What does comparative negligence mean for your accident claim?

Jul 7, 2019

The aftermath of a car accident is frightening. If you suffered injuries in a crash, you understand how complex it can be to try and put the pieces back together. From dealing with your injuries to facing the mounting medical bills, you may be unsure of where to start and how you can move forward. You may also be wondering about your chances of securing financial compensation through a civil claim.

Moving forward with a claim is often an option for individuals who are victims of accidents caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another party. But what about accidents in which the victim may bear at least a portion of fault for the accident? In these situations, the term comparative negligence may apply. This happens when identifying the at-fault party is not simple or clear.

Texas laws about fault

In Texas, comparative negligence can affect a car accident claim. Financial responsibility may depend on how much blame each party bears for the accident. Perhaps a driver rear-ended a car, which you may assume makes that driver at-fault, but this may be the result of the driver in front dealing with a distraction and having to slam on the brakes. Comparative negligence looks at the actions of both parties, and the following factors may place a role in determining damages:

Cause in fact – The injuries were the direct result of the defendant’s actions.
Duty – A driver clearly had a duty to others on the road, such as making safe decisions while driving.

Breach of duty – The defendant did not do something that was his or her duty to do, such as yielding to traffic.

Damages – There is proof that the accident and injuries caused physical and financial harm to the other party.

Proximate cause – A reasonable driver should have known that his or her actions were dangerous.

In a lawsuit, a court will look carefully at the above factors and certain types of evidence to determine exactly what happened. In Texas, proportionate responsibility may apply. This means that, if a driver is partially responsible for an accident, it may reduce the amount of damage awarded to him or her.

Fighting for the recovery you deserve

The aftermath of a car accident is tough. It’s hard to know what to do next, but you do not have to make these choices on your own. Many accident victims find it beneficial to seek legal guidance regarding their options and what they can do to seek recompense for their recovery needs.