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Contributory Fault

Contributory Fault

Contributory FaultIf you’ve been hurt in an accident in the state of Texas, you may be entitled to obtain compensation for the pain you’ve endured. However, to succeed in your personal injury claim, you must prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries.

What happens, though, if you are partially to blame for the accident that resulted in your injuries? In this article, we discuss the legal concept of contributory fault and how it could affect your personal injury lawsuit in the state of Texas.

Proving Negligence in Texas

Proving Negligence in TexasIn the state of Texas, you must prove the following four elements to establish negligence in a personal injury case:

  • Duty: First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care to act as an ordinarily prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances.
  • Breach: Next, you must prove that the defendant breached this duty.
  • Causation: After establishing duty and breach, you must show that the defendant’s breach caused you harm.
  • Damages: Finally, to establish negligence in a personal injury case in Texas, you must prove that you suffered some type of injury as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

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What is Contributory Fault?

Even if you prove that the defendant in your case was negligent, your own negligence can affect the outcome of your case. In some states, a plaintiff’s contributions to their injuries is called contributory fault. As explained below, different states operate under different systems of contributory fault.

Types of Contributory Fault Systems in the U.S.

The law of contributory fault varies by state. Below is an overview of the most common types of contributory fault in the U.S.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is the oldest contributory fault standard—and the strictest. Under a system of contributory negligence, a defendant is not liable for a plaintiff’s personal  injury if the plaintiff contributed to their accident in any way—even if they was only 1% at fault.

In other words, under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a plaintiff is barred from recovery if they were even partially at fault for their accident. Very few states operate under a contributory negligence system. Fortunately, Texas is not one of these states.

Pure Comparative Fault

At the other end of the spectrum is comparative fault. Under a pure comparative fault system, the court divides damages between a plaintiff and defendant based on their percentages of fault for an accident. In a pure comparative fault system, an injury victim is eligible to recover damages even if they are 99% at fault for their injuries.

Modified Comparative Fault Standards

Many states operate under a modified comparative fault system, including the state of Texas. Common modified comparative fault standards include:

50% Comparative Fault

Under the 50% comparative fault system, the plaintiff and defendant in a personal injury lawsuit are both held liable for their own percentage of fault. However, if the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault for their injuries, then they is barred from recovery.

The Texas Standard — 51%

The most common comparative fault system is known as the 51% comparative fault standard. Texas operates under this system (also called proportionate responsibility). Under Texas’ system of proportionate responsibility, a plaintiff may not recover money if they are 51% or more at fault for their injuries.

However, if a plaintiff is found to be 50% or less at fault for their accident, then they are eligible for financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Hybrid Systems of Contributory Fault

The District of Columbia uses a hybrid contributory fault system. In most cases, it applies the contributory negligence standard. However, if a non-motorized user of a public road, such as a pedestrian or bicyclist, is injured and can prove negligence, then they may recover damages as long as their total percentage of negligence is less than that of the defendant.

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Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been hurt in an accident in Texas, you need an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer in your corner. At FVF Law, we know how a serious injury can affect every aspect of your life. Regardless of how you were injured, our experienced attorneys are here to help you recover compensation for your injuries.

In addition, we understand that not everyone has the funds to pay an attorney upfront, especially in the aftermath of a serious accident. Therefore, our lawyers handle our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing unless your case is successful. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our talented attorneys at (512) 982-9328.

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