Each party who caused or contributed to an accident and resultant personal injury may be liable for any damages the victim suffers. So, yes, if more than one party is responsible for your personal injury, you can recover from multiple parties. Texas law as well as the type of accident and details of that accident can play into which third parties in particular might hold liability.
Texas Negligence and Joint and Several Liability Laws
Texas follows modified comparative fault rules, allowing claimants to recover damages minus their proportion of fault as long as they are no more than 50 percent at fault for an accident.
For instance, if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt when a driver hit you, you may bear a portion of the responsibility for your injuries. For the sake of example, let’s say your fault is 25 percent and you suffered $40,000 in damages. Your damages are reduced 25 percent so you recover only $30,000.
Section 33.003 of this law states that a proportion of responsibility will be determined for multiple parties each:
- settling person; and
- responsible third party designated via motion filed by the defendant.
Each liable defendant is fully responsible for the entire amount of damages for the plaintiff. This is called joint and several liability. So if one of the parties cannot pay, the claimant can still recover the full amount of damages he or she is owed. But an individual party is only responsible for the full amount if 51 percent or more responsible. If less than 51 percent responsible, the party is only liable for the percentage assigned.
Who are some third parties that might be liable?
The types of third parties that might be liable in your personal injury case will depend on the type and nature of your accident. If you were in a car accident with another passenger vehicle, you may explore liability of a car manufacturer if defective parts (like brakes, for example) caused or contributed to the accident.
If you were in an accident with a large truck caused by the truck driver’s negligence, you may explore liability of the trucker’s employer.
If you were in a slip and fall accident at a commercial business, you may explore your right to hold the business owner as well as property owner liable. Much will depend on the details of the case and if a third party acted negligently to cause or contribute to the accident.
Filing against Multiple Parties Seems Like a Headache
Filing against just one defendant can be difficult. Paperwork, witness testimony, accident reconstruction and other aspects of the case can make the case very complex. Add to that the extra work of handling multiple parties, the case can become even more complex and confusing for accident victims.