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Who Is Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident?

Monday, February 22, 2021

Not all car accidents in Dallas involve more than one driver. If you were the only driver in your recent auto accident, you may assume you are automatically at fault and must use your own insurance to pay for losses. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, however, this may not be the case. You may not have to pay for your own financial damages if one or more parties contributed to the single-vehicle accident.

Accidents Due to Vehicle Defects

Some single-vehicle car accidents in Texas are traced back to faulty vehicle parts. If a part on your car malfunctioned or broke down while you were driving, and this is what caused your accident, you may have grounds for an auto defect claim against the manufacturing company. Common examples of faulty parts include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Headlights
  • Electrical systems
  • Airbags
  • Steering columns

An auto manufacturer has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of its products. If it fails to fulfill this responsibility, leading to a design, manufacturing or marketing defect in one of its vehicles, it will be strictly liable for related auto accidents and injuries. Have an auto defect attorney investigate your single-vehicle accident for signs of a faulty product to find out if the automaker is liable.

Accidents Due to Road Defects

Even if you were the only driver involved in your car accident, you could have grounds to bring a claim against the city or state government if a road defect caused the crash. A road defect can describe any dangerous problem with the roadway that could foreseeably cause a car accident, such as a pothole, debris, construction zone, loose gravel, uneven shoulder, missing guardrail, obscured road sign or broken traffic light.

If the government agency in charge of maintaining the road where your single-vehicle car accident occurred should have done more to prevent your crash, such as respond more promptly to road maintenance requests, the agency could be liable for your losses. Note that a claim against the government must be brought within six months or less in Texas, depending on your county. This is significantly shorter than the typical statute of limitations in Texas of two years.

No-Contact Accidents

Even if your vehicles did not technically collide, another driver may be liable for your car accident if his or her carelessness caused you to run off the road or lose control of your vehicle. This is called a no-contact crash. If, for example, another driver almost merged on top of you, causing you to jerk the steering wheel, lose control of your vehicle and crash, the other driver may be financially responsible for the accident even your vehicles did not touch.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain financial compensation for a no-contact crash if the other driver does not realize he or she caused an accident and keeps driving. You may be able to obtain license plate numbers or partial plate numbers from eyewitnesses, however, or footage of the crash as evidence. Always call the police to help you gather what information is available after a no-contact single-vehicle car accident.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

You may or may not have grounds to hold someone else financially responsible for your single-vehicle car accident. If another individual or entity should have prevented your crash, that party may be liable for your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages and other damages.

A car accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with the claims process after a single-vehicle crash. Your lawyer can investigate the crash, determine fault, and help you understand your rights. Then, your lawyer can take over complicated legal processes on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. Consulting with an attorney can help you determine whether or not you have to pay for your accident out of pocket.

Posted by admin at 10:44 pm

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Changing Lanes?

Friday, February 19, 2021

If you get into a car accident in Texas, you must determine fault before you can file an insurance claim. This is the rule according to Texas’s fault-based insurance law, which holds the party at fault for a car accident responsible for injuries and losses. Determining fault, however, is not always easy. This is especially true after a car accident changing lanes.

A Driver Breaking Texas’s Lane-Change Law

If a driver breaks a law and causes an accident, he or she is liable. Texas Revised Statutes Section 545.060 states that on a road laned for traffic, a driver must keep to a single lane as much as is practical. A driver may only move from his or her lane when the driver can conduct the maneuver safely. Determining whether a lane change is safe or not requires a few basic driver tasks:

  • Checking to see if there is enough room in the destination lane to allow the lane change.
  • Using a turn signal to demonstrate the intent to switch lanes or merge.
  • If merging, yielding the right-of-way to existing traffic.
  • Using an appropriate speed to change lanes – not too fast or too slow.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance from other vehicles.
  • Checking the rearview and side mirrors, as well as blind spots, for cars.
  • Making the lane change slowly and carefully.

If a driver in Dallas breaks any of these rules, that driver is at fault for a resultant lane-change accident. If you get into this type of car accident, it is important to call the police to the scene of the accident so the officer can ticket the other driver for a moving violation. A traffic ticket can serve as evidence against the driver during your insurance claim.

