A man was arrested on October 7 after being observed going over 100 mph on I-10 on an earlier date, ostensibly while racing another car. He was taken into custody after he admitted racing in his Chevy Camaro. While some see street racing as a harmless pastime, it is against the law in Texas, and if you are caught engaging in the practice, you may wind up with heavy fines and a possible license suspension. If you are injured by a street racer, by comparison, you may have a surprisingly easy case for negligence under Texas law.
In order to prove negligence under Texas law, a plaintiff must establish four points. They are:
- That a duty to exercise reasonable care existed between plaintiff and defendant – this is generally stipulated in auto accident cases since it has been established by past precedent that drivers on the same road always owe each other a duty of care;
- A showing that the duty was breached;
- A showing that the duty of care was directly breached by the defendant’s conduct, without any unforeseen supervening cause; and
- Tangible, actual harm must have been done to the plaintiff. This does not necessarily mean physical harm, as conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder count, but it must be more than mere shock or cuts and bruises.
Be advised that Texas law follows a modified comparative fault doctrine; this means that if the plaintiff is judged to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, they are barred from any recovery.
Civil vs Criminal Law in Texas
If you are in an auto accident on Texas roads and can show that any injuries you sustained were directly due to another driver’s reckless or negligent manner of driving, you may be able to find them civilly liable for your injuries. This is not, however, the same as finding them criminally culpable. Texas does have laws criminalizing street racing; if found guilty, a driver charged with street racing is guilty of either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor in most cases (though it may be a felony if they have prior street racing convictions, or if injury or death results).
It is important to note that civil and criminal law, while different, do interplay, not least of all in situations where the concept of negligence per se is available. Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that states that if a criminal law is broken, and a member of the class designed to be protected by that criminal law is harmed, then negligence has been committed by definition. This means that a plaintiff can simply point to the criminal lawbreaking, and not have to prove negligence step by step in their civil case, saving considerable time and trouble. If someone has been convicted of street racing, they will generally be held negligent per se in any following civil suit, with rare exceptions.
Seek Experienced Legal Help Today
Street racing has rarer since tough laws have been passed against it, but it still occurs, with the expected injuries and deaths as a result. If you have been harmed in a case of street racing, you have options. The skilled New Braunfels car crash lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to answer any questions you have about where to go from here. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.