Contributory vs Comparative Negligence

There are two primary categories of negligence recognized in the United States, and each state has the power to determine which type is upheld in its courts.


In states following contributory negligence standards, if an injured individual contributed in any way to their own injury, then they could not pursue a legal claim against another party. The injured person could not recover regardless of how much responsibility the other people involved bore. This statute is often criticized, and viewed by many as unfair, because someone could make a small error and run into somebody making a much larger error that causes severe harm, and the person with greater fault would not be held accountable in a civil case.


In 1985, the state of Texas adopted Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 33, which lays out a modified comparative negligence statute. The modified comparative negligence statute compares the negligence of all parties involved in a wreck to determine fault. This law allows for multiple different causes between multiple different people. Under this statue, there can be numerous defendants involved in one lawsuit.

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Pure Comparative Negligence vs Modified Comparative Negligence

While contributory and comparative negligence are the two main categories used to determine legal fault in a case, some sub-categories exist.

Pure Comparative Negligence

In a pure comparative negligence state, all the involved parties are compared to determine if they played a role in causing the accident, and if so, how much. The responsibility is divided up using percentages, and those found at fault must pay their portion of monetary damages to the injured individual or their family. For example, in a pure comparative negligence case, a person could be 80% at fault for their own wreck and a defendant is 20% at fault. In this case, the defendant would have to pay 20% of the losses because they did have some fault in causing the accident.

Modified Comparative Negligence

In the state of Texas, that is not exactly how it works. The state modification to the comparative negligence standard splits fault only if the injured individual is responsible for 50% or less of their own damages. If a person is found to bear the majority of fault for an incident (51% or more) then they cannot legally recover anything. This is the “modification” of the standard comparative negligence statute. However, if an injured person is 50% at fault for a wreck and the defendant is also 50% at fault, the injured party could still recover half of their overall damages.

These are factors that experienced legal professionals could consider when evaluating a case. A knowledgeable lawyer could look at the percent of fault of all the involved parties to determine the best way to proceed with a case—whether it is beneficial to go to court and let a jury rule, or whether a person could get a larger award from negotiating a settlement offer. While an injured individual may not always get compensated for 100% of the damages incurred from a truck accident in Denton, a fraction of the damages is better than nothing. Our team of dedicated attorneys could fight to get a person the maximum restitution possible, even if they bear some responsibility for the incident.

Joint and Several Liability

Joint and several liability allow a person who suffered harm in an accident to hold multiple parties responsible in a personal injury claim. Legally, an injured individual can pursue a full recovery in a single case, even if multiple defendants caused the accident. For example, if three vehicles are involved in a truck wreck in Denton resulting in the physical harm of one of the drivers, the injured person could hold the other two parties responsible. This would be considered a joint and several liability case. One defendant may be found to bear 80% of the fault for the wreck and another defendant could bear 20% responsibility. Under the current Texas statute, the injured person could get their full recovery—80% paid out from one defendant and the additional 20% from the other responsible party.

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Learn More About Types of Negligence in Denton 18-Wheeler Collision Claims

As you can see, negligence is often a complex matter, but understanding how it works in a personal injury claim could be critical to getting the compensation you deserve following a truck crash. Learn more about the types of negligence in Denton truck accident cases by reaching out to one of our skilled lawyers.

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Get The Help You Need Contact McCraw Law Group

If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in North Texas, please contact the team at McCraw Law Group today. We are ready to help you in a broad range of serious accident and injury legal issues, and offer multiple ways to reach us.

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If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in North Texas, please contact the team at McCraw Law Group today. We are ready to help you in a broad range of serious accident and injury legal issues, and offer multiple ways to reach us.

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