Understanding the Negligence Laws in Texas
In Texas, modified comparative fault laws are used to dictate who can recover damages in a personal injury case, and to what extent. Since this system utilizes a 51% rule, the plaintiff would be allowed to recover compensation as long as they were not mostly at fault for causing the accident. If a judge or jury decides that they were 52% responsible for causing their own injuries, for example, they would be barred from recovering any level of compensation. If their determined level of fault does not exceed this limit, however, the damages would simply be diminished by their own percentage of fault. This means that a wrongfully injured victim could still pursue a civil claim even if they had negligently contributed to their own harm. For example, a plaintiff would take away $60,000 of a $100,000 award if a jury decided that they were 40% at fault for causing the accident.
This differs from a system of pure contributory negligence, which states that the plaintiff would be barred from making any sort of financial recovery if they were deemed even 1% at fault. That being said, modified comparative fault laws are often more advantageous to the victim. On the opposite side of the coin, however, the victim may leave themselves susceptible to a counter lawsuit if they pursue a risky case. For example, the plaintiff may think that they have a good chance of recovering compensation if their level of fault is seemingly equal to that of the defendant, but they could be facing more legal trouble in the future if the jury decides that they were more than 51% at fault—as this would give the defendant reason to turn around and file a counter lawsuit. That being said, it may not always a good idea to pursue a personal injury claim that could go one way or the other.
Fortunately, you can gain a better understanding of how a jury will evaluate your case by speaking with one of the Dallas personal injury lawyers at the Lenahan Law Firm. From there, you can make a more informed decision about whether or not you should take your case to trial. When you contact our office locally at (214) 295-1008 or toll-free at (888) 473-2820, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with an experienced attorney at no cost to you. Our advice is free when you reach out to us for an initial consultation, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to get started.