In many car accidents, you may find it easy to determine which driver is at-fault and expect their insurance company to be responsible for paying for the damage. However, in accidents where both drivers are responsible, determining which driver should be held accountable can be challenging. If an accident occurs where multiple parties are at-fault, drivers will need to contact car accident lawyers in Houston, TX.
What Happens If Both Drivers Are Partly at Fault in Houston, TX?
Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule for accidents where both parties are partly to blame. The modified comparative negligence rule assigns liability (responsibility) based on the severity of the driver’s mistake.
It also considers how their actions affected the chance of the accident and how severe each party’s injuries are. The above description refers to the comparative negligence portion of the law since each party’s negligence and injuries are compared to understand the accident better and determine which party is responsible for paying for damages.
What Modified Means
The” modified” aspect of the rule means that a driver can lose their ability to seek reimbursement if they are at least 51% liable for the accident. Since the inability to seek compensation for injuries and damages can severely impact your future and financial health, it’s essential that you prove how minimal your contribution to the accident was. To have the best chance of arguing down your liability, you’ll want to work with Houston, TX, car accident lawyers.
The Modified Comparative Negligence Rule in Action
In most car accident cases that make it to trial, the jury will be asked to determine what percentage of the blame belongs to each party and the dollar amount of the plaintiff’s (person seeking compensation) damages. However, in states with a modified comparative negligence rule, the plaintiff’s compensation award will be reduced by the percentage of fault they contribute to the accident.
Suppose the jury determines that you should be awarded $100,000 in damages but that you are 20% to blame for the accident. Then, per the modified comparative negligence rule, you would only receive $80,000 in damages because the 20% you contributed to the accident would be removed from your compensation. Remember, if the jury found you 51% at fault, you would receive no compensation, no matter how severe your injuries.
Should I Pursue Compensation If I Don’t Know What Percentage of Fault I Have?
If you know you have some fault but are uncertain what percent, you’ll want to contact car accident lawyers near you for a consultation. A lawyer will listen to the details of your situation and determine if they would like to take on your case. You will also decide if you want the lawyer to handle your claim. Once you and your lawyer have agreed to work together, they will begin researching your case.
By analyzing the circumstances surrounding the accident, police report, security camera footage, and the statements of any witnesses present, your lawyer will determine the best way to minimize any blame you hold. Consulting a lawyer will also allow you to see if the lawyer believes your case will be successful enough in court to be worth pursuing.
How Can Blame Be Shared in Car Accidents?
When you think of a car accident, you may automatically picture situations where one driver crashes recklessly into the other. However, the truth is that many automobile accidents are much less clear-cut than that and similar to these examples:
Suppose the other driver blatantly runs a red light and hits you, and you can prove this happened through eyewitness accounts, security footage, or the other driver admitting their mistake. In that case, it may seem obvious that the driver running the red light should be at fault and responsible for covering your damages. However, if you were texting when the accident occurred and might have avoided the collision if you weren’t, you are partially to blame.
If the other driver or witnesses knew you were texting when the crash occurred, you could be blamed for more than your share. Unfortunately, determining fault when multiple parties are involved is complicated, and the other driver’s insurance company will be quick to try to blame you. That’s why you need to reach out to experienced car accident lawyers and find one who will take your case and prevent you from being burdened with an unfair amount of blame.
Picture a similar scenario where the other driver runs a red light and collides with your vehicle. This time, you weren’t texting, but you were speeding, which prevented you from having time to stop or maneuver around the other car. Since proving you were speeding isn’t difficult, the other driver may feel confident in their ability to pass a significant portion of the blame to you.
Keep in mind that even if you are less than 51% responsible, the greater the fault you hold in the accident, the less money you will receive to reimburse you for damage to your vehicle, medical bills, and lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss work. Working with a lawyer is the only way to argue your fault percentage lower, and you’ll want to prove you hold the lowest amount of blame possible to collect the money you need to repair the damages done to you.
If you saw the collision about to happen and made a split-second decision that didn’t prevent the crash, your action or inaction will likely be used against you. The other driver’s insurer may say that your choice made the accident more severe than it would have otherwise been or elevated the chance of an accident from possibility to certainty.
While this isn’t fair, it’s common practice, so you’ll have to be prepared for accusations, no matter how unfounded they seem. It’s crucial that you remember never to accept any blame, even if you were partially at fault. Seeking legal representation is the only way to protect yourself from being blamed for more than you should be.
How Fault Is Determined in Texas
Sometimes two-party car accident claims can be handled outside of court by the drivers’ insurance adjusters and lawyers. Each driver’s insurance adjuster will try to place more significant blame on the opposite driver and look at evidence from the collision, such as witness statements, police reports, security footage, scene photos, medical records, and expert testimony.
Having a lawyer on your side during this process increases your chance of receiving a fair payout. Since you cannot choose the insurance adjuster assigned to your collision, you run the risk that they may not be as thorough as they should be trying to argue down your blame. A lawyer will also be more familiar with state laws and how to use them to benefit you.
Car Accident Lawyers Can Prevent You From Taking the Blame
Don’t be blamed disproportionally for an accident you didn’t cause. If you were injured due to another person’s actions, you deserve to receive compensation for your property damage and medical bills. In addition, having a lawyer working to prove your innocence is the only way to ensure you have a chance at a favorable result following a collision where two drivers are at fault.
Don’t be left holding the bill following an accident only partially your responsibility. Instead, give Houston Injury Lawyers a call, or send us a message, and let us fight for the compensation you deserve.