Posted by Guajardo & Marks, LLP on 04/12/2019

Can You Sue Another Driver if You Were Partially At Fault?

Can You Sue Another Driver if You Were Partially At Fault?

Not every car accident is a clear-cut case in terms of fault. Some accidents can be the fault of one or more drivers. So, if you were in an accident with injuries and were partially at fault, can you sue another driver?

It comes down to which state you are in and the laws that apply to the accident. States follow different standards when it comes to determining negligence, and you will need to understand how your state views this subject to know whether you can file a lawsuit when you were partially at fault for the crash.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

After a motor vehicle accident, the key thing that determines whether you can sue and get compensation is who was at fault. Was the other driver at fault?   If so, what was his degree of responsibility for the accident? Negligence is defined as reckless or careless behavior that caused another person to suffer damages and/or injuries. If the personal injury case goes to court, a jury will decide where fault lies. If you want damages for your injuries, you must prove that the other party was negligent.

Most states have either a comparative or a contributory negligence system that make it easier to decide if one or more parties were at fault.

Multiple Drivers

In some car crash lawsuits, more than one person is liable for the injuries and damages. It is possible that two or more people or one person could be found negligent. There are cases where several entities, such as businesses, could be held liable, too. Each of these cases is affected by rules of comparative and contributory negligence. Your state could have very different guidelines regarding each form of negligence.

Contributory Negligence System

This form of negligence holds that you are partially responsible for the accident if your negligence was part of the reason it happened. If so, you usually cannot hold another driver responsible for your injuries. In states with this system, even if you are 1% responsible for the crash, you cannot file a suit or claim against anyone else. This is an extreme system, and most states have done away with it, but a few, such as Virginia, still have a contributory negligence system.

Comparative Negligence

This is when your degree of fault for the accident is compared to that of the other parties in the crash. The jury will listen to the evidence and will determine how much fault lies with each driver. There are two forms of comparative negligence to know, depending upon the state in which your accident occurred.

Pure Comparative Fault

Each person in the crash can recover damages that are equal to the negligence of the other parties in the crash. You may sue another driver, even if you were more negligent for the crash. But the damages you get are adjusted according to your fault in the crash. For instance, if you were going over the speed limit and the judge says you were 50% to blame, you still could sue for 50% of your damages and injuries.

Modified Comparative Fault

You can sue the other party for damages as long as your responsibility was less than 50% for the accident. So, you can sue if the other driver was mostly to blame for the crash. But if your responsibility for the accident was 51% or greater, you cannot sue.

Laws In Texas About Negligence

Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule. If you have been in an accident in Texas and fault for the accident is at issue, you should consult with a Dallas car accident attorney as soon as you can. Whether or not you can recover compensation will depend upon your being no more than 50% responsible for the accident.

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