A high speed collision on the South Side between a speeding car and a large SUV raises interesting questions regarding fault and liability.
The wreck took place near the intersection of Southwest Military Drive and Somerset Road. A Chevrolet Caprice and SUV were traveling in the same direction, when the Caprice apparently cut in front of the SUV while traveling at a high rate of speed. The Caprice driver lost control of the vehicle, which then careened into a utility pole before being partially rear-ended by the SUV.
Three people were rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries, but all of them are expected to survive.
Common Defenses in a Negligence Case
As a preliminary note, insurance companies will do almost anything to deny fair compensation to victims, or at least reduce the amount of damages they receive, and there are a number of recognized defenses that defendants use to accomplish this objective.
In the case of unexpected roadway events, the sudden emergency defense often applies. This doctrine forgives the legal negligence of a careless driver. The situation must be wholly unanticipated, a category that is usually limited to mechanical failures, like hood fly-ups and tire blowouts. Speeding vehicles, cars and trucks that slow down or stop short, and uneven road surfaces are not considered “unanticipated,” as these things are encountered on almost every trip.
Additionally, the driver must act reasonably in the wake of the emergency. In most situations, a reasonable driver slows down and pulls off the road at the earliest possible opportunity.
A similar defense is the last clear chance doctrine. This idea often applies in rear-end collision cases. In a nutshell, if a driver has the opportunity to avoid a collision, by slowing down or making an evasive maneuver, yet fails to do so, liability may be transferred. It is important to note that the driver must have the last reasonable chance to avoid the crash, as opposed to the last possible chance. In other words, if Driver A pulls out in front of Driver B and then slows down, it may have been impossible for Driver B to avoid the crash.
Despite the implications of television advertisements, the insurance company is not on your side. For a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive New Braunfels personal injury attorney who fights for you, contact our office. We are conveniently located about halfway between Austin and San Antonio.