How Do The Texas Laws Work If I Am Partially At Fault For a Car Accident?

Under Texas law, if you are partially at fault for a car accident, you may still claim compensation. This is because Texas operates under a modified comparative fault system, which means that so long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation. However, your settlement could be reduced to reflect your percentage of liability.

Cases that involve multiple liable parties are complex, and it is common for insurance companies to exaggerate the part you played in the accident in order to reduce the amount they have to pay. The best way to prove fault and protect your right to recover damages is to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC we take pride in providing caring and comprehensive assistance to injured victims in Texas. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not pay unless we win your case. We also offer a free consultation to anyone who has been involved in a car accident and needs legal advice.

After you decide to work with a personal injury lawyer from our firm, we will investigate your case, determine the extent of your damages, and try to negotiate a just settlement. By relying on us for your car accident case, you can concentrate on your own health and well-being, secure in the knowledge that your case is being handled by the right people.

Call us at 512-520-8100 for a free consultation with Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, the attorney that works.

Texas Car Accident Laws – Modified Comparative Negligence

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that you can claim compensation even if you were partially responsible for an accident. However, Texas also has a rule known as the ‘51% bar’. So, if you are over 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any compensation.

For example, if one party was driving over the speed limit, and a drunk driver recklessly pulled into their lane without looking for oncoming traffic, both drivers could share liability. However, in this instance, the drunk driver could be considered 80% at fault for the accident, and the speeding driver 20% at fault.

Although the driver who was speeding broke the rules of the road, they were not the main reason that the accident occurred, so they could still recover compensation. If they are awarded $100,000 in damages, then their settlement could be reduced by 20% to reflect their liability, and they would receive $80,000. However, because the drunk driver was over 50% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover any damages.

How is Fault Determined in Texas Car Accident Cases?

Texas is an at-fault state, so the person who is found to be at fault for the auto accident is also liable for any damages. This is in contrast to a no-fault state in which each party must first seek compensation from their own car insurance carrier, regardless of fault.

Establishing that the other driver was at fault in Texas involves proving that they acted negligently and that their negligence caused the accident that directly led to your damages. Negligence laws vary between states, and in Texas, there are five elements that must be proven to recover compensation:

  1. Duty of Care – First, it is necessary to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care. Duty of care is a legal responsibility to behave or not behave in a certain way. In Texas, all road users have a duty to follow the rules of the road and drive safely to keep those around them safe.
  2. Breach – Next, the at-fault party must have performed some action or inaction that qualifies as a breach of duty of care. Examples could include driving over the speed limit, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, ignoring a stop sign, or other forms of reckless driving.
  3. Cause in Fact – The negligent actions of the at-fault party must have been the actual cause of the injuries that you are making a claim for. For example, perhaps the other driver crashed into the back of your vehicle, causing you to hit your head and suffer a brain injury. This could be considered cause-in-fact. However, if your airbag failed to deploy, this could have contributed to your injuries, and the other driver’s liability could be reduced.
  4. Proximate Cause – It must be reasonable to presume that the at-fault party should have known that their actions could cause injuries. For example, a reasonable person knows that speeding increases their risk of causing an accident.
  5. Damages – Finally, the at-fault party’s actions must have resulted in compensable losses, known as damages. Damages could include medical bills and lost income, as well as non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life.

Who is Liable for Damages if I Was Partially At Fault?

If you are partially at fault for a car accident (but less than 50%), it is likely that you will still claim compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. If there are multiple at-fault parties, then you may need to claim compensation from multiple sources.

Dealing with insurance companies is never easy, and when there are multiple insurance companies involved, it becomes even more complex. Each insurance company could assign different levels of fault to each party and they may try to reduce what they owe you by exaggerating your percentage of fault.

Insurance companies are profit-driven corporations that will look for any advantage they have that could save them money. That is one reason it is so important to have the help of an experienced car accident attorney who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and protect your right to fair compensation.

The majority of car accident claims are negotiated between insurance companies and attorneys, which means they settle outside of court. This is usually in the best interest of everyone, as it saves time and money on court proceedings. However, cases that involve proportionate responsibility are more likely to go to court.

When this happens, the Judge or jury will determine each party’s percentage of fault and how much compensation you are owed. Your attorney from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC will be prepared to present your case in court. Our attorneys have extensive trial experience and know what it takes to secure a favorable outcome for our clients.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim if I Was Partially At Fault For a Car Accident?

If you are partially at fault for a car accident, your settlement could be reduced to reflect your degree of fault. Therefore, it is essential that you maximize the amount of compensation you could receive by clearly evidencing your damages.

Your damages are your compensable losses that make up your settlement. One of the important roles of your attorney is to calculate and evidence your damages so that you know what a good settlement looks like in your case.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is the legal term used for your non-economic damages after car accidents. Following a car accident, you may have suffered emotionally as well as physically. Besides the physical pain, you may be left with emotional trauma from the accident itself and the injuries you have suffered. Your injuries may have also lowered your quality of life and you may be left unable to continue with hobbies that you once enjoyed.

You have a right to receive just compensation for your pain and suffering, and when you do, these damages often make up the largest percentage of your settlement. However, non-economic damages are highly contentious and require the help of a skilled lawyer who can fight for a favorable outcome.

Medical Expenses

Medical bills are notoriously high in the United States, and they can quickly exceed policy limits after a serious car accident. A successful settlement should cover all medical bills and expenses and you should keep a thorough record to be used as evidence.

In addition, if you require ongoing treatment for your injuries, then your future medical costs should also be included. Future expenses are more difficult to evidence, and your attorney may secure expert testimony to ensure that you have a strong case.

Property Damage

You should also keep a record of any other expenses relating to the accident, including the cost of repairing or replacing your property that was damaged in the accident. This could include vehicle repair or replacement.

Lost Wages

If your injuries prevented you from working and you suffered lost income as a result, then this should also be included in your settlement. If your injuries are likely to prevent you from working in the same capacity, then you should also be compensated for future loss of earning capacity.

When determining what you are owed in lost earning capacity, your work experience, age, and education will all be considered.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not always available to victims because they can only be awarded by a Judge in cases that go to court. These damages act as a punishment or a deterrent. They are reserved for cases where the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or malicious intent.

Claiming For Wrongful Death After a Car Accident in Texas

Losing a loved one in a car accident is incredibly difficult. No amount of money can heal your grief. However, it can ensure that you are not left in financial hardship as a result. The same modified comparative fault laws apply to wrongful death claims. So, as long as your loved one was less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still make a claim.

If you have lost a spouse, child, or parent in a car accident in Texas, then you should contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC for a free consultation. We understand the dedication and compassion these cases require and will handle the entire legal process so that you can focus on your family.

Call Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works!

If you are wondering, ‘how do the Texas laws work if I am partially at fault for a car accident?’ then you should contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC today for a free consultation. Texas car accident laws are complex and we can explain those that apply to your case so that they are easier to understand.

Our attorneys help car accident victims on a daily basis and have the skills, experience, and resources necessary to handle your case. We will investigate your situation, build a robust case, handle the paperwork, and negotiate with insurance companies to fight for maximum compensation. We want you to focus on your recovery, knowing that everything is being done for your case.

We believe that all car accident victims deserve access to high-quality legal representation. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you can never be left out of pocket for seeking help.

Regardless of whether you believe you contributed to the accident, we want to hear from you. You may not have all the information yet, and the best way to protect your rights is to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.

Arrange a free consultation for your personal injury case today at 512-520-8100.

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