Even if you bear some responsibility for an auto accident, you will most likely still be able to recover for your losses under Texas’ modified comparative fault rule.
Car accident claims are rarely straightforward. In many situations, the underlying causes of a collision are surprisingly complex. Perhaps you failed to signal a turn, but the other driver was distracted because he was texting and driving. The other driver was more at fault than you were, but you still were negligent. Can you still recover compensation for your losses if you were partially at fault?
In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will attempt to deny your claim, arguing that you were responsible for the accident because you failed to signal. Yet as an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer can explain, Texas law allows drivers who are partially at fault to recover for their losses, as long as they were 50% or less at fault under Texas’ “modified comparative fault” rule.
Don’t Take the Insurance Company at Its Word
Most people are fortunate enough to only be involved in a car accident once every few years at most. However, this put them at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and on-staff attorneys who’s sole job is to fight your claims. Their role is to minimize the amount of money that they pay out on every claim — so they often attempt to deny valid claims or give low-ball offers to settle claims early on in the process (before you know the full extent of your damages).
This is frequently the case when it comes to car accidents where both drivers share some fault. The insurance company may try to convince you that because you were also to blame for the accident, they do not have to pay you for your losses — but this is not true in Texas. Remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make a profit by tasking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims.
Rather than taking the insurance company at its word, it’s important that you call a personal injury attorney in your area for a free consultation. An attorney can explain your rights and fight for what you truly deserve. Depending on the facts of your case, you should be able to recover for your losses — even if your total damages award is reduced based on your own degree of comparative fault.
Texas’ Modified Comparative Fault Rule
In civil law, there is a concept known as “comparative fault” which means that a percentage of fault can be assigned to each party. A person’s recovery in a lawsuit will then be reduced by the amount that they are considered “at fault” for an accident. For example, if you were deemed 30% at fault for a car crash and were awarded $100,000 by a jury, the award will be reduced by 30% to a total of $70,000.
Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule. If a party is 51% or more responsible for an accident, then he or she is barred from recovering monetary damages in a case. Under this rule, you could be awarded anywhere from 100% of your damages (if you are found 0% at fault) to 0% of your damages (if you are found 51% or greater at fault).
In car accident cases, there are a number of factors that a jury may consider when determining who is at fault. Typically, a jury will look at dangerous or negligent driving behaviors, such as speeding, driving the wrong way, texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or ignoring traffic signs.
Based on evidence presented at trial, such as the police report, cell phone records and accident reconstruction, the jury will assign a percentage of fault to each driver. This percentage of fault is then used to determine how damages are awarded. For example, consider a case where you are driving to work, going slightly over the speed limit (5 to 10 miles per hour) in the left lane of traffic. Suddenly, a driver attempts to make a left turn from the right lane. You can’t stop in time, and you collide. The jury may decide that you are 10% at fault, because if you hadn’t been speeding, you could have stopped in time. The other driver is 90% at fault for making an illegal turn and cutting you off. If your award is for $50,000, you will receive $45,000. The other driver will not be entitled to damages because he or she was more than 51% at fault.
The Value of Hiring an Attorney
Car accident cases can be complex, and recovering money damages often requires knowledge of complicated legal concepts and relevant case law. It’s important to speak to an attorney who understands how to challenge the insurance company’s underhanded tactics, and who has experience handling personal injury cases in your state.
Insurance companies don’t want to to hire an attorney for obvious reasons. They handle claims like your on a daily basis, and are well aware that statistically, victims are likely to recover substantially more money when represented by an attorney.
If you’ve been injured in the car accident that wasn’t your mistake, you could be stuck in doubt how you can fight with the insurance company to take what you deserve. Rather than of going up against the insurance company yourself, consider hiring a Car accident personal injury attorney. Before selecting one, you should consider these things.
Look advice for Car accident personal injury attorney from Friends and Family
If you require a personal injury lawyer, discuss to your family and friends. Probabilities are truly high that anyone of them has been injured by car accident before and has done a little study into a local attorney. Ask your friends and family if they meet with any auto accident attorney and what kinds of impressions they get from them. It’s not an excellent idea to hire a motor car accident personal injury attorney based on a reference.
Before selecting a lawyer for car accident personal injury to work with, create a list and interview is the best choice. The interviews must be done in personal and most lawyers do not take for this initial consultation fee. Ask maximum questions, such as ‘How numerous cases are settled before going to trial for you?’ and ‘What percentage of cases gets some sort of award?’ Don’t feel lewd about talking about the loss vs win record and finally, tell to meet up other persons from the firm who may be helping in your case. The law firm is working for you and you should be comfortable with each person involved in your personal injury case. At last, ask them if they believe you have a case! You don’t want to go through the complete process, only to lose in discussions or at court.
What is Your Fee Requirements?
Do you need an attorney who will take your case on abruptness? Or do you suppose to pay a fee up front? Tell about these things in your first meeting so there isn’t any surprise when it comes to your personal injury case. Normally rates differ by location, but you can guess to give 1/3 to 40% of your winnings amount to your car accident & personal injury lawyers. Lastly, ask if you’ll be expected to pay any amount in case you lose your case – most lawyers don’t take cases they don’t expect to win so the answer is typically no. However, it is a better idea to have this in writing to defend you. Do not forget to get the payment details and fee structure in writing before signing an agreement.
Finding attorney can take some time, but that’s the best thing. By taking a little time you can be confident that you’re working with a car accident personal injury attorney who has your best interests in the brain. Having auto accident attorneys on your side will help make sure that someone is looking out for your requirements while your case is being settled.