If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident due to reckless or negligent actions of another driver, our Houston law firm can help! Our team understands how difficult it can be to navigate a personal injury case, especially when you are still recovering from your injuries.
When you work with our team you are working with an experienced auto accident attorney on your side to help you make the best choices in your case. One misstep when talking to insurance companies about your accident can cost you in a major way. This is why working with an experienced Houston car accident attorney in your case is beneficial. Attorney Caruthers fights for justice in your case. Make sure you are doing everything in your power to protect yourself and get the compensation you need for medical bills and other expenses related to your accident.
Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has spent over three decades fighting for justice for her clients who have suffered injuries. You know you are in good hands with Attorney Caruthers because your cave evaluation and consultation are completely free, with zero cost or commitment from you. Attorney Caruthers is so confident in the personal injury cases she takes on in the Greater Houston area, that she does not accept payment until after you receive your settlement!
Work with an attorney you know has your best interest in mind following an accident, work with the Law Firm of Beverly R. Caruthers! She is the most dedicated personal injury attorney in the Greater Houston area, with over 30 years of experience under her belt.
Car Accidents Caused by Negligence
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is careless conduct that ends up causing harm to another person. In a car accident scenario, a person can be negligent by doing something that he or she should not have done (for example, running a red light or speeding), or by failing to do something that he or she should have done (for example, failing to yield, not stopping for a pedestrian, or forgetting to turn on headlights while driving at night).
Here’s another way of thinking about negligence: A driver must use reasonable care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. If a driver is not reasonably careful, and someone is harmed as a result, the driver (and the driver’s car insurance carrier) can be financially liable for that person’s injuries and other losses (damages).
Proving a Driver’s Negligence
Negligence will come into play any time fault for a car accident is in dispute, whether as part of the insurance claim process, or in court.
In a car accident lawsuit, if you’re the plaintiff, you need to be able to establish all of the following:
The law required the defendant to be reasonably careful. The law requires drivers to use reasonable caution in all facets of vehicle operation, so this one is a given.
The defendant was not careful. This is called “breaching” (or violating) the duty of care. In determining whether a driver was sufficiently careful, the law compares the driver’s conduct with the conduct expected of a “reasonable person.” If the defendant’s behavior falls short of how a reasonable person would have acted under the same circumstances, the defendant has violated the duty of reasonable care. Examples of conduct expected of a reasonable driver include:
- stopping at a red light
- watching for crossing pedestrians, and
- following the vehicle in front at a safe distance.
The defendant’s conduct caused your injuries. For example, Paula is suing Dan, claiming that she suffered neck strain when Dan rear-ended her car. Paula must provide evidence that her injuries resulted from the car accident, not some other event. If Paula hurt her neck the day before the collision while playing golf, she’ll have difficulty establishing that Dan’s conduct caused her injuries.
The plaintiff suffered measurable losses. Car accident victims are entitled to compensation for injuries, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and vehicle damage. If there aren’t any provable losses, the plaintiff can’t recover anything. For example, if Paula in the above example doesn’t suffer any physical injury, doesn’t miss any work time because of the accident, and her car sustains no damage, she cannot recover compensation from Dan.
The lesson here is that, if you’re the plaintiff, it’s important to keep complete and detailed records of all injuries, medical expenses, and property damage. Learn more about gathering evidence to help your car accident claim.
What Legal Duties Does a Driver Have?
The law requires drivers to use reasonable care to avoid harming anyone else on the road. But what exactly does this entail? Let’s look at some examples.
Driving at a reasonable speed . Drivers have a duty to drive at a reasonable, prudent speed in light of the existing traffic, road, visibility, and weather conditions. Even driving at the speed limit can be considered negligent if, for example, visibility is low, the weather is bad, or the circumstances warrant particular caution (driving by a school where you can expect children to be crossing, for example).
Vigilance and keeping a proper lookout. Drivers have a duty to be alert and to maintain a careful lookout for other vehicles, pedestrians, and road hazards. Drivers are expected to see the things that an ordinary, prudent person would see. Failure to do so can constitute negligence.
Maintaining control of the car. Drivers are expected to keep their vehicle under control at all times. Negligence may be inferred if a car loses control (by overturning or leaving the roadway) for any reason.
Maintenance and proper use of vehicle equipment. Drivers are expected to maintain their vehicles in safe working order. For example, lights and brakes should be working properly.
Driver Duties Imposed by State Law
Each state’s motor vehicle laws govern how drivers are expected to behave on the road. In certain circumstances, violating a motor vehicle law gives rise to a “presumption” of negligence—meaning that the defendant must present evidence to prove that he or she was not negligent.
Examples of conduct that may give rise to a presumption of negligence include:
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- violating right-of-way rules, including a pedestrian’s right of way, and
- driving on the wrong side of the road.
What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas?
For those who aren’t fluent in “legalese,” a “statute of limitations” is a state law that sets a strict time limit on your right to file a lawsuit in civil court. The specific deadlines vary depending on what kind of lawsuit you want to file, but the time window is almost always expressed in years.
The most important thing to know about the statute of limitations is that if the deadline has passed, but you try to file your lawsuit anyway, the person you’re trying to sue will be all too happy to bring all of this to the court’s attention. They’ll bring a motion to dismiss, and the court will almost certainly grant it, unless a rare exception applies to alter the deadline. That’s why it’s so important to understand how the statute of limitations deadline applies to your situation.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can tell you that in Texas, the statute of limitations deadline for most car accident lawsuits is the same as the larger one that applies to most kinds of personal injury cases. Specifically, according to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, any claim for injury—whether filed by a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist, electric scooter rider, or pedestrian—must be filed within two years of the date of the accident.
The same two-year deadline applies if you are filing a lawsuit over vehicle damage.
If someone died as a result of the accident, and their family member or other representative wants to file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused the crash, the two-year deadline likely applies, but under Texas law the running of the clock could be paused or “tolled” for up to one year. And keep in mind that the “clock” doesn’t start running until the date of the deceased person’s death, which might be different from the date of the accident.
Whether your case is a standard personal injury claim or one for wrongful death, its potential for success will most likely turn on your ability to prove that someone’s negligence was the cause of the underlying crash. Learn more about car accidents caused by negligence.
Even if you’re pretty sure your case will be resolved through the car insurance claim process, it’s always a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to file a lawsuit if you need to. That will give you more leverage from a settlement negotiation strategy standpoint. If the filing deadline is coming up, you might want to contact an experienced Texas car accident attorney to make sure you keep all your legal options on the table.
What if a government employee’s negligence caused your car accident?
If you were injured and/or had your vehicle damaged in an incident that was pretty clearly caused by the negligence of a government employee in Texas—you were rear-ended by a city bus, for example—any claim you file will need to follow a special set of rules. You’ll need to provide notice of your claim within a shorter time limit (usually six months), and give the state or municipality a chance to respond to your allegations.
Why Should I Work With An Auto Accident Attorney in Houston, Texas?
After an auto accident, you may find yourself with more bills and expenses than you know how to handle. Being awarded compensation for an accident that was not your fault can provide vital financial support and necessary medical assistance to help you through this difficult time. Working with an experienced attorney can helo you to maximize the compensation you get, to help you adjust back to life after your accident. The team at the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers is here to help you, so that you can move forward without having to worry about affording the things you need. Do not hesitate, contact us today to learn more about your options moving forward.
Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Too often Spanish-speaking drivers are unable to find justice in their car accident cases, causing them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.
We make it easier than ever before for individuals injured in car accidents to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more we can do to get you results.
Car Accident Attorney in Near Houston
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!
Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball.