When a person, company, or government entity negligently, recklessly, or intentionally causes someone physical harm, it’s only fair that the responsible party be held legally and financially liable. However, the pursuit of justice gets a little muddier when multiple parties are to blame for someone’s physical injuries.
It can be especially challenging to achieve a just legal and financial outcome in an injurious scenario if an injury victim was partially to blame for what happened to them. In Texas, the law protects the rights of injury victims to hold others accountable for causing harm unless the victims themselves are assigned more than 50 percent of the blame for their situation.
Modified comparative negligence
The legal standard that Texans are bound by in personal injury cases is known as “modified comparative negligence.” This standard is sometimes referred to as proportionate responsibility. This approach is distinct from the one that is upheld by contributory negligence states. In these states, victims can’t hold any other parties accountable for their harm if they were even one percent to blame for their circumstances.
It is also distinct from pure comparative negligence states, which permit victims to pursue compensation from other responsible parties no matter how blame has been portioned. In Texas, this opportunity is only available to victims who are less than 51 percent at fault for their injuries.
When victims are assigned a portion of the blame for their circumstances, their potential compensation award is reduced accordingly. For example, if a victim’s harm is valued at $100,000 and they are assigned 10 percent of the blame, they can only pursue $90,000 from others responsible for their harm.
Understanding your rights under Texas law will help you to make informed decisions about your legal situation. If you’ve been injured and you are partially to blame for your harm, you may still be entitled to compensation.