Dealing with a car accident in which you were not at fault can be a traumatizing and costly experience that has the potential to have debilitating effects on your physical, mental and financial well-being. Considering the fact that Texas personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations, taking care of your situation in a timely and efficient manner is vital.
Knowing your rights and discussing your situation with a qualified attorney, will make this process much more straightforward and less stressful, allowing you to focus on getting your life back together.
Types of Car Accidents
There are many different types of accidents that are eligible for personal injury claims due to the negligence or carelessness of another. Some of the most common accidents in Texas include:
– Low Speed Impact Crashes
– Rear End Impact Accident
– Head On Impact
– Side / T-bone Collisions
– Uninsured Motorist Accidents
– Whiplash Car Accident Injuries
– Defective Roads
– DUI / Drunk Driver Accidents
– 18 Wheeler / Semi-Truck Accidents
– Accidents where passengers are injured
The transgressor in these situations is considered to be acting negligently if they are engaging in excessive speeding, driving under the influence, using a cell phone, failing to pay attention or avoid hazards on the road, or if they are unable to adjust to the road’s condition.
Car Accident Lawsuit Process
After consulting with a personal injury lawyer, he or she will file a petition in Texas Civil Court claiming that the other driver was at fault and is liable for your damages. The only way to have a chance at receiving the damages is to prove that the other driver or party was acting negligently. A negligence claim in Texas involves the following elements:
– Duty – The victim must be able to prove the defendant owed them a duty to act in a reasonable manner when operating their motor vehicle. This is a general duty and is required for every driver who drives in Texas.
– Breach – The victim must also prove the defendant breached their duty by failing to act with reasonable care when operating their vehicle.
– Causation – The victim is required to prove the defendant’s conduct was the actual and proximate cause of the resulting injuries.
– Damages – The victim must have suffered some type of injury resulting from the defendant’s careless or reckless actions (or inaction).
Texas law requires 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 win. This is considered comparative negligence, and is the civil procedure that Texas and the majority of other states follow.
As for the specific damages, Chapter 41 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines the types that are permitted in the state for a car accident lawsuit. Included are economic damages (compensation for any actual financial loss), non-economic damages (compensation for physical pain and suffering), exemplary damages (punitive damages for the defendant if they acted with gross negligence) and compensatory damages (additional economic and non-economic damages that may be rewarded).
According to §16.003(a) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the Statute of Limitations allows you to pursue legal action for a car accident or property damage up to two years following the occurrence. The same amount of time (2 years) also applies to those who suffered a bodily injury in the car accident.