top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Legal Insights: What If I'm Partially at Fault for My Injury in Texas?

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident in Texas becomes particularly complex when one is partially at fault. The state's modified comparative negligence law adds layers of intricacy to determining responsibility and recovering compensation.


This scenario often leads to many questions: Can one still recover damages or lost wages? How does being partially responsible affect a personal injury claim? What role do insurance companies play? 


Understanding these aspects is crucial and typically requires the guidance of a proficient car accident lawyer. In this article, readers will discover the essentials of handling a car accident in Texas, particularly when bearing partial fault, and learn the vital steps to seeking fair compensation.


Understanding Texas Fault Laws

Understanding Texas Fault Laws


In Texas, determining who is at fault in a car accident is pivotal for a personal injury case. The state's approach to fault hinges on the modified comparative negligence law.


This law plays a crucial role in car accidents, affecting the ability to recover compensation. It states that if a person is partially at fault, say, 30% responsible, their compensation gets reduced accordingly.


However, the law also introduces the 51% bar rule. What this means is that if an individual is more than 50% responsible for the auto accident, they cannot recover damages. If the other driver's insurance company proves that a person was predominantly at fault, they lose the right to compensation.


Understanding these nuances is essential, especially when filing a car accident claim or dealing with insurance companies. It's a delicate balance, where being partially at fault can significantly affect the outcome of a claim.


Determining Fault in Car Accidents


In car accidents, determining who is at fault is a critical step when pursuing compensation. This process involves a thorough investigation where various pieces of evidence play significant roles.


Traffic control devices, such as stop signs and traffic lights, offer crucial insights into whether any rules of the road were violated. Speed limits are also examined to establish if either party was driving recklessly. Weather conditions at the time of the accident can affect driver responsibility, highlighting the need for caution during poor weather.


Cell phone usage, a common cause of distraction, is scrutinized to see if it contributed to the accident. Eyewitness accounts can provide an objective perspective on the incident, often shedding light on details that the drivers involved might not notice or remember.


Each of these elements contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the accident, helping to determine the degree of fault of each driver and influencing the outcome of a car accident claim.


Comparative Negligence and Its Impact on Claims


Comparative negligence laws are vital in car accident cases, especially when determining how compensation is awarded. These laws acknowledge that more than one party can be responsible for an accident.


In such cases, each party's fault percentage directly influences the compensation they can recover. Under these laws, if a driver is found to be 30% at fault in an auto accident, their compensation will be reduced by that same percentage.


This system plays a crucial role in personal injury claims. If a person incurs medical bills and lost wages from a car accident, the total compensation they seek can be adjusted based on their degree of fault. 


Suppose the total damages amount to $100,000, and the individual is deemed 20% at fault. In this scenario, they would be eligible to recover 80% of the total damages, equating to $80,000.


Comparative negligence laws necessitate a thorough investigation by the insurance company or a car accident attorney to accurately determine each party's fault. These findings are critical when negotiating with the other driver's insurance company or in court, as they help prove fault and ensure fair compensation is sought.


Understanding and navigating these laws can be complex, making it essential for those involved in car accidents to seek expert legal guidance to handle their claim effectively.


Seeking Compensation When Partially at Fault


In Texas, individuals involved in a car accident can still seek compensation even when they are partially at fault. Moreover, the state's modified comparative fault system allows for this, provided the individual's fault does not exceed 50%.


Impact on Compensation Amounts

The calculation of compensation takes into account the individual's degree of fault. If the total damages amount to a significant sum, the final compensation will be adjusted to reflect their responsibility level.


This ensures that while the at-fault party can recover some losses, they also bear a portion of the financial burden caused by the accident.


Types of Damages Claimable

Despite being partially at fault, individuals can claim various types of damages. These typically include medical bills, which cover the costs of treatment and rehabilitation.


Lost wages are also claimable, compensating for the income lost due to the inability to work post-accident. Additionally, compensation for pain and suffering is considered, addressing the non-material impact of the accident on the individual's life.


Those involved in a car accident need to understand these aspects when they seek compensation, especially when comparative negligence comes into play.


