What Happens If Both Drivers Are at Fault in a TX Car Accident?
Recovering compensation after a car accident is rarely easy but can be especially challenging if both drivers are at fault for causing the accident. If you were injured in a car accident that you partially caused, you might fear that you will not be able to cover your expenses.
Fortunately, you can still pursue compensation for your injuries in Texas even if you were partially at fault in the accident. Texas allows car accident victims to recover compensation, but their damages will be reduced proportionately to the percentage they are to blame for the accident. If one driver is found to be 50% or more at fault for causing the accident, they will be prevented from recovering compensation.
Contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797 for a free case consultation with our Texas car accident attorneys.
What Happens If Both Drivers Are at Fault for a Car Accident in Texas?
Car accidents are one of the most common types of accidents that victims pursue compensation for in Texas. It is not uncommon for both drivers to be at fault for causing an accident, but that does not prevent you from recovering damages for your injuries. However, getting compensated through an insurance claim can be difficult under Texas’s insurance rules if you are partially to blame. Fortunately, you can file a lawsuit so a neutral party, like a jury, can decide your liability. As long as you are not found more at fault for causing a car accident, you deserve compensation.
No-Fault Insurance Rules in Texas
Two types of insurance systems are used throughout the country, commonly known as “fault” and “no-fault” insurance. These two types of insurance work in profoundly different ways and have completely different methods for victims to recover compensation for an accident they partially caused. Texas is a fault-based insurance state, but it is important to understand how each type works and how Texas’s rules will impact your case.
In states with no-fault insurance rules, car accident victims can recover compensation for damages like medical expenses and lost wages by filing a claim with their own insurance provider. They will typically receive that compensation regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Hence the name “no-fault.” This has obvious benefits for drivers who are partially or fully responsible for causing an accident since their financial losses will be covered without the issue of liability being raised. However, no-fault insurance rules generally prevent victims from filing lawsuits unless they suffer serious injuries.
Recovering compensation for a car accident both drivers caused in a fault-based insurance state like Texas can be more challenging. Fortunately, our Texas car accident lawyers can review your case to determine the best way to fight liability claims against you. In a fault-based insurance state, the issue of fault is paramount to recovering compensation. This is because injured parties must file a third-party insurance claim against the driver they are claiming caused their injuries with that driver’s insurance company. Since this system is adversarial, insurance companies will not pay claims for accidents their policyholder did not cause. Unlike no-fault insurance states, however, car accident victims can file a lawsuit to pursue damages, whether or not they filed an insurance claim first.
If you and the other driver are both at fault for your car accident, you can still recover compensation under Texas’s modified comparative negligence rules, discussed below. As Texas is an at-fault state, you can do this by filing either an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If you share any blame for the accident, an insurance company might be tough to deal with, but you are entitled to compensation. In some cases, it is best to file a lawsuit and let the question of liability be decided by a judge or jury rather than an insurance company primarily concerned with saving money.
The “Proportionate Responsibility” Rule in Texas
As mentioned, Texas is a modified comparative negligence state but refers to the rule as “proportionate responsibility.” According to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 33.001, car accident victims can still recover compensation for their damages even if they are partially at fault. Still, their compensation will be reduced proportionately to the percentage of they were responsible for the accident. A simple example might help illustrate this. Assume a plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit is awarded $100,000 in damages for their injuries but found 20% at fault for causing the accident. In this case, the plaintiff would still recover $80,000 in damages, minus the 20% of their own damages that they are responsible for.
The most important aspect of this rule is the cutoff point for recovering compensation. Under Texas’s proportionate responsibility rule, car accident victims will be barred from recovering compensation if they are found 50% or more for causing the accident they were injured in. In some cases, it might be clear that the plaintiff is mostly at fault. However, the issue of liability is much less clear in many cases, and who bears the majority of responsibility can be argued.
How Can an Attorney Help My Texas Car Accident Case?
Proving liability in a Texas car accident lawsuit can be extremely challenging, especially where evidence shows that each party is partially to blame. The good news is that you do not have to figure it all out alone. Our attorneys can help you with your case every step of the way and fight to ensure you do not lose out on compensation because you were slightly at fault.
Before an attorney can negotiate with insurance companies, they must have all the necessary evidence and information to prove that you are entitled to compensation, even if you are partially at fault for the accident. Our team will gather any documents related to your accident, such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and photographs. We will also interview witnesses who saw the accident and arrange for them to testify on your behalf. Our firm will also document any contact with insurance companies or claims adjusters to show that they are being reasonable in their negotiations for compensation.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies or Go to Trial
Insurance companies often offer lowball settlements to victims to avoid paying higher amounts out of pocket. In cases where both drivers might be at fault, negotiating with an insurance company could be a fruitless endeavor without legal counsel. Suppose you and the other driver’s insurance company cannot reach a settlement. In that case, we can take your case to trial, where we can present your evidence and testimony before an unbiased judge or jury.
Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
For a free case evaluation with our Texas car accident attorneys, call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. today at (817) 476-1797.