Texas has a proportionate responsibility rule that falls somewhere between comparative negligence and strict negligence. This rule can make accident cases complex when you are partially at fault. However, you could still be entitled to some compensation.
At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, we represent clients of any percentage of responsibility to gain the best possible outcome. We have years of experience with Texas’ proportionate responsibility law. Contact us today for a free consultation, or keep reading for more information.
The proportionate responsibility rule and all of its accompanying regulations can be found in Chapter 33 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Section 33.001 states that a claimant may not recover damages if his percentage of responsibility is more than 50 percent.
However, a claimant who shares less than 50% of the responsibility is entitled to recover damages from a legally responsible defendant. In addition, Section 33.004 allows for procedures for a third party to be designated as partially responsible for an accident.
Section 33.003 lays out how the “trier of fact” must determine proportionate responsibility in Texas.
The proportionate responsibility for the accident must be determined for:
The section goes on to say that there must be sufficient evidence to support the submission of a question of conduct to a jury. This means that there must be sufficient evidence to support the claim that a party was partially responsible.
In short, you can recover damages in a personal injury case even if you are partially at fault in Texas, but those damages will be reduced by your degree of responsibility. Section 33.012 states that the amount of recovery shall be reduced by a percentage equal to your percentage of responsibility.
For example, let’s say you failed to stop at a yield sign, but the other driver was speeding. Had the other driver not been speeding, there would not have been an accident. However, if you had yielded regardless of their speed, there would not have been an accident. If you were found to be 30% responsible for the accident by your negligent actions, your award would be reduced by 30 percent.
According to Section 33.013, a person is only liable for the percentage of damages equal to their percentage of fault. However, this does allow for those who are partially at fault to be required to pay some damages to a defendant.
Accident cases in which more than one party could share the responsibility for the accident in Texas are complex, and that is why you need an experienced attorney on your side.
The proportionate responsibility rule in Texas makes accident cases complex. It is important to have experienced legal representation through every step of your personal injury case, especially if you may be found partially responsible.
Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC has years of experience handling personal injury cases in Texas, including cases in which proportionate responsibility comes into play. If you believe you may be partially responsible for your accident, contact us today at (888) 367-7160 to schedule a free consultation.