Texas car crashes occur for all kinds of reasons, from unsafe personal habits to poor vehicle maintenance. Frequently, it is somewhat obvious that one driver or the other is directly to blame for a collision.
If someone falls asleep at the wheel or causes a crash in the middle of uploading a video to social media, there is little question about who is to blame for the resulting collision. However, many crashes involve a series of small mistakes or oversights compounding one another. Drivers may blame each other, even if one of them clearly broke the law.
In a situation where one driver is to blame but the other may have made a minor mistake, will that error potentially affect their compensation rights?
Someone’s contributions to a crash can affect the outcome of a claim
Texas has very thorough laws regarding negligence and culpability following a motor vehicle collision. Typically, one driver will bear the brunt of responsibility for a crash. However, especially if the resulting claim ends up in court, they may try to push some of the blame onto the other party.
The Texas civil courts do acknowledge the concept of comparative negligence or proportionate responsibility in a personal injury lawsuit. Essentially, if the defendant in a lawsuit tries to place the blame on the plaintiff, the courts can look over the situation and assign a specific percentage of fault to each of the drivers involved.
So long as the courts do not declare the plaintiff more than 50% responsible, they can potentially still pursue their claim. However, the courts will reduce what they award in the lawsuits by the percentage of responsibility assigned to the plaintiff. The burden of proof in such claims falls to the defendant to show that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the crash, and the plaintiff will have the option of countering allegations that they are to blame for the collision.
For many people negatively impacted by a crash in Texas, pursuing a claim even when full compensation is unlikely can be a worthwhile endeavor. Learning more about Texas personal injury laws and your rights after a motor vehicle collision can help you demand economic justice following a wreck.