The Role of Insurance Companies in Fault and Compensation


Insurance companies play a pivotal role in determining fault and compensation in car accident cases. Their primary task is to assess the accident details, weigh the comparative negligence of each party, and decide the extent of fault. This assessment is crucial as it influences the financial compensation that the involved parties can recover.


Dealing with the insurance company of the other driver can be difficult. These companies often have extensive experience in handling car accident claims and may use various tactics to minimize payouts.


They can scrutinize every detail, from the accident scene to the drivers' actions, to potentially shift more fault onto the other party. This practice is part of their strategy to reduce the amount they owe in compensation.


Insurance companies might also challenge claims by questioning the severity of injuries or the necessity of certain medical treatments. They often conduct their own investigations to find any evidence that can decrease their financial liability.


Understanding these tactics is crucial for anyone involved in a car accident. It highlights the importance of having all the necessary documentation and, often, the need for legal assistance to ensure fair treatment in recovering compensation.


The Importance of Legal Representation in Car Accident Claims


In the realm of car accident claims, the role of a skilled attorney, such as those at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, becomes indispensable.  They can also help with questions like Can personal injury statute of limitations deadline be extended in Texas?


Our legal professional team is adept at proving fault, a task often complicated by the intricacies of comparative negligence and modified comparative fault systems. Also, our expertise in interpreting and navigating these legal complexities is crucial for anyone seeking to recover compensation.


Lawyers from firms such as Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys don't just provide legal representation. We embody the motto, "We go to war for you," signifying our dedication and aggressive approach to handling cases.


Moreover, we can skillfully negotiate with insurance companies, ensuring our clients are not shortchanged or unfairly blamed. In situations where the other driver or their insurer disputes fault, a seasoned attorney can make a significant difference.


The presence of a car accident lawyer heightens the potential of a claim, maximizing the chances of a fair settlement. Legal experts can scrutinize every detail to build a strong case, from the accident report to the comparative fault assigned. They can also advise on the average injury settlement for tooth damage in Texas.


Our goal is not just to help clients recover financially from the immediate effects of a car accident but also to secure compensation that adequately covers all damages, including any long-term repercussions.


In this complex legal landscape, our guidance is not just beneficial but often essential for achieving a just outcome.


Legal Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident

Legal Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident


After an auto accident, certain steps are crucial to ensure legal and financial protection:


  1. Ensure safety: Move to a safe location if possible and check if anyone requires immediate medical assistance.

  2. Contact authorities: Call the police to report the accident. An official police report is vital for any subsequent legal or insurance proceedings.

  3. Document the scene: Safely take photographs of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, any visible injuries, and road conditions. This visual evidence can be pivotal in establishing the comparative fault of each driver.

  4. Exchange information: Gather names, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle details from the other driver(s) involved.

  5. Seek medical attention: Even if injuries seem minor, a medical evaluation is essential. Medical records serve as proof of injuries sustained and are critical in a personal injury claim.

  6. Report to insurance company: Drivers should notify their own insurer about the accident but need to be cautious with the details they provide.

  7. Gather evidence: Collect any additional evidence, such as eyewitness statements or traffic camera footage.

  8. Contact an attorney: Consult with a car accident attorney before filing a claim. Legal expertise is crucial in navigating the complexities of recovering compensation, especially if comparative fault is a factor.

  9. File a claim: With the attorney's guidance, file a personal injury or car accident claim. This will involve detailing the accident, injuries, and damages sustained.

  10. Follow legal advice: The attorney will provide guidance through the claim process and negotiations with the other driver's insurer.


Following these steps diligently increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome, especially in cases where the responsibility for the accident is shared.


Final Thoughts


Understanding Texas' modified comparative negligence law is crucial for anyone involved in an auto accident. This knowledge significantly influences the ability to recover compensation in personal injury cases.


Navigating these legal waters can be difficult, especially when partially at fault. Therefore, seeking professional legal help is not just advisable but essential. Experienced personal injury attorneys in Dallas can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring that all steps taken are informed and strategic.


Now, for those facing the aftermath of a car accident, turning to the expertise of Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can be a decisive step toward a favorable resolution. Remember, informed decisions and expert advice are vital to navigating the complexities of personal injury claims.

Comments


bottom of page