This is the third post in our series on the handling of Fort Worth, Texas area car accident cases which involve distracted driving. Our last article focused on how to establish proof of negligence in a distracted driving case. It is important that you retain an attorney who understands how to build a case on your behalf. In this post we will focus on another important topic – how comparative fault applies in such a case. It is important to understand that the victim of an accident may still be able to recover even if they were partially at fault for the incident.
We have previously discussed how Texas’ comparative fault statute applies in personal injury cases. As we discussed in that article, Texas allows a victim to recover for their damages as long as the jury does not find them to have been at least fifty-one percent responsible for the accident. A Plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by their percentage of fault. If, for example, a Plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages and the jury believes that he or she was forty percent to blame for the accident then that Plaintiff will be awarded $60,000 ($100,000 – 40%). Given the issues which can arise in a distracted driving case, such as when the defendant was texting behind the wheel, comparative fault is an important concept.
Distracted driving can create many situations where both parties bear partial blame for the accident. In a pedestrian accident, for example, the injured victim may have been crossing against a “do not cross” sign. The driver, however, may have also run a red light. Such would clearly be a case where both parties are in the wrong. If discovery were to show that the driver ran the red light as a result of texting while driving then the percentage of fault to be applied to the driver would likely increase. Such evidence may assist the Plaintiff in recovering a greater amount of their damages. A second example can include two cars at a four-way intersection who hit each other. If it is unclear who was at fault then the jury may simply split the fault 50-50. If, however, it is shown that the one driver was engaging in distracting activity then their share of the fault would likely increase.
It is important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately even if you believe you were partially at fault for an auto accident. Discovery, the process by which information is obtained by the other side, does not begin until after a lawsuit is filed. It can yield evidence of distracted driving by allowing you to obtain the other driver’s cell phone records, email records, and other information which may show that the defendant was paying attention to something other than the road. It is best to hire a firm that has a history of handling serious injury cases and which also employs an on-staff investigator. We suggest looking for these traits in a lawyer regardless of whether you were injured in Texas counties including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise counties as well as Fort Worth, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, Dallas, and Fort Worth.