How comparative negligence plays a role in auto accidents

You might have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident you were partly at-fault for. Because of your role, no matter how small, you may fear that you cannot receive compensation. While this is unlikely, you must understand how Texas approaches comparative negligence. Based on the state’s laws, your level of fault could impact the value of your insurance payout or damages.

Understanding how comparative negligence works

To be found partially at-fault for your accident, the other motorist involved must prove they were harmed as a result of your negligence. They may have a case against you if:

  • You owed them a duty of care
  • You violated your duty of care and contributed to their injuries
  • They suffered damages as a result of their injuries

For instance, you might have t-boned the other motorist after they ran a red light. Their violation of traffic laws might have been 80% to blame for the accident. Yet, if they can prove your decision to proceed into the intersection harmed them, you could hold 20% of the responsibility for the collision.

Comparative negligence and compensation

Texas follows fault-based insurance laws. After your accident, then, you will file your claim through the insurance company of the motorist who is primarily at-fault. Their insurer, though, may use your comparative negligence to reduce your claim’s payout.

Upon receiving your insurance payout, you may realize it does not cover all your medical expenses, lost wages or pain and suffering. If your partial fault reduced its value, you may want to pursue civil litigation against the other motorist. Before moving forward with a lawsuit, you must consider your percent of fault for the accident. So long as it was no greater that 50%, you can still recover damages. Yet, your damages will reduce by your percentage of fault.

Comparative negligence can create complications as you fight for damages appropriate for your injuries. By consulting a legal professional, you can consider your options for achieving an outcome that reflects your needs.