A Distracted Driver

Distracted driving is a common cause of lane-change accidents in Texas. A distracted driver cannot pay enough attention to his or her surroundings to safely execute a merge or lane change. The driver may not notice a vehicle in his or her blind spot, for example, or may not recognize another driver moving into the same lane at the same time.

If a driver is distracted enough by using a cell phone, texting and driving, eating or drinking, changing a radio station, looking at a GPS, reading a billboard, daydreaming, or other activities while driving, he or she may be unable to make sure it is safe to change lanes. In this scenario, the distracted driver would be liable for a related auto accident.

Both Drivers

A lane-change accident case can get complicated if two drivers move into the same lane at the same time. In another scenario, when only one driver changes lanes, liability will go to that driver, as it is his or her responsibility to change lanes safely. If both drivers make the lane change simultaneously, however, fault is not as easy to determine.

Fault may be allocated to both drivers if they share the blame for the collision. In Texas, a modified comparative negligence law presides over cases where the plaintiff and defendant share fault for an accident. In this situation, you could still recover compensation even if you were partially at fault, as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the accident. However, the courts will reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance

Navigating Texas’s liability laws can be difficult in any type of car accident case. If you were in an accident changing lanes, however, the legal process can be even more complicated. Consult with a car accident attorney in Dallas for assistance with this type of claim. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your crash, gather proof the other driver is at fault and help you proceed with an insurance claim. A lawyer will make sure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Posted by admin at 10:42 pm

Who Is Liable If a Recalled Car or Truck Caused the Accident?

Monday, February 15, 2021

Most car accidents are preventable and related to human error, such as a driver speeding or driving distracted. Some, however, are connected to defects with the vehicle that a driver has no control over.

Despite safety technologies improving in the automotive industry, 2018 had more light vehicle safety recalls than any other year in US history – 341, according to Stout’s 2019 Automotive Defect & Recall Report. If you get into an accident related to a recalled car or truck, find out who is liable.

Common Car and Truck Defects

Although many different types of recalled products can cause serious consumer injuries, auto part defects are particularly dangerous. Even a minor auto defect could act as a catalyst for a serious car accident. Common car and truck defects connected to motor vehicle accidents are:

  • Brake failure
  • Sticky gas pedals
  • Tire blowouts
  • Electrical issues
  • Exploding airbags
  • Seat belt malfunctions
  • Seatback failure
  • Problems with the steering column

When a vehicle manufacturer discovers a defect in one of its models, it lawfully must issue a recall. It must also make a reasonable effort to notify buyers of the defect, such as through an ad campaign or direct mail. A recall means the vehicle contains known defects that could be dangerous to consumers. The recall will contain information and safety recommendations for the vehicle’s owner, such as where to take the car for free repairs.

Who Is Responsible?

If a defective vehicle part causes a car or truck accident, an injured party may have a legal claim to damages. Most vehicle defect accidents fall under the category of product liability law. Product liability is a manufacturer or distributor’s legal responsibility for injuries caused by a faulty product. Under Texas’s product liability laws, a manufacturing company may be liable without proof of negligence if the vehicle contained one of three types of defects:

  1. Design flaw
  2. Manufacturing error
  3. Marketing mistake

If the injured party can prove the vehicle contained one of these product defects and that this is what caused the car or truck accident, the manufacturing company will be liable for damages whether or not the company was negligent. Other parties involved with the manufacture and distribution of the vehicle could also bear liability for a crash, such as a retailer, part or component manufacturer, or car dealership.

In a case where the doctrine of strict product liability does not apply, an injured crash victim may still be able to bring a claim based on the theory of negligence. An automaker could be liable based on negligence if it was careless and violated the accepted standards of care for the automotive industry. If the manufacturer knew about a defect but did not disclose it, for example, and this caused a car accident, the manufacturer could be responsible based on negligence.

How Will a Recall Affect a Claim?

Whether or not a recall was in effect at the time of your car or truck accident could affect your right to recover. An automaker may try to refute liability for your accident if you knew or reasonably should have known about the defect due to an ongoing recall.

If the defendant can prove that you received notice by mail of the recall with the company’s recommendation not to drive the car until getting it repaired, for example, this could protect the company from liability for an accident. If, however, your accident occurred before the recall was announced, the company could still be liable.

