Who can be held liable after a Texas car accident?

September 8, 2023

The Texas Car Wreck Lawyers at CPM Injury Law have handled thousands of cases for people injured in a Texas car accident. Making a claim to recover damages for car accident injuries can involve many different aspects of the law. Every case is different, and our car wreck lawyers will customize a legal strategy for your unique case, to ensure that every aspect of your injuries are addressed.

One of the basic questions when evaluating a car wreck injury claim seems simple, but is more complicated than you might think: Who can be held liable after a Texas car accident?

Every car accident in Texas involves two important considerations. First, who is actually liable for causing the car accident? Second, what damages were caused by the car accident? The terms “liable” and “liability” simply mean who is responsible for paying the damages for car accident injuries

For a car accident in Texas, the term “negligence” simply means “someone responsible for the

operation of a motor vehicle acted in a way that was unreasonable, and such unreasonable actions caused injury to another person.”  Therefore, you cannot successfully pursue a car accident negligence case without first proving who was responsible (liable) for the unreasonable actions that caused injury.  A Texas car accident lawyer can help you establish who is liable for causing the wreck and injuries, which is central to proving negligence.  To establish liability, the injured party (plaintiff) must demonstrate four key elements:

In some cases, more than one person can be negligent in causing a car wreck.  When more than one person is responsible for injuries caused from a car accident in Texas, the law compares the percentage of negligence among all of the at fault drivers.  This legal concept is called “Comparative Negligence,” and it allows the Court to assign percentages of fault among responsible parties.  Experienced Texas car accident lawyers at CPM Injury Law know how to build your case in a way that maximizes your recovery in light of the comparative negligence laws.

For example, if a person (we will call them “Person A”) runs a red light and collides with the Plaintiff’s car, causing injury, Person A was unquestionably negligent for causing Plaintiff’s injuries in the collision.  But what if Person A ran the red light because another motorist, Person B, was speeding and about to rear end Person A, causing Person A to take evasive action?  In that case, the Court would likely compare the extent of negligence between Person A and Person B, to determine how much of the Plaintiff’s damages each of them should pay.  If the Court determines that Person A was 70% responsible and Person B 30% responsible, then Person A would have to pay 70% of the Plaintiff’s damages, while Person B would have to pay the remaining 30% of the damages. 

If the Plaintiff’s damages amounted to $100,000.00, Person A would have to pay $70,000.00 and Person B $30,000.00. 

For a car accident in Texas, the principles of comparative negligence also apply to the Plaintiff.  In our example above, what if the Plaintiff was driving under the influence of drugs, and could have avoided the collision had they been operating her vehicle without being under the influence?  In that case, the Court might assign a percentage of fault to the Plaintiff.  Let’s say the Plaintiff was assigned 10% of fault in contributing to the accident.  Because Plaintiff now has been assessed 10% of the fault, the Defendants, Person A and B, will be assigned a lower percentage of fault.  For example, the Court could determine that Person A was 60% responsible, and Person B 30% responsible.

When the Plaintiff is assessed a percentage of fault, they cannot recover damages caused by their own negligence.  So, if the Plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000.00, for which they are 10% responsible, they may only recover $90,000.00 from Persons A and B.  Persons A and B will still be responsible for paying their percentage of the $100,000.00 in damages.  If Person A and B are each assessed 45% of fault for causing the car accident injuries, they would each pay $45,000.00, for a total damage amount of $90,000.00. 

Based on the Comparative Fault law, cases arising from a car accident in Texas can become complicated quickly, and it’s important to contact a Texas car accident lawyer immediately to help you navigate through these issues. 

The Texas car accident lawyers at CPM Injury Law know how these comparative negligence laws apply to your case, and will ensure that we build your Texas car accident case in a way that maximizes the percentages of fault against the responsible parties, to make sure you get adequately compensated for your car accident injuries. 

Car accidents in Texas can also be impacted by a legal doctrine known as “vicarious liability.”  In certain situations, liability can extend to people or companies beyond the negligent driver.  Vicarious liability comes into play when the negligent driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. In such cases, the employer may be held liable for the actions of their employee. The Texas car accident lawyers at CPM Injury Law make sure that all legal theories, including vicarious liability, are asserted to make sure your rights are protected following injury in a car accident in Texas. 

If you have been involved in a Texas trucking accident or a Texas Commercial Vehicle accident, it’s critically important to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer immediately.  If the driver of a commercial vehicle was negligent, the company that hired him may also be liable for your damages.   

Similarly, vehicle owners may also be held vicariously liable for accidents caused by someone to whom they entrusted their vehicle, provided the driver was operating the vehicle with the owner's permission and for regular use.  Some examples of these “negligent entrustment” cases include allowing an unlicensed driver to use a vehicle, or allowing a driver with a history of reckless and negligent driving actions to use a car.  In these instances, the owner of the car that allowed an unlicensed or reckless driver to use it can be held liable for all of the damages caused in the car accident.  

Sometimes, a car accident in Texas is caused in part by improper maintenance of the vehicle operated by a negligent driver.  For example, a company that fails to adequately repair the brakes of a person’s car may be held liable when the brakes fail and cause a Texas car accident.  

In addition to negligent maintenance of a vehicle creating liability on a company, a manufacturer of the vehicle or a component part of the vehicle may be held liable for a Texas car accident victim’s injury. 

For example, if Person A runs a red light, colliding with the Plaintiff’s vehicle and causing injuries and damages, but the Plaintiff’s injuries were made worse due to a faulty seatbelt component in the Plaintiff’s car, the seatbelt manufacturer and the negligent driver may both be held liable, based on their comparative fault in causing Plaintiff’s damages. 

Cases involving the negligent manufacturing or design of a vehicle are called “product liability” cases, and often result in claims for Texas car accident injuries being brought against the vehicle manufacturer and the negligent driver.  Like our initial example, the comparative fault of the manufacturer and the driver will be assessed by the Court, and each Defendant will be responsible for paying damages to Plaintiff in the amount corresponding to their proportionate responsibility. 

As you can see, car accidents in Texas can become complicated quickly. That’s why it is always best to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer immediately once you have been injured in a collision.

The Texas car accident lawyers at CPM Injury Law know how to establish liability against the at-fault driver, and know how to navigate the comparative negligence laws, to help you recover for injuries suffered as a result of a car accident in Texas.  The Texas car accident lawyers at CPM Injury Law, P.C., will thoroughly investigate your Texas car accident and analyze all of the circumstances surrounding the collision to ensure a fair outcome for you and your family. We have handled thousands of cases involving car accidents in Texas and are available at your convenience for a free consultation. Remember, we do not get paid unless we win your case!   

Being in a Texas car accident can be a traumatizing experience.  If you are in that situation, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at CPM Injury Law as soon as possible. We will guide you through the complexities of Texas' liability laws, ensuring your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Remember, timely action and proper legal representation can make all the difference in securing a favorable outcome after an auto accident in Texas.

CPM Injury Law, P.C. provides individuals injured through someone else’s negligence personally tailored legal services. Learn about your legal rights and resources below.Call (512) 371-6101 for a free consultation.