You have been in a car accident, the other driver is clearly at fault and you require medical attention. You call the other driver’s insurance carrier and they ask you to give a recorded statement about what happened. A few days later you receive a letter saying, “after a careful review of the circumstances the Acme Insurance Company has determined that our insured driver is not at fault.” The letter ends with a polite, but irritating closing sentence, “Thank you for your inquiry.”
In Texas in order to collect from a driver after he has caused an accident and caused property damage or physical injury it must be proved that the driver was negligent, grossly negligent, or acted intentionally. Generally, car accidents involve simple negligence. The definition of negligence that Texas Courts use is as follows:
The failure to use the degree of care that a person of ordinary prudence would use under the same or similar circumstances. Negligence may consist of doing something that a person of ordinary prudence would not have done, or in failing to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would have done, under the same or similar circumstances.
To prevail in a claim for damages caused by negligence, the person bringing the action must typically show: (1) that the person causing the injury had a duty to the injured person or to the general public, (2) the actions of the person who caused the injury were not what a reasonably prudent person would have done, and (3) that damages were caused by the negligent actions.
If a jury or judge finds that the accident was indeed the fault of the other driver then damages need to be proven-up. Depending on the circumstances, an injured party may be able to collect for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. The preceding definitions and considerations sound fairly straightforward, but often become complicated by facts specific to the situation. If you have been in an accident and have had no luck dealing with the insurance company, or just don’t want to try to resolve the situation by yourself contacting a lawyer is an option.
The Law Office of Julie Johnson is dedicated to the protection of client rights. This blog is not intended to be specific legal advice; rather each situation must be reviewed to determine the rights and duties that may be presented by each unique set of circumstances. If you believe you have been injured through the negligence of others please feel free to contact us through our website, www.juliejohnsonlaw.com