How To Prove Negligence in a Car Accident in Texas
In 2022 alone, Texas has so far had about 3,300 fatal car crashes. That equates to a fatal car crash about once every 2 hours. Accident victims wonder how they can prove who is at fault in a Texas car accident to recover compensation for their losses. So what can you do to prove to the satisfaction of a court that another driver was negligent in a car accident? Read on to learn all about the ways you can establish negligence in a car accident in Texas.
What Is Negligence?
Someone is negligent when they do something that unintentionally causes someone else to suffer significant damage. When people are negligent, the law may decide that they are responsible for a problem and must pay for it in some way.
When it comes to car accidents, that can mean covering the medical bills of those they injure. It might also mean paying for it their legal fees and some extra compensation to help them through the recovery process. However, what does a driver have to do to be considered negligent according to the law?
There are four parts to establishing negligence. The four parts are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
In the case of car accidents, all drivers are considered to have the obligation not to use poor driving habits that endanger other people. That obligation is called a duty.
Drivers have a duty to drive at safe speeds as well as to maintain their vehicles enough that they are safe to drive
If someone fails to fulfill their duty, then this failure is known as a breach. A driver might breach their duty by driving at reckless speeds.
Even if someone does have a duty and they do breach it, that will not be enough to charge them with negligence. It must also be established that their breach of duty was the cause of damages of some kind.
For example, suppose a driver is distracted because they are trying to reach something in the back seat. If they do not see someone making a legal turn because their eyes are not on the road, then they might be considered negligent if their distracted driving causes a subsequent accident.
On the other hand, Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. That means that the injured party may bear some responsibility for the resulting accident if they are also driving distracted or are otherwise negligent.
The law may designate them as bearing a specific percentage of the responsibility for the accident, absolving the other driver at least partially of needing to compensate them.
The last part of establishing negligence is proving damages. Even if someone causes an incident of some kind through a breach of duty, they will not be charged with negligence unless the incident inflicts damages on another party. In other words, without damages, there is no case for negligence, regardless of whether or not someone was reaching their duties.
Common damages include:
- Injuries that someone in a car suffers because of an accident
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
If the other party is found guilty of negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. The law often requires that those guilty of negligence make up for their mistakes by covering the costs they cause for the injured party.
Accounting for Texas as an At-Fault State
Some states have no-fault laws, but Texas is an at-fault state. That means that the person responsible for a car accident must compensate any injured parties for the losses that result from the accident. If the driver that causes an accident does not have insurance to cover damages, then they may have to pay out of pocket.
Working With Eyewitness Testimony
If you can find people who witnessed your accident, their testimonies may prove essential in court.
In the ideal case, you will find multiple unbiased eyewitnesses. If all of their stories line up, then the court will likely determine that there is sufficient reason to believe their story. If that story shows that the other driver was negligent, then you might be entitled to compensation.
One reason that eyewitness testimony is more important than the testimonies of the involved drivers is that it is unbiased. The drivers have too strong of an incentive to claim that the other driver is at fault. That is why the court relies on other methods to determine what happened.
Relying on Expert Witnesses
In some cases, you can also rely on expert testimony to help establish negligence in a car accident. Some lawyers make almost an art out of finding the right experts to help the court understand the technical details of some facets of the case.
Medical or mental health professionals can act as expert witnesses regarding the seriousness of physical or mental injuries that someone suffers in an accident. Auto accident reconstruction experts can testify regarding the extent of the damage done to a vehicle.
In some cases, that expert testimony might help establish a crucial fact in the case your personal injury lawyer builds to prove the negligence of the other driver.
Receiving Testimony From First Responders
After an accident, it is important to call 911. First of all, that can help anyone who needs it to receive medical attention. However, it also plays a part in establishing negligence.
First responders do not witness the accident directly. However, they see a lot about the aftermath of it. They can often provide details in court that help prove one story over another.
Finding Evidence With the Right Accident Attorney
Of course, finding all of these witnesses and testimonies often requires hiring a lawyer. On top of that, the right accident lawyer can help you gather any other evidence relevant to proving your case in court. The legal system depends on qualified attorneys to discover any relevant evidence to help them understand what happened.
To find the right accident attorney for your situation, it may help to look at reviews from past clients online.
Consulting a Lawyer After Being in a Car Accident in Texas
When it comes to seeking compensation in court, finding the right accident lawyer to help you will do more to determine the outcome of your case than almost anything else you can do. The sooner you can speak with legal counsel, the better you can prepare for any potential legal case.
To learn more about what to do in the aftermath of a car accident, reach out and get in touch with us at any time.