Who was at fault will be one of the most critical things to prove to successfully receive compensation for your brain injury. Texas has “fault” laws that require the injured person to provide evidence that someone else was responsible for the accident. The person or company at fault is likely to fight back though and try to blame you even if fault is clear. You may need the help of a good personal injury lawyer to review the evidence and stand up for you to make sure you’re not wrongfully blamed.
Even if you succeed in battling accusations you were at fault, you still need to prove you were not partially responsible for the accident. Texas recognizes that few accidents are purely the fault of a single person, so the state uses “modified comparative negligence” laws to account for this. These laws can reduce your compensation based on the amount of negligence you are responsible for. In other words, if it can be shown that you were to some degree at fault then these laws would reduce your compensation. And, if you’re over 50% at fault for the accident, you’re not allowed to recover anything. You would get zero. This is referred to as the 51% Bar Rule and here’s how it works.
Example: If your brain injury happened in a truck accident and your total damages were $1,000,000, but it was shown you were 25% responsible for the accident, your award would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. Instead of receiving the full $1,000,000 you would receive only $750,000. ($1 million minus 25%). If you were found to be 50% at fault you would receive only $500,000 of your total damages ($1 million minus 50%). If, however, you were found to be 51% at fault for the accident your award would be zero because your fault for the accident was greater than 50%.
The 51% Bar Rule may seem very unfair, but it’s the law. A good brain injury lawyer will understand how best to fight these accusations of fault which can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, your recovery.