Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence in Texas

Negligence plays a key role in any personal injury lawsuit. When a plaintiff brings a defendant to court after becoming injured in an accident, they typically allege that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident to occur.

In Texas, as in many other states, the defendant’s negligence isn’t the only thing that’s under evaluation. When it comes to determining how much money a prevailing plaintiff can recover, their own negligence for the accident is taken into account. This is done by applying one of two standards to a personal injury case: contributory negligence and comparative negligence.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is a concept that bars plaintiffs from recovering damages if the defendant can prove the plaintiff is at least partially responsible for the accident. Although a plaintiff can still prevail with their lawsuit, contributory negligence can prevent them from recovering any compensation if a jury determined they played any role in causing the accident.

Contributory negligence can be problematic for plaintiffs in many different kinds of personal injury lawsuits. In a car accident case, for example, a defendant can claim that although they rear-ended the plaintiff, the accident happened because the plaintiff slammed on their brakes. A case like this could result in 50% of fault assigned to each party, which means neither can recover damages from the other.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover compensation for damages as long as they were not mostly responsible for the accident. This is a more forgiving standard to plaintiffs because it merely requires that they aren’t more than 50% responsible for an accident to receive compensation.

The percentage of blame assigned to a plaintiff, however, is the percentage by which their total recovery is reduced. If, for example, a plaintiff wins $1 million in a car accident lawsuit, but a jury assigns 10% of blame for the accident to them, the most that the plaintiff is actually entitled to recover is $900,000.

Do You Need Help with a Personal Injury Claim?

The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC is prepared to advocate for clients who need help fighting for compensation after becoming injured due to someone else’s actions. Even if you are somewhat responsible for the accident, it’s not impossible to recover some form of compensation as long as the other party is more at fault.

If you wish to learn more about how legal assistance from The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC can help, please contact us online.

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