Clark, Love & Hutson, PLLC

Can I pursue plaintiff litigation if I am partially at fault?

Personal injury claims often boil down to one thing: negligence. In general, people have a duty to act reasonably given the circumstances. If they don't, and this failure causes another person to suffer damages, they may be held legally responsible.

However, determining fault for plaintiff litigation purposes is not always straightforward. For example, what if you are struck in an intersection by a speeding vehicle, but you were also speeding? Does the fact that you were partially at fault for the crash mean you can never recover damages from the other party? Depending on the circumstances, the answer may be "no." This is because Texas recognizes the laws of contributory negligence.

Under Texas law, if a plaintiff's negligence is not more than the defendant's negligence, then the plaintiff's award will be reduced in proportion to the amount the plaintiff was at fault. However, if the plaintiff was more than 50 percent at fault for the incident, then he or she would not be able to recover damages. So, for example, if a plaintiff was 75 percent responsible for the incident at issue, that plaintiff would be barred from recovering damages. But, if the plaintiff was only 25 percent responsible for the incident at issue, then he or she may be entitled to 75 percent of the total calculated damages.

So, it is possible for a plaintiff to recover damages in a personal injury claim, even if he or she was partially at fault. However, the information in this post cannot guarantee any specific outcome in any one person's personal injury case. Those who need more information on contributory negligence and how it applies to them are encouraged to seek professional guidance on the matter.

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