A reportable accident happens about once a minute in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, (TxDOT). While most accidents are minor, many crashes result in severe injuries and fatalities. The other driver is responsible for damages if you were hurt in an accident that was not your fault.
Many people wonder what happens when an accident is partially their fault and do not know if they will be entitled to compensation. In some states, if you are partly to blame for an accident, you cannot get money for your damages. However, Texas is not one of those states.
In Texas, you can still receive money for your injuries if you are less than half responsible for the accident.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence in Texas
Texas is a state that utilizes a doctrine called modified comparative fault for personal injury claims. A party can receive compensation for injuries and damages caused by the accident even if he or she is partly to blame. This legal concept applies to car crashes, motorcycle accidents, and even an injury accident with a semi-truck.
However, the amount of money that can be paid is reduced by the percentage of fault ascribed to the driver in the case. Some states use pure comparative negligence, and anyone can obtain compensation in a crash. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence law. Other states have a no-fault system.
Modified comparative negligence makes you eligible for compensation in an accident if you were less than 51% at fault. This is known as the 51% bar rule. You cannot obtain any portion of your damages if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident. If you are less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault.
An Example of the 51% Rule in Texas
For example, if your damages totaled $100,000, but you were found to be 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 20% or, in this example, $20,000. Therefore, you would be entitled to $80,000.
If you were 50% in the above example, your damages would be reduced by half, and you would be entitled to $50,000.
However, if you were 51% or more at fault, your damages in Texas would be zero.
How is the Percentage of Fault Determined?
In general, the insurance company will ascribe a percentage of fault to each party based on several factors, such as the police report, driver and witness statements, vehicle damage assessment, and camera footage, if available. You may not agree with the insurance company’s decision regarding your negligence in the accident.
Your car accident attorney will help resolve these types of disputes. If the matter cannot be resolved through negotiation, your attorney may take the matter to court.
Typically, one driver is mostly responsible for the crash, while the other driver may have done something that could have contributed to the crash. For instance, a driver may hit another vehicle in the intersection and is mostly at fault. However, the other driver may have been speeding, contributing to the crash. Texas uses a comparative fault system.
Witnesses can be Helpful.
Automobile accidents can be complex. Some situations make it unclear who is at fault in the automobile accident. As such, a lot of factors go into determining who is at fault in a car accident.
For starters, both parties should get all relevant information regarding the accident. If we are your auto accident injury attorney, we step in to ensure that we get available information that may be helpful for your case.
If the fault is unclear, witnesses come in handy as they contribute to figuring out who might be responsible for the car accident. The accounts of bystanders or other drivers are considered credible because they “don’t have a dog in the hunt.”
Evidence and witnesses are critical to determining who might be at fault in a car accident. Note you should insist on preservation and careful handling of all evidence as these could be important for your claims.
The Adjuster Wants a Recorded Statement. What Should I Do?
Insurance companies use a common tactic to trick you into accepting blame for part of the accident: arm-wrestling you into a recorded statement. You need to be aware that you are not obligated to provide these individuals with a statement. This is not viewed as being cooperative. In fact, it might ruin your case.
Note that your lawyer is responsible for communicating with the adjuster. They may provide a written statement on your behalf that avoids the trick questions of an adjuster.
You should politely decline any invitation to record the statement with the other driver’s insurance company. After that, you can refer them to your personal injury lawyer, your spokesperson.
How Can a Lawyer Help If I Am Partly at Fault for an Accident?
If you are the at-fault party and particularly share the general responsibility for the damage caused by the crash, you require a skilled lawyer to help. This is helpful for states with comparative fault standards like Texas.
The lawyer will help you through the tactics and tricks that might be used against you as a victim. They handle all the communications between you and the insurance company, ensuring you get a fair chance even when you are partly to blame for the car accident.
In some cases, a skilled lawyer might help you fight allegations of fault for an accident. This decision will be based on the lawyer’s investigation of your case.
Who Should I Hire for My Car Accident Injury?
You should hire the best car accident lawyer near me following an accident. They will act as your representative, ensuring the best chance of a positive outcome for the accident.
A good car accident lawyer will want justice to prevail through a fair settlement. Look for a law firm that offers no-obligation consultation for a car accident injury claim. A good personal injury law firm should want to maximize your compensation, especially when there is confusion about who is to blame for the car accident.
I Have Questions About an Injury Accident- Who Can I Talk With?
Insurance companies play the primary role in determining fault in a car accident. You might need to protect yourself and your loved ones and a car accident lawyer in some circumstances.
We understand that you must secure full compensation for your pain, suffering, and other damages, even when you are partly to blame for the accident. Call for a consultation if you were hurt in an accident in Harris County, Texas, or the surrounding area.
Contact a Top-rated Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
If our attorneys take the case, we can make a big difference in protecting your rights. If you have a question about an injury accident in Houston, contact Baumgartner Law Firm and be on the way to maximizing compensation for you and your family. Call (281) 587-1111.
Baumgartner Law Firm
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069