Steps to take to Help Establish Fault in a Texas Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you’re involved in a vehicle accident and you suffer injuries, then you’re eligible for compensation depending upon the wages lost, pain suffered, and medical expenses. But for this to happen, under Texas law, fault needs to be clearly established.
Take the following steps to boost your chances of presenting a strong case –
- File a police complaint
The police will arrive at the scene of an accident, but there’s no guarantee about it. If there are injuries, then the police will file a report. The report is based on what the police officers at the scene observe and recollect. The report contains evidence that can help ascertain liability. Obtain a copy of the report from the police. You can get it from the closest police station or the Texas Department of Transportation.
Know that you can contribute to the police report and amend it. Get in touch with the responding police department. Texas law mandates that if the case involves bodily injury, then the police report must be filed with the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days of the accident.
For establishing fault, the police report is a basic document.
- Speak with the witnesses
If a bystander, pedestrian, or driver witnessed the accident, then talk to them. Get their phone numbers, addresses, and names. Statements by witnesses play a very important role in apportioning accountability
- Click photographs
Take photos. Capture images of damages to the vehicle, traffic signals, street lamps, skid marks, injuries, and the surroundings. Photos of damage to the vehicle and of your injuries will help your case with the insurance companies. Photos also serve to inform the jury about the situation that led to the accident. In short, photographs will help establish liability.
- Maintain copies of the medical statements
You must maintain a record of the medical treatments that you undergo. Keep the receipts of the payments you make. You will need these to prove medical costs incurred. The significance of thorough record-keeping cannot be understated. It can be the difference between winning and losing the case.
Follow the steps mentioned above to establish your side in personal injury cases in Texas
Texas adheres to the concept of “comparative negligence” in personal injury lawsuits. Comparative negligence arises from the idea of proportionate responsibility. A formula is used to compute the degree of fault for each driver. The compensation that you’re eligible for will depend on the extent to which your negligence has contributed to the accident. If the jury gives you a compensation of $50,000, but finds that you were 20% responsible for the incident, then you stand to receive only $40,000.
Texas also follows the 51% bar rule under which a driver held 51% responsible for an accident will not receive any compensation.
What is Negligent Entrustment?
Negligent Entrustment means that under Texas vehicle accident law, a vehicle owner can face liabilities for injuries caused from an accident even if the owner was not behind the wheels when the accident happened.
In such cases, the onus is on the plaintiff to prove that the owner of a car should’ve known that the person to whom the vehicle is being entrusted is a reckless and negligent driver. This is an important aspect of Texas vehicle law to consider because there are many accidents involving drivers who are not actually the vehicle owner. If the driver is financially weak, you stand a better chance at recovery by suing the car owner.