Texas employs a fault-based system to determine who must pay the costs related to a car accident. In other words, the person who was at fault for the accident is liable for the damages caused by the accident. Whether at trial or in an out-of-court settlement, the victim of the at-fault party can recover compensation for injuries resulting from the accident caused by the at-fault party.
Sometimes, however, more than one person is responsible for an accident, and Texas law uses a system known as “proportionate responsibility” to determine the percentage of damages that each party must pay. Under the proportionate responsibility statute, when a plaintiff is partially responsible for damages, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced—or completely barred—by whatever percentage of those damages can be attributed to the plaintiff. For example, if a driver is found to be 20 percent at fault for an accident and is awarded $100,000, he or she will only receive $80,000.
Examples of Accidents Where More than One Driver Could Be at Fault
For people who have not been involved in an accident involving multiple at-fault parties, it may be difficult to imagine what that situation looks like. Here are examples of hypothetical accidents that would likely involve more than one at-fault driver:
- A driver is speeding and hits another driver who was turning across oncoming traffic without his or her headlights on at night
- A driver slams into the back of another vehicle, the brake lights of which were malfunctioning
- Two drivers collide when changing lanes simultaneously
Many such claims are settled by insurance companies rather than in court. For this reason, it is extremely important for accident victims to retain an attorney familiar with dealing with cases where proportionate responsibility is at issue. Insurance companies have the financial incentive to settle cases for the least amount of money possible and may try and take advantage of unrepresented parties. When you retain a skilled attorney to represent you in settlement negotiations, however, you can rest assured that your rights will be represented—and that you will not inadvertently accept an unreasonably low settlement offer.
How Much Will a Personal Injury Attorney Cost You?
After a car accident that involved significant damage to your vehicle, lost income, medical expenses, or all of the above, you may worry about the costs associated with hiring a lawyer. Fortunately, the firm of Stewart J. Guss uses a contingency fee arrangement with all personal injury clients, which means that you will not owe any legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. In addition, we will cover all of the up-front costs associated with settling your case or, if necessary, taking it to trial.
Call Stewart J. Guss Today to Speak with a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in an accident in which your own negligence may have played a role, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with attorney Stewart J. Guss, call today at 800-898-4877 or send us an email through our online contact form.