It can be a huge challenge to know the party at fault in car accidents, especially when there are multiple parties. Remember that you need to prove that the other party was at fault so that you can receive the compensation that you expect.
In Texas, both parties can be responsible for causing an accident to a certain degree. When this happens, it’s referred to as comparative negligence. Unfortunately, this can have a huge impact on your case, so it’s a good idea to hire a comparative negligence attorney to represent you. In this post, you will learn about comparative negligence.
Understanding comparative negligence
Comparative negligence happens when the most at fault can be liable in car accident cases. In Texas, an injured party can recover damages regardless of whether or not they were partially at fault for causing the accident. This makes sense because many personal injury victims usually play some role in their accidents.
However, comparative negligence in Texas doesn’t imply that personal injury cases are zero-sum cases. There is a 51% bar rule that says you cannot receive compensation if you are 51 percent at fault for the accident.
This is why you should consult a comparative negligence attorney to help you handle your case, especially if you are having problems with your case. An attorney who handles similar cases can assist you when it comes to comparative negligence.
It’s worth noting that comparative negligence in Texas limits the amount of compensation you can get in personal injury cases. For example, if it’s determined that you are partially at fault for the injuries you sustained, the court can reduce the monetary settlement so that it reflects that you were also at fault for your injuries.
For instance, if the court determines that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident and the other party was 80 percent at fault, then the 20 percent will reflect on your involvement in the accident. As a result, the court can reduce your damages by 20 percent.
The parties involved in the accident usually hire their comparative negligence attorney. Therefore, the knowledge and experience of that attorney can be useful when it comes to presenting your cases to a judge. Ideally, your lawyer needs to convince the judge that you were less at fault than the other party.
To prove damages, your attorney should find out if the other driver was breaking traffic laws like not yielding, running a stop sign, and many more. As you can see, this can be tricky, so you need an experienced attorney to help you resolve this.
The good news is that the lawmakers drafted comparative negligence laws to be fair to everyone. But you still need to prove liability because many insurance companies try to prove that the other party was responsible for the accident. This means that they can pay out less money than they would if the other party was not at fault.
When you are facing several defendants in your lawsuit, comparative negligence can still apply. But your fault percentage cannot be more than the combined fault of the other parties. For example, if the jury determines that one defendant is 20 percent at fault and the other is 20 percent at fault, then your fault cannot be more than their combined fault. Therefore, you can qualify to get 60 percent of the value of the claim.
Proving fault in car accident claims
A car accident usually happens quickly, making it hard to figure out who was at fault immediately after a collision. If you suffer severe injuries and need an ambulance to take you to a hospital, then there are good chances that you may not gather evidence right after the accident. The information you can require is the contact details of the other driver, pictures of the damage, or insurance details.
Worse still, the police can do their investigation, produce a police report, and clean the accident scene to allow the traffic to flow. This means you can lose essential physical evidence.
If possible, you need to collect the available information from the accident scene soon after the accident. Therefore, you can take pictures of your injuries, the positions of the cars that were involved in the crash, the damages to your car, nearby landmarks, and many more. Your attorney can use these photos in your legal claim.
It’s also a great choice to hire an attorney immediately after a car accident. A good lawyer can assist you to gather other evidence that can prove fault for the traffic collision. For example, if traffic cameras recorded an intersection where the collision happened, then your lawyer can ask for the traffic camera footage to be used in the trial.
The attorney can also interview witnesses who were at the accident scene to collaborate on your version of events. So hiring a lawyer can be a wise option regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the traffic collision.
As explained earlier, most insurance companies can try to reduce your compensation by unfairly blaming you for causing the accident. In most cases, there can be a specific error in the police report that causes victim-blaming. Quite often, you can be caught in a blaming battle with the party at fault. In these situations, you have to get compelling evidence to help an experienced attorney clarify the facts on your behalf.
Many law firms tend to use the right strategies and technology to fight for their clients. This means they can study the evidence associated with your personal injury claim, review police reports, interview witnesses, preserve electronic data from cars, consult with accident reconstruction experts, and many more.
For instance, many commercial cars, such as large buses and trucks usually have the latest technology to track the movement of the driver. This system can come with sensors to identify the time a diver brakes or even drives off a lane. They can also identify the driver’s speed and their behavior in the vehicle. Records from these systems can assist your attorney know exactly the causes of the accident and hold the other party responsible.