Is It a Mistake To Admit Fault After a Car Accident in Laredo?

Yes. Although “yes” is only a one-word answer that requires elaboration, you can sum up the answer in a single word. You should never admit fault after a car accident in Laredo, TX, regardless of the circumstances. 

Some people say “sorry” just to be polite, but the aftermath of a car accident is no time for excessive politeness. Be nice, but don’t admit anything.

At-Fault Insurance Systems

Every state applies its own system for dealing with car accident compensation. The majority of states, including Texas, apply an “at-fault” system, People refer to Texas’s minimum requirements for car accident insurance as “30/60/25”:

  • $30,000 maximum coverage per victim in bodily injury liability insurance;
  • $60,000 maximum coverage per accident in bodily injury liability insurance (no matter how many victims); and
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability, no matter how many vehicles suffer damage. 

This insurance covers the losses of other victims if the accident was your fault, not your losses. You can purchase insurance to cover losses even if the accident was your fault. But this insurance is optional, not mandatory.

Claims and Lawsuits

An injured victim who blames you for an accident can file a third-party claim against your liability insurance provider. They can also file a lawsuit against you. 

What they will most likely do, however, is file an insurance claim, seek to negotiate a settlement with you, and use the filing of a lawsuit against you as bargaining leverage.

No-Fault Systems

In no-fault states, every driver purchases personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Unless their injuries are serious, they seek bodily injury compensation from their insurance, not the defendant’s insurance. They cannot even sue the at-fault driver unless their injuries are serious enough to qualify for a loophole in the no-fault system. 

Only a dozen states apply the no-fault system, and Texas is not one of them. However, these considerations might come into play if you’re responsible for a crash in an at-fault state.

Don’t Give the Opposing Party Any Ammunition To Use Against You

The “opposing party” is probably going to be either the driver of the other vehicle or a passenger in your vehicle or the other vehicle. Alternatively, however, it might be a pedestrian that you injured. What it boils down to is this: the opposing party suffered losses, and somebody has to pay for those losses. 

That ‘somebody’ could be the opposing party, the opposing party’s insurance company, you, or your liability insurance company. Even if it is your insurance company that pays, your rates might go up. 

For these reasons, an injured party who blames you for a car accident is your adversary, meaning their gain is your loss. Every penny they receive in compensation is likely to harm your interests in one way or another. Don’t make it easy for them by admitting fault.

You Might Be Mistaken About Your Liability

In the excitement and shock of a car accident, you might falsely assume that you were at fault. But are you right about your own liability? Yes, you failed to stop your car in time, but was the other driver blocking the road while executing an illegal U-turn? 

Maybe the other driver illegally turned right on red, or maybe they were driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Maybe their reactions were slowed by alcohol.

You need to at least consider that the other driver might be partly or even mostly at fault for an accident that you thought was all your fault. Even if you correctly understand your case, you might be mistaken about how they add up to liability. Your lawyer can help you work this one out. 

In any case, the possibility that you might be mistaken about your liability is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t jump to any conclusions and declare the accident your fault.

Your Potential Liability

Admitting liability can get very, very expensive if it causes you to pay compensation that you wouldn’t otherwise have to pay. A big risk is that your liability insurance company will run out of insurance coverage (due to policy limits) long before your liability is anywhere near being paid off. 

This could leave you with a large bill that could come due out of your personal assets, such as your home equity. Following is a list of some of the losses you might bear liability for.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Estimated future medical expenses,
  • Lost earnings,
  • Diminished future earning capacity, 
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, 
  • Property damage,
  • And more

A moderately serious injury accident could easily exhaust your insurance resources for economic damages alone.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life,
  • Disfigurement, and
  • Other intangible damages

Non-economic damages frequently amount to several times the amount of economic damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages apply if your conduct is outrageous. In a car accident, it might apply if, for example, you deliberately ran someone off the road in a fit of ‘road rage.’ 

Contributory Fault

Even if the accident was your fault, you might not bear 100% liability. Perhaps you ran a red light, but perhaps the other driver was talking on their smartphone and could have reacted more quickly if they hadn’t been. If two or more parties share liability, Texas contributory fault law kicks in. 

As long as you were mostly at fault for the accident (51% or more), you cannot demand compensation. Even in that case, however, your liability diminishes in proportion to the other driver’s percentage of fault. If the other driver was 25% at fault, for example, you only have to pay 75% of their damages.

How the Opposing Party Can Trick You Into Admitting Liability

The opposing party’s lawyer can get you to “admit” liability in a hundred different ways. Here are a few of them:

  • In a deposition: “Please state the EXACT time of the accident.” “It was 5:47 p.m.” “Oh, so you were busy checking the time instead of watching the road.”
  • “How are you today?” “I’m fine.” “Well, if you’re fine, then you must not be as seriously injured as you are claiming.”

Another common way of securing an “admission” from you is to monitor your social media accounts for anything that might sound like an admission. Your social media posts can be used as evidence against you in court and settlement negotiations.

Take the Next Step: Consult a Laredo Car Accident Lawyer Today

Unless your accident was so small as to be inconsequential, you need to schedule a consultation with a Laredo car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you avoid a worst-case scenario.

 In a best-case scenario, your lawyer might even turn the tables, prove that the accident wasn’t your fault after all, and demand compensation from the opposing party.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Laredo Personal Injury Lawyers

Meeting with an attorney after an accident or personal injury is always beneficial. Our Laredo personal injury attorneys at Rodrick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers will evaluate your case, answer your questions, and provide trusted legal advice regarding your personal injury claim. Call now to schedule your free case evaluation with an attorney at (956) 529-7336.