Yes, you can. In Texas, it is possible to recover damages even if you are partially at fault. The best way to find out if you could have a valid compensation claim is to contact Abraham Watkins for a free consultation so we can advise you on legal options based on the details of your specific case.
You might be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to an accident. Texas operates under a modified comparative fault law. Under this doctrine, so long as you are found to be less than 50% at fault for an accident, you can still claim compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced to reflect your degree of fault.
If you are found partially at fault for an accident, then the other party’s insurance company may try to exaggerate the part you had to play in order to get out of paying you anything at all. That is why it is so important to have experienced representation.
At Abraham Watkins, we believe everyone deserves access to high-quality and experienced representation without an upfront cost. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis. If your claim is unsuccessful, we will receive nothing. We assume all responsibility for the risk so you can proceed with your case without fear of financial repercussions.
We are one of the longest-standing law firms in the state, having been established for over 70 years. In that time, we have built up a wealth of resources and experiences that will directly benefit you. With a long history of happy clients, we are committed to helping personal injury victims in Texas get the compensation they deserve.
Call us at 713-535-9319 for a free consultation.
Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Texas
Comparative fault laws work differently in different states. Texas operates under a modified comparative negligence doctrine. This means that only victims who are found to be less than 50% at fault can claim compensation, which is known as the 51% bar. It also means that any degree of fault that is established will reduce the value of the claim. At the same time, if a plaintiff is found to be 51% responsible, or more–the plaintiff is barred from any recovery.
For example, if the other driver was texting and their distracted behavior caused an accident but you were driving over the speed limit, then you could be found to be 10% at fault for the accident. If your claim is valued at $90,000, then your settlement would reduce by 10%, and you would receive $81,000.
If you believe you contributed to the accident, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. They will help you establish each party’s degree of fault and will protect your right to seek compensation.
Commercial Truck Accident Cases
Commercial trucking accident claims can be particularly difficult due to the involvement of multiple parties and the fact that trucking companies often employ highly skilled legal teams to protect their interests.
When a commercial truck accident occurs, there may be several parties who could be held liable. This may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck or trailer, the manufacturer of the vehicle or its components, the freight broker, and sometimes, even the shipper or loader of the cargo. Each party may have their own insurance company and legal representation, making the claim process more complicated.
Trucking companies, aware of the potential financial implications of accidents involving their vehicles, often retain top-tier legal teams to minimize their liability and protect their bottom line. These legal teams are experienced in handling trucking accident claims and are well-versed in the laws and regulations governing the industry. They can use their expertise to scrutinize every aspect of the case and attempt to shift the blame onto other parties, or even the claimant, to reduce the compensation owed.
In addition, trucking companies and their insurers may have deep pockets that allowsthem to invest substantial resources in defending against claims. This can make it even more challenging for victims to successfully claim compensation without the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of commercial trucking accidents.
For these reasons, victims of commercial truck accidents should seek legal representation to help them navigate the complexities of their case and advocate for their rights. An attorney who specializes in trucking accidents can level the playing field against the formidable legal teams employed by trucking companies and work to secure the compensation that the victim deserves.
Car Accidents That Often Involve Multiple Liable Parties
Sometimes an accident is clearly caused by one person’s erroneous behavior while the other person was following the rules of the road and driving safely. However, it is common for both parties to be partially responsible for an accident.
Some common types of accidents that involve comparative negligence laws include:
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is becoming increasingly common because of the increased use of mobile phones. Although one driver may have acted negligently, if the other driver was distracted, then this may have prevented them from taking appropriate action to mitigate the danger.
- Speeding – Speeding is generally against the rules of the road and may be evidence of a negligent act. However, speeding on its own is sometimes only part of the reason for an accident.
- Truck Accidents – Truck accidents are all too common in Texas, and they often result in severe injuries. Trucking accidents often involve multiple negligent parties, such as the trucking company, the truck driver, the loading company, and other car drivers.
- Avoiding Hazards – If a driver is forced to swerve a hazard, and this causes an accident, then multiple parties could be to blame. For example, the hazard on the road could have resulted from the negligence of the government agency responsible for maintaining that street. However, the car that swerved may have also acted dangerously.
Comparative Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Most personal injury claims result in an out-of-court settlement. If you contributed to your accident, the insurance adjuster will keep the modified comparative negligence laws in mind when negotiating the value of your settlement. However, accidents that involve more than one liable party may result in litigation. In a trial, a judge or jury will determine the percentage of fault for each party.
Trials are time-consuming and costly. Therefore, it is usually in everyone’s best interest to avoid them. That being said, it is essential to have representation from an attorney who’s prepared to go to trial so that they can continue to represent you no matter what direction your case takes.
It is also beneficial if your attorney has a reputation for being a strong trial lawyer. This is because insurance companies may be more willing to offer a fair out-of-court settlement rather than sue and risk losing more in the courtroom.
At Abraham Watkins, we have been representing personal injury victims in and out of the courtroom for over seven decades, and we know what it takes to win at trial. We will do whatever we think is in the best interests of your case, whether that is fighting for a settlement or going the distance and advocating for your rights through litigation.
What Does it Mean to Be at Fault For a Car Accident in Texas?
Fault laws are based on negligence, so in order for someone to be found to be at fault for a car accident, negligence must be established by preponderance of the evidence. In Texas, there are four elements to negligence.
- Duty – Duty of care is the most straightforward element to establish, as all road users have a duty of care to others on the road. This means they have a duty to act in a reasonable manner to keep those around them safe.
