Sharing The Blame
Even if you share some legal responsibility in a car crash or other negligence case, you may still be entitled to significant compensation. Comparative fault is an issue in many different circumstances, regardless of the number of parties involved. Consider the following examples:
- While Plaintiff Driver was distracted by adjusting the radio volume and Defendant Driver was speeding, the two vehicles collide in an intersection.
- Plaintiff is injured by a dangerous drug combination, although the manufacturer included a rather vague warning label on the box detailing possible risks.
In these situations, and others like them, judges may ask the jurors to apportion fault between plaintiffs and defendants on a percentage basis. To obtain such a result, the defendants must convince the judges that the plaintiffs shared some legal responsibility in the case.
Comparative Fault in The Lone Star State
Like most jurisdictions, Texas is a modified comparative fault state that uses a 51 percent bar. So, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as the defendants were at least 51 percent at fault in a given case.
Assume that, in the intersection collision case, the jury finds that Plaintiff Driver’s damages were $200,000. Further assume that the jury deems Defendant Driver’s conduct to be the primary contributing factor in the crash, and they divide fault at 20 percent and 80 percent. Plaintiff Driver would be entitled to $160,000, or 80 percent of the total.
Now assume that, in the dangerous drug case, the jury is not convinced by the Plaintiff’s argument that the warning was overly deficient, and divides responsibility at 50 percent. In this case, Plaintiff is not entitled to any damages, since the manufacturer’s fault was not at least 51 percent.
The result would be different in Louisiana, because the Bayou State is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction. In the 12 pure comparative fault states, the plaintiff can recover damages even if the defendant was as little as 1 percent responsible, according to the judge or jury. This model is heavily criticized by many pundits, so it will probably never be adopted in Texas, especially while the state remains staunchly pro-business in most negligence matters.
For a free consultation with an attorney who works hard to obtain maximum compensation for you and your family, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury lawyer today. We aggressively stand up for victims’ rights throughout South Central Texas.