless.

In many car accidents, both drivers can be at fault. For example, if you rear-end the driver in front of you, you're likely at fault because you didn't leave enough room in front of you. However, if that car's brake lights were broken, then that car's driver may share some of the fault.

When fault is shared in Texas, the 51 percent proportional comparative fault rule is followed. When fault is shared equally between two drivers, both drivers are eligible for damages. However if one driver is 51 percent (or more to) at fault, that driver is not entitled to compensation.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents have many causes including:

  • Negligence
  • Recklessness
  • Speeding
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to consider road and weather conditions
  • Failure to signal before changing lanes or turning
  • DUI/DWI
  • Driving while distracted
  • Texting while driving
  • Car defects
  • Malfunctioning or obstructed traffic signals
  • Defective road surfaces
  • Objects falling off of other cars or trucks
  • Road debris

Determining fault requires investigation and knowledge of the law. If you've been involved in a car accident, a Brownsville car accident attorney can protect you from baseless claims and pursue compensation for your damages. Contact us today to learn more.