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Understanding Texas’s modified fault rule

While it may be easy to say one’s car accident is someone else’s fault, proving fault in a court of law is a complicated matter. Even where it may be obvious that one’s rear-end accident has been caused by someone else’s negligence, there are certain legal elements that must be proven and other legal issues that might affect financial recovery. Comparative negligence is one such concept.

Some states split the blame between parties to a car crash by using a comparative negligence theory. According to this theory, the recovery of damages is lessened by the percentage of fault that is attributed to them. Also known as allocation of fault, it means that if an accident victim’s own negligence also contributed to the accident, their damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to them. However, Texas follows the modified fault rule, as do a majority of states.

Under the modified fault rule, of which there are two categories. One bars recovery at 50 percent and one at 51 percent. In Texas, the 51 percent rule is applied, which means that if an accident victim is 51 percent or more at fault for their accident, they cannot recover any damages. Therefore, even if one is 50 percent at fault for their crash, they will still be able to recover damages.

The jury determines the percentage of fault of both parties and this can seem overwhelming for accident victims to comprehend. Consulting an experienced attorney on what type of evidence might prove valuable in bolstering one’s case can be highly beneficial in these circumstances.