Contributory negligence in Texas personal injury cases can negatively affect any financial award you receive. If you are found to have contributed to any part of the cause of the accident, the percentage of fault assigned to you will be assessed. Your recoverable damages will be reduced by the same percentage. If you are found to have contributed enough liability to the accident, you could be banned from any recovery at all.
This can be costly and leave you with various out-of-pocket expenses. On your own, understanding how fault is apportioned and why you cannot receive damages for the full cost of the accident can be complicated. A personal injury lawyer can explain the law about contributory negligence in Texas, what you need to know, and how you can protect your right to recover damages.
You Can Fight Back Against Accusations of Liability
After a negligence-based accident, each involved party has the opportunity to tell their side of the story — to explain the events that led to the accident and injuries. The stories are told verbally and with the collected evidence. Unless interviews are conducted or depositions are taken, each side will tell their story to their own legal or insurance representative.
A personal injury lawyer can help you prove:
- You did not contribute to the cause of the accident at all
- Your contribution is more minimal than the other party alleges
A personal injury lawyer can prove the measure of your involvement with evidence that includes your police or incident report, witness statements, and surveillance footage. Your lawyer will start by listening to your version of events, scrutinizing the police report, conducting an independent investigation, and weighing the evidence.
Do Not Speak to Anyone About the Accident
Avoid speaking to anyone or posting about the accident on social media outlets. Some comments and remarks that seem innocent to you might be construed as acceptance of blame. Let your lawyer handle all written, verbal, and electronic communication with the at-fault party and their insurance provider.
This can be more dangerous and costly than you might think because, according to Texas law, if half or more of the cause of the accident is attributed to you, you may not receive any recoverable damages at all. At that point, the law will expect you and the other involved party to absorb the costs of your own:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
There will be no recovery of damages for the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident. In fact, the aftermath of the accident can be made more challenging if you are barred from financial recovery. This is because the costs of the accident will fall onto your shoulders at the same time your injuries prevent you from working and receiving your usual income.
Understand What It Takes to Prove Negligence in Texas
If you were injured in a car accident, you have to prove the other driver acted negligently in some way. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you have to prove the property owner failed to keep you safe. For example, they may not have removed ice or debris from their property.
Negligence can be surprisingly difficult to define and prove. You need to be able to prove the at-fault party:
- Was required to act in a way that provided you with a reasonable degree of safety
- Did not live up to their responsibility to provide a duty of care
- Caused your physical and financial injuries by their actions
By establishing these legally required elements of negligence, you could recover financial damages.
Know How Much Time You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Texas law generally limits the time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to two years. The outcome of the accident will determine the relevant statute of limitations. Your lawyer will explain anything that can alter the filing deadline and give you additional time to pursue damages.
You also need to know how your case will be affected if the statute of limitations expires. You will not be permitted to file your lawsuit at all. If you do manage to file after the expiration date, the at-fault party or their representative will ask the court to dismiss your case. This request is likely to be granted, and you will have no further right to recovery.
Put Our Personal Injury Team to Work for You
Is another party alleging you fully or partially caused an accident that left you injured? Our personal injury lawyer can explain what you need to know about contributory negligence in Texas and its impact on your ability to recover damages.
Contact one of our team members at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ by calling (713) 850-8600 to explore your recovery options today.
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