- Breach – To breach your duty of care means to act in a way that differs from how a reasonable person would act in similar circumstances. For example, if someone is breaking the rules of the road by speeding, then this is negligent behavior. A reasonable person would know that they should not speed in order to keep those around them safe.
- Causation – Causation is composed of two sub-parts. Cause in fact, or actual cause, and proximate cause. With Cause in fact, the victim must have suffered injuries because of the at-fault party’s actions.For proximate cause,a reasonable person should have been aware that their actions, given the situation, could cause injury. For example, it is reasonable to expect someone to know that drinking increases their risk of being in an accident.
- Damages – The last element of negligence is that the actions of the defendant caused compensable losses, known as damages. Damages could include past and future medical expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a legal term for the emotional and physical pain suffered after an accident.
Wrongful Death and Comparative Negligence in Texas
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident in Texas, then you may be able to claim compensation. Under the Texas Constitution, the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim to seek damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and non-economic damages, like loss of companionship.
The same comparative negligence rules apply to wrongful death claims. This means that if your loved one was in an accident that they contributed to, you could still be owed compensation. At Abraham Watkins, we understand the delicate nature of these cases and will take the stress of the legal process away from you so you can focus on being with your family.
What Damages Are Available in a Car or Truck Accident Case?
After a car accident, an injured person is left not only with emotional and physical trauma but also with concern for their financial security and how they will manage medical bills and lost wages. Medical bills for severe injuries can bel expensive and on occasion, they can quickly exceed the limits of any policy.
At Abraham Watkins, we will help you establish what your damages are worth, including your non-economic and economic damages, as well as your past and future expenses. Without the help of an attorney to calculate and evidence your damages, you may end up with much less than what you deserve.
If you were seriously injured, you may have had time away from work, resulting in lost wages. When you are faced with the other expenses associated with a car accident, lost wages can create an incredible amount of stress.
You should be compensated for your lost wages and if your injuries are ongoing, then your settlement could include lost earning capacity. When determining what your lost earning capacity is, factors such as your age, your work history, and your level of education should all be considered.
It is important to note that your settlement should cover all of your medical expenses, which encompass hospital bills, physical therapy costs, medication expenses, and other related costs. It is also important that if your injuries are ongoing, your future costs are considered.
At Abraham Watkins, we have working relationships with medical experts who can help determine what your future costs will be to ensure that they are included in your settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages can compensate victims for emotional and mental anguish, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment in life. These non-economic damages are very difficult to prove, but with the help of an experienced attorney, they could make up the largest percentage of your settlement.
For example, if you used to run every day and can no longer do so, then you should be compensated for this. No amount of money can make up for your loss of quality of life, but it can ensure that you can live more comfortably.
Who Pays for Damages If There Are Multiple Liable Parties?
After a car accident, victims may be able to claim compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, in cases where there are multiple liable parties involved, there will be multiple insurance companies, and this can create a lot of complexity.
It is common for insurance companies to try to reduce their level of fault in order to reduce their liability. Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses. They will try to exploit any avenue that saves them money.
At Abraham Watkins, we negotiate with insurance companies every day and we will ensure you have the best chance at a fair settlement. If there is more than one liable party, then we will explore every avenue for compensation.
Can I Still Recover Compensation for My Car Accident Injuries Even If I Was Partially at Fault? FAQs
How long do I have to file a claim in Texas?
After a car accident in Texas, you have just two years to file a personal injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and once the two years have passed, you’ll be barred from claiming compensation. Although two years may sound like a long time, you should contact your attorney as soon as possible so they can protect evidence that could otherwise be destroyed.
What does partially at fault mean?
To be partially responsible or at fault means that you contributed to the accident in some way. You may not have been the main cause of the accident, but some action that you took could have been part of the reason it occurred.
How long does a car accident claim take?
Every case is different. However, cases that involve multiple liable parties often take longer. This is because it is a complex process, and it takes time to determine all the different factors that went into play and the percentage to which each action contributed to the accident. However, at Abraham Watkins, we understand you want these cases to move forward quickly, and a dedicated lawyer will work tirelessly to keep your case moving forward at a steady pace.
Should I see a doctor if I’m not injured?
Even if you do not think you are injured, it is still important to seek a medical examination. There are two reasons for this. First, adrenaline could mask serious injuries. After an accident, you should seek help from a medical professional to protect your health and well-being from future suffering.
Second, your medical record will be integral to your personal injury claim. You need to show how your accident affected you and delaying medical treatment could cause the other side to argue that your injuries were not a result of the accident or that they were not serious enough to warrant compensation.
Should I speak to the other driver’s insurance company if they call?
Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses and they will use underhanded tactics to try to devalue your claim. They may try to get you to admit fault or downplay your injuries. Therefore, you should never speak to the other driver’s insurance company if you can help it. Once you have representation, you are not required to speak to them and you should simply tell them to contact your attorney.
Contact Abraham Watkins Today
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, reach out to the skilled car accident lawyers at Abraham Watkins. Our team understands the complexities of car accidents and is well-versed in applicable laws. We will carefully evaluate your case, identify any responsible parties, and fight tirelessly for maximum compensation on your behalf.
At Abraham Watkins, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to thoroughly investigate your case, gather supporting evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to fight for fair compensation. If the insurance company fails to offer a reasonable settlement, we are fully prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf and take your case to trial. Seeking compensation does not have to be stressful. With our help, you can focus on your recovery.
With a legacy spanning over 70 years, Abraham Watkins is a national leader in protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including car accident victims. Our team of attorneys is eager to hear your story and guide you through the legal process.
Schedule a free consultation today by calling our office. Remember, we take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Arrange a free legal consultation today at 713-535-9319.