What happens if you are partially responsible for a car wreck?
A reportable car crash happens about once a minute in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While most crashes 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. It’s easy to assume one party is completely at fault. However, personal injury claims aren’t always that simple. Many people wonder what happens when an accident is partially their fault. Will they 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. When this is the case, injury attorneys have to grapple with what’s referred to as comparative fault.
Modified Comparative Fault
Comparative fault is a legal concept used in civil liability cases that directly addresses accidents where victims were at fault to some degree. Texas is a state that utilizes a doctrine called modified comparative fault for personal injury claims, which allows victims who do contribute to their own accidents to recover at least some compensation from the party who was more at fault (with some exceptions). 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 assigned to the driver in the case.
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 50% or less at fault, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For example, if your damages totaled $50,000 but you were found to be 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 20% or in this example, $10,000. Therefore, you would be entitled to $40,000.
While modified comparative fault allows victims who contributed to their own wrecks to recover compensation, it can also provide at-fault parties and their insurance providers with the opportunity to reduce payouts, or even avoid paying altogether, by arguing the victim’s degree of fault. This is why it becomes essential for victims to work with proven attorneys who know how to provide convincing evidence as to the degree of fault and liability to ensure clients secure the compensation they deserve.
Who determines the percentage of fault?
Generally, the insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to each party based on a number of factors such as: the police report, witness statements, vehicle damage assessments, and possibly camera footage. 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 so it’s best to discuss the matter with your attorney before you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company. Call Paradowski Law at (855) 524-2976 and get what you deserve.