Some car accidents are totally the fault of one of the drivers. But many times, more than one person contributes to a crash — possibly including the driver who was seriously hurt.
Many years ago, under Texas law, you could not sue the other driver for compensation if you contributed even slightly to the conditions that led to your injuries. But like other states, Texas later amended the law to a more realistic and humane standard called modified contributory negligence.
Under this system, you can receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit as long as you are no more than 50 percent liable for your own injuries. Any compensation awarded to you is reduced by the percentage of fault the jury or judge assigns to you. So if the defendant is found to be 80 percent liable and the plaintiff 20 percent, the jury’s award would be reduced by 20 percent.
A possible example
A recent motorcycle accident in Dallas provides an example of the real-world cases that contributory negligence addresses. A car collided with a motorcycle, throwing the rider onto the street and leaving him in critical condition as of Oct. 1. Police believe that the driver of the car ran a red light and that the motorcycle was speeding.
In cases like this terrible incident, it is possible that a jury would find the driver to be primarily liable for driving through a red light. The jury might also assign some liability to the motorcyclist due to the speed he was traveling at. But it appears that the primary cause of the rider’s injuries was the driver’s actions.
Find out how the law applies to your claim
Every car accident case is different. To find out how much compensation you might expect to get in your case, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer can be helpful.