Texas’s modified comparative fault rules affect your car accident claim because they dictate whether you can pursue damages for your losses. This is because you must be below a certain level of fault to seek compensation. The law also affects what you can receive in damages—your compensation is reduced by your level of fault.
Insurers are typically the ones who determine your level of fault, but they aren’t unbiased. Check with a Dallas car accident lawyer to get an independent assessment of your crash and each party’s level of responsibility.
What Is Modified Comparative Fault for Car Accident Claims?
The key to understanding modified comparative fault is understanding what’s in the name.
Let’s break down the components, starting with fault. This refers to responsibility for causing a car accident. A driver is at fault when they cause an accident due to negligence. Examples include texting while driving, speeding, tailgating, or driving drunk.
In some accidents, fault is very straightforward. For instance, if you were hit by a driver who failed to obey a traffic signal, the driver who hit you is likely at fault.
However, this isn’t always the case. For instance, what if you were texting when you were hit by that driver who ran a light? The driver shouldn’t have ignored the light, but you may have been able to avoid the accident if you were paying attention. How does fault apply then? That’s when comparative fault comes into play.
This refers to each party’s fault in an accident. Since many collisions involve mistakes made by both parties, comparative fault determines each person’s level of responsibility for the crash.
In our example of a driver running a light while you were texting, an insurance adjuster handling your car accident claim might decide you bear a 25 percent responsibility for the accident. That leaves the other driver 75 percent responsible.
Modified Comparative Fault
Comparative fault typically falls into two categories: pure and modified. States who follow pure comparative fault allow anyone to recover compensation as long as they are not entirely responsible for the crash. This differs from contributory negligence which bars anyone from seeking damages if they are even one percent responsible for a crash. As you can imagine, this can significantly limit your ability to seek a car accident claim.
By contrast, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §33.001, you are only barred from seeking damages if you were more than 50 percent at fault. In our example, since you were deemed 25 percent responsible, you can seek compensation because you are under the threshold.
If you think you contributed to your car accident, call us today.
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Why Modified Comparative Fault Matters
Because of how fault is determined under the modified comparative rules, it’s important to have responsibility correctly assigned. Otherwise, you could find yourself without the chance to seek compensation with a car accident claim. That’s one reason to talk to a personal injury lawyer.
Additionally, although Texas’s rules seem straightforward, they are applied by the insurance adjuster working on your claim. Adjusters are motivated to find reasons to assign you more blame, since it reduces or eliminates their company’s responsibility to pay your damages. Lawyers, like the ones at Loncar Lyon Jenkins, can work to keep adjusters from using modified comparative fault to your detriment.
How Fault Is Determined
Adjusters determine fault by investigating your claim. Lawyers do the same. Your legal representation can then compare their findings with the adjuster’s and potentially argue against how the adjuster assigns fault.
Evidence used to assign fault includes:
- Police reports – These sometimes assign fault by issuing traffic citations.
- Eyewitnesses – They can provide another perspective on the crash.
- Video footage – Traffic cameras, businesses, and dash cams offer new angles.
- Photos – This includes pictures of your injuries, the crash site, and vehicle damage.
- Expert analysis – Authorities on this type of crash can assess your accident.
- Reconstruction – The above evidence allows us to reconstruct what happened.
Specialized records might apply to your case. For instance, if you were hit by a truck, a truck accident lawyer from our firm can work to obtain the truck’s transportation logs or information on the trucking company.
The bottom line: fault isn’t set in stone because an adjuster says so. You have the right to seek more information through an investigation of your own, spearheaded by a lawyer.
Texas’s Fault Rules Affect Your Amount of Damages in a Car Accident Claim
As stated above, in addition to affecting your ability to seek damages, Texas’s modified comparative negligence laws affect how much of those damages you are allowed to pursue. Your percentage of responsibility doesn’t just dictate the grounds of your claim. That percentage is also taken out of your damages.
In our example, if you were determined 25 percent at fault—and if that is not an unfair assessment by an adjuster—your damages are reduced by 25 percent. Let’s say you were in the hospital for three days for your injuries, which can cost $30,000 according to Healthcare.gov. You were also out of work for six months, which cost you $40,000. On top of your $70,000 in economic damages, you were awarded $130,000 in pain and suffering damages. If you were awarded $200,000 in damages, you could recover $150,000.
You Likely Deserve More Damages Than You Think
You deserve damages for any costs related to your accident injuries, including:
- Emergency care
- Diagnostic tests
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment
- Pain management
- Lost income
- Reduced earning ability
- Pain and suffering
As a result, even if you are deemed partly at fault for your accident and have your damages reduced by a percentage, our lawyers can protect your remaining chance at compensation by cataloging every loss.
877-239-4878Available 24/7 | 356 Days | se habla español
Call Us If You Feel Modified Comparative Fault Laws Are Unfairly Affecting Your Claim
The team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins has experience representing Texans affected by modified comparative fault laws in their car accident claims. Contact the Strong Arm today if you aren’t sure blame was assigned correctly in your case, or if you are worried about recovering enough damages to cover your losses. You can talk to us for free 24/7.