Q: What does negligence mean when it comes to a personal injury case?
When pursuing a car accident injury claim against a driver, the determining factor for compensation comes down to liability: who was to blame for the collision?
Although you may feel that your accident was clearly the fault of the other driver’s negligence, Texas law is specific when it comes to blame. In fact, the law is so specific that liability isn’t just a question of who’s to blame, but rather, how much negligence can be attributed to each driver.
Defining Negligence to Determine Liability
Texas negligence laws are comparative, which means that more than one person can be held negligently responsible. As such, to get the most out of a settlement, you and your lawyer must be able to prove that the other driver’s negligence was at least 51% responsible for the collision. To accomplish this, you need to know what “negligence” really means.
For a person to be considered negligent, he must be proven to have acted in an unreasonable and harmful manner and, in similar circumstances, another person would have acted more carefully. Drivers must abide by all traffic laws, maintain control of their vehicles, and keep an eye out for any situations that could become unsafe. When they fail to do so, their actions can be considered negligent.
Some instances of negligence include:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Running red lights
- Failing to use lights properly, including turn signals
- Driving on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder
- Texting or playing with a phone or any other form of distracted driving
Sharing the Blame
When a driver chooses to drive recklessly and then causes a collision, his negligence will factor into liability. However, just because he was negligent doesn’t mean he’s fully to blame—your reaction to his negligence could also be considered negligent.
For example, imagine that you’re stopped at a four-way intersection. The opposing traffic light just turned red. A truck driver in the opposing lane makes the decision to just keep driving through it (an obvious negligent action) and slams into your side as you enter the intersection. Since he ran the light, is he 100% to blame?
Not necessarily. Before you entered the intersection did you wait for your green light, or did you assume you’d have the right-of-way since the light turned red for opposing traffic? Did you check that traffic had completely stopped before taking your foot off the brake? Depending on your actions, you too could hold some responsibility—and considering the comparative negligence law, the amount of responsibility you hold could drastically affect your claim.
Measuring Negligence to Determine Claim Standing
In a car accident case, it is the duty of your personal injury attorney to prove the amount of the other driver’s negligence. An experienced attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to show that the defendant voluntarily chose to make a disastrous decision, and that the consequences of that poor decision directly led to causing the collision. Attorney Steve Lee has the experience as well as the determination and drive to push your claim to its limit to get you the compensation you not only need but deserve.
Don’t allow the consequences of someone else’s poor decision to affect your future. Call Steve Lee today at 713-921-4171 to schedule a free consultation and see what he can do to secure your recovery and financial future.