What is Contributory Fault In Texas?

July 25, 2022 | Personal Injury

After an individual sustains an injury, it is crucial to determine fault so that individuals can recover compensation if they are entitled to it. However, there are times when more than one party shares fault for an incident. Different states around the country handle shared fault in various ways, namely through a comparative negligence or contributory negligence system. Here, we want to discuss which of these systems Texas uses and how this could affect injury claims.

Can Multiple Parties Be Responsible For an Accident in Texas?

Yes, there can certainly be various parties responsible for the same injury or property damage incident in Texas. Not every type of accident is straightforward, whether we are talking about a vehicle accident, slip and fall incident, or an accident that takes place at a person’s residence.

However, since fault is not straightforward, neither is the process of apportioning out compensation to victims. 

How Is Fault Determined When Multiple Parties Are Involved?

Some states still use a contributory fault system, which means that victims are unable to recover compensation if they share any portion of liability, even just one percent. This is a rather harsh type of system to use, and most states recognize the unfairness of this and have moved towards a different type of fault system.

The vast majority of states around the country use a type of modified comparative negligence system to handle situations where there is more than one party at fault. Under this type of negligence system, individuals will typically be unable to recover compensation if they are 50% or 51% or more responsible for their own injuries or property damage. Those less than that percentage of fault will still be able to recover compensation, but the total amount of money they receive will be reduced in a percentage proportionate to their level of fault.

Texas follows the 51% rule, which means individuals or not able to recover compensation if they are 51% or more responsible for the incident. Let us suppose that an individual is involved in a vehicle accident and sustained $100,000 worth of medical bills and property damage expenses. However, let us also imagine that a jury determines that they were 30% responsible for the incident because they were operating while distracted and following another vehicle too closely. As a result of this percentage of fault, they would receive $70,000 instead of the full $100,000 under the state’s modified comparative negligence system (30% less than the full amount).

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an incident due to the negligent actions of someone else, but there is a chance that you were partially at fault or if you have been accused of being partially at fault, you need to reach out to a lawyer today.

When a skilled Austin car accident attorney gets involved, they will use their resources to investigate every aspect of the incident. This includes working to determine what percentage, if any, you had for causing the incident and the injuries. In many cases, insurance carriers and at-fault parties will try and shift the blame onto other parties in order to pay less compensation, and this blame may be unwarranted.

In addition, if you are also located in Round Rock and are injured from a bike accident, a skilled Round Rock bicycle accident attorney can help you in your personal injury claim.