This is the third post in our series on dealing with car collisions in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article provided information on how to deal with insurance companies after a car accident. We also discussed the importance of retaining a lawyer early on in the process. In this article we will discuss the issue of comparative fault as it pertains to these matters. If you require assistance, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
We have previously discussed the impact comparative fault has on accident cases which involve distracted driving. This concept also applies to other auto wrecks. In some states, the victim of an accident cannot recover damages if he or she was partially at fault for the incident. However, Texas is a comparative fault state. Comparative fault means that even if a victim was partially at fault in an accident he or she can still recover damages. This applies as long as the victim is not found to have been more responsible (at least 51%) for the accident than the defendant. If a case continues to trial, then the jury will assign a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and defendant. Thus, a victim’s recovery will be reduced proportionately to his or her share of fault for the accident. Provided that the plaintiff is not attributed fifty-one percent or more of the total fault, he or she will still be eligible for recovery. For example, if the total damage is estimated to be $50,000 and the plaintiff is fifty percent responsible for the wreck, he or she would still receive $25,000. The manner in which Texas applies comparative fault differs from many states, which do not permit recovery when a plaintiff is deemed to be fifty percent at fault for an accident.
Nonetheless, proving the extent of each party’s level of fault can be quite difficult. As an example, suppose you run a red light and skid into an intersection. There is a vehicle turning into that same intersection, but he or she does not notice you until it is too late. The car continues on and swipes the side of your car. It is later found that the driver of that vehicle was texting during the accident. Based on the circumstances, a Texas jury may consider you both to be equally at fault for the incident. Therefore, in the aforementioned scenario you may still have a chance to recover fifty percent of your damages. Many times the difference between fifty and fifty-one percent liability is negligible. This is why it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney to assist you with these issues.
If you have been in an accident contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Even if you believe that you may have been at fault in the accident, an experienced attorney can assist you in determining whether the other driver was also at fault. Retaining counsel early will ensure that evidence supporting comparative fault will not be hidden from a potential plaintiff. The concepts we discussed in this article apply regardless of whether you were injured in Forth Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.