The reality of personal injuries is that often, assigning fault is not a black-and-white process. There are many situations where it is possible to only be partially at fault for an accident, such as auto accidents involving multiple drivers or hazardous conditions.
If you are accused of partial fault for an accident, it can be hard to know what to do. Texas laws around contributory negligence are complicated, and being accused of being the person responsible for an accident – even if only partially – can cause considerable anxiety.
Here at Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our personal injury lawyer team has over 70 years of combined experience dealing with these situations. We can use our knowledge, wisdom, and compassion to protect your legal rights and give you the best chance at a positive outcome.
Our phone lines are open 24/7 and an experienced personal injury attorney is waiting to give you a free consultation at no obligation, completely covered by the attorney-client relationship of confidentiality.
To find out how we can help you, call 936-251-5246 today.
Should I Settle if I am Partially At Fault for an Accident?
The best thing to do following any accident is to contact an attorney immediately. Every accident is unique and your attorney will be the best source of advice. They will ask the necessary questions and advise you on the best course of action to take.
As soon as you have spoken to an attorney, you can also let them liaise with all parties on your behalf.
The Importance of Acting Fast When You Are Partially at Fault
If you are accused or believe you are partially at fault for an accident that resulted in a personal injury, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
The more time your attorney has, the more legal options you will retain. If you delay, this gives the personal injury lawyers of other parties or insurance company legal teams more time to collect evidence and form a case against you. Acting fast is the best way to ensure your legal rights remain protected.
You Could be Entitled to Seek Compensation Even if You are Partially at Fault for the Car Accident
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that even if you are at partial fault for the injury of the other driver, you could be entitled to compensation.
However, there is a limit to this. If you are found to be at a percentage of fault greater than 50%, you will have to pay compensation rather than receive it.
No matter which side of this fault line you lie, securing the assistance of personal injury lawyers who are skilled and experienced is essential. They could help maximize the amount of compensation you receive, or minimize the amount you have to pay.
To tell you how we can assist in your injury case, we offer free consultations around the clock.
How Compensation Works in an At-Fault State
In contrast from states like Florida, with no-fault laws that allow an injured person to deal with their insurance company to receive compensation, Texas is an at-fault state.
This means that the party who is found to have liability for the accident must pay for the injuries and complications sustained by the other party. As such, representation by an experienced lawyer is key to a good legal outcome, no matter how you were involved.
The Percentage-Based Scale
Contributory negligence law in Texas could impact the amount of money you could receive in a personal injury case.
The way this works is by looking at the percentage of fault each person holds. We will look at this through examples of car accidents. Even if there is clearly an at-fault driver, if you were driving negligently, you could be assigned a portion of the blame.
If you are found to be 25% responsible for the car accident, the amount you would be awarded in court would be reduced by 25% accordingly. However, it is hard to be exact about assigning a numerical value to blame. That is why a good car accident lawyer will be able to argue, negotiate and provide evidence to get your level of blame lower, thus increasing the amount of money you could be entitled to.
Examples of Situations Where a Driver Would Receive 100% of the Blame
While Texas law does allow blame to be split across multiple parties, there are many situations that would still result in a driver receiving 100% of the blame. These include:
- Speeding well above the speed limit
- Driving while intoxicated
- Slamming your brakes at a red light
- Entering a roundabout and hitting another moving vehicle
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light
- Failing to yield
- Turning out of a road and hitting a vehicle traveling in the same lane
Your Insurance Company is Not on Your Side
Many people forget, and decades of experience has proven, that car insurance companies and other insurance companies are not on your side. They are enterprises run for profit, so it is in their best interest to minimize their costs.
This is why it is so important to have experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel at your disposal before dealing with insurance companies, no matter your level of collision coverage or your specific insurance policy.
Tips for Dealing with an Insurance Company
While we would advise never interacting with an insurance company without talking to a legal professional first, there are some tips that always apply. These are:
- Only disclose the minimum amount of information possible to an insurance company when speaking to them after an event occurs
- Never sign anything given to you by an insurance company without letting a legal professional see it first
- Never agree to give a recorded statement and assume every statement you make is being recorded and will be used against you
- Insurance companies almost always lowball the first settlement offer. Negotiation is key for receiving a fair amount for your damages
The Factors that Determine Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit or Settlement
When someone is injured in an accident that was not their fault, there are a number of factors involved that determine how much money the claim could be worth.
