Sometimes, there’s no question about what (or who) caused a car wreck. Maybe you were rear-ended by someone who was looking at their cell phone instead of the road, or maybe another driver crossed the yellow line trying to pass someone and hit you head-on.
What happens, however, when things aren’t so clear? Maybe the other driver sideswiped you – but you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time, compounding your injuries. Or, maybe you were involved in a multi-car crash, and you were going a little too fast to avoid the pile-up. In those kinds of situations, the 51% rule comes into play.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state
Every state has its own rules about when someone can be held responsible for another party’s injuries. In some states, if you contribute to your own injuries in the slightest way, that’s a complete bar to any recovery through a personal injury claim.
Texas isn’t quite so harsh. Under its modified comparative fault system, you are only barred from recovery if your share of the fault exceeds the other party’s share. For example, if you were 25% responsible for your own injuries because you forgot your seatbelt and the other driver was 75% responsible through their negligence, you would still be able to sue.
Under this rule, any compensation you receive would simply be reduced by your level of culpability. Using the example above, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages, that would be reduced by $25,000 for your 25% fault, and you would still receive $75,000.
A car wreck has the capacity to disrupt every aspect of your life, especially when it’s serious. If you’ve been the victim of another driver’s mistake, you have every right to look for fair compensation for your losses. However, don’t expect the insurance company involved to make it easy. Learning more about your legal rights and options can help.