One of the costliest mistakes you can make after a car accident is to assume you cannot recover money for damages to you or your vehicle. Oftentimes, people assume this because they know they were at least partially to blame for the accident.
However, in states like Texas, modified comparative negligence laws allow people injured in a car accident to seek damages, even if they were at fault.
In accordance with these laws, you can file a claim to recover damages as long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible for an accident. The amount of money you can collect, however, will be reduced to match that percentage of responsibility.
To get a better idea of how comparative negligence laws apply in a real-world scenario, let's imagine a situation in which you are driving while talking on your phone. You are distracted by the conversation when seemingly out of nowhere, another car smashes into you at an intersection.
You might assume you are responsible for the accident, considering the fact that you weren't paying attention. However, if you later learn through police and witnesses that the other driver was drunk, speeding and running a red light, you may very well be able to recover damages. This is because it can be determined that while your distraction was partially to blame for the accident, you may only be 30 percent at fault for the accident, while the other driver was 70 percent responsible.
If you pursue economic recovery in this situation, you could be eligible to receive compensation for damages like lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Keep in mind, however, that any amount you are awarded will be reduced by 30 percent to reflect your liability.
Making assumptions about your legal options after a car accident can have some very unfortunate and expensive repercussions. Before you make any decisions about accepting a settlement or insurance payment, it can be crucial that you first discuss the situation and your legal rights with an experienced personal injury attorney.