You’ve been involved in a motor vehicle crash in Texas, and you believe it was the other driver’s fault. But the other driver is claiming you were at least partially at fault. Both of you report the accident to your insurers, and different settlement offers come in. Rather than accept a settlement, you decide you’d rather file a personal injury lawsuit. How will Texas law regarding fault affect your case?
Texas Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence System
The rules and laws about fault vary by state. In Texas, we use a system called modified comparative negligence with a 51% rule. In plain English, this means three things:
- You cannot win compensation in an injury lawsuit if you’re found 51% or more at fault.
- You can win compensation if you are 50% or less at fault.
- The amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say your accident involved your vehicle and one other vehicle. You’re injured and you file a lawsuit. In the end, the jury decides you should receive $100,000 in damages, but they also decide the crash was 30% your fault. Under Texas law, your award would be reduced by 30%, so you’d end up with $70,000.
Now imagine the jury found you 55% at fault. This is over the 51% barrier, which means you cannot get compensation from the other driver.
How Is Fault Calculated in a Texas Auto Accident?
You’re probably wondering how a jury or judge calculates percentages of fault. How do they determine if you were 20% to blame or 40% or 70%? The answer is that it all comes down to how they view the evidence.
As your case progresses, your Texas personal injury lawyer will present different types of evidence. Evidence can include:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Videos from traffic cameras, dashcams or cell phones
- Police reports
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Testimony from expert accident reconstructionists
- Medical records showing the various procedures and treatments you had to receive for your injuries
The evidence gets turned over to the judge or jury to assess. They analyze it and determine what percentage of fault should be assigned to each party.
Of course, the opposing party and their insurance company will try to present evidence that contradicts yours. They do this to minimize how much they have to pay you, or to avoid paying you entirely. This is why you need an attorney with deep experience handling auto accident cases in Texas. The right attorney will develop a strategy to maximize your chances of success.
Discuss Your Auto Accident Injuries With a Dallas Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a truck, car, motorcycle, bicycle or other type of accident in East Texas, the attorneys of Ted B. Lyon & Associates are here to help. We have recovered millions of dollars for injured people, and we fully understand all the rules of modified comparative negligence.