What If I'm Partially at Fault? Can I Still Recover Damages?
A common tactic employed by trucking companies and their insurers is to shift blame for a serious truck crash to the injured motorist in a bid to pay lower damages or to escape responsibility altogether. In many cases, insurance companies and trucking companies are hoping to take advantage of the rules of comparative negligence that are in place in Texas and states across the country.
By shifting the blame onto the driver, insurance companies benefit at your expense. It is usually best to contact an attorney if you are concerned that you are being blamed for a more significant percentage of fault than is accurate.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is an approach adopted by most states in the country. It means that the contribution of each party involved (or at least two) is evaluated. In other words, the negligence of both the truck driver and the passenger vehicle driver will be weighed to determine how much both can be held accountable for damages. In some states, if the person contributes to the negligence at all, they are no longer eligible to receive additional compensation. In other states, the percentage of their negligence may simply affect how much compensation they get, such as if they contributed 25%, they would get less compensation than if they had not contributed at all.
The two main types of comparative negligence include:
The plaintiff will have their damages totaled, then reduced to reflect their contribution to the accident and/or damage related to the crash.
Plaintiff will only recover if they are less than 50% responsible. If they are equally or more responsible, they will not be able to recover.
For instance, under the Texas proportionate comparative fault scheme, even a severely injured truck accident victim can be barred from recovering if they are found to be 51% or more at fault. If they fall under that threshold, their recovery can still be reduced in proportion to the degree of their fault. So, if you suffer $1 million in damages, and you are 40% at fault, your recovery will be limited to $400,000. If you are determined to have been 51% or more at fault for the accident, it will be difficult to recover any funds.
Don’t Let Trucking or Insurance Companies Shift Blame
Even if you are partially at fault, you are still eligible for some form of compensation. Any medical bills you incurred should be covered as well as damage to your vehicle. Countless other factors change each case's outcome, so it is nearly impossible to determine how much you can be compensated if you are partially at fault for an accident without deferring to a professional. Disputing comparative fault is a challenging process, and if this type of case goes to court, it will be the jury's responsibility for determining the percentage of fault.
The sooner you discuss your case with a proven truck accident lawyer, the better. Arnold & Itkin has advocated for victims of truck accidents for numerous years, recovering billions of dollars for clients. Call to learn more!