Negligence Laws in Texas
Posted in Personal Injury on March 12, 2021
Texas personal injury lawsuits rely on the concept of negligence, or an individual’s failure to uphold his or her duty of care. To secure compensation in a personal injury claim, you will need to provide clear evidence establishing the defendant’s negligence. However, liability is not always clear in personal injury claims; in some cases, the court may believe you are partially responsible for the accident. To protect your right to compensation, it is important to understand Texas’s negligence laws and how to prove negligence.
How to Prove Negligence in Texas
To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you and your McAllen personal injury attorney will need to provide clear evidence to prove four key elements.
- Duty: The defendant owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. This duty will depend on the type of accident you suffered injuries in.
- Dereliction: The defendant breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused your accident.
- Damages: You suffered damages as a result of the accident that you can claim in your lawsuit.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Although you may be able to establish the defendant’s negligence, there are cases where a court may believe you are partially liable for the accident. For example, if you are struck by a driver who ran a stop sign, the court may find you partially responsible if it discovers that you also failed to stop at your respective stop sign.
In these situations, comparative negligence rules will apply. The court will reduce the amount of compensation you claim by the percentage of liability you share in accordance with the state’s specific rules for shared liability.
There are multiple types of comparative negligence laws in the United States.
- Pure comparative negligence: The court will total your damages and reduce the compensation by the amount of fault you share. You can recover compensation even if you share 50% or more of the liability.
- Modified comparative negligence: The court will reduce your compensation by your share of the liability, but you typically cannot recover compensation if you share 50% or more of the fault.
- Contributory negligence: If you share any part of the liability, the court may totally or partially prevent you from recovering damages at its discretion.
Modified Comparative Fault Rules in Texas
Texas is a modified comparative fault state when it comes to shared liability. This means that the court will reduce the amount of compensation by the percentage of fault you share. If you are 51% or more at fault, the court will bar you from recovering any compensation.
For example, say that you are crossing the street when a vehicle strikes you. You file a pedestrian accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver and ask for $50,000 in damages. The court discovers you were jaywalking across a multi-lane street at the time of the accident. The court assigns you 40% of the blame and you receive $30,000 of your original award. If the court assigned 60% of the liability to you, you would not receive any compensation.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need an attorney on your side. Your lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to establish liability and protect yourself from accusations of fault. Contact a Texas injury attorney to discuss your next steps.