Sorting out liability issues after a car accident can be complicated, but working with the right car accident lawyer can clarify the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive. Even if you were partially at fault, a personal injury attorney in Navasota, TX or Rockville, TX can help you argue for a fair settlement. Most people can claim compensation for a significant portion of their damages if they were not more than 50% responsible for the crash.
What Happens If Both Drivers Are at Fault for a Car Accident?
Bad weather conditions, a failure to follow the rules of the road, distracted driving, and a number of other factors can contribute to a car accident. In many cases, multiple drivers can be found partially responsible. For example, in a two-car accident involving one driver who was texting and another driver who was speeding, both drivers could legally be at-fault. In that scenario, a court would compare the negligent actions involved and assign a percentage of blame to each driver.
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning that the at-fault driver must pay for the damages. After a car accident, the damages often include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. So, how do Texas courts determine who pays the damages when more than one driver is at fault?
The Comparative Fault Law
Texas’s comparative fault law states that when there are multiple at-fault parties, each driver is responsible for a percentage of the damages that is proportionate to the percentage of fault he or she shares. This concept is also known as proportionate responsibility.
When Are You Eligible for a Settlement in a Comparative Fault Case?
According to the way the comparative fault law plays out, the driver who is less than 50% responsible for the crash is entitled to receive damages from the other driver. The maximum amount of money the receiving driver can demand is the total value of his or her damages minus the percentage of fault he or she is responsible for.
So, if the other driver were 70% responsible for a car accident, and your damages were valued at $10,000, your maximum payout would be calculated by multiplying $10,000 by 0.7: the percentage of the other driver’s fault. In this example, the driver bearing less responsibility would be eligible for a payout of $7,000. A driver who is more than 50% responsible cannot receive damages.
Should You Tell Your Lawyer If You Think You Were Partially At Fault?
Yes! When you are sorting out the details of a car accident, your lawyer will act exclusively in your interests according to professional standards set by the State Bar of Texas. While the other driver’s lawyers and even your own insurance company may try to reduce your payout by finding evidence against you, your lawyer will use all the information you provide to protect the value of your claim.
Federal statutes protect the confidentiality of the client-lawyer relationship, so you can be confident that nothing you say to your lawyer will be leaked to other parties. It is important to disclose any grounds the other side may have to argue that you were to blame. Your lawyer will use the information you provide to discredit the evidence against you and identify other evidence that will work in your favor.
Minimizing Your Percentage of Blame
In an ideal world, you would receive compensation for 100% of the damages you sustained by demonstrating that the other driver was completely at fault. In fact, many claimants are awarded their full damages. While evidence from the scene of the crash my indicate that you shared some responsibility, your lawyer will work to reduce that percentage as much as possible, thereby maximizing your payout.
Identifying All Your Losses
Another way your lawyer can maximize the value of your claim is by helping you identify the highest value of all the damages you experienced. Neither the insurance company nor the court will suggest that you increase the amount of money you are demanding, even if they know you are legally entitled to more. It is your lawyer’s job to make sure that you know about all of the opportunities you have to increase your compensation.
When you begin to work on your case, your lawyer will ask you how the accident affected your life. He or she will review your medical bills, missed income, and emotional losses to get a full sense of the cost of the accident. If you did not know you could list certain expenses, like the cost of at-home medical equipment, he or she will suggest them. Other opportunities to maximize the value of your claim could include listing:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Missed tips, bonuses, and promotions
- Future medical expenses
- Reduced earning capacity
How to Choose a Lawyer for a Comparative Fault Case in Navasota, TX or Rockville, TX
If there is enough evidence on both sides to indicate that the comparative fault law might impact the outcome of your case, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer. While some cases are fairly straightforward, factors like proportionate responsibility require more expertise to sort out.
A qualified car accident lawyer should be able to investigate the accident thoroughly, identifying evidence that points to the other driver’s liability. If needed, a forensic accident reconstruction expert and other key witnesses can be brought in to testify in your favor. Working with a lawyer who has successfully argued comparative fault cases before can help you work through liability issues to build strong arguments without unnecessary delays. So how can you find the right attorney for your case?
Request a Free Consultation
Most personal injury law firms offer free consultations to potential clients. The consultation is a good opportunity to sit down with a lawyer face-to-face or in a virtual meeting. You will have the chance to tell your side of the story and get some perspective on your chances of walking away with a settlement. The lawyer you meet with should conclude the meeting with an overview of the legal strategies that are available to you.
Ask About Previous Experience
During the free consultation, most lawyers welcome questions about the types of cases they have worked on in the past. Focus on choosing a lawyer who has a strong record of preparing auto accident injury cases, especially ones that involve comparative fault.
Check the Credibility of the Firm
The reputation of the firm matters in addition to the individual lawyer’s track record. Credible firms will often put in the extra effort needed to optimize your case as a means of building on their own good standing in the community. Working with a well-established firm will also give you the benefit of a strong network of economists, accountants, mechanics, doctors, and other expert witnesses.
Get Top Legal Representation in Your Comparative Fault Case
When you are looking for a car accident lawyer in Navasota, TX or Rockville, TX, we can provide the legal support you need to optimize the outcome of your case. Even if you share some responsibility in the accident, you deserve to collect all the compensation you are entitled to receive. We will bring skillfully constructed arguments and strong communication skills to your case. For a free consultation with us, contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer.