What are My Legal Options if Rear-Ended in Houston?
In 2017, the state of Texas reported that over 250,000 people were injured in traffic accidents. This includes nearly 15,000 serious crashes that resulted in over 17,500 individuals suffering serious injuries. In Houston alone, there were over 1,000 serious crashes that resulted in nearly 1,300 people suffering serious injuries. This makes Houston the most dangerous city for serious accidents in 2017.
Duty of Care
A driver in the state of Texas is legally at fault for an accident if he or she fails to uphold his or her “duty of care.” Your duty of care refers to the proper maintaining of your vehicle, like getting your oil changes and inspections done on time, as well as your obedience of the local laws and your ability to drive carefully.
Determining Who Is At Fault
In the state of Texas, the concept of who is at fault for a crash is not an either-or proposition. Juries who hear accident cases may assign fault to one driver or the other, or they may assign fault to both parties. Every case has a unique set of circumstances, so you can’t really compare one case to another.
Typically, the driver who rear-ends the other vehicle in a crash is at fault. For example; a driver who causes a rear-end collision because he or she was tailgating is usually at fault for the accident. However, this is not always the case.
If a driver is tailgating and is unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, that driver will be, at least partially, deemed at fault for the accident. A driver who fails to provide enough room for another vehicle to merge can also share in some level of responsibility for the accident.
However, the victim of a rear-end collision may share some of the blame if he or she was negligent in the events leading up to the crash. A distracted driver or even a driver who used his or her brake needlessly can be found at fault for the accident.
Determining fault is perhaps the most important aspect of both personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims. In order to receive compensation for injuries that you sustained, you must be able to prove the other driver held the majority of the liability. This may be more difficult to do without the help of a Houston car accident lawyer.
Negligence in a Rear-End Collision
Ultimately, if you want to file a claim against the other driver, you’ll need to be able to prove that the other driver was negligent. A negligent driver is responsible for a car crash because of his or her reckless behavior behind the wheel. For example; a distracted driver who was paying more attention to his cell phone than the road would probably be found negligent, and therefore liable for the crash – so too would an intoxicated driver.
A victim of the crash can be found negligent as well. For instance, a driver who is pulling out of a parking space may be found negligent if he or she failed to gauge the speed of oncoming traffic before proceeding to reverse. Similarly, changing lanes and braking can lead to negligence – it’s all in how it’s done. And, of course, speeding is typically considered negligent behavior as well.
Remember, the severity of the injuries suffered by either party is not what determines negligence. Just because one party has more severe injuries does not mean the other party is entirely at fault or was driving negligently. It is the behavior of both parties before the crash that determines the percentage of liability the parties share.
Have You Been in a Rear-End Collision in Houston? We Can Help!
Trying to navigate a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim by yourself can be harrowing. If you have suffered injuries or damages as the result of a rear-end collision, you may feel like you are unable to complete the process by yourself. You may feel intimidated by the insurance company, or the lawyers on the other side. If that’s the case, then you need a strong lawyer by your side to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you are considering your legal options after a rear-end accident, your best option is to talk to a Houston car accident lawyer. Simply fill out this contact form, or call our firm at 713-677-2179 to get the ball rolling. There’s no obligation to retain one of our experienced attorneys, and the initial consultation is free. Don’t wait for the other side to get the upper hand – reach out to us today!
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