Car Accidents Are The Most Common Kind Of Motor Vehicle Accident
Nearly everyone knows someone, perhaps even a family member, who’s been in a car accident. Car accidents happen more often than any other type of motor vehicle accident, including large truck accidents and accidents involving motorcycles.
Statistics about motor vehicle crashes are collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and extensively analyzed. Each year the NHTSA releases a public report. According to the latest NHTSA data analysis, traffic accidents involved 9.4 million vehicles in one year. Almost 60 percent of these vehicles – 5.3 million of them – were passenger cars.
Taking Precautions For Safety
Residents use many methods of travel, and passenger cars of all makes and models are a popular mode of transportation. When a collision involves passenger cars, it is fortunate that these vehicles typically are outfitted with safety equipment like airbags.
Car occupants who fasten their seat belts and use approved safety seating for children are doing their part to make themselves and their children less likely to receive a serious injury in a crash.
Cars vary in their ability to withstand the forces of a collision. Safety agencies have found that in a car accident, the relative crashworthiness of each vehicle can determine how badly each vehicle is damaged and how seriously the driver and passengers are hurt. It makes sense to research crashworthiness when purchasing a car.
Negligence And Liability In Car Accidents
In spite of taking all reasonable precautions to avoid a crash, anyone could become involved in a car accident if another driver is negligent. A negligent driver is liable for the damages that happen as a result of the driver’s negligence.
In court, a judge or jury will decide a driver was negligent if these elements have been proven:
The driver had a duty to use reasonable care to avoid hurting anybody.
The driver failed to exercise reasonable care.
The driver’s failure to meet the duty of care resulted in an accident.
There was the harm that actually resulted from the accident.
It is vitally important to conduct a thorough investigation after an accident in order to find the facts that will prove each of the elements of negligence.
The first element is usually easy to prove because generally, anyone who is operating a vehicle has a duty of care that a driver assumes when getting behind the wheel. The other elements must be backed up by the specific facts of each accident.
When More Than One Driver Was Negligent
Texas law recognizes a contributory negligence standard. That means that in car accident cases, the judge or jury will evaluate whether each driver who was involved was negligent and helped cause the accident. The relative percentage of fault is calculated for each driver.
Suppose an accident involved two drivers, driver A and driver B, and the jury finds driver A 40 percent responsible for the crash and driver B 60 percent responsible. The driver who is less responsible, driver A, can recover damages for death or injury from the driver who is more responsible, driver B. Driver B cannot recover any damages.
The damages that are recoverable will be limited. In our example, driver A will receive a 60 percent damages payment; the payment is reduced by the percentage of driver A’s responsibility for the crash.