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Home > Resources > Comparative Fault in Texas: How It Affects Your Personal Injury Case

Comparative Fault in Texas: How It Affects Your Personal Injury Case

When you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you expect to receive compensation for ALL of your damages. However, in Texas, the concept of comparative fault can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury case, from reducing the amount you can recover to barring your claim entirely. Below we discuss the concept of comparative fault in Texas and how it affects your personal injury case. If you or a loved one has been injured in Beaumont, Southeast Texas, or statewide, contact the Gilbert Adams Law Offices to speak with an experienced and dedicated Texas personal injury lawyer.

What Is Comparative Fault?

Comparative fault, also known as proportionate responsibility in Texas, is a legal doctrine that allocates fault among all parties who caused or contributed to an accident. Under this system, each contributing party is assigned a percentage of fault based on their contribution, if any, to cause the incident. This percentage directly affects the amount of compensation you can recover.

Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, which is known as the 51% Bar Rule. This rule states that you can recover damages as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for causing the accident. However, if the jury determines your fault exceeds 50%, you are barred from receiving any compensation, regardless of the amount of damages the jury awards.

For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault for an accident, your total recoverable compensation will be reduced by 30%. If your damages amount to $100,000, you will receive $70,000 after the reduction. However, if you are said to be 60% at fault (or even 51%), then you would not recover any of your damages from the other party for their share of responsibility in causing your injury and damages.

How Fault Is Determined

Determining fault involves a thorough investigation of the incident that caused the injury. Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, and expert testimony plays a critical role in this process. If the case goes to trial, both parties will present their case, and fault will be assigned by the judge or jury based on the evidence and arguments made by the respective attorneys.

Outside of court, such as during settlement negotiations or even when the claim is initially assessed, the insurance company is likely to try and shift as much of the blame on the accident victim as they can, hoping to minimize their payout or avoid responsibility altogether. It’s crucial to get representation from a skilled injury lawyer who can advocate on your behalf and keep you from being unfairly faulted for negligence that is not supported by the facts. This should be evaluated based on context and under the circumstances presented.

Impact on Personal Injury Cases

Car Crashes

In motor vehicle collision cases, comparative fault can significantly affect your compensation. Common scenarios where comparative fault comes into play include:

  • Distracted driving: If both parties were distracted at the time of the crash, the fault will be divided based on the extent of each party’s contribution to causing the collision.
  • Speeding: If you were speeding but the other driver ran a red light, both parties may share fault, reducing your compensation accordingly.

Slip and Fall

In slip and fall cases, property owners may argue that the injured party was partially responsible for their injuries. For instance, if you ignored warning signs or were using your phone at the time of the fall, you might be assigned a percentage of fault. Property owners and their insurers often argue that the hazard was obvious and could have been noticed and avoided if the victim were paying attention.

Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries caused by third parties, such as another contractor or the premises owner might involve defensive claims by those third parties that the employer or the injured party contributed to cause the accident.

Strategies to Minimize Your Fault

To maximize your compensation, it is essential to minimize the percentage of fault assigned to you. Here are some strategies:

  1. Gather Strong Evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible, including photos, videos, and witness statements, to support your claim and demonstrate the other party’s negligence.
  2. Seek Legal Representation: An experienced personal injury attorney can help you build a strong case, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your rights.
  3. Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to your medical treatment plan and keep detailed records of your injuries and treatments. This documentation can help prove the extent of your damages and counter any claims that you are exaggerating your injuries.
  4. Be Cautious with Statements: Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault. Insurance adjusters and opposing counsel may use your words against you to reduce your compensation.

Contact Gilbert Adams Law Offices in Beaumont to Maximize Compensation on Your Texas Personal Injury Claim

Comparative fault in Texas can complicate personal injury cases, but understanding its implications can help you navigate the legal process more effectively. At Gilbert Adams Law Offices, we are committed to helping injury victims in Beaumont, Southeast Texas, and statewide Texas. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will work diligently to eliminate or reduce exposure to being assigned fault and maximize your compensation. If you have been injured in an accident, call us today at 409-835-3000 for a free consultation, and let us help you get the justice you deserve.

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