When to Hire a Product Liability Attorney in Dallas, Texas

A car accident case involving a recalled car or truck with a defect or safety issue can be complex. If you or a loved one was injured in this type of auto accident in Dallas, consult with a vehicle defect attorney for advice. If you have grounds for an injury claim against the manufacturer or another party, your lawyer can help you with the legal process.

Posted by admin at 10:14 pm

What To Do After a Rear-End Car Accident

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Although many rear-end car accidents are minor collisions, they have the propensity to be severe and even catastrophic. If a commercial truck rear-ends a small passenger car, for example, the injuries can be devastating. Knowing exactly what to do after a rear-end car accident in Dallas can help you effectively protect your rights as an injured victim, as well as help you from feeling overwhelmed in the aftermath of a collision.

Pull Over and Check for Injuries

You legally must pull your car over immediately after any type of motor vehicle collision according to Texas law. Failing to pull over after a rear-end car accident could lead to a hit-and-run charge against you. This is a serious crime that can come with hefty fines and jail time.

Pull over as close as you can to the scene of the rear-end collision without putting yourself in danger. Turn on your hazard lights and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. When it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle and ask if anyone in the other car has been injured.

Call 911, If Necessary

If anyone has been injured in the rear-end collision, if anyone appears unconscious or bleeding, or if you believe there has been at least $1,000 worth of property damage, the law in Texas requires you to call 911 to report the collision immediately.

You should also call the police if your rear-end accident involves an uninsured driver, a drunk driver, or a hit-and-run. Calling the police can create an official accident report that your insurance company can use to assess your claim later. You or the police will need to file a report with the Texas Department of Transportation, as well.

Exchange Information With the Other Driver

While you wait for the police to arrive, spend the time exchanging information with the other driver. You and the other driver should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers and car insurance information. You should also write down other accident details for your own records, such as the date, time and location of the crash, plus a description of the other driver’s vehicle.

Do Not Admit Fault

While it is important to remain polite and not get aggressive with the other driver, it is also important not to apologize for the crash or admit any fault for the accident. Admitting fault could automatically bar you from financial recovery. Even if you are the rear driver and believe you caused the crash, refrain from admitting fault. Wait for a thorough investigation of the collision to identify the at-fault party. There may be other factors at play that you are unaware of, such as a dangerous road defect or the other driver’s comparative fault.

Document the Crash

Something else you can do while you are waiting for the police is document the crash. Use a camera or smartphone, if possible, to take photographs of the scene of the rear-end car accident. Obtain the names and contact phone numbers of any eyewitnesses, as well. If any local businesses caught the rear-end collision on surveillance cameras, request copies.

Watch for Hidden or Delayed Symptoms

Go to a hospital right away after a rear-end car accident in Dallas. Rear-end collisions can cause many serious injuries, including whiplash, broken bones, muscle strains, lacerations and traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. You may or may not notice the signs and symptoms of an injury immediately; however, going to a doctor without delay can lead to prompt diagnosis and treatment even with hidden or delayed symptoms.

Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer

If you encounter problems or challenges during the insurance process after a rear-end car accident in Dallas, consult with a Dallas car accident attorney for assistance. If the other driver’s insurance company is refuting fault, for example, or not offering as much as you believe your injuries are worth, an attorney can help.

Posted by admin at 10:11 pm

What Are the Psychological Effects of Being in a Car Accident?

Monday, January 25, 2021

In many ways, a car accident can be just as psychologically damaging as it can be physically harmful. While most people only think of the physical injuries and property damage involved in a car accident, survivors understand the immense emotional trauma collisions can bring with them.

If you experienced adverse psychological effects after being in a car accident, you can seek financial compensation for emotional distress during your injury claim in Texas. A lawyer can help you prove this intangible loss.

Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress After Car Accidents

A car accident can be a traumatic experience for those involved; especially those who suffer serious injuries or watch loved ones die in car crashes. A car accident is an abrupt, frightening and often severely damaging event. The collision itself can lead to psychological effects such as anxiety about riding in a car, nightmares and flashbacks.

