Car accidents have claimed the lives of many in Texas and resulted in the damage of many vehicles. While this has become very alarming, deciding whose at fault sometimes gets very difficult. A preponderance of the evidence is the legal standard that is employed in determining fault in a car accident.
This preponderance of the evidence is largely based on three major elements and they are:
Breach of Duty of Care
Drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers and road users. At every point there is an accident, a breach of this duty of care is considered. The defaulter i.e. the person who breaches the duty of care is identified either by action or inaction. This could be caused by failure to maintain the required distancing or speed limit while driving.
The Cause in Fact
To determine whose fault an accident is in Texas, it must be proven that the direct action of the driver was responsible for the accident. The cause-in-fact is determined by the ‘but-for’ test.
The Proximate Cause
To determine car accident fault in Texas, attention is paid to the proximate cause. This means that injuries sustained by victims of the car accident are foreseeable by the driver in question.
In Texas, when there is an auto accident, recourse is made to the traffic laws and safety standards in determining damages to be awarded. To achieve this, Texas uses a ‘Comparative Fault Standard’ to apportion faults and award damages. This brings to mind the question – ‘what is a comparative standard fault?’ A comparative standard fault sometimes referred to as ‘proportionate responsibility’ means that the cause of the accident is determined by the attitudes of both drivers. Where there are more than two drivers, the attitudes of all drivers are considered in apportioning fault, measuring, and awarding damages.
Texas, in determining car accident fault also makes use of the 51% bar rule. This rule states that where a person is discovered to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, he/she may not be entitled to damages. This goes further to explain proximate causes as it has been provided above. A driver who because of being drunk crashes another car is liable for the accident. This is because the outcome is a foreseeable consequence of drunk driving.
To make determining fault in a car accident easier, it is important that the situation is immediately assessed and the facts comprehensively recorded. Pictures should be taken if possible and the police should be notified immediately.