What Is Comparative Negligence?
The theory behind comparative negligence is that in virtually any personal injury situation, the injured part did something that contributed to the injury, even in a very small way. For example, you might have been hit by a driver who was texting, but you might have been distracted by eating your lunch in the car or you may not have been wearing your seatbelt. Texas law reduces your damage award by the percentage that you are determined to have been at-fault. If your at-fault percentage reaches 51% or more, you cannot recover any damages.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Case?
Comparative negligence can turn even a simple personal injury case into a complicated battle. In an attempt to reduce or even eliminate your award, the other party and his attorney will attempt to push your at-fault percentage as high as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer is the key to ensuring that you get every dollar you deserve.
How Can You Help?
Protecting your rights means gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and arguing your case. Some of the things we will look for include:
Police Report: Although the police report will not necessarily prove fault on its own, it may contain valuable evidence that can help prove your claim. For example, it might state that the other driver was speeding or that the floor where you slipped was coated in slippery oil. Always call the police if you are injured by someone else’s negligence or deliberate actions to preserve a factual record of the incident.
Witnesses: After any accident, gather names, addresses, and phone numbers from as many bystanders as possible. Witness statements can often help to establish fault. Depending on the nature of the accident, we might also interview expert witnesses with specific technical knowledge.
Photos: Photos of the scene of the incident, as well as your injuries, may prove important in determining fault. Expert witnesses can often determine vehicle speed and other facts from skid marks or vehicle damage, while photos of your injuries can help medical experts determine things like direction of impact.
Doctor’s Report: See a doctor right away, even if your injuries seem minor. Your medical bills are part of your compensation package, and your doctor can determine if you have hidden injuries that could cause future problems. In addition, the doctor’s report can help to establish fault.
Comparative negligence laws make personal injury claims more complicated. With guidance from an experienced accident lawyer, though, there is no reason to accept less compensation than you deserve.
Ready to Get Started?
If you need a passionate and experienced personal injury attorney in the Houston area, contact Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC today at (713) 234-1927 to schedule your free consultation.