This is the second post in our series on the handling of pedestrian accident cases in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last post served as an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you or a loved one have been hit by an oncoming car. It is important to understand that not retaining counsel may result in the insurance company offering a “low ball” settlement. In this post we will discuss another important topic – how Texas’ comparative fault laws impact liability in Fort Worth and throughout the state.
Texas has adopted the idea of “comparative fault.” By this we mean that a victim can still recover damages for an injury even if the accident was partially their fault. In our state one will still be compensated as long as they were not more responsible than the other party. An example of this would be a Plaintiff who walks across an intersection even though a “do not cross” light is flashing. If this person is hit by a negligent driver, who was texting while driving or who ran a red light, then the jury may possibly find that each party was fifty percent responsible for the accident. The Plaintiff in such a case would be able to recover fifty percent of their damages (100% of damages – the percent of fault assigned to the Plaintiff). So if the jury found that the Plaintiff had suffered $100,000 in damages, the award would be $50,000.
Texas’ comparative fault laws are more favorable to Plaintiffs than those provided in some other states. One injured in our state can recover as long as they are less than fifty-one percent responsible for the accident (meaning damages will be awarded if the jury decides fault was 50-50). There are states however, where a Plaintiff cannot recover if they were as responsible as the other party, meaning a 50-50 liability case would result in the victim not being compensated for their injuries. The jury determines how fault is apportioned and it is important you retain counsel who is familiar with arguing the facts of a case to jurors.
When selecting a pedestrian accident attorney it is important to select a firm in which the lawyers primarily handle serious injury cases and have substantial experience in doing so. You should also determine whether the attorneys are board certified and whether the firm employs a full time investigator who can fully explore the matter. It is also important to determine whether the firm can advance court costs and whether the office can devote multiple attorneys to your case. This is true whether you were injured in counties including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise as well as Fort Worth, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.