When involved in an accident with a big rig in Texas, you may wonder which party was at fault. Generally, one driver might be more at fault for the accident than the other. Sometimes both drivers did something wrong that contributed to the crash. Most states have contributory negligence statues in place that limit when injured parties may collect on personal injury claims if they are partly to blame. Texas utilizes a 51% rule for truck accidents and other personal injury cases.
Understanding Contributory Negligence
In most accidents, one or both parties were negligent. Negligence simply means that the driver was doing something that they knew, or should have known, could cause an accident or injuries. Sometimes one driver is responsible for the accident. However, sometimes, both drivers did something that may have been negligent.
Contributory negligence is also known as proportionate responsibility. According to Texas law, someone who files a claim cannot recover damages if they were over 50% responsible for the accident. Therefore, you can only get damages for your injuries if the other driver was over 50% negligent.
More than one party can hold some responsibility for an accident. For example, one driver may be negligent by disobeying a red light. However, the other driver could be found partly negligent were they speeding at the time of the incident. A portion of negligence is ascribed to each driver. Damages are recovered according to the percentage of negligence apportioned. Your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. If you are over 50% at fault you may not collect damages for a personal injury claim.
Determining Fault in Truck Accident Cases
Determining fault in an accident is not a simple process. It should be left to professionals with experience in reviewing accident details. If you have been hit by an 18-wheeler, the insurance company will likely contact you following an accident. It is usually best to discuss the matter with a qualified Houston truck accident attorney before you speak with an insurance representative. Remember that the insurance company will often try to keep from paying claims and what you say could be used against you later.
In some accidents, it is easy to determine fault, but often it can be a complicated situation. The police report, witness statements, and video surveillance footage can all be useful in determining how the accident happened. Sometimes, accident reconstruction is necessary to discover what occurred before, during, and after a crash.
The accident can be even more complicated when multiple vehicles are involved. One factor may be considered to be a major contributor to the crash and others that are minor. These factors must be considered when determining fault.
If you were injured in a truck accident it is best to have an experienced truck accident attorney on your side.
Contact the Houston truck accident law firm for a no-cost consultation to talk about your case.
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