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How could fault factor into compensation?

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Many injured people seek to recover damages after a motor vehicle accident. Negligence that leads to injuries often paves the way for accountability. However, those who get hurt aren’t always completely without fault. And the fault of the injured person can sometimes affect their financial recovery.

Whether an injured person’s fault will affect compensation is determined by a state’s proportionate responsibility law. Some states account for the actions of the person who filed a claim. As such, a court or jury’s monetary award may consider each driver’s contribution to an incident.

Mistakes can be costly

In some states, being partially to blame for an accident may be a total bar to recovery. However, Texas allows injured parties to recover compensation as long as their negligence isn’t more significant than that of another driver.

­For example, in Texas, a court or jury may consider a traffic citation when assessing fault. They may determine the traffic citation supports a finding that you were 10% to blame for the accident. In that case, a ticket would decrease financial recovery by the same 10% amount-your percentage of fault for the incident.

Most drivers would probably agree that reckless or drunk driving indicates fault. However, other split-second choices can affect outcomes.

Be prepared to accept some responsibility if, at the time of an accident, you:

  • Didn’t adjust for a safe following distance
  • Were not wearing your seat belt
  • Should’ve had your headlights on
  • Failed to maintain an adequate speed
  • Turned into the wrong lane of traffic

Despite the potential for your own errors to factor into a legal judgment, you have the right to hold other drivers accountable. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine whether you have a credible case and, if so, deal with the issues appropriately and maximize your potential recovery.

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