If you drive, there is a good chance that you will be involved in a traffic accident sooner or later, especially if poor weather conditions, careless driving, or distracted driving are factors when you get behind the wheel. The same applies to driving under the influence.
According to a study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, there were roughly 5 million traffic accidents reported in the U.S. The study further noted that a whopping 43% of all traffic accidents in the U.S. result in injuries.
Although various factors contribute to these traffic accidents, most drivers understand the importance of establishing liability. While this might be a complex procedure, a car accident attorney can guide you every step of the way.
What Does Establishing Liability Mean When It Comes to Traffic Accidents?
If you have never had to deal with it, consider yourself lucky, but for those who have had the misfortune of being involved in a traffic accident, establishing liability is akin to assigning blame. To settle things between insurance companies, especially when a lawsuit comes into the picture, it has to be clear who caused the accident.
That said, establishing liability can look different in no-fault versus at-fault states. To appreciate why this is, it helps to know the difference between the two terms. In a no-fault state, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers any medical bills related to a traffic accident, irrespective of who is at fault.
Meanwhile, in an at-fault state, the bodily injury liability coverage for the driver at-fault in the accident pays for the other driver’s medical bills. Whether an accident happens in a no-fault or at-fault state, establishing liability will be necessary if the traffic accident results in a lawsuit where compensation has to be assigned.
Establishing Liability in the Lone Star State
Now that we have a basic understanding of establishing liability, let’s look at how it works in the no-fault state of Texas when a traffic accident results in a lawsuit. According to Texas law, the onus is on the plaintiff involved in a traffic accident lawsuit to establish liability. A Waxahachie car accident lawyer can help you build a strong case.
The first step a plaintiff will need to take to establish liability entails showing a breach of duty, which means proving that the other driver did something wrong and that the wrongful act was either partly or entirely responsible for the resulting traffic accident. Common examples of breach of duty include the following:
- Driving below the speed limit
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to brake
- Failing to maintain control of one’s vehicle
- Failing to obey right-of-way rules
- Failing to obey stoplights or stop signs
- Speeding or tailgating
Damages as Part of Establishing Liability
After proving causation, meaning the other driver’s breach of duty was a factor in the accident, the next step involved in establishing liability in the Lone Star State has to do with damages. This is important since compensation and damages go hand-in-hand. In a Texas motor vehicle accident case, the plaintiff can claim the following as damages:
- Property damage
- Loss of immediate wages and loss of future earnings
- Immediate and future medical expenses
- Physical impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
A Lawyer Can Help Establish Liability
Following an accident, properly establishing liability can significantly improve the chances of winning a Texas motor vehicle accident case. However, the process is not always the easiest. Working with an attorney can greatly simplify the process. Your lawyer will always fight to represent your best interests.
To that end, if you have been in an accident and want your day in court, consider speaking with a car accident lawyer about establishing liability in a way that will position you to receive the maximum compensation for damages resulting from your accident. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the crash.
Thanks for the reminder that mental anguish can also fall under the kinds of damages involved in a car accident. I’d like to look for a good car accident attorney soon because I have a friend who is suffering from trauma due to an accident that she got into not long ago. It would be best to start working on resolving that legally sooner or later.