What if I am Partly Responsible for an Accident?
Written by Greg on October 15, 2019
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. If you were hurt in an accident that was not your fault, the other driver is responsible for damages. 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 receive money for your injuries as long as you are less than half responsible for the accident.
Modified Comparative Negligence
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 was partly to blame. 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.
Modified comparative negligence allows you to be eligible for compensation in an accident as long as you were less than 51% at fault. This is known as the 51% bar rule. If you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you cannot obtain any portion of your damages. If you are less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault. 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.
How is the Percentage of Fault Determined?
In general, the insurance company will ascribe a percentage of fault to each party based on a number of factors such as the police report, driver and witness statements, vehicle damage assessment, and camera footage, if available. You may not agree with the decision that the insurance company makes regarding your negligence in the accident. Your attorney will be helpful in resolving 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, which contributed to the crash. Ascribing fault can be complicated and it is best to discuss the matter with your attorney before you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company. You deserve to get the full compensation that you are owed.
If you were hurt in an auto accident, the negligent party might owe you money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact our legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free case consultation today.