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Contributory Fault in Texas


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Navigating the intricacies of contributory fault in Texas can be a complex endeavor. This guide aims to provide a thorough understanding of the contributory fault system, its implications for personal injury claims, and the strategies for effectively managing your case in Texas. Our Houston personal injury law firm aims to equip you with the knowledge to navigate these legal waters confidently.

Introduction to Contributory Fault in Texas

Texas law operates under a modified comparative fault rule, often called “proportionate responsibility.” This doctrine plays a crucial role in personal injury cases, determining the extent to which each party is at fault for an accident and how much compensation they are eligible to receive. Understanding this principle is paramount for anyone involved in a personal injury claim within the state.

In Texas, Fault is usually based on Negligence

Most injury cases in Texas are based on “negligence.”

Requirements for Negligence in Texas

To establish Negligence in Texas, you must be able to prove four elements.

  • Duty of care– a duty is a legal requirement that someone owes to act reasonably. For instance, a driver who ran a stop sign violated a traffic law, which could constitute Negligence. In this example, the driver had a duty to follow the law and drive safely.
  • Breach of that duty– you must prove that the person who owed a duty breached that duty. In our example above of a driver running a stop sign, causing an accident, the driver breached their duty to follow traffic rules and drive safely.
  • Causation– In addition to proving your duty of care and breach of the duty, you must be able to prove that the breach of the duty caused your injury.
  • Damages– The plaintiff has the burden of proof to prove their damages. In personal injury cases, damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability disfigurement, etc.

Proving all four elements allows you to recover personal injury damages in Texas.

Read More: How Duty of Care Affects Negligence Claims

Understanding the Texas 51% Rule

At the heart of Texas’s contributory fault system is the 51% rule. This rule stipulates that an injured party can only recover damages if they are found to be 50% or less at fault for the incident. However, the amount of compensation received is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.

If an individual is found to be 51% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any compensation. Comparative fault emphasizes the importance of accurately determining fault in personal injury cases.

Read More: Is Texas a “No-Fault” State for Car Wrecks?

Impact on Personal Injury Claims

Applying contributory fault significantly impacts the outcome of personal injury claims in Texas. It requires a meticulous analysis of the accident and the behaviors of everyone involved. Insurance companies and opposing legal teams often scrutinize the case details to apportion the highest level of fault to the claimant, thereby minimizing their payout obligations.

Hence, presenting a strong case that accurately portrays the events and demonstrates the other party’s greater fault is critical.

Read More: What Is Negligence in Texas?

Examples of How Comparative Fault Works in Texas

Here are a few examples that show how comparative fault impacts personal injury cases in Texas.

Example One

Frank was coming home after work and driving slightly above the speed limit. A pickup truck pulled out in front of him, causing the accident. Frank filed a personal injury case, and at trial, a jury determined that the pickup truck driver was 75% at fault for pulling out in front of Frank and failing to yield the right of way. However, the jury also determined that Frank had partial fault for driving above the speed limit and assessed his share of fault at 25%.

In this example, Frank’s damages were assessed at $40,000, yet his contributory fault reduced his compensation by 25%, resulting in a net of $30,000.

Example Two

You are in a car accident and have damages of $100,000 (Including medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages). The insurance company determines that while their insured has primary responsibility for the accident, you bear some fault for the crash. They assess your responsibility at 1/3.

In this example, your damages would be $66,666, as your 1/3 comparative fault would reduce your proceeds by 1/3. That is, the total damages are reduced by your corresponding contributory negligence.

Strategies for Managing Your Case

Several strategies can be employed to navigate the contributory fault system successfully. First, gathering comprehensive evidence is key. Proof includes photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and relevant surveillance footage.

Secondly, it is crucial to understand the nuances of Texas law and how they apply to your case. Texas legal president might involve complex legal concepts that require the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Finally, communication with insurance companies should be handled carefully, as their interest minimizes payouts. Legal representation can be invaluable in effectively negotiating with these entities.

Read More: Can I Make A Personal Injury Claim If I Am Partly At Fault?

Choosing the Right Legal Representation

Selecting an attorney with extensive experience in Texas personal injury law and a deep understanding of the contributory fault system is vital. Look for a legal team that not only has a successful track record but also demonstrates a personalized approach to your case. The right attorney will navigate the complexities of the law, advocate fiercely on your behalf, and aim for the best possible outcome in your case.

Proving Negligence Requires a Top Attorney

Understanding contributory fault in Texas is essential for anyone involved in a personal injury claim. Claimants can better navigate their cases by grasping the fundamental principles of the 51% rule and its impact on compensation. Employing strategic case management techniques and securing knowledgeable legal representation are key steps in ensuring a favorable resolution.

With the right approach, individuals can effectively manage their personal injury claims in Texas and aim for the compensation they deserve.

Do You Have Questions about Negligence or Comparative Fault in Texas- Call for a Free Consultation Today

If you have questions about your case, speaking with a top-rated personal injury attorney is recommended. The sooner you speak with a qualified lawyer about the facts of your case and what you need to do next, the more extremely helpful it will be.

Call our law firm in Houston, Texas, at (281) 587-1111 for a free consultation with a top-rated lawyer.

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

(281) 587-1111

Related Resources:

Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Houston Truck Accident Attorney

What if I am Partly Responsible for an Accident?

About Our Law Firm

Baumgartner Law Firm is a Houston personal injury law firm headed by Greg Baumgartner.

Our firm was established in 1985 and has helped thousands of injury victims get maximum compensation for their cases. If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. (281) 587-1111.

Since its inception, Baumgartner Law Firm has limited its law practice to serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. Our legal team has won maximum compensation for thousands of accident victims and recovered millions of dollars for real people like you. The practice areas we focus on are the following:
·     Auto & Car Accidents
·     Catastrophic and Severe Injuries
·     Construction Site Accidents
·     Daycare Negligence & Child Injury
·     Dram Shop Lawsuits
·     Drunk Driving Accidents
·     Lyft Accidents
·     Motorcycle Accidents
·     Personal Injury
·     Truck Accidents
·     Uber Accidents
·     Work Injury
·     Wrongful Death

Helping these areas around Houston

Houston, Sugar LandConroeThe WoodlandsCypressSpring, Humble, KatyAtascocita, Kingwood and Tomball.

Related Resources:

What Does a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Car Accident Settlement Timelines in Texas

Determining Fault in Texas Car Accidents

Challenges of Proving Negligence in Daycare Injury Claims

What Are the Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas?