Determining liability in a Texas personal injury case – whether it is a motor vehicle accident, slip-and-fall accident, toxic exposure accident, medical malpractice, or an accident caused by a faulty product – can be a very complicated task. Only an established Austin personal injury attorney can determine who is liable – and to what extent they are liable – for the tangible and intangible losses suffered by the victims.
In this article, we take a detailed look at the process of determining liability in a personal injury case.
Under Texas law, if a person’s negligence or deliberate conduct leads to an accident, they are liable to pay damages to the person who is injured in the accident.
Things can, however, get complicated if there are multiple parties who can be held liable for the victim’s injuries and if the victim’s own negligence was a contributing factor to the accident. In such cases, only a skilled Austin personal injury attorney can identify all the parties that can be held liable and accurately determine the extent of their liability.
When it comes to personal injury cases, Texas follows the legal doctrine of ‘comparative negligence’, which is also referred to as the ‘proportionate responsibility rule’ or ‘shared fault rule’.
Under the doctrine, a person whose actions led to the accident is liable to pay damages to the person who got injured in the accident. The amount of damages they are liable to pay is proportionate to the extent of their liability. For example, if a motorist fails to notice a pedestrian at an intersection and injures them, an Austin personal injury attorney can file a claim against the motorist on behalf of the pedestrian and recover 100% damages.
Let us consider another scenario. A pedestrian tries to cross the road while talking on the phone and gets hit by a car. The car driver, who is drunk, claims that he still could have avoided the collision, but his brakes failed to work. In this case, an Austin personal injury attorney can file a claim against the driver as well as the company that manufactured the brakes, as they both contributed to the accident in their own way.
Now, if the court decides that the driver was 50% at fault for the accident, the manufacturer was 30% at fault, and the pedestrian was 20% at fault, the damages awarded to the pedestrian will be reduced by 20%.
It should be noted that Texas follows what is called the ‘51% rule’ for personal injury cases. If a victim is found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, they are not eligible to recover any compensation from the at-fault party.
Thomas J. Henry is one of the most successful and highly regarded personal injury attorneys in the country. As the founder and president of the largest and most reputable personal injury firm in Texas, Mr. Henry has a team of 200 lawyers working for him and has considerable resources at his disposal, which allows him to take up all types of personal injury cases and deliver spectacular results.
Call us today at (866) 517-5659 or contact us online for a free review of your personal injury case.