Partial Fault in a Car Accident
Proportionate Responsibility: What if Both Drivers Share Fault in an Accident?
Many times in an automobile accident fault is not easily determined. In those cases it becomes necessary to make a determination as to how much each party is at fault. Once fault is determined we can then establish how much compensation that each party can be awarded. Texas follows a modified comparative fault form of recovery for all tort cases. This is good news for most people because even if you were somewhat at fault for a car accident you may still be able to recover compensation for the percentage of fault in the accident that was not caused by you. If you have been injured in a car accident you will need the representation of a skilled attorney that can protect your rights in your claim. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have developed a wealth of knowledge in the practice of personal injury law that has been developed throughout our over two decades experience in this area of practice.
What if Both Drivers Share Fault in an Accident?
If both drivers have fault in an accident, a determination will have to be made by a judge or jury to attribute a percentage of fault to all parties involved in the accident. The determination will be made based on physical evidence, witness testimony, and expert testimony. Because Texas follows the theory of modified comparative fault, if the judge or jury assigns a percentage of fault that is at least 51% then that party is barred from getting any recovery.
Imagine you are driving down the road and you are speeding when another car turns across an intersection in front of your vehicle. Unable to stop, you t-bone the other car causing injuries to yourself and the other driver. Which driver is more at fault? Well the truth is that both the drivers will share some percentage of fault. A jury will likely find that the car that failed to yield more at fault than the speeding car if that car was only speeding at a low rate of five miles per hour over the speed limit. In light of these facts a jury may only find that the speeding driver was 5% at fault for the accident, while the driver who failed to yield was 95% at fault. In this circumstance you would be able to recover for 95% of the damages that you sustain from the car accident.
This is not set in stone; many factors can change a jury determination of which party is mostly at fault. Given the exact same scenario, except that you were traveling at a rate of speed that is 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. This would probably change the entire perspective of the accident and you would likely be found to be completely at fault for the accident because the other driver had no way of knowing that you were driving in such a reckless manner, and he or she may have assumed that they had plenty of time to make a safe turn. If you were going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit the level of fault would likely fall somewhere in the middle. The point is that the entire interpretation of fault is completely subjective given the circumstances. This is why it is important to hire a lawyer that knows how to interpret the facts of your case and sell them in the best possible light for you.
The Problem with Comparative Fault
The problem with comparative fault is that insurance companies will always try and find something that they believe you did wrong. Sometimes they will even make something up in an attempt to portray you at fault.
Insurance companies are trained in preventing the payouts for injuries and even vehicle repair. They will dig and interpret the accident in multiple ways to find you to be slightly more at fault than the other driver. Insurance companies do not have to prove that you were completely at fault, only that you are more than 50% at fault in the accident. Without someone defending your rights in the case insurance claim adjusters will likely succeed in their attempts to show that you were at fault.
Hiring an attorney in accident situations such as the examples that have been laid out is imperative for you to get any recovery. Insurance companies are on strict quotas for the amount of money that they are allowed to pay out and they will attempt every method to avoid you being paid out. If you have been in a car accident call Grossman Law Offices, we have helped thousands of clients get the recoveries that they deserve, we can help you to. Call 1-855-326-0000 to schedule your free consultation and to discuss the merits of your case.
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