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What is comparative negligence in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Negligence, Tort Litigation

As readers of this legal blog know, if you have been injured in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you are likely entitled to compensation. This compensation is for all the damages that flowed from that negligence, like any lost wages that resulted from the car accident, medical bills, pain and suffering, etc.
It’s important to note that Texas handles some aspects of negligence differently than other states.

Comparative negligence

In some states, if you are found to be partially at fault for your car crash, you are barred from any recovery. This is called contributory negligence.

Texas, however, follows a modified form of comparative negligence known as proportionate responsibility. Instead, as dictated by Texas’ comparative negligence statute, civil courts apportion damages by each party’s percentage of responsibility and a plaintiff can recover so long as the plaintiff’s percentage of fault is less than 51%.

Percentage of responsibility

The percentage of responsibility is determined by the trier of fact, which can be either a civil judge or jury.

The responsibility percentage is attributed to each party of the lawsuit and any other third party that may have caused or contributed to the car crash in any way through any negligent act or omission.

However, you are barred from recovery if your percentage of responsibility is over 51%.


By way of example, a person runs a  red light and hits you. That person is at least partially at fault for the collision because he disregarded a stop light. However, if the jury found you should have been able to avoid the collision by using evasive maneuvering but did not because you were texting and not paying attention you could be found to be comparatively negligent. If the jury finds your negligence was 20% to blame you would be able to recover 80% of any damages awarded. If the jury finds you 51% liable for the accident, you would recover nothing.