These factors are split across several different categories, which we will explore in the next sections. Generally speaking, the more severe the injuries or complications to the injured party, the larger the claim amount may be.
Although property damage is often not the first thing we think of when considering an injury claim, it is often considered when calculating a fair settlement.
Take car accidents, for example. If you have been involved in an auto accident, vehicle damage is highly likely. This property damage may cost you a large amount of money, and impacts something vital to your life that you may use daily for commutes and life responsibilities.
Personal injury attorneys often assist accident victims in reclaiming money for property damage.
Astronomical medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
An accident such as a car crash could land you in debilitating medical debt, especially if you sustained serious injuries. Your lawyers can help you recoup these costs, including the cost of possible future medical care if your injuries are likely to require it.
Another common type of financial damage caused by an accident is lost income.
If you sustained injuries, for example, due to a car accident, it is likely that you may require time off from work while you recover. Many workplaces do not provide sick pay that is equivalent to normal working pay, and this can impact your income. Your lawyer can help you recoup these costs.
Pain and Suffering
Due to the high speeds and heavy weights involved, an auto accident is likely to lead to serious damage to the victim – both mentally and physically.
Pain and suffering damages take this into account. They look at the length of your recovery process, the pain level involved, and whether there are any permanent physical or psychological impacts on your life going forward.
Collecting Evidence After a Crash or Other Accident
Whether you want to maximize your claim amount or protect yourself from accusations by the other party, evidence is key to a successful settlement or lawsuit.
Remember, you and your lawyers will not be the only parties collecting evidence – so time is of the essence. Any insurance company involved will likely have insurance adjuster teams collecting and collating evidence, and the other driver or party will likely also have their own lawyers working too.
In the next sections, we will run through the most important evidence to collect. Some evidence can be helpful to prove fault, such as expert or computer reconstructions of a car accident, but your lawyer will know best how to handle these.
Thanks to the prevalence of cell phones, almost everyone can collect evidence from the accident scene and beyond. However, this evidence disappears quickly – so it is important to take photographs as soon as it is safe to do so.
You should photograph:
- Any unsafe environmental conditions or hazards that contributed to the fault of the accident or demonstrated the negligence or liability of another party
- Your injuries, both as soon as it is safe to do so and at each major stage of the recovery process
- In the event of a car crash, photograph all damaged vehicles, the registration plates of all vehicles present, tire skid marks, dangerous conditions, and environmental damage
Collecting Contact Details
Witness testimony can play a key part in determining liability. As such, you should collect the names and contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident.
If you experienced a car accident, you should also get the registration information, vehicle description, and the car insurance information of the other driver.
There are a number of documents that can help to show who is at fault for the accident or act as proof of the amount of money you should receive for your claim.
- Medical bills resulting from the accident and your prior medical records
- Documents detailing insurance policies and any correspondence with an insurance agent
- All correspondence with your employer concerning the time you were forced to spend off from work while recovering
- If there was a fire service or police report filed, this can also act as valuable proof. These can be difficult to get hold of, but your lawyer will help
We Work on a Contingency Basis
Many people are put off seeking professional and experienced legal counsel by mistaken ideas about its affordability – they believe worthwhile representation is always out of their price range.
Here at Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the justice they deserve. That is why we conduct all our car accident and other injury cases on a no win no fee basis.
That means you will not pay a cent unless your case is successful, with no hidden costs or surprise fees. Even if you are successful, your legal fees, court costs, and other expenses will be taken as a percentage of your final settlement.
Should I Settle if I am Partially at Fault for an Accident?
Comparative negligence laws in Texas make injury cases where the fault rests on multiple parties particularly difficult to navigate. Thankfully, here at Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, we have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with cases just like these.
Find out how we could help you by arranging a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys who is highly experienced in Texas law. Your free consultation will carry no obligation and is entirely confidential under the attorney-client relationship.
No matter your level of fault for the accident, call us today and speak to an experienced personal injury attorney at 936-251-5246.