Recently, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) personnel attempted a traffic stop, only to have the vehicle try to flee the scene. The pursuit was ended at Rullman and Edgers Avenues, and not long after, the fleeing driver was involved in a wreck at I-35 and North New Braunfels Road. Two people were taken into custody after the accident, though no major injuries were recorded. If you are involved in an accident stemming from a police pursuit, you should be aware that seeking compensation after this kind of crash can be slightly more complex than doing so in a standard vehicle accident.
Who Is Negligent?
In a normal auto accident, the first thing that one should ascertain is whether any of the actors involved have acted negligently. In standard crashes between two or more private vehicles, it often becomes a debate over whose behavior caused the accident. If this happens to you, you should be aware that it is often possible to bring other defendants into your case; for example, a third driver might have played a role in the accident. The object of a personal injury lawsuit is to hold defendants accountable, so ensuring that every potentially negligent actor is involved is a good idea.
If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to be aware that you may have played a role in its happening. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will be barred from any recovery in your case – Texas law requires that a plaintiff’s percentage of fault be over 50 percent in order to bar recovery, so if you are held to be, say, 20 percent at fault, your award would simply be reduced for that much. The law rationalizes that very often, situations are simply not always cut and dried, and as such, being, say, 1 or 2 percent at fault should not be sufficient to deny all recovery.
Beware of Sovereign Immunity
In addition to standard concerns around your auto accident, it is important to be aware that there are special rules for cases where a governmental entity (such as a police department) can be sued. Texas observes a certain ancient concept called sovereign immunity, which dates back to English common law, and it states that the sovereign (i.e., government) cannot be sued or it would infringe upon the sovereign’s ability to govern. In the U.S., the concept has been slightly modified, but it still means that there are only a few very specific situations in which a governmental entity can be sued.
There are eight or so different situations in which a governmental entity can be sued under Texas law, according to the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). One of the most commonly seen is when a government employee acts negligently while driving a state-owned motor vehicle, and if the driver would be liable to the plaintiff if they were an ordinary individual rather than an employee. In the case on North New Braunfels Road, both points arguably apply. In these cases, the injured plaintiff will be able to sue, though whether they prevail in court is going to depend on the individual case.
Contact a New Braunfels Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Holding a police department or another governmental entity accountable can be very confusing and complex, but having a dedicated New Braunfels car crash lawyer on your side can help smooth out the process. The New Braunfels auto accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are dedicated, passionate legal professionals who will work hard to get you the justice you deserve. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.