- February 20, 2015
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Written by Jared Hagood
Everyday we see, hear, or read about car accidents. Car accidents happen way to often. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), someone is involved in a car accident every 10 seconds.
The law of negligence applies to car accidents. Under Texas law, “negligence” means the failure to use ordinary care, that is failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances or doing that which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under the same or similar circumstances. “Ordinary care” means that degree of care that would be used by a person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.
Based on the above, Texas law mandates that persons driving cars on our Texas roads exercise “ordinary care.” Thus, the main threshold question the jury determines at a car accident trial is whether the Defendant used “ordinary care” at the time of the car accident? Does a driver exercise “ordinary care” when running a red light? Does a a driver exercise “ordinary care” when failing to look before turning? These are just but a few key issues that must be determined when a car accident happens.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE NEGLIGENT PARTY IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
If the jury finds that a person negligently operated a motor vehicle, that driver may be required to pay for damages he or she caused to the person and their property.
CAR ACCIDENTS HAPPEN EVERYDAY
Drivers in the State of Texas must secure a valid Driver’s License to legally operate a motor vehicle. A Driver’s License however does not ensure that the driver will abide by the rules of the road and operate their motor vehicle in a reasonably prudent manner. Car accidents occur everyday because of unsafe driving practices. Some of the most common causes of car accidents are a result of impairment, excessive speed, drivers not paying attention, not obeying traffic signs, failing to keep a proper lookout, texting while driving, looking at their cellular telephone while driving, keeping their eyes on a GPS map as opposed to on the road, and other various distractions. In particular, texting and driving has become a serious concern in causing major car accidents.
TEXAS IS A FAULT INSURANCE STATE REGARDING CAR ACCIDENTS
In the State of Texas, insured drivers are required to be financially responsible for any accident they cause. After a car accident occurs, the injured driver, passenger, pedestrian, or other involved party may file a claim with his or her insurance company (known as a “first-party claim”). The injured party may also file a third-party claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. If all attempts to settle with the negligent driver’s insurance company fail, the injured party may file a lawsuit to prove fault and seek monetary damages for any injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages or lost earning capacity, and all other damages to which he or she is entitled to that were caused by the negligent driver’s acts or omissions.
TEXAS MODIFIED COMPARATIVE FAULT RULES RELATING TO CAR ACCIDENTS
When a drive is partially at fault for causing a car accident, the State of Texas uses a “modified” comparative fault rule to decide the outcome of insurance claims and lawsuits. If, for example, the total damages amount in a car accident are $75,000.00, and the Plaintiff driver is found to be 20% at fault, per the Texas Comparative Fault rules, the Plaintiff could only receive 80% of $75,000.00, which here would be $60,000.00. However, should the Plaintiff be found to greater than 50% responsible (ex. 51%), then per Texas law, the Plaintiff will not be awarded money for damages.
Car and truck accidents are no simple matter. Often times one or more parties involved in a car accident sustain complex injuries, have mounting medical bills, surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, pain and suffering, missing work, and other issues that affect their everyday life. It is important to contact an attorney that will act promptly and fight for your rights when you or a loved one are involved in a car accident. A good car accident attorney will help you receive lost wages and recover other monetary relief to compensate you for the injuries you incurred.
If you or a loved one was injured a car accident, we invite you to contact Jared Hagood at The Hagood Law Firm. We have taken on the most powerful Defendants. We aggressively bring the fight to the insurance companies and their lawyers. Please contact our office today at 214-706-0835 or e-mail us at [email protected]