What Is Modified Comparative Negligence in Texas?

October 18, 2022 | Car Accidents

When a person sustains an injury caused by the negligence of another, the injury victim should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, recovering compensation can get a little bit tricky when there are allegations of shared fault. It is not uncommon for there to be more than one party at fault for an incident, but this does not necessarily mean that an accident victim will recover no compensation at all. Here, we want to explain the Texas modified comparative negligence system.

Why Does Modified Comparative Negligence Matter?

Comparative negligence matters because not every injury claim is black and white. In other words, it is not always 100% clear who caused the injury, and the reality is that there are often other contributing factors that could shift fault toward another party. Sometimes, there is shared fault between multiple parties, and this will need to be reflected in how much compensation an injury victim receives, if they receive any compensation at all.

Different states handle shared fault in various ways, but Texas uses a modified comparative negligence system. In this state, any person found to be 51% or more to blame for causing an accident will be unable to recover any compensation, even if they sustain an injury or property damage in the incident.

However, individuals who are 50% or less to blame for the incident will be able to recover some type of compensation. The total amount of compensation available to individuals will be adjusted depending on their percentage of fault for the incident.

Example of How This Could Affect a Claim

It is best to give a theoretical example to explain how this could affect a personal injury claim. Let our motor vehicle accident lawyers in Austin evaluate a potential car accident. Suppose Driver A approaches a stop sign, slows down, looks both ways, but does not stop all the way before proceeding through. Now suppose that Driver B comes barreling from a perpendicular direction at 80 mph and is intoxicated and slams into Driver A

Looking at this scenario, there are two parties that violated traffic laws, so the modified comparative negligence system will be used to evaluate compensation. Let us suppose that a jury determines that the intoxicated driver was 60% responsible for the incident, but Driver A is 40% responsible because they did not come to a complete stop.

Driver B Will not be able to recover any compensation, but Driver A will be able to recover compensation. Suppose that they sustained $100,000 worth of medical bills. They would be able to recover $60,000 in total compensation, which subtracts 40% from the initial settlement to account for their percentage of fault.

Working With an Attorney

It is very important to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Texas who can help determine how much compensation you should receive after sustaining an injury. The reality is that at-fault parties and insurance carriers will try to shift some or all of the blame onto another party to avoid paying compensation. Sometimes, they assign blame when they shouldn’t, and a personal injury victim needs an advocate by their side who can push back against these allegations of fault.