Can You Still Recover Damages If the Accident Was Partially Your Fault?

It’s a common question in Texas personal injury matters. For example, let’s say another driver didn’t stop at the stop sign and plowed into the side of your car at an intersection. You know you were probably going a few ticks over the speed limit when the other driver blew through the stop sign. Can you still recover damages (monetary compensation as a result of a loss or injury)? 

The answer is probably yes, but it’s much more complicated than that. We’ll explain why in this blog. 

Comparative Fault

A handful of states prohibit plaintiffs from recovering damages if they were even 1 percent at fault for their injuries in an accident. Fortunately, Texas is not one of these pure contributory negligence states. Even if you were partially at fault, you are eligible to recover damages in Texas due to its designation as a comparative fault state. There is, however, a limit. 

51 Percent Rule

Officially, Texas is a modified comparative fault state. That means that, if your liability in an accident is over a certain amount, you may not recover. That threshold in Texas is 51 percent. That means that, if you were more than 50 percent at fault for the car accident that caused your injuries, you are not eligible to recover damages. 

So, while you will be able to recover damages if you’re partially at fault, the amount of damages you are awarded will be reduced in proportion to your liability. To illustrate this, let’s go back to the example we introduced above. It’s obvious that the other driver was at fault—he ran a stop sign, after all. 

There is a lingering question though: if you had been going the speed limit, would you have been able to avoid the damage to your vehicle or the crash altogether? You’ll probably never know, but the judge or jury in your personal injury trial might rule that you were partially at fault for the accident. Let’s say that it is determined you have $150,000 worth of damages (medical care and lost wages). Based on the speed you were going, it’s determined that five percent of the wreck was your fault. So, you’ll likely receive $142,500 ($150,000 minus five percent of damages for which you were ultimately responsible). 

What About Passengers?

You will likely be eligible to receive 100 percent of your damages if you were a passenger and you did not otherwise contribute to the crash. Importantly, it generally doesn’t matter which car you were in, i.e. whether or not you were riding with the majority-at-fault driver. Depending on how liability was divided, you may need to file claims or lawsuits against multiple drivers. 

Wyly & Cook Wants to Help You Achieve Justice

Even the most seemingly clear-cut accident claims often turn out to be quite complicated when applying Texas’ comparative fault law. This is nothing to say of crashes involving multiple drivers, 18-wheelers, or large commercial vehicles. If you are injured, you will likely need a law firm with the resources and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Wyly & Cook understands the steps needed to conduct a thorough post-accident investigation as well as the experts who need to be retained to help prove the other driver(s) are at fault and the amount of your damages

We’d love to speak with you soon. Call us at 713-236-8330 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

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Wyly & Cook, PLLC

The team at Wyly & Cook, PLLC brings a diverse body of trial and litigation experience to the table, putting us in a unique position to help clients with a wide range of legal issues.
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