In 2010, the nation saw well over 40,000 deaths as a result of auto accidents. In Texas, the total was over 3,000 alone, making it one of the most dangerous states for driving. With theses frightening statistics, it is inevitable that there will be numerous personal injury claims resulting from the negligence of another.
Injuries stemming from accidents are never welcome and can lead to a severe drop in your mental, physical and financial well-being. Keeping this in mind, it is vital to take the steps necessary to make certain that you understand your options and know what you can do to start picking up the pieces and move on with your life.
Auto accident claims vary depending on the manner and the factors involved regarding the accident itself. Although the variables of your particular case will be unique, some of the most common forms of accidents in the state of Texas, include, but are not limited to:
- 18-wheeler / Semi
- Drunk Driving
Texas law specifies factors involved in most auto accidents where another is at fault. Fault is determined by someone acting negligently leading up to the accident. Some of the major reasons for accidents include:
- Failure to control speed
- Driver negligence
- Driver impairment
- Lack of automobile maintenance
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driver
- Driving while texting
- Emotional or angry driver
- Road rage
- Careless or reckless driving
All of these examples provide the necessary grounds to proceed in a personal injury claim. When it comes down to it, any factor that negatively influences the driver’s ability to assess their situation on a moment’s notice, which leads to a car crash, can be used against the offending party in an injury claim.
Auto Accident Claim Process
As for the process of proving the negligence of another in Texas, there are multiple steps necessary to undertake, in order to receive your just compensation. The first step is discussing the details of the accident with a qualified personal injury lawyer who can competently advise you on whether or not to proceed with the claim. This step may also include contacting your insurance company, going over and understanding your policy, writing down as many details of the accident as possible, and recording all expenses relating to the claim.
After figuring out if your case is strong enough, a petition needs to be filed which claims the other driver or party is at fault and liable for damages. In Texas, this negligence claim must include four elements:
(1) Duty – the plaintiff or the injured party must be able to prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act with reasonable care when operating their car. This is a general duty and is required by every driver who operates their vehicle.
(2) Breach – The plaintiff must also prove the defendant breached their duty by failing to act with reasonable care when operating their vehicle.
(3) Causation – The plaintiff must also prove the defendant’s conduct was the actual and proximate cause of their injuries.
(4) Damages – The plaintiff must have suffered some form of injury as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
Texas law dictates that the plaintiff must be able to prove all of these elements by a preponderance of evidence. The burden of proof for the plaintiff is quite low, with only 51% of the evidence needing to be in the plaintiffs favor in order to receive just compensation.
Understanding the necessary first steps in the Texas claims process will give you the confidence and knowledge to proceed in the most efficient manner going forward. Being fully prepared, while providing all the pertinent information, brings with it a better chance at receiving your just compensation.