Comparative fault explained or can I bring a lawsuit if I was partially at fault for an accident?
Every day in the greater Houston area there are numerous car accidents and often they involve very serious injury or a fatality. Sometimes a car wreck happens because one driver was negligent and he or she was the sole cause of the accident.
Alternatively, many crashes occur where fault can be distributed to more than one driver. This article attempts to explain the comparative fault scheme for lawsuits in Texas. In short, those who may have been partially at fault for accident may still recover damages as long as they are not more than 50% responsible in the eyes of the judge of the jury.
Texas utilizes what is called “comparative negligence” which amounts to asking a judge or a jury to apportion fault between each party involved in the lawsuit and any other person who may have been responsible for the crash for the damages.
In Texas, parties can recover damages, reduced by their proportion of fault, provided however, they are not greater than 50% responsible for the crash.
An example would be a two-car accident where a driver was 20% at fault and the other driver was 80% at fault, the driver who was found to be 20% fault may still recover damages. However those damages would be reduced by that drivers 20% responsibility. In this example should the jury find the damages at one dollar the award would be reduced by the judge by 20% for the responsibility of the driver and that driver would then net $.80 for the damages.
People are often surprised when a very clear liability accident becomes contested in court. That should not surprise people, as that is what defense lawyers do. Additionally, there are always two sides to every story. Nevertheless, we are continuously amazed at the ingenuity shown by defense lawyers in trying to shift responsibility from the guilty party to someone else.
Multiple vehicle accidents frequently require a lawsuit in order to legally determine who is really at fault for the crash. Each insurance company seems to believe that it’s always the other person who is at fault. Often this situation can only be resolved with a judge or a jury.
If you have questions regarding your rights and options and whether or not you can recover damages from a car wreck, contact the best personal injury attorneys you can find to discuss your rights and options.
You can view the statute at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CP/htm/CP.33.htm