If you were seriously injured in a car accident, your injuries could also contribute to emotional distress or mental anguish, such as through a long-term injury and lost enjoyment of life. For some people, the psychological effects of surviving a car accident can be substantial enough to cause a diagnosable condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition that occurs in people who have witnessed or experienced traumatic events. It is commonly diagnosed among veterans who have been in war and combat zones, for instance, as well as survivors of sexual abuse. A car accident survivor could suffer PTSD if what he or she saw, felt or experienced in the collision was traumatic enough to cause long-term mental distress.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD occurs in about 7% to 8% of the population – meaning around eight million adults have PTSD on any given year. Post-traumatic stress disorder can come with many different symptoms for a car accident survivor.

  • Fear or anxiety, especially about cars or driving
  • Avoidance of anything that reminds the person of the crash
  • Emotional and physical reactions to triggers
  • Mood swings or personality changes
  • Depression and withdrawal from others
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Flashbacks (involuntary memories of the car accident)
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions/self-harm

Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions after a car accident. Other common diagnoses are depression and anxiety. Emotional, mental and psychological conditions after a car accident can have a substantial effect on a victim’s life. The victim may be unable to return to his or her normal life or job. The victim may also have to pay for psychological therapy or counseling. Although nothing can fix the immense trauma associated with a car accident, a victim in Texas may be eligible for related financial compensation to help pay the bills and move forward.

Can You Seek Compensation for Emotional Distress?

Yes, you can seek financial compensation for emotional distress and psychological trauma after a car accident in Texas. If you experience any symptoms of emotional distress, such as loss of enjoyment in daily activities, mood swings, stress or anxiety, depression, nightmares, or phobias, you can seek compensation for emotional injuries along with your car accident claim. You can seek compensation for the following noneconomic damages:

  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Inconvenience or embarrassment
  • Phobias or anxiety
  • Psychological trauma
  • Grief or bereavement
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

The courts will view these as pain and suffering damages, for which you can recover a monetary award – but only if you or your car accident attorney can prove the existence of emotional distress. Proof may come in the form of medical records and statements from your therapist, as well as witness testimony and an injury journal. Work with an attorney right away for assistance with a car accident claim involving psychological trauma for the best possible results.

Posted by admin at 7:46 pm

The Importance of Preserving Evidence in Vehicle Accident Cases

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

If you or someone you love gets into a vehicle accident, it is critical to preserve evidence that can help the parties involved determine what happened and why. Take certain steps to protect, preserve and collect key evidence immediately after a car accident in Texas. This may be the only way you can prove liability and recover financial compensation for your collision.

Why Do You Need to Preserve Evidence During a Vehicle Accident Case?

Collecting and preserving evidence is important for your financial recovery after a vehicle accident in Texas. Texas uses a tort-based insurance system that holds the at-fault driver legally responsible for a victim’s damages. You will generally need evidence that establishes the other driver’s fault to qualify for insurance benefits.

Without clear and convincing evidence that the other driver owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused your car accident, you may be unable to convince the driver’s insurance company to pay for your losses. It will be up to you or your personal injury lawyer as a plaintiff in a car accident case in Texas to preserve evidence and present it to the insurance company. The burden of proving negligence rests with your side of the case.

Preserving Evidence From the Crash Scene Before Cleanup

The scene of a car accident can contain vital evidence of how and why the crash occurred. Before cleaning crews come and clear away the debris, do your best to either take photos yourself or have someone take photos for you. Photographs can preserve the crash scene as it looked immediately after your accident. Pictures and videos can capture images of a pothole that popped your tire, for example, before the city has the chance to repair the defect. If you cannot preserve evidence from the scene of the car accident immediately after the collision, return as soon as you can or have a lawyer return to the crash scene for you.

Gathering Statements From Eyewitnesses While Their Memories Are Still Fresh

Eyewitness statements are also important to gather from the scene of a car accident. You, a trusted friend or the police should collect contact information from all the eyewitnesses who saw the car accident occur. Write down their full names and contact phone numbers while still at the scene, if possible. Later, after you have obtained medical care for your injuries, reach out to eyewitnesses to collect their versions of what happened. Gather these statements as soon as possible to preserve details while their memories are still fresh and accurate.

Asking Companies to Preserve Key Information

Making phone calls to certain businesses and companies after a car accident may be necessary to ask them to preserve evidence that is relevant to your vehicle accident case. If you were injured in a truck accident, for example, contacting the truck company and asking them to preserve the truck’s black box could help you prove your case against the truck driver.

You may also want to reach out to businesses near the crash scene to request that they preserve any video surveillance footage that might have caught the accident on tape. Finally, contacting the other driver’s cell phone company could allow you to preserve phone records that prove the other driver was talking or texting while driving.

Need Help Preserving Evidence? Contact a Car Accident Attorney

Preserving evidence while it is still available can allow you to prove the other driver’s fault and recover fair compensation from his or her insurance company. If you need assistance preserving evidence after a car accident, contact an attorney to help you with this task. A car accident lawyer in Dallas will know exactly what steps to take and calls to make to preserve key evidence on your behalf. Your lawyer can take care of this for you while you focus on healing. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance preserving evidence for your legal claim.

Posted by admin at 7:45 pm

How Insurance Companies Investigate Car Accidents

Friday, December 25, 2020

When you file a car accident insurance claim in Texas, the insurance company will not release payment until it has investigated the crash and confirmed that its policyholder is to blame. Unfortunately, an insurance company’s investigation can be confusing, time-consuming and frustrating for you as an injured accident victim. It may benefit you to hire a car accident attorney to help you with the investigation process.

Who Is the Insurance Claims Adjuster?

Before an insurance company begins an investigation, it will assign someone called a claims adjuster to your case. The insurance claims adjuster is someone trained to analyze claims submitted to the provider and to recommend a resolution – either claim acceptance or denial. The claims adjuster is who you will speak to when contacted by the insurance company, in most cases.

Be careful when talking to an insurance claims adjuster, as this person will not be your advocate. The claims adjuster’s goal will be to profit the insurance company by saving it money on your claim. Keep in mind that the adjuster will want to devalue your claim and get you to settle for as little as possible. If you do not feel comfortable corresponding with the adjuster during the investigation process, you have the right to hire a lawyer to do so for you.

What Information Will the Insurance Company Need?

Once the insurance company receives your car accident claim and assigns an adjuster, it will investigate the crash and your eligibility for benefits by analyzing all available evidence. It may be your responsibility to submit some of this information, while the claims adjuster may retrieve other facts and documents on its own. The adjuster may visit the auto shop that is holding your vehicle, for example, for an in-person assessment of the property damage. An insurance company can use many different forms of evidence to complete its crash investigation.

  • Medical records and bills
  • X-rays
  • Copy of the police report
  • Citations the other driver received
  • Photographs and/or video footage
  • Pay stubs
  • Property damage repair estimates
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Crash reconstruction

The insurance company will need your permission to access some evidence, such as your medical records. Before signing a medical authorization release form from an insurance company, however, bring it to an attorney for a review. Many release forms request access to a claimant’s full medical history, not only the records relevant to the case. This is a strategy to find pre-existing conditions and a reason to deny the claim or reduce the payout. A lawyer can help you submit the proper medical evidence during an auto insurance claim.

How to Protect Yourself During an Insurance Company Investigation

An insurance company’s investigation process centers around the company’s mission to save money by reducing your payout as much as possible. Keep this in mind when speaking to the claims adjuster. Protect yourself and your right to recover compensation from an at-fault driver by avoiding common mistakes during an insurance investigation.

  • Do not miss your deadline for filing the insurance claim.
  • Do not admit fault for your car accident, even in part.
  • Do not give away more information than is necessary to answer the adjuster’s question.
  • Do not be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to a question.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to the claims adjuster.
  • Do not sign a medical authorization form or any other documents from the insurer.
  • Do not accept a settlement offer until having it reviewed by an attorney.

With this long list of do-nots in mind, one thing you should do is to hire a car accident lawyer in Texas to represent you during negotiations with an insurance company. A car accident lawyer will know exactly how to handle an insurance company and its claims adjuster for the best possible results for your case.

Posted by admin at 7:41 pm

What Are Common Defenses Used in Car Accidents?

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Bringing a car accident claim in Texas does not guarantee your financial recovery. You will first need to prove the defendant’s liability before you can recover compensation. In turn, the defendant will have the opportunity to refute your claim and prove him or herself not responsible for your collision. Learning the most common defenses used in car accident cases can help you prepare your rebuttal.

