Reasons Why You Might Have an Injury Liability Claim in a Car Wreck
It’s virtually inevitable that some unfortunate day, most of us will probably be involved in a car accident. But how can we tell whether or not we have a successful personal injury case against a negligent driver who should reimburse us for our injuries? Most of the time, a car accident victim has a legal right to collect money for injuries by proving the four elements of an accident claim in court. Because all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the burden to you, the injured plaintiff, is to prove you are owed these damages by the defendants in any insurance claim or civil lawsuit. And all the defendants must do is deny your claim and tell you to “prove it.” Then, if your evidence isn’t strong enough to do that, they win and you don’t collect.
There are four elements to proving injuries against a defendant. You must clearly and in succession, demonstrate each of your charges is true. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below is a brief discussion of each of these four elements. They should give you a clearer idea of what it will take to prove that you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries.
Defendants Owe You a Duty of Care
You begin by clearly establishing the duty of care that was owed to you by the defendant because we are all required to exercise an acceptable level of caution to ensure that we do not harm others. Texas Civil Law establishes the various standards that surround the duty of care which a person or organization owes to another. Duty depends on the circumstances of the accident and the relationship of the parties involved at the time of the accident. Proving the defendant owed you at least some duty of care will probably be relatively simple since virtually all drivers in Texas owe each other the duty to drive as a reasonable person would keep others safe. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the chances are that a general “reasonable person standard” applies to the defendant (or defendants) in your case. Though some personal injury cases can have duties of care that may be open to a certain amount of interpretation, auto accidents usually have a clear-cut duty of care, which falls somewhere in the middle of the road on the duty of care grid.
Proving that the Defendant Breached Duty of Care
In the next step, you (and our local car wreck attorney) must establish the manner in which the defendant breached that duty. In the vast majority of personal injury cases surrounding auto accidents, plaintiffs and their attorneys must clearly show that the defendant drove in a way that a reasonable person would not have operated at the time of the wreck. If your defendant drove unreasonably only for the moments immediately leading up to your car wreck, then he or she can be held legally responsible for any and all consequences that resulted from those negligent actions that seriously injured you. Proving the defendant breached the duty of care is typically one where you and your attorney present evidence to the court to remove any doubt about what the defendant did (or failed to do) that caused the car wreck.
If your case goes to trial, the jurors will consider your breach of duty evidence along with additional evidence that clearly illustrates the defendant’s actions or intent at the time of the wreck. During their deliberations, they will rule the defendant behaved either reasonably or unreasonably. Inattentive behavior, like talking or texting on a mobile device, or offenses such as speeding recklessly, driving at night without headlights, running through red lights, driving while intoxicated, and more, can constitute a legitimate breach of the defendant’s duty of care. The defendant may not have been legally charged for these offenses in criminal court. Even if they evade moving violation charges in criminal court, avoiding a guilty verdict for the same behavior in civil court is altogether different. Some defendant actions might even support charges of willful intent to their breach of duty, which usually fortifies your case.
Causation of Defendant Breach of Duty
Once you have proven duty and the defendant’s breach, it’s time to demonstrate that the defendant breached the duty of care through negligence or some other tort. Only showing that this person might have been negligent isn’t enough to win your charges that the defendant is responsible for your car wreck. When a defendant denies causation, often he will argue “unforeseeable circumstances” such as other drivers, pedestrians, or even countercharge that your actions caused the wreck. This is the last opportunity for an accident defendant to avoid being held liable for your injuries. So expect them to claim anything from a child ran in front of their vehicle and forced him to hit yours, to their toddler threw a bottle of apple juice at them while they were driving, to a claim that he saw a UFO or Elvis driving down the street (really, it’s happened). Maybe their claims are valid; maybe they aren’t. But how do you disprove them? It’s up to you and your lawyer to expose the defendant: otherwise, he wins because your level of proof isn’t strong enough to convince the jury that he or she negligently breached their duty and wiggles out of being held liable for your damages. This is why it’s terribly important to have sufficient evidence to prove any defense that is thrown at you, and that it was the defendant’s inappropriate conduct that caused you harm. The best way to have the evidence you need comes from the ability of your car accident lawyer to properly investigate all aspects of your auto accident and find the proof that locks down the defendant.
The time after being seriously injured in a car accident is often stressful and confusing to the victims and their families. Don’t add to the stress and confusion by letting an inexperienced attorney handle your case or represent yourself when you are unqualified to look out for your or your family’s best interests. We are uniquely qualified and fully prepared to fight for and win the fairest compensation for your total damage claims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, contact an attorney at our Law Offices today at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.