After an accident in Southeast Texas, injured victims need financial relief to pay bills and support their family. The claims process is often difficult to navigate. Personal injury law is complicated. Not only are defendants and insurers notoriously aggressive, but there are a number of different complex rules, regulations, and legal principles that could be at issue in your case.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state—which means each party responsible for an accident is liable for their “share” of the victims’ injuries. However, Texas sometimes follows the principle of joint and several liability in personal injury cases. Here, our Brazoria County personal injury lawyers provide a guide to joint and several liability and tort claims in Texas.
What is Joint and Several Liability?
Joint and several liability is a legal doctrine that has been adopted by many jurisdictions. It holds that when multiple parties are at fault for the same accident, they can each be held independently liable for the full extent of the victim’s injuries. In other words, a defendant that is jointly and severally liable for an accident could be held at fault for all of the victim’s damages if their co-defendant does not or cannot pay.
Texas Law: Joint and Several Liability Statute
Under Texas law (Tex. Civ. Practice & Remedies Code § 33.013), a defendant is jointly and severally liable for an accident if they are found to be at fault for more than 50% of the victim’s injuries. Put another way, a defendant who is liable for at least 50% of an incident can be held liable for the full extent of the victim’s injuries on the grounds of joint and several liability.
Understanding Joint and Several Liability Through an Example
As noted previously, Texas is a comparative negligence state. The standard holds that parties are responsible for their “share” of the blame for an accident. For example, imagine that you were hurt in a three-vehicle crash in Brazoria County. An investigation reveals that one driver was responsible for 80% of the blame and a second driver was responsible for the additional 20%.
The first driver would be liable for 80% of your injuries (damages) and the second driver would be liable for 20% of your injuries (damages). However, the Texas joint and several liability legal standards could also be an issue in this type of hypothetical case. If the second driver who is liable for only 20% of the accident cannot pay—perhaps because he or she is uninsured—the first driver could be liable for the full extent of your damages on the grounds of joint and several liability.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Brazoria County Personal Injury Attorney
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Brazoria County personal injury lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise that you can rely on. If you have any questions about joint and several liability and personal injury law in Texas, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation case assessment. We represent injured victims throughout Brazoria County, including in Pearland, Lake Jackson. Freeport, Clute, Alvin, Angelton, Richwood, and Manvel.