Personal Injury

Texas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Laws

In every state, there are specific laws regarding how negligence is determined in a personal injury case. Understanding the negligence laws in your state is crucial, as they will significantly impact liability and recoverable compensation. The state of Texas operates under a modified comparative negligence system, which we will further dissect in this article.

What is Negligence?

Before we discuss the nuances of the modified comparative negligence laws in Texas, it is first important to establish what negligence is in the realm of personal injury law. Negligence describes an individual’s failure to exhibit proper or reasonable care, thereby resulting in injury. In order to prove that negligence caused the accident and injuries to occur, four main elements must be present:

  • Duty of Care: First, it must be proven that the individual who caused the injuries had an expected duty of care to behave in a certain way.
  • Breach of Duty: Second, it must be proven that the reasonable duty of care was violated.
  • Causation: Third, it must be proven that the violation of the duty of care directly caused harm to the injured party.
  • Damages: Lastly, the plaintiff must prove that your injuries resulted in damages such as medical expenses or pain and suffering.

If all of these aforementioned elements of negligence are present, then the plaintiff can bring forth a personal injury claim.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Texas’ modified comparative negligence laws are spelled out in Texas Civil Code Chapter 2, Section 33.001. Under this negligence system, also known as the 51% rule, you may recover compensation for your personal injury claim so long as your percentage of fault does not exceed 51%. This means that even if you are 50% at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation. However, the damages awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault. 

Understanding the Law

Let’s say, for example, you were in a car accident on the highway. Although it was clear that the other driver was responsible for the accident, as they ran a red light, it was found that you were on your phone while the accident occurred, therefore making you 30% at fault for the incident. In this scenario, you would be able to recover 30% of the total compensation that you would have been awarded. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

In Texas, as in many other states, there is a two-year statute of limitations that is enforced for personal injury claims. This means that the injured party must file a claim within two years of the date of the injury. Failure to file a claim within this time limit may bar you from recovering any compensation for your accident. 

Navigating the Legal Landscape

As we have discussed, establishing negligence in your personal injury case is pivotal in recovering damages for your injuries. While it is sometimes blatantly clear who is at fault for an accident, that is not always the case and supporting evidence may prove otherwise. Therefore, seeking legal guidance from a San Antonio injury attorney is vital in ensuring that you recover the compensation you deserve. A seasoned attorney can help make sure your rights are protected and that your insurance company does not take advantage of you. Having the legal expertise of a personal injury attorney on your side can make the world of a difference in your case outcome, can allow you to focus on your recovery, and greatly alleviate the legal burdens associated with filing a claim.

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