Can You Sue The Other Driver After A Car Accident In Texas?
If you suffered injuries or had your vehicle damaged because of a car accident, you will need to find a way to be made whole again. To do this, you may want to consider suing the other driver involved in the accident. Car accidents can be emotionally, physically and financially draining. Not only can those involved suffer serious injuries with serious hospital bills, but the injuries may require ongoing medical care which can put you out of work. With so much at stake, it is crucial you speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer as quickly as possible.
There are two options you have if you have been in a car accident. The first, is filing a claim with your and the other driver’s insurance companies. The second, is suing the other driver in court.
Many people will attempt to settle with the insurance company by filing a claim first but often insurance companies will either deny claims or only pay out a small sum that will not cover all of the expenses caused by the car accident. This is usually when people decide they have to sue in order to get a fair amount. When suing in Texas even if you want the insurance company to pay, you will have to sue the other driver because you cannot directly sue the insurance company.
If you have already tried to settle with an insurance company or would rather directly proceed to a lawsuit, you need to contact one of our Dallas car accident lawyers to find out what options you have and advise for what is the best method for your situation. Fill out the contact form on the right or read on to learn more.
Car Accident Laws in Dallas
If you are suing the other driver after a car accident in Dallas, you will have to prove to the court that the other driver was negligent. To do this, all of the four required elements must be met. These elements are as follows.
Duty of Care
Generally, everyone owes the public at large a duty to act as a rational person in a similar or same situation. When it comes to car accidents, you will be looking at whether both drivers acted reasonably as other drivers in the same or similar driving conditions. Some drivers, such as truck drivers or bus drivers have a higher standard of care because they must act as reasonable truck or bus drivers.
Breach of that Duty of Care
The above duty of care is breached (or broken) when a person fails to act like a reasonable person. So for car accidents, you are looking for behavior that other reasonable drivers would not engage in such as driving while texting.
There are two prongs to causation which are actual causation and proximate cause. Actual cause means that the car accident would not have happened “but for” the other driver’s actions. Proximate cause means that there is no unforeseeable, intervening cause in between the accident and the driver’s negligent behavior.
You must show that damages were actually caused by the negligence. For car accidents this can be shown through property damage to your vehicle or physical harm to the occupants of the vehicles.
Calculating Damages and Responsibility
Texas follows a modified comparative fault model (or proportionate responsibility) when it calculates damages. In a car accident, it is often found that no single party is 100% at fault. Sometimes, this can mean that both drivers were partially at fault in the car accident. What this means is that the court will determine exactly how much at fault each side is and then calculate damages using that percentage.
For example, you were in a car accident and the court has found that the other driver is 70% responsible but that you were also negligent and 30% responsible for the car accident. Then if the total amount of damages you are seeking is $100,000 the court will only require the other driver to pay 70% of that amount, so you can only recover $70,000.
Another important rule you should be aware of is that Texas follows a 51% Bar Rule. This rule holds that if the injured party is more than 50% responsible for their own damages, even if it is only 1% above 50% then the injured party is completely and totally barred from recovering from the other driver. That means that even if you can show that the other driver was 49% responsible because you were more than half responsible for the accident you cannot recover anything.
Free Case Evaluation
A car accident lawyer in Dallas can help you decide what the best option is for your particular situation. Whether you want a lawyer that can negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company or someone to fight for you in court, the first thing you have to do is speak to a lawyer. Do not waste any time following your accident and speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer today by calling (214) 305-8277 or filling out our contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions
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