You have had a car accident in Texas in which youâ€™ve been injured in a collision with another vehicle. Before you decide to seek legal representation in order to file a personal injury claim, it is important to know about the comparative fault rule used in Texas.
Who is to blame for your car accident injury?First, who was responsible for your accident? There are a number of reasons a driver might be blamed. If any traffic laws have been broken and a citation has been issued for speeding, failing to obey traffic signals or other reason, the guilty driver will be blamed for the accident.
In the majority of incidents, for instance a rear-end collision, the driver responsible for the collision will be blamed. There are always exceptions to these cases. One involved an elderly gentleman who missed his turn while travelling on a busy city street. Without any warning, the gentlemen came to a complete stop and tried to back up his vehicle causing a collision. Since no police officers were at the scene to observe what happened, the staff at a nearby business who witnessed the accident gave first hand accounts of what happened. This was fortunate for the second driver who was not charged in the accident since the first driver was issued a citation for his actions. As a result, the elderly manâ€™s insurance paid the damage to the second driverâ€™s car. In the event that no police are available, it is important to get the names and contact information for any witnesses who can provide testimony about what happened.
Blame can also be assigned to any driver who admits guilt. Often under duress, out of embarrassment, as an excuse or in an attempt to be polite, a driver might admit that he â€œdidnâ€™t seeâ€â€ˆthe other vehicle. The driver making such statements overheard by witnesses, or included within any police reports, can be used to help assess fault.
Finally, did negligence play a role in the accident? While obvious negligence would include any traffic violations, other signs of negligence might be failure to use a blinker to warn of an upcoming turn; driving without oneâ€™s glasses; making a turn without first looking both ways; driving without headlights after dark; etc. Short of any police intervention, it is up to an observant driver or witness to note such circumstances.
However, blame can be shared by both drivers in some instances, with a certain percentage of the fault assigned to each driver depending on a variety of circumstances. As mentioned above, Texas is a state which follows a comparative fault system. This contrasts with other states which use a â€œno-faultâ€ rule which requires insurance to pay regardless of who is to blame.
The comparative fault rule which Texas uses by can be explained in the following example. If your personal injury claim is determined to have a value of $100,000, but you have been assigned 10% of the blame for the accident with the other driverâ€™s share at 90%, your award would be 90% of the total (less your 10% responsibility), or $90,000. Had your share of the blame been 51% or more, your award would drop to zero, which is how Texasâ€™ comparative fault rule works.
With those facts in mind, you now know why your attorney must examine how likely it will be that you are given some blame for the accident, risking the success of the outcome of your case. To be sure, it is recommended that you take advantage of a free consultation offered by the Houston personal injury lawyers at Joel A. Gordon and Associates, by calling 281-943-5555 or by visiting joelagordon.com.