The Impact of Comparative Negligence on Texas Personal Injury Cases: Insights from a Dallas Attorney

One of the most common inquiries made by accident victims to their attorneys is: What if I had some responsibility for the incident? Is it possible for me to still file a claim for my injuries?

The quick answer is yes, as long as your level of responsibility or fault falls short of 50%.

In instances involving personal injuries, Texas law employs a method known as "modified comparative negligence." You may still be compensated financially for your injuries under the doctrine of comparative negligence, but the amount you can get will decrease based on how much responsibility you share for the accident.

Thankfully, when another party's negligence causes an auto accident or any other type of injury, the injured victim or victims involved might have legal recourse. If you've suffered injuries in a Dallas-area accident, knowing more about Texas's claim process and the impact of Texas' negligence laws is essential.

What is Texas Law on Personal Injury?

A personal injury claim may be filed when one individual suffers harm due to another's negligence or recklessness. For example, if you were hurt in a car accident, attacked by another person's dog, or required medical attention after tripping and falling on someone else's property in Dallas, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. In general, a claim for personal injury consists of the following four parts or elements:

  • A duty of care or reasonable precaution was due by the allegedly negligent party.
  • The responsible party breached its duty of care.
  • Your injuries were brought on by this individual's lack of reasonable care.
  • You suffered demonstrable harm and financial loss.

An attorney representing you in a personal injury lawsuit must first establish that a duty of care existed that resulted in your injuries.

A duty of care is the obligation to use reasonable caution to avoid putting another person in serious danger.  For example, all motorists have a reasonable responsibility or duty to avoid risky behavior like drinking and driving.

Your lawyer will next need to prove that a reasonable duty of care was breached. They may argue, for instance, that the shop owner breached their duty of care by failing to post a notice warning of a wet or slippery surface outside the store and instructing customers to stay away from it.

Duty of Care and Proving Causation

Third, you must prove that the defendant's negligence or recklessness directly resulted in your damages. Your accident attorneys will need to show that the person who breached their duty of care was directly responsible for your injuries, even if other factors played a role.

Comparative Negligence's Impact on Damages

It doesn't matter how well your lawyer proves the first three components of a personal injury claim if you can't show damages.

To restate the point, you do not have the legal right to submit a claim for personal injury unless your attorney can establish that you have experienced some kind of harm as a direct result of the accident that is in question. For instance, it is possible that you may be required to pay for items such as medical treatment to repair your injuries, ongoing rehabilitation, time away from work without pay, and other related expenses.

Moreover, if you are found to be somewhat at fault, your award of damages will be reduced accordingly. According to the state's amended comparative negligence laws and related legislation, reimbursement for accident losses is available only if the victim was under 50% at fault in Texas.

Comparative Negligence and Personal Injury in Texas

The Impact of Comparative Negligence on Texas Personal Injury Cases: Insights from a Dallas AttorneyIf another driver was completely at fault for your car accident, the solution is often straightforward: the driver (via their insurance company) will compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and any remaining damages.

But what happens when the aftermath of a collision is not so straightforward? Texas employs a modified comparative fault standard when several parties are found to share fault for an accident.

For instance, if a car accident case proceeds to trial, the jury will be asked to calculate the entire monetary worth of the plaintiff's damages and assign a percentage of fault to each defendant according to the evidence. In other words, under comparative negligence rules or modified comparative fault, a plaintiff's award of damages is adjusted to an amount commensurate to that plaintiff's degree of fault.

What is Modified Comparative Fault?

Imagine that the jury concludes that the entire amount of your damage award should be $150,000. (including your healthcare expenses, any lost earning potential or pay, vehicle and property damage, and so on).

Yet, the jury also finds that you are 30% responsible for the collision because you failed to use your turn signal in a rear-end wreck and weren't observing posted speed limits. According to Texas's modified comparative fault law, you are entitled to 70% of the total damages, or $105,000.

In this case, you would still recover a substantial sum, but it may fall short of your overall losses. Due to the fact that Texas is a modified comparative fault state, you will not be eligible for compensation if you are found to be at least 50% at fault for the incident in question.

Contact a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are dealing with the aftermath of a major accident, you must call a Dallas injury attorney quickly. Once you meet with a qualified team of attorneys, you may find that you're eligible to receive compensation to offset upcoming financial commitments.

Our staff at the Rasansky Law Firm in Dallas knows what it takes to get the justice you deserve. Given our three decades of experience aiding victims of accidents caused by negligent and irresponsible parties, our team of well-versed, well-respected attorneys is proud to offer compassionate and trustworthy counsel. No matter the circumstances surrounding your accident, we are prepared to thoroughly examine the specifics of your potential claim and evaluate all of your options.

If you were hurt in any type of Texas accident and want to learn more about how to move forward, contact our personal injury attorneys in Dallas at (214) 617-1886 for a free case evaluation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 



2525 McKinnon Street #550 Dallas, Texas 75201

Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.

Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.

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