Many times when people approach law firms about an accident they were involved in, they wonder why the lawyers are asking them some of the questions that they do. Proving that someone is responsible to you for your property and bodily injury damages go beyond what common sense may see as “right and wrong”. The basic principle behind who is responsible when an accident occurred is a doctrine called “negligence”.
Negligence forms the basis of many personal injury claims in Texas. To prove a person was negligent, you must show that this person had a duty to you, that they breached this duty, and that this breach of their duty caused you damages. So what does this mean for a car accident?
Everyone, as drivers on public road systems, has a duty to other drivers to ensure they operate their motor vehicles in a safe and lawful manner. This means that motorists should follow all applicable rules of the road and drive in a way that is reasonable for the road conditions at the time. For instance, if there is a heavy rainstorm with very limited visibility, it would probably be a good idea to slow down.
If a motorist is speeding, runs a stop sign, or violates the law or rules of the road in some other way, then they have breached their duty to other motorists. Looking back at the elements for a claim of negligence, so far we have duty and breach. The fact that someone is violating the rules of the road doesn’t mean that you can automatically sue them for negligence. Their actions must be the cause of any injuries you suffer.
For instance, if someone runs a red light and hits you while you move forward with a green light, they will more than likely be considered the at-fault party in an accident. They had a duty to stop at the red light, they breached that duty by running the red light, and their running the red light caused the collision to happen, and the collision caused you to suffer injuries.
This is a basic breakdown of negligence law. There are many subparts and caveats that can apply that must be evaluated on a case by case basis. Most cases are complicated with many factors to evaluate, which is why it is important to consult with experienced legal counsel in regards to your potential claim.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident in which you believe another person was negligent, do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Herrman & Herrman PLLC for a free case consultation.