Understanding Texas Comparative Negligence after a Car Accident
When you are in an accident with one or more other vehicles, your recovery depends on who was responsible for the accident. If one other driver is found to be entirely at fault for the collision, you will seek to recover from that person. However, few auto accidents are that cut and dry. Many crashes are caused by more than one driver doing something they should not have done. You may have even been one of those drivers during your accident. Because of the complexities of fault and liability for auto accidents, Texas has a comparative negligence rule that requires judges to apportion responsibility. This can greatly affect how much you recover and from whom.
Comparative Negligence in Texas
When you are hurt in a car accident, you will either seek to recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance or by filing a personal injury claim in court. When your case is before a judge or jury, this is when the theory of comparative negligence matters most. Under Section 33.003, each defendant is only responsible for their portion of the recovery based on the percentage of their responsibility. For example, if you sue two different drivers and one driver is deemed 90 percent responsible for the accident while the other only 10 percent, then each driver is liable for that percentage of your compensatory and non-compensatory damages.
When You Are Partially at Fault for Your Accident
It is important to consider that you may also be one of the drivers at fault for the car accident and your injuries. If the court finds the other driver was 90 percent at fault and you were 10 percent responsible for the accident, you will only be awarded 90 percent of your calculated damages.
Also, Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under Section 33.001, you cannot recover any damages if you are more than 50 percent responsible for your injuries. The court may find that you are more than half responsible for your car accident if you were also ticketed for a traffic violation in relation to the accident or if you could reasonably have avoided the crash. If you file a personal injury claim and the court finds you were 51 percent or more responsible for the accident and your current injuries, you will not recover anything from the other driver.
Recover from Your Accident with the Help of a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer
If you know that you were in some way responsible for your accident, it is even more important to have a skilled personal injury attorney represent you to insurance companies and in court. Your attorney will strive to show that while you may have contributed to the collision, another driver was predominantly responsible for the accident and your injuries. The New Braunfels personal injury lawyers of The Bettersworth Law Firm understand how complicated auto accident cases can become and will aggressively represent your interests.