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What is Contributory Negligence and Does it Apply to My Case?

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Personal injury cases are based on the concept of negligence. When you are injured by someone who acted negligently or carelessly, you have the right to file a lawsuit in order to hold them liable for the damages their negligence caused you and, in some cases, your loved ones. No matter what state you are in, negligence will always be the foundation of your case. However, there are some differences when it comes to the ways some states will consider negligence and how they may allocate fault between parties involved in a crash. These two approaches are referred to as contributory and comparative negligence.

Contributory negligence is a concept used in some states when handling personal injury claims. It works by allowing defendants who have been sued for negligence to claim that the other party contributed in some way, by being negligent, to the crash and subsequent injuries. If successful, contributory negligence may bar injured plaintiffs entirely from being able to recover compensation for their damages if their negligence is found to have played any role in causing or contributing to a crash – but only a very few states recognize a pure contributory negligence rule, and it is considered by many to be a way of further victimizing the injured.

Texas, as well as 32 other states, uses the comparative negligence concept – specifically the modified comparative fault rule. Texas does not use the pure contributory negligence concept in personal injury claims, so you do not have to worry about being entirely barred from recovering compensation if you were even just slightly at fault for contributing to a crash. However, under Texas’ modified comparative fault rule, you may be barred if your negligence contributed to the accident more than the other party involved.

Here are some quick facts about modified comparative negligence:

  • Fault Allocation & Compensation Reduction - Your compensation may be reduced depending on the percentage of fault you are allocated. For example, if it is determined that you are 10% at fault for contributing to a car accident and the other driver is 90% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 10%. If your damages were $100,000, you would recover $90,000.
  • 51% Bar Rule – Texas is one of 21 states that use the 51% bar rule. This means that if you are found to be 51% at fault or more for contributing to a crash, you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages.

While it is important to know the laws and your rights when it comes to personal injury law, it is even more important that you work with experienced lawyers who can protect your right to compensation while you focus on recovering and obtaining the medical treatment you need. At The Daspit Law Firm, our Beaumont personal injury lawyers work diligently to determine fault and liability and provide the clear and convincing evidence needed to help you recover the maximum compensation possible.

If you have been injured in by another’s negligence in Texas, even if you think you may have contributed in some way, you should speak with an attorney from our firm to learn more about the merits of your case and whether you may be entitled to compensation. Our firm offers free consultations and makes home and hospital visits during which we can personally discuss the facts of your case and explain how we may be able to help you.

Trust a Texas law firm that has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

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