How Texas Courts Determine Liability in Personal Injury LawsuitsFebruary 5, 2019
Fault is a lynchpin in personal injury cases, impacting who is liable for the harm and damages caused by an accident and how much compensation the victims are entitled to receive. When questions of fault and liability arise in these cases, state laws dictate how they are resolved.
In Texas, these questions are addressed by the Modified Comparative Fault Rule and, specifically, the 51% Bar Rule. Here’s what you must know about this Rule and how it could impact your potential claim.
Liability in Texas Personal Injury Lawsuits: Modified Comparative Fault & the 51% Bar Rule
According to Texas’ 51% Bar Rule, those who have been harmed by others’ negligence can be entitled to financial recovery for their injuries, suffering, and losses IF they are no more than 50% at fault for the incident in question. If the victims share some degree of fault for the incident, the resulting recovery would be reduced proportionally to that degree of fault.
In contrast, if the victims are 51% or more at fault for the incident that harmed them, they would not be entitled to financial recovery under Texas negligence laws.
This means that victims who may share some portion of fault for the accident or event that injured them CAN still seek compensation as long as they were not primarily at fault.
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How the 51% Bar Rule Works in Texas Personal Injury Cases: An Example
This example clarifies how Texas’ 51% Bar Rule works. A car accident claim alleges that a speeding, distracted driver hit a pedestrian who was jaywalking. Based on the evidence, it’s determined that the driver is 95% at fault and that the pedestrian is 5% at fault.
If the pedestrian’s claim, valued at $100,000, is successfully resolved, (s)he would receive $100,000 less $5,000 (5% of the total), meaning the recovery for this claim would be $95,000.
How Is Fault Determined? How Do I Know If I Qualify for Recovery under Texas Negligence Law?
The specific details and evidence associated with a particular incident and claim impact fault determinations. Depending on the nature of a case, elements that can be essential to fault determinations can include (and are not necessarily limited to):
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Cellphone records
- Records from businesses and/or regulators
- Doctors’ reports.
In many cases, attributing fault – especially fault that is shared among multiple parties – can be complicated. These determinations can be even more challenging when factors like (but not exclusive to) the following are also at play:
- There are delays or gaps in medical treatment.
- There are conflicting witness statements.
- There’s little to no physical evidence, making the case a “he said, she said” claim.
Given how complex and important fault determinations are in Texas personal injury cases, it’s critical to work with an experienced attorney who can:
- Make sure that you don’t get wrongly or overly blamed for an accident or harmful incident
- Protect the strength, value, and success of your claim
- Work diligently to help you obtain the full compensation you deserve so you can focus on reclaiming your life.
A Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm Can Help You: Contact Us
If you or a loved one has been harmed by another party’s negligent or reckless actions, a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you pursue the recovery and justice you may deserve.
Known for outstanding representation and personal service, the attorneys at the Amaro Law have the experience, skills, and resources to effectively:
- Stand up to any negligent party, from big companies to insurance companies and others
- Safeguard our clients’ rights in and outside the courtroom
- Bring all types of personal injury claims to the best possible resolutions.
The Amaro Law Firm’s record of success and exceptional advocacy in personal injury claims has earned us 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook, glowing testimonials from former clients, and a 10 rating on Avvo.