For a personal injury suit to be successful, fault needs to be proven and assigned to a defendant responsible for causing an accident. In many cases, personal injury defendants are a single party: a motorist, a property owner, a company. In more complex cases, however, there can be multiple defendants who all share some degree of fault. In these instances, how is responsibility assigned across different parties?
Comparative fault is a legal concept that is often applied in complex personal injury cases where negligence cannot be solely assigned to any one party. It works by assigning multiple parties a percentage of overall fault. Those responsible parties are then responsible for paying that percentage of the awarded damages.
To see how comparative fault works, let's look at hypothetical example. Let's say a personal injury victim, Adam, is hit by a car in a hotel parking garage. It has been determined that both the motorist, who was speeding, and the hotel, who did not provide proper lighting in its garage, are both at fault. A jury has awarded Adam $10,000.
In this theoretical situation, the following could occur:
- The motorist is found to be 70% at fault and must then pay $7,000
- The hotel is found to be 30% at fault and must then pay $3,000
"Modified Comparative Fault"
Texas uses a version of comparative fault that is called "modified comparative fault." In modified comparative fault, a 51% bar rule is applied, meaning any party that is found to be 51% or more at fault cannot recover proceeds. This is used to ensure that parties who are chiefly responsible for an accident cannot then profit from it.
Modified comparative fault also means that victims who partially contribute to their own injury can still pursue compensation. In these cases, their awarded compensation would be reduced by percentage of fault assigned to the victim. While this allows more eligibility and flexibility for injury victims to pursue relief, it also allows defendants to allege that less fault should be assigned to them and more should be assigned to the victim.
It takes careful and aggressive counsel in these cases to ensure that circumstances of your accident are accurately depicted before the law. At Guerra & Farah, PLLC, our dedicated and compassionate El Paso personal injury attorneys have nearly 30 years of combined legal experience. They are well-versed in what it takes to mount a thorough and convincing injury suit on your behalf and ensure that every avenue towards the relief you deserve is explored to its fullest extent.
Start taking steps towards compensation today. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.