Does Comparative Negligence Hurt Your Car Accident Case?
If you’ve ever gotten in a car accident, you know the drill. Both drivers get out of their car, complaining that the accident was the other one’s fault. If we’re honest with each other, we’d probably admit that both parties are somewhat at fault. Very rarely is one driver ever 100% responsible for a car accident. It’s hard to prove that one driver is totally at fault, but a Houston auto accident lawyer can help.
The courts understand that both drivers are probably somewhat at fault. This is why we have something called comparative negligence. When this happens, your claim is simply reduced by your percentage of fault.
Your Houston Auto Accident Lawyer Must Prove Negligence
In almost every car accident case, your lawyer is going to have to prove negligence. This is because most car accidents are caused by negligence. It’s very rare that someone gets behind the wheel of a car and decides to intentionally crash into another car. We’re not saying it never happens – but it is rare.
This means that most accidents are just that – accidents. Nobody plans them. Someone just isn’t paying enough attention to what they’re doing. They end up crashing into someone else’s car. Things happen.
Thankfully, most car accidents aren’t very dangerous. They involve a few bumps and bruises and property damage. However, some are very dangerous. If you require surgery and are out of work for a while, you’re going to want someone to pay. This is where your Houston auto accident lawyer comes into play.
In order to prove negligence, your lawyer has to show the following:
- The defendant had a duty of care – This part is easy. All drivers owe the other cars on the road a duty of care. They have to obey all traffic laws and use common sense when driving.
- They breached this duty – If a driver breaks the traffic laws or acts recklessly, he’ll be in breach of his duty of care.
- You were injured – You do have to show that you were actually injured. It’s not enough that you were in the accident. You have to be hurt to file a claim.
- Your injuries were caused by the crash – If you got hurt some other way, the defendant won’t be held responsible.
Once your lawyer proves these things, you should be entitled to recover for your injuries.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect Your Claim?
Like most other states, Texas follows the comparative negligence rules. Under Texas law, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can recover for your injuries. Your judgment will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50% at fault, your claim will be dismissed and you’ll receive nothing.
It’s important, therefore, that your personal injury attorney prove that you were not more than 50% at fault. Although, the rule makes sense. If one driver is more at fault than the other, he shouldn’t be allowed to recover.
For example, let’s say you’re hit by a drunk driver. However, at the time of the crash, you’re driving 10 miles over the speed limit. You’re also driving a car that failed inspection for bad brakes. The court may find that you were partially at fault for the accident. Let’s say they find you’re 20% at fault. Your jury award will be reduced by 20%.
Keep in mind, if the other driver was drunk driving, chances are, their insurance will be eager to settle the case. They know their client will more than likely be found liable. Rather than risk losing in court, the defendant may be interested in settling the car accident claim out of court.
Contact a Houston Auto Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need to contact a Houston personal injury lawyer. You deserve compensation for your car accident injuries. You may have suffered traumatic brain injuries or broken bones. The defendant should be held liable for your medical bills. He’ll also be responsible for your lost wages.
Call McDonald Worley and schedule your initial consultation today. Your attorney will reach out to the insurance adjuster and try to settle your claim. He can also answer any questions you may have. The consultation is free and you pay nothing until you win your case.