Last month, more than 20 vehicles were involved in a serious crash on I-35 near San Antonio. At least two 18-wheel semi-trucks were involved. Investigators believe the cause of the accident, which involved multiple independent collisions, was the heavy fog in the area and numerous vehicles speeding. Some individuals were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and others were treated at the scene. There were no reported fatalities.
When multi-vehicle accidents like this occur, it is safe to assume that there will be a number of insurance or personal injury claims filed. One of the main issues insurers or the courts must address involves determining liability for the collision. If more than one driver was responsible, an insurer or court will need to apportion responsibility, which can greatly affect a victim’s ability to recover compensation.
One of the largest obstacles to recovering compensation after a multi-vehicle accident is determining who was at fault for the crash. If you were the third or fourth vehicle to be struck during a collision, who do you look toward for recovering damages? Do you seek compensation from the person who directly hit you and actually caused the damage, or the first vehicle to strike another and cause the chain reaction? There may be even greater confusion if more than one driver did something wrong or if more than one driver received a ticket immediately following the accident.
Considering Comparative Negligence
It is possible that more than one driver is responsible for your accident and your injuries, including yourself. In this case you may need to file a personal injury claim against more than one other person or you may have to prove that another driver was more at fault for the crash than you.
Who is responsible for the crash and by how much matters under Texas’ comparative negligence law. Under Section 33.003, each party is only responsible for the portion of your recovery based on the percentage of their responsibility for the accident. For example, two drivers may be at fault for the crash that caused your injuries; however, Drive A may be 75 percent responsible, while Driver B is 25 percent responsible. Driver A would be required to pay 75 percent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Driver B would be financially responsible for paying the other 25 percent.
This calculation can also takes your own fault into consideration. Under Section 33.001, you are only able to recover compensation if you are less than 50 percent responsible. If you are 49 percent or less at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your portion of responsibility. If you 51 percent or more responsible, you will receive nothing.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
If you were in a multi-vehicle accident and you are not sure of what to do next, contact the experienced New Braunfels personal injury lawyers of the Bettersworth Law Firm as soon as possible. We will investigate your situation and guide you through the next best steps. Our main priority will be to help you recover the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.