A car crash involving a broken-down vehicle can pose a danger and risk to everyone involved, including the drivers and others sharing the road. In Texas, broken-down vehicle accidents commonly occur on the shoulder or roadside of a highway or interstate. For example, if another driver’s car is overheating—then the cautious thing to do is for that driver to safely pull their broken-down car over to the side of the road.
In broken-down car accidents, it can be challenging to determine liability and can be more difficult than one may expect. If you have been injured in a crash involving a broken-down vehicle, you may be wondering how to determine liability.
What’s In This Guide
Why Crashes with Broken Down Vehicles Happen
Other frequent reasons a car can break down and need to pull over include:
- flat tires
- car engine overheating
- low or dead battery
- car is out of gas or has the wrong type of gas
Unfortunately, when a car breaks down suddenly, the driver may not have their hazard lights on to warn you, nor be able to safely move their vehicle over to the side of the road—and instead is stuck in the middle of traffic. In such a scenario, if you are another driver passing a stopped vehicle, be sure to also move out of the way safely, use hazard lights, and remain as cautious as possible. If you are in the broken-down vehicle, remember to remain claim, pull over as safely as possible using your hazard lights and call for help.
If you have been injured in a broken-down vehicle accident due to a car breakdown as described above, you may wonder how you can successfully determine the at-fault party. In such a situation, it depends on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. In fact, you may still be entitled to compensation regardless of who you are in the scenario—the driver in the broken-down vehicle or a passing driver.
Legal Help with Broken-Down -Car Accident Case
It is critical to speak to a Texas-licensed attorney with the skills and knowledge to protect your rights and present a strong case. Specifically, gather and review the evidence to prove your claim (i.e., police report), help you preserve evidence, and discuss your legal options, including damages and liability.
Additionally, an effective personal injury attorney is familiar with Texas-specific car accident laws and the various pathways to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve for damages which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages including to your vehicle and/or pain and suffering.
A Texas personal injury attorney is critical to ensuring your rights to full compensation are protected. An experienced attorney can help you determine who was at fault for the accident and walk you through the ways that fault is apportioned in Texas.
Texas’ Car Crash Fault Approach
Texas is among several states that use a modified comparative negligence approach for assigning the percentage of fault and damages between parties.
- Full compensation: where the other party is fully at fault, then you are likely entitled to the full and fair amount of compensation for the damages you suffered because of the accident.
- No compensation: If you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, then you cannot recover any compensation for your losses. Note that pursuing your claim without skilled legal representation reduces your chances of recovery if it is determined you were mostly at fault.
- Reduced compensation: If you are liable by less than 50%, your total award will be deducted by that percentage of fault. For example, if you were 10% responsible and you are seeking $70,000 in compensation, then that amount is reduced by 10%.
In the event you are determined to have been at fault, then you will have to cover the damages through your insurance or out of pocket.
Options Under Your Auto Insurance Policy
There are options available to you in the event you are at fault, and the bills are growing. Texas is among the few states that automatically include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in your auto coverage.
Your PIP insurance policy must cover $2,500 per person, and it pays for you and your passengers if your car accident results in injuries. The major benefit of a PIP is that it can be utilized regardless of who is at fault. Note that if you decide to opt out of PIP, it must be done in writing.
Another type of auto coverage that pays health care costs is called Medical Payments, also known as Med-Pay, which covers your health care needs related to the accident, such as doctor and hospital visits. Med-pay’s major benefit is that it can be more cost-effective and efficient than your own health insurance when you consider your health insurance’s deductible and co-pays.
To learn more about what your auto insurance covers and how to put it to use, ask your attorney for help reviewing the specific provisions of your policy. Additionally, you can take proactive steps to understand what your policy covers by reviewing the Consumer Bill of Rights, which your insurance policy is required to provide you under Texas law.
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Speak to an Experienced Austin, Texas Broke-Down Vehicle Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have sustained an injury or injuries in a broken-vehicle Texas car accident, you need experienced attorneys by your side. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Patel Firm have the knowledge and skills to represent you and advocate for your best interests.
We have extensive experience in Texas personal injury cases involving broken-vehicle accidents. Our priority is to help alleviate the added stress of an injury to you and/or loved ones impacted by the accident, navigate the complex legal aspects on your behalf, and zealously fight for your right to fair and just compensation. Don’t delay! Contact us at (361) 400-2036 to schedule a free evaluation where we will discuss the details of your case and your legal options.