Car wrecks happen very fast, and not everybody walks away with a crystal-clear recollection of events. That can make it difficult to determine who is responsible for the crash – and the damages.
What happens when there are multiple vehicles involved in a crash and more than one driver made a mistake? What happens when you make a small mistake that may have contributed to your losses, but your error pales in comparison to the other driver’s fault?
Texas uses modified comparative negligence
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence or “proportionate responsibility” rule when determining how much each driver is responsible for a wreck and the resulting damages.
That means that, absent an agreement between the parties involved and a willingness to settle, the court will look at each party’s action and assign a certain percentage of blame, or “fault,” to each driver. In Texas, you can only collect compensation for your losses if you are less than 51% responsible for the crash – and what you collect will be reduced according to the degree of fault you have to own.
The court won’t just look at the actual wreck, either. They can also assess fault when it comes to your injuries. For example, maybe the other driver ran a red light and is clearly at fault for the wreck – but you weren’t wearing your seatbelt because you were just hopped in your car to make a quick stop to the convenience store near your home. In this case, the court could determine that your injuries would have been 30% less severe if you had buckled up. If your total damages are worth $100,000, you’d only receive 70% of that, or $70,000.
It’s hard to understand how comparative negligence can affect your case, and insurance companies are experts at trying to throw blame back on the victims of a negligent driver. Don’t let anyone devalue your claim unfairly. Legal guidance can help you get everything you’re rightfully due.