How Comparative Negligence Can Affect a Truck Accident Claim in TexasFebruary 10, 2022
Discover When Texas Law Allows At-Fault Victims to Recover Damages for a Big Rig Crash
Fault for 18-wheeler crashes is not always an all-or-nothing matter. In fact, many tractor-trailer wrecks are caused by multiple factors, with two or more parties commonly sharing liability for these collisions. When that happens in the Lone Star State, here’s how Texas law handles cases in which victims are among the liable parties.
A Look at Texas’s Proportionate Responsibility Law
To understand how proportionate responsibility works, it’s first essential to review Texas civil practice code (Sec. 33.001), which states the following:
A claimant may not recover damages if his percentage of responsibility is greater than 50%.
More simply, victims cannot seek compensation if they are mostly or primarily at fault for causing a tractor trailer crash. Or, put another way, victims DO have the right to file claims and pursue damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the wreck.
With shared liability, victims will also see reduced recoveries. Specifically, damages for cases in which victims shoulder some fault can be reduced equivalently to the victims’ level of fault. So, if an 18-wheeler accident victim is deemed to be 15% liable for a truck accident, damages for a successful case can be cut by that same amount, 15%.
An Example of How Proportionate Responsibility Works for a Texas Truck Wreck Case
To understand how proportionate responsibility works for Texas 18-wheeler crash claims, let’s look at an example.
- A victim files a claim worth $200,000.
- The victim is determined to be 15% at fault for causing the crash.
If the case is successfully resolved for $200,000, that compensation can then be reduced by 15% or $30,000 — and that would cut damages down to $170,000.
4 More Facts About Proportionate Responsibility & Texas Truck Accident Claims
When it comes to proportionate responsibility, shared liability, and Texas big rig wreck cases, it’s vital that victims also know these key facts:
- Liability determinations are critical: How fault is distributed can make or break a claim. It may even impact filing deadlines and how cases proceed, depending on who the liable parties are.
- You can’t automatically trust others’ fault determinations: Others can get it wrong because they overlook or misinterpret key evidence. That may be unintentional because all of the facts aren’t available, or it can be purposeful, with biased investigations focused on trying to shift the blame.
- Wrongfully blaming victims is a common tactic of negligent parties: Pinning at least some of the fault on victims is a strategy to try to reduce damages and weaken claims. That’s why it’s critical that big rig crash victims second guess liability determinations from insurance companies (and/or others).
- A lawyer can help you navigate the law, build a case, and assert your rights: An attorney can help you clarify fault and how proportionate responsibility may factor into your claim. That can get you and your claim started on the right foot, setting it up for full, fair compensation.