Modified Comparative Negligence, Defined
When an individual is partially responsible for causing the accident they are involved in, they often feel they do not have the right to pursue civil action against the other involved party. In some states this is true. States that practice pure contributory negligence do not give injury victims the right to pursue compensation if they are even remotely at-fault for causing their accident.
Texas is not one of those states, though. Instead, Texas practices modified comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence states allow injury victims to seek repayment for their losses despite having played a part in the cause of their accident, no matter what their portion of shared fault was.
In a modified comparative negligence state, there is a threshold for fault. As described by one Fort Worth personal injury attorney, “There is a 51 percent bar for shared fault in Texas. Anyone found more than 50 percent to blame will lose the chance to file a claim and could even have civil action taken against them by another injured party.”
Beyond having the ability to file a claim, those who share fault will need to take responsibility for their own negligence and have any award they receive reflect a shared fault reduction.
You can take a closer look at the example below to see a more detailed example of how modified comparative negligence works in Texas.
A Closer Look at MCN in Texas Personal Injury Claims
The following scenario is only an example of how modified comparative negligence works in the state of Texas, and all characters are fictional:
Tyler was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. The 18-wheeler’s truck driver had been drinking and driving at the time of the accident. However, it was discovered that Tyler had also been driving approximately 25 mph over the speed limit when he was struck.
The judge presiding over his case determined that since he was speeding, he would be found 10 percent at fault for the cause of the accident. His injuries entitled him to a $1,000,000 award from the trucker and the negligent trucking company that employed the drunk trucker. His award was reduced by 10 percent, as per the state’s modified comparative negligence law. Tyler’s civil lawsuit was closed with a final award of $900,000.
Had Tyler been driving at faster speeds, or recklessly, he might have been assigned a greater portion of fault. If he has been more than 50 percent to blame for causing the accident, he would not be awarded anything in court.