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Understanding Texas’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

Texas uses a modified comparative fault system in personal injury claims. This means that if you were injured but were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries unless you are more than 51 percent at fault. 

This is known as the 51 percent rule. If you are less than 51 percent at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 30 percent at fault for an accident and are seeking $100,000 in damages, you are only be able to recover $70,000 from the other party (or parties) because your fault will be deducted from the total. 

The modified comparative negligence law in Texas is to ensure that injured parties are able to receive fair compensation despite have been partially to blame for the accident. The 51 percent rule also prevents those who are primarily responsible for an accident from receiving any compensation.

If there are multiple cars involved in an accident, it can become complicated to calculate who was at fault and how much. Let’s say you were in the middle of a three-car “accordion crash” and you suffered injuries. The car in front of you stopped short, your vehicle hit that car and you were rear-ended by the car behind you, causing a second impact with the car ahead of you. A court determines that the driver of the first car was 55 percent responsible for the crash for stopping short, but that you were 20 percent at fault for following too closely and the car behind you was 25 percent at fault for speeding. 

You’re seeking $100,000 in damages. Since you were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, you could recover $55,000 from the driver of the first car and $25,000 from the driver behind you. However, since the driver behind you was also less than 51 percent at fault, they could also file a claim against you for a portion of their damages. The driver of the first car has no valid claim against anyone since they hold the majority of the fault.  

Modified comparative fault is often used by insurance companies to deny injury claims or to reduce payouts. If you've been hurt in an accident, it's important to get an accident attorney on your side who can help you navigate the legal system and get the compensation you deserve. 

At the Leland Reinhard Law Firm in Cleburne, Texas, I offer free consultations so you can learn more about your rights and options after an accident. Contact my firm today by phone at 817-645-5400 or by using the online contact form