Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
What Is Modified Comparative Fault in Texas?
When a person is involved in a car accident and is injured, one of the first things they should do is look for an experienced auto accident attorney to help them with their case. The State of Texas applies a doctrine of comparative fault. This means that there may be multiple people responsible for an accident. Car accident lawyers can help clients determine who is at fault If a dispute remains as to which party is liable, the lawyers may need to file a lawsuit so the question can be answered by a judge or jury. Lawyers who handle car accident cases have noted that comparative fault, or placing a percentage of responsibility on the parties involved, can tremendously effect the amount of a settlement or judgment a person receives.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault takes into consideration that more than one person may be responsible for an accident. Therefore, each party involved should be held accountable for the portion of the accident that is their fault. This is known as proportionate responsibility.1 While this concept makes sense, it means that car accident lawyers on behalf of their clients must help establish the degree of fault that apply to each responsible party before any injury claim can be awarded. If there were any intervening and related actions that took place before the accident in question, determining degrees of fault can be very complex. This is why it is so important to retain the services of experienced auto accident attorneys.
Comparative Fault and Injury Settlements
When a Plaintiff receives a judgment for an injury sustained in an accident, he or she's recovery would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them by trial court. So, the plaintiff's compensation is determined by applying percentages found by the trial court to the total damage amount. For example, if the trial court awarded $100,000 for the plaintiff's injuries but it was determined that the plaintiff was 20% responsible for the accident in question, the plaintiff's recovery would be reduced to $80,000.
Texas Modified Comparative Fault
Laws on comparative fault and proportionate responsibility apply in many states. Generally, comparative fault statutes hold that if a claimant is less than 100 percent responsible for the accident, that claimant is entitled to receive their percentage of the requested settlement. In Texas, this law has been modified to what is called the "51 Percent Bar Rule." This affirms that if a claimant is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for an accident, they may not recover any damages.
In car accident cases that involve comparative fault and proportionate responsibility, it is imperative for an injured claimant to retain the services of experienced auto accident attorneys to obtain fair compensation for his or her injuries. Lawyers experienced in this area of the law can build a strong case if an injured party is not at fault or negotiate on their behalf if partial responsibility appears applicable. This is why it is important to consult with knowledgeable car accident lawyers immediately after an injury accident to receive a fair settlement for injuries caused by a car accident.