Expired Statute of Limitations

A defendant may try to counteract a claim based on statutory rules or filing mistakes, such as an expired statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a deadline to file a civil claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations on most car accident cases is two years from the date of the accident or injury discovery. If you filed your claim after this deadline, the defendant will most likely use this as a defense to liability. The courts in Texas generally will not agree to hear a claim filed after the statute of limitations has passed.

Comparative Negligence

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. Called proportionate responsibility in Texas, comparative negligence refers to the accident victim’s portion of responsibility for the wreck. In Texas, you cannot recover financial compensation for a car accident that you were more than 50% responsible for causing. If an investigation confirms your majority share of fault for causing the crash, the defendant will not owe you any compensation.

A defendant may use the proportionate responsibility defense to bar you from recovery or reduce his or her liability for your losses. Even with less than 50% of fault, this defense could reduce your financial recovery by an amount equivalent to your percentage of responsibility. If you were 20% responsible for the car accident, for example, the courts will deduct 20% from your recovery award.

Third-Party Liability

The defendant’s insurance company may try to avoid a payout by refuting fault for your accident altogether. It may do this by naming a third party that is to blame for your losses instead. For example, the other driver’s car insurance company may deny liability if an investigation finds that a defective vehicle part caused your crash, not its client, and that you should therefore bring your claim against the manufacturing company. In this scenario, you and your car accident attorney can bring an injury claim against the third party for compensation instead.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you are filing a claim for injury-related damages, such as medical bills, you may encounter the pre-existing condition defense. An insurance company may use this defense if it finds a pre-existing injury or condition in your medical records that is relevant to the current injury claim. This is why it is important to submit only the relevant medical records to the insurance company rather than signing a blanket authorization form. Even if you have a pre-existing condition that impacts your claim, the insurance company cannot deny benefits for accident-related injuries or the exacerbation of your existing condition. You may need to prove, however, that your injuries are from the car accident and are not pre-existing.

Failure to Mitigate Losses

Another common defense used in car accident cases is the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate his or her losses. As a plaintiff in a car accident claim, it is your responsibility to take certain steps to mitigate your losses or prevent them from worsening. If you have an injury from the crash, for instance, you will need to go to the hospital immediately and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Failing to mitigate your losses could be a valid reason for an insurance company to deny your claim or reduce the benefits awarded. If you most likely could have reduced your losses but failed to do so, the insurance company most likely will not be responsible for their full value.

You may encounter one or more defenses during your Texas car accident case. Hire a lawyer to represent you for the best odds of a successful claim even with these common defenses.

Posted by admin at 7:39 pm

Who Is Liable for a Car Accident Caused by Bad Road Conditions?

Friday, December 18, 2020

Many roads in Texas have defects that make them excessively dangerous for drivers, such as ruts or potholes. These bad road conditions can cause car accidents and related serious injuries. If you were in a car accident as a result of a dangerous road condition in Texas, you may be able to hold someone else responsible. While you may not have another driver to blame, you could file a claim against the city or state.

Who Is Responsible for Road Conditions?

Under the doctrine of premises liability law, a property owner is responsible for the care and maintenance of that property. If the property contains a road, this includes the upkeep of the roadway. A road owner’s duty of care includes taking reasonable steps to prevent auto accidents from dangerous road conditions. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances and what a prudent property owner would do in the same situation. The failure to properly maintain a road could result in many dangerous conditions.

  • Potholes
  • Cracks or ruts
  • Rubble or loose gravel
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Storm debris
  • Dangerous construction zones
  • Flooding
  • Ice or snow
  • Obscured road signs
  • Faded paint
  • Missing guardrails

The private property owner or the government could be liable for a car accident caused by bad road conditions in Texas. If you crashed on a private road or driveway, the owner of that road could be liable. If you crashed on a public road, the city or state government could be responsible instead. You could bring a case against the government for the failure to maintain a defect-free road or a dangerously designed roadway.

What Are the Elements Necessary to Bring a Claim?

To hold a property owner responsible for a car accident, you will need to understand the basic rules of premises liability. In general, a property owner has the legal task to regularly inspect his or her roads, repair visible or obvious defects, and warn drivers of nonobvious defects. If a property owner is negligent in fulfilling these responsibilities, he or she could be liable for a related car accident. It will be up to you or your car accident lawyer to prove the defendant’s fault for your collision. This will take four main elements.

