Many car accidents involve at least two vehicles, and sometimes even more. In a multi-vehicle accident, it is not uncommon for more than one person to be at fault. In some states, if your own negligence contributed to the accident in any way, you would be barred from collecting compensation for any injuries you suffered. Thankfully, Texas follows a rule of comparative negligence, known as “proportionate responsibility,” that allows individuals to file a claim for damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident.
Defining Proportionate Responsibility in Texas
In Texas, each person involved in a car accident will be assigned a percentage of fault for the crash. Depending on the situation, the contributing parties could include:
- You (the plaintiff)
- Any other drivers (the defendant[s])
- Any responsible third parties
Proportionate responsibility means that a person can obtain compensation for damages sustained in a car accident for which they were partially to blame, with the damages reduced in proportion to their liability compared to the other parties. However, a person can only claim compensation if they were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident.
The following hypothetical scenario illustrates how proportionate responsibility can impact the damages awarded in a Texas personal injury case.
Let us say that there were two people who got into a car accident. Driver 1 was traveling straight through a four-way intersection, while Driver 2 was driving on the street perpendicular to Driver 1. As both drivers approached the intersection, Driver 1, who had a stop sign, slowed down without coming to a complete stop, and then proceeded through. Driver 2 was distracted and looking in the opposite direction of Driver 1 when he proceeded to pull into the intersection without slowing. The pair collided in the intersection, and Driver 1 was injured and filed a claim for damages.
After reviewing the case, the jury comes back with the verdict that both drivers played a part in this accident. Driver 1 is assigned 20 percent liability, while Driver 2 is assigned 80 percent liability. The jury decides that $100,000 is an appropriate award for Driver 1’s damages, but since Driver 1 contributed 20 percent of the fault, the award is reduced to $80,000.
Contact a New Braunfels, TX Car Accident Injury Lawyer
If you have been in a car accident, you may be eligible to claim compensation, even if you believe you were partially at fault. At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we can help you reclaim much-needed compensation including, but not limited to, lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. To schedule a time to discuss your case with our skilled New Braunfels, TX car accident injury attorney, contact our office today at 830-606-0404 to set up a free consultation.