Texas is a comparative negligence state, which means that it can be tough to determine fault in your personal injury case. Yet proving fault is key to recovering damages. Here is what you need to know about how fault is determined in Texas personal injury claims.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
According to the theory behind comparative negligence, it is very rare for one party to be solely responsible for a personal injury. For example, you might have been hit by a driver who ran a red light, but you might also have been distracted in that moment by a phone call. In Texas, your damages are reduced by your at-fault percentage. If you are 51% or more at fault, you cannot collect damages at all.
Comparative negligence laws can dramatically complicate your case. Naturally, the other party, or his attorney, will try to raise your at-fault percentage as high as possible. This will reduce the amount you can recover, and it could even push you over the 51% threshold, making it impossible to receive any compensation at all. Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer is essential to protect you against ridiculously high at fault claims.
What Evidence Can I Use to Prove Fault?
Gathering evidence is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected. Some of the most common pieces of evidence include:
Police Report: Always call the police if you are injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence. A police report is the written statement of the police officer who responds. It typically contains key information regarding fault, such as a speeding driver in an accident case or a wet floor in a slip and fall. The officer should tell you when the report will be available and how to request a copy.
Witnesses: Although you will likely be shaken after an accident, it is important to look around and see who is present. Collect names, addresses, and phone numbers from as many witnesses as possible. Witness statements are often vital in establishing fault.
Photos: Take pictures as soon as possible, both of the scene of the incident and of your injuries. Accident photos are never fun, but they are very important pieces of evidence.
Doctor’s Report: Seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Not only will your medical bills form part of your compensation, but a detailed doctor’s report can help to establish what happened, which can help to demonstrate fault. If necessary, your attorney can subpoena your doctor to give expert testimony.
Establishing fault can be complex, especially when comparative negligence laws lead the other party to try to raise your at-fault percentage. With strong evidence and an experienced personal injury lawyer, though, there is no reason for you not to collect maximum damages.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are in Houston and need a personal injury lawyer with an excellent track record of success, contact Roberts Markland LLP today at (713) 630-0900 for a free consultation and case review.