Understanding comparative negligence after a crash

As a Texas driver, you likely head out with the expectation that you will arrive safely at your destination. Unfortunately, for a small fraction of the people on the road, that isn't what happens. Instead, they wind up hurt in a motor vehicle collision that leaves their vehicle damaged and their body injured.

If the situation involves someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol, someone texting or making poor driving decisions, such as running a red light, you probably think that you have a clear-cut case for a personal injury lawsuit.

However, mistakes that you make immediately after the accident could reduce the amount of money that you receive as compensation. Taking steps to protect yourself from unintentional self-incrimination will also help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Texas will consider admissions of comparative negligence or fault

Although police officers responding to a crash are quick to assign responsibility to one driver in most cases, the reality of what causes crashes is far more nuanced. One person may run a light or fail to stop at a stop sign. Another driver, who may be speeding, could wind up hurt.

It is possible for either an attorney representing the person who didn't stop or an insurance company to argue that the person speeding is also partially responsible for the crash. In legal terms, this concept is known as comparative negligence, fault or liability.

If either an attorney or an insurance company can convince the courts that both drivers played a role in the collision, the courts will potentially reduce the compensation awarded to the victim in the crash accordingly. Typically, comparative fault involves a percentage of the responsibility for the crash. The total award received by the victim in this case will wind up reduced according to the percentage of responsibility they bear for the collision.

Be very careful when talking about the crash to anyone

A wide range of things you say and do after a crash can result in a judgment of comparative negligence. For example, apologizing to the other driver, the law enforcement officers at the scene of the crash or an insurance adjuster could all be dangerous for your case. The courts could view an apology as an admission of partial responsibility for the crash.

Anything you say to an insurance agent or adjuster, law enforcement officer or an attorney could have an impact on your claim for compensation in the future. So could things you post on social media.

Instead of attempting to navigate the dangerous playing fields of recorded insurance statements and personal injury court on your own, you will likely benefit from partnering with an experienced Texas lawyer. An attorney will be able to help you avoid making the kinds of mistakes that can drastically impact the amount of compensation the courts award you.

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