Hundreds of thousands of car accidents occur in Texas each year, causing injury, property damage, and even death. Some accidents have a clear reason, such as a motorist driving drunk or running a red light. In other cases, who is at fault for an accident is less clear.
Confusion about who is liable for an accident leads many people to wrongly assume they are not eligible for compensation. In fact, your ability to recover damages and file a civil action depends on a number of factors, one of which is your percentage of fault.
If you were partially but not completely at fault for an accident, you might still be able to receive compensation for your losses. At Burch Law Firm, our car accident lawyers firmly believe that drivers, bikers, and pedestrians injured in car accidents should not have to suffer financial setbacks because of it.
Keep reading to learn how fault is determined in Texas, whether partial fault for an accident prevents legal action, and how you can pursue compensation following an accident.
Liability in Texas: Who Pays for an Accident?
In legal terms, liability refers to being legally and financially responsible for an event that occurs. The liable party in a car accident is the person or entity (a company or a government agency, for example) who causes the accident.
In Texas, each driver is required to carry liability insurance, which is used to pay for the damages another party faces when the policyholder causes a crash. That means Texas drivers are responsible for paying for the accidents that they cause. In addition, accident victims are also allowed to file a lawsuit directly against the other driver for damages when a crash occurs.
What If I was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
This system of liability is easy to understand if it is obvious who is at fault for an accident, but different rules apply if both parties were at fault. In this case, Texas uses a system of modified comparative negligence. Under this system, a person cannot recover damages if they were more than 50 percent responsible for an accident. In other words, a driver cannot pursue any legal action if they were the person most at fault for a crash. On the other hand, if you were less than 50 percent at fault for a car accident, you could still receive compensation for the accident.
As explained by Texas law, each defendant in a claim is liable for damages in proportion to their degree of responsibility. Therefore, if a driver was 60 percent at fault for the accident, then that person will be held liable for 60 percent of damages. In the same scenario, the other driver would be 40 percent responsible for the accident, which reduces the amount of compensation they can receive by 40 percent. You may still be eligible for compensation provided by insurance coverage you hold, but the amount you could legally receive from the other negligent driver is reduced.
What Counts as Negligence in a Car Accident?
The most important part of any personal injury case is the ability to prove that the party who injured you was negligent in their actions. Negligence means that the person acted – or failed to act – recklessly, carelessly, or in a way no reasonable person would act. When an individual fails to act with a certain level of care, they may be liable for the damages they cause.
On the road, these negligent acts among are the most common:
- Failure to yield. When a driver fails to yield or observe the right-of-way laws, they are likely to cause an accident. Taking unprotected turns, moving through a stop sign without checking the intersection, and pulling out into traffic are all dangerous acts that could make a driver liable for resulting injuries.
- Speeding. Driving too fast is a hazard for everyone on the road as it limits reaction time and worsens the impact of collisions when they occur. Even if someone is driving at or under the speed limit, they could be liable if they were driving too fast for specific weather or traffic conditions.
- Drunk driving. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs is among the most reckless actions any driver can take. If a drunk driver caused your accident, contact a personal injury attorney because it is likely that the drunk driver is liable for your injuries.
- Failure to obey traffic signs. Running red lights, rolling through stop signs, and ignoring yield signals are all reckless actions that can cause serious damage. Every driver has an obligation to observe relevant traffic laws, and they should be held accountable when they do not.
- Jaywalking. Although most pedestrian accidents are the fault of a motorist, pedestrians can still be completely or partially liable for accidents. Jaywalking, or crossing an intersection without the right of way, can leave individuals traveling on foot with serious injuries.
- Bicycle accidents. Bicyclists must share the road with motorists, which includes staying in the bike lane, using hand signals, wearing a helmet, not biking under the influence. Bikers can be held accountable for failure to act reasonably during their ride.
A qualified New Braunfels car accident lawyer will be able to help you determine whether the driver who hurt you was acting negligently. Burch Law Firm has a proven record of success fighting for people in New Braunfels and across the state. Contact our office to learn more about negligence and to see if you could qualify for compensation.
Proving Fault After an Accident
Even if you feel certain that another driver was at fault for your accident, it can be difficult to prove that they caused your injuries. A qualified New Braunfels car accident lawyer will be able to build your case and establish liability in the accident. Some of the evidence we can use to support your case includes the following:
- Police reports
- Medical records, including bills
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Witness testimony
- Expert testimony
Some of the most important pieces of information used to establish liability are documents that you can collect for yourself, including photographs and documentation of the accident. Even if you forgot or were too shaken to take pictures at the scene of the incident, pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any other property damage are also useful. An attorney can help you gather information about the accident and use it to make your case.
Can a Lawyer Help Me Prove Liability Even If I Was Partially at Fault for an Accident?
In order to recover compensation after a crash in Texas, you must establish that another party was at more fault than you. If you are found to be partially at fault, your compensation will be reduced. If you are found to be mostly at fault, your compensation may be denied. Because of these strict rules that determine your compensation, it is extremely important to have a person fighting for you who understands the claims system, knows how to prove fault, and has experience working with insurance companies and other attorneys.
There is a lot on the line following a car accident, especially if you were partially at fault. Do not let the opportunity for compensation pass you by. Get help from our car accident attorneys today.
Why Should I Choose Burch Law Firm?
A car accident lawyer at Burch Law Firm can guide you through the legal process from start to finish. Our experienced attorneys will gather all the necessary evidence in order to build your case and determine exactly who is really at fault. We can also calculate the full amount of damages that you suffered to assess what full and fair compensation will look like for your case.
In addition, our job also extends to negotiations. When you are offered a settlement by an insurance adjuster, we will review the offer to determine if it is fair and fully addresses the losses you have suffered.
Some people never see a lawyer about their accident injuries because they assume their case isn’t worth anything or that it is unimportant. In fact, we have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who were injured in a wide variety of accidents. Our firm does not charge a fee unless we deliver results, so there is little to lose and a lot to gain by reaching out to one of our lawyers about your case.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Today
Sustaining a serious injury in an accident is never easy. Injuries can affect every aspect of our lives, including relationships, job security, and personal health.
The New Braunfels car accident lawyers at Burch Law Firm understand how difficult this situation is. That is why we want to help you seek the compensation you need to put your accident behind you and move forward. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage should not have to threaten your financial stability if you were not liable for an accident.
Contact our office by phone or online now to learn more about your legal options.