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care to maintain a safe roadway.
  2. The defendant failed to fulfill his or her duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to your car accident.
  4. You suffered compensable losses as a result of the accident.

If you crashed your car due to a bad road condition, the property owner or government could be responsible for your losses if you can prove these four elements using clear and convincing evidence. Evidence may take the form of photographs of the road defect, copies of previous complaints, your accident report, eyewitness statements and expert testimony. If your lawyer can prove these four elements, you can recover compensation for your losses from the at-fault party.

What Damages Are Available for a Crash Caused by Bad Road Conditions?

Understanding liability for a bad road condition is important to your future. Determining and proving liability will allow you to recover financial compensation for several past and future losses, meaning you will not have to pay them out of pocket. A successful personal injury claim against the government or another party could result in damages for several losses.

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional injuries
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death damages

Find out if you have a claim against someone for a car accident caused by bad road conditions in Texas by consulting with an attorney. Some bad road conditions are no one’s fault, meaning you would need to file a claim with your own insurance company. Others, however, trace back to a property owner’s neglect or breach of duty of care. Consult with a lawyer for more information about your specific case and legal rights.

Posted by admin at 7:35 pm

Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Monday, December 14, 2020

Self-driving cars are meant to improve the safety of the road, not add to the annual number of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, many self-driving car accidents have caused serious injuries and taken lives since their debut. Although a self-driving car reduces the risk of human error, it comes with its own hazards related to complicated autonomous technologies. If you get injured in a self-driving car accident in Texas, liability for your crash can be difficult to determine.

Human Operator

One goal within the self-driving car industry is to manufacture vehicles that are 100% autonomous and require no human input to operate. The current reality, however, is that most autonomous vehicles require a human operator or supervisor. This leaves room for human error. One deadly crash in a Tesla operating on autopilot, for example, occurred as a result of the driver failing to heed the car’s warning to take the wheel. If a human operator is partially or wholly to blame for a self-driving car accident, he or she will be liable for damages.

Technology Company

One of the challenges of self-driving cars is the complex autonomous technology. Self-driving vehicles use cutting-edge technologies to operate – technologies that are often new and not thoroughly tested. If this technology fails in use, it can cause a car accident. This was the case in another fatal Tesla accident on autopilot in 2019, when the vehicle’s radar failed to detect a semi-truck.

If self-driving technology contains a defect and malfunctions, causing a car accident, the company responsible for the technology could be liable. In many cases, the technology company is different from the vehicle manufacturer. For example, Uber’s self-driving vehicles rely on Nvidia Corp to develop its microchips. If an investigation finds the autonomous technology to blame for an accident, the company that made the defective part will be responsible.

Vehicle Manufacturer

The manufacturer of the self-driving vehicle could be liable for a crash if the cause of the accident traces back to a defect in the vehicle’s design, assembly or marketing. If the manufacturing company made an error while designing the vehicle that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumers, for example, the company would be liable for a related collision. Many car companies have joined the race to develop self-driving cars, including:

  • Argo AI
  • Audi
  • Baidu
  • Cadillac
  • GM
  • Google/Waymo
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • Uber
  • Volvo

Under Texas’ product liability laws, an injured accident victim will not need to prove negligence for a claim against a manufacturer, in most cases. Instead, it will be enough to prove that the self-driving car contained a defect and that this defect caused the car accident. These two facts will make the manufacturing company liable even if it was not negligent.

The Government

Another liability possibility is the government agency responsible for safety rules and regulations for self-driving cars. The state government may be liable, for example, if it had lax rules for safety-testing self-driving cars, and if this contributed to a serious car accident during an autonomous vehicle pilot test. Federal, state and local governments must take citizen safety seriously while granting companies permission to safety-test their vehicles on public roads.

Third Party

Some self-driving vehicle accidents are not related to factors specifically associated with autonomous technology. If a driver outside of the self-driving car caused the crash by texting and driving, for example, that driver would be liable. Other possibilities include the local government for a roadway defect, a property owner for a dangerous parking lot and an employer for a negligent on-duty driver.

Determining liability for a self-driving car accident in Texas can be challenging. For assistance with your particular car accident case, contact a lawyer near you.

Posted by admin at 7:31 pm