Does Texas have comparative fault laws
Texas operates under the “modified” comparative negligence rule. Under this system, you can pursue damages even if you are partially at fault for an accident. However, you cannot recover any compensation if you are more than 50 percent responsible.
This system can significantly affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. Knowing how comparative negligence works is crucial to understanding how much compensation you may be eligible to recover.
Is Texas an At-Fault State?
In the context of personal injury law, Texas is an “at-fault” or “tort” state. In these jurisdictions, the party responsible for causing the accident – the “at-fault” party – is legally liable for any damages or injuries that result.
For instance, Texas uses the “fault” system in motor vehicle accidents. This means the person responsible for causing the collision is also liable for any resulting harm. This system contrasts with those in “no-fault” states, where individuals turn to their own insurance policies for compensation after an accident – regardless of who was at fault.
What Is the Texas Comparative Fault Law?
Many at-fault states operate under what is known as “pure” comparative fault. This concept allows any party to recover compensation for accident-related losses as long as they are not entirely to blame for the accident.
However, Texas runs under a “modified” comparative fault system. The Texas Comparative Fault Law, also known as proportionate responsibility, still allows an injured party to recover compensation even if they were partially responsible for the accident. However, if the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault, they are ineligible to recover any compensation under Texas law. This is often called the “51 percent rule.”
Will Comparative Fault Reduce the Amount of My Injury Claim?
The comparative fault system can reduce the amount of your injury claim. The Texas system reduces your compensation by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20 percent at fault for an accident, your compensation will be reduced by 20 percent.
It’s important to note that insurance adjusters will try to pin as much blame on you as possible to reduce the payout they must make. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer from Fleming Law on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. With over 30 years of experience, we can help you fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact our Houston auto accident lawyer today.
What Is an Example of How Comparative Fault Works in Texas?
Imagine you were in a car accident where the total compensable losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, amounted to $100,000. After careful investigation, the insurance companies determined that the other driver was 80 percent at fault because they were speeding. However, you are found 20 percent at fault because you failed to signal before turning.
You could still recover compensation in this situation because you were less than 51 percent at fault. But the comparative fault rule would apply. You would only be able to recover 80 percent of the total compensable damages, which equals $80,000. That is the total damage amount ($100,000) minus the proportion corresponding to your degree of fault (20 percent).
How Can Fault Be Proven in an Accident?
Establishing fault in an accident can involve multiple types of evidence and often requires both legal knowledge and a thorough investigation. Here are a few ways insurance companies and attorneys prove fault:
- Police reports – A police report is a vital document that can provide an unbiased third-party perspective of the accident.
- Witness statements – Witnesses can provide crucial details about the accident and corroborate your version of events.
- Photos and videos – Pictures or videos from the scene can clearly show what happened and help establish who was at fault.
- Expert testimony – Accident reconstruction experts can recreate the incident, providing valuable insight into the causes of the accident.
- Medical records – These can link your injuries directly to the accident, which is essential in a personal injury case.
The highly experienced legal team at Fleming Law is skilled at gathering and presenting compelling evidence to prove fault in personal injury cases.
Is There a Deadline for Filing an Accident Claim Lawsuit in Texas?
In Texas, you typically have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, the Texas courts will likely refuse to hear your case, and you will lose your right to pursue compensation through the court system. Exceptions to the deadline can apply in some circumstances. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident is essential to protect your rights.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer
Understanding the complex world of Texas’ comparative fault laws can be daunting. If you have suffered injuries in an accident, the experienced attorneys at Fleming Law are here to guide you on your legal journey and fight for the compensation you deserve.
At Fleming Law, our commitment to our clients sets us apart. Our firm is home to board-certified specialists – a designation earned by a select few attorneys in Texas who have proven their expertise through rigorous examinations, documented trial experience, and positive evaluations from peers and judges. This distinction ensures that you will work with a team of professionals who are recognized for their good work in their field.
What truly distinguishes us from other Houston-based law firms is our personalized and attentive approach. Our clients are always in direct contact with the attorney handling their case. We keep you involved and informed, tailoring our services to your unique needs and objectives. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
Nicholas P. Fleming focuses his practice in the area of civil litigation. As a skilled personal injury attorney, he handles a broad range of cases including motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, workplace accidents, and wrongful death. He is licensed to practice by the State Bar of Texas and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law, earning his J.D. in 2017. Nicholas prides himself on providing personalized service to his clients, who are often facing extremely stressful situations.