This is the next article in our series on the handling of Fort Worth, Texas motorcycle accident cases. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and also stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you or a loved one have been injured. It is important that you speak with counsel sooner, rather than later, in order to ensure that your rights remain fully protected. In this article we will discuss a topic which can lead to confusion – the application of Texas’ comparative fault laws to such matters. If you are in need of assistance then contact a lawyer immediately.
We have previously discussed Texas’ comparative fault laws as a general matter. The concepts we discussed in that article apply to motorcycle accidents. Under Texas law, a victim may recover damages as long as the jury does not find them to have been more responsible, than was the defendant, for the wreck. Any damages awarded by the jury will be reduced by the victim’s share of any blame. If, however, the jury finds that the jury was more at fault than was the defendant, then the victim will recover nothing. In other words, a victim is barred from recovery if they were fifty one percent, or more, responsible for the accident.
The foregoing concept is best explained through an example. Say a motorcycle rider quickly changes lanes, without signaling, and is hit by a car. Now say that the driver of the car was speeding, was not paying to their cell phone as opposed to the road, and ignored safety warnings given by their vehicle. Also, suppose that if the driver of the car had been paying attention, the accident could have been prevented. There is a chance, under these facts, that a jury would find that the driver of the car was more responsible for the accident than was the rider of the motorcycle. If the jury found that the motorcycle rider suffered $100,000 in damages, and was forty percent responsible for the wreck, then the rider would receive $60,000 ($100,000 – forty percent). It is important to understand, however, that how the jury will rule in any given case will always depend on the specific facts of the matter.
Comparative fault is often an issue in motorcycle accident cases. This is due to the fact that it is common for defense counsel to claim that a victim was riding their motorbike in an erratic fashion or otherwise not paying attention to the road. It is crucial that you retain a Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyer who is experienced in dealing with juries. This can help with ensuring that complicated facts are presented in understandable terms. When selecting counsel, we suggest you choose a firm with substantial trial experience, which employs multiple attorneys, and which employs lawyers who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.