Tragedy struck a group of college students as they were driving to a fraternity conference in Arizona earlier this week. According to a report by a local ABC affiliate, the college students were driving across the Texas panhandle when their Chevrolet Impala collided with a semi-truck. Two of the students were pronounced dead at the scene and the remaining three occupants were injured.
The cause of the accident is in dispute. According to police, one of the deceased college students fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into the semi-truck. However, according to the student’s father that was not likely the case.
Some accidents are clearly one driver’s fault. Take, for example, a drunk driving accident involving an innocent pedestrian. In these cases the law is often applied in a clear cut manner. However, as the above case illustrates, fault is not always easy to determine. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to determine which party is the would-be plaintiff and which is the would-be defendant.
Modified Comparative Fault in Texas Courts
In Texas, a “modified comparative fault” theory is used by judges and juries to help determine who was at fault for an accident (and who is responsible for paying for all the injuries and property damage suffered by the other party). Under the theory, the fact finder (usually the jury) will hear all the evidence and eventually determine the fault of each party. For example, this may mean that the plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault and the defendant 80%.
Once fault is determined by the jury, the party who was less at fault is able to recover from the party who is more at fault. The practical effect of the modified comparative fault theory is that plaintiffs who are partially at fault can still recover for their Texas truck accident claim.
The “modified” part of the theory’s name comes from the rule that a plaintiff can only recover if he or she is less than 51% at fault for the accident. In true comparative fault jurisdictions, a plaintiff can recover from a defendant regardless of how much of the fault is attributable to the plaintiff.
Have You Been Involved in a Texas Truck Accident?
If you have been involved in a Texas truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, even if you are partially at fault. To find out more about the laws of negligence in Texas, contact Bill Berenson at the Law Offices of William K. Berenson. Bill Berenson is a veteran Fort Worth personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to recover for his clients. As a Board Certified Specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law for over 20 years, Attorney Berenson has the experience and dedication needed to represent you in your Texas truck accident case. To contact the Law Offices of William K. Berenson, click here or call 877-885-8000 today.