Is Liability Automatic in a Texas Rear-End Accident?
Earlier this spring, a Texas family began their Easter holiday with tragedy as their 10-year-old son was killed and his seven-month-old infant sister was critically injured in a rear-end accident in North Harris County on SH249 and McKinley Road, according to news reports. Law enforcement indicated that neither victim was wearing a safety belt.
Looking Closely at the Rear-End Wreck
Generally, but not always, when a rear-end collision occurs in Texas, the driver who rammed into the back of the other car is found to be liable. There are exceptions to this assumption, however. For example, the driver who crashed into the back of the other car can put forth evidence showing any of the following to remove liability from him or herself:
- The car in front illegally stopped;
- The car in front stopped abruptly;
- The car in front unexpectedly switched lanes; or
- The car experienced a mechanical failure, preventing it from stopping.
Any of the above fact patterns, with the evidence to support the theory, could show that negligence of the driver in the rear car was not the cause of the accident. Ultimately, however, this issue of fact would likely be determined by a jury. Should the case go to trial, a jury may determine that the front vehicle driver was to blame, they could distribute fault between the drivers, or they could even determine that neither party was at fault.
In Texas, multiple drivers - including the injured party - could be responsible for damages because of a determination of negligence. Under state law, the amount of money a victim may be able to recover depends upon how much fault, if any at all, the person contributed to the crash. This is known as comparative negligence. In order to be successful in a personal injury claim against another driver, it must be proven that the other party was 1) reckless, negligence or careless; 2) their actions were the direct and legal cause of the collision; and 3) the collision caused injuries, whether to person or property.
Under Texas law, if a jury decides that the person pursuing the lawsuit (known as the plaintiff) is more responsible for the accident - in other words, 51 percent at fault - then he or she is barred from recovering any compensation whatsoever.
Hire a Texas Rear-End Accident Attorney
The strength of the evidence is the best offense when it comes to a lawsuit involving a car accident - especially a rear-end collision - when facing the possibility of reduced or even eliminated compensation for damages. An experienced and aggressive car accident attorney can put together a compelling case to present during settlement negotiations or before a judge and jury. If you or someone you love has been injured in a rear-end car accident, or has suffered an injury in any other type of car wreck, contact the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm. Serving clients across several counties in the state of Texas, our skilled New Braunfels accident attorneys can help guide you every step of the way.