The Four Elements of a Successful Auto Accident Injury Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Many times, UI/UIM claims ultimately end up being civil court cases, though the route can be quite circuitous. We’re taking a moment to share a brief overview of what it takes to win any personal injury lawsuit. There are four elements to proving injuries against a defendant. You must clearly demonstrate your charges are true and appropriate. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below, we’ll briefly discuss each of these four elements so that you will have a better idea of what it will take to prove that you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries.
Duty: The first charge your un/underinsured auto accident attorney will make is establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The defendant must exercise a certain level of caution to prevent you from getting hurt while you drove down the street, safely minding your own business. Texas Civil Codes and Procedures set the standard of the duty of care that a person or organization owes to another. Duty depends on the circumstances of the situation in-question that are considered within the relationship of the parties involved.
Breach: The next step is proving that the duty was breached. Usually, plaintiffs and their attorneys must clearly show that the defendant drove in a way that a reasonable person would not have driven. Proving that the defendant breached his duty of care is typically done when you and your attorney present evidence to remove any doubt about what the defendant did or failed to do that caused the car wreck. Offenses such as speeding recklessly, driving at night without headlights on, running through red lights, driving while intoxicated, and more can constitute a breach of the defendant’s duty of care, even if they may not have been legally charged for these offenses in criminal court.
Causation: You must now clearly demonstrate that the defendant breached his duty of care to you through some form of negligence. But the defendant will deny causation (a term used in proving a breach of duty). Often he will argue “unforeseeable circumstances” such as other drivers, pedestrians, or even you were the actual cause of the wreck, This is the defendant’s last stand if he or she hopes to wiggle out of being held liable for your damages. So how do you disprove the defense? It’s up to you and your auto accident lawyer to prove your accident claim, or the defendant is off the hook. It’s essential to have sufficient evidence produced by your attorney’s investigation of the accident to disprove any defense that is thrown at you.
Damages: The final “leg” is proving your damages and asking for just compensation; the specific amount of money you are entitled to collect from the defendant for your legal damages. Damages are the actual sum of money the defendant owes you for medical bills, pain and suffering present lost wages, and the loss of future earning capacity if you are disabled. Also, the repair or replacement bills for your auto and items of worth destroyed in the wreck. To prove what you’re entitled to collect, you’ll need to calculate what you’re owed and provide evidence of your injuries and losses to support your damage claim.
Determining the full amount of damages is as crucial as the other three burdens of proof because the amount of damages can be relative and open to defendant interpretation. Computing every single loss can be challenging unless you have an experienced uninsured/underinsured car accident attorney who knows the value of your losses from auto accidents and how to calculate them effectively. The personal injury lawyers at our Texas Law Firm know how to account for and calculate every one of your accident claim damages, and make doubly-certain that you recover as much as possible for your injuries.
The auto accident lawyers at our Law Firm have effectively handled car accident litigation for decades. We’ve won favorable verdicts and settlements against nearly every major auto insurer in the state. Insurance companies recognize our name. The reputation that precedes us is beneficial in securing special attention to our client’s claims from these insurers. Our goal is to make sure that you recover as much as possible from your injuries and make this sometimes complicated legal process as easy as possible for you.
Put our years of experience to work for you. Know your rights, how to proceed with your claim, and how much compensation you can secure from your auto injury case. Call our Law Firm now at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you recover the full fair value of the damages you have suffered through the negligence of another driver.
Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Texas represents people who have been injured when their all-terrain vehicle (ATV), dirt bike or other off-road or off-highway vehicle (OHV) did not perform properly due to a design or manufacturing defect which caused serious personal injury or wrongful death to the rider or passenger.
Texas has miles of trails and roads for the ATV enthusiast. When operated with proper care, these vehicles provide fun and recreation. However, a defective machine may roll over, tip over, flip over, pitch forward, or fall backward on hills or inclines, when encountering a rock or depression, or in a sharp turn. ATVs can weigh several hundred pounds and can cause serious injuries in an accident, including fractures; head, neck and back injuries; traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries; crushing internal injuries; and wrongful death.
ATVs and Products Liability Law
ATVs are supposedly designed for all types of terrain, as their name implies. Moreover, they are specifically marketed, often to minors, for recreational use on, particularly rugged and difficult terrain. They should therefore not tip over easily if they are properly designed and manufactured and used appropriately.
One aspect of product liability law that is often particularly applicable to ATV accidents is the duty to provide adequate instructions for safe use and conspicuous warnings about known dangers when using the vehicle. Instructions should be clear and easy to understand, and warning notices should be well-marked on the vehicle itself where appropriate as well as provided on any vehicle packaging and documentation.
Some OHV or off-road vehicles are street legal and others are not. Cars and trucks driving the roads and highways near wilderness areas should be particularly attentive to ATVs entering or leaving the road. An ATV on the road will likely be traveling at a slower speed than other vehicles on the road, and misjudging this differential can be disastrous, especially to the rider. ATV riders should of course be aware of these dangers as well and should not drive their vehicles on the road where unsafe or prohibited by law. A negligent ATV rider can injure him or herself off the road as well as hurt others by causing a crash on the road. Passengers on ATVs can be injured by negligent operators, who can also collide with other ATVs when driving carelessly or recklessly.
Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in an ATV accident due to another negligent driver or a defective vehicle, Trust us for Justice to help you recover compensation for your damages from the responsible party. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents of all kinds. In the Texas area, contact our Personal Injury Law Firm to find out how we can help you.
The Attorneys at our Texas Law Offices Help You Understand What to do After a Car Wreck
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you must be aware that some would deny you fair injury compensation. A car accident can be a minor fender bender in a mall parking lot. Or they can be destructive wrecks that cause devastating injuries and deep scars, physically and psychologically, on the lives of the unlucky drivers, passengers, and by-definition, their families.
Whether your accident is minor, moderate, or more serious, and if the accident is not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for the financial, physical, and emotional injuries you suffered from it. But it is impossible even to guess, much less compute, the amount you may be entitled. The damages you have a right to seek depend on the circumstances and the injuries you have suffered from the wreck.
The Texas car accident attorneys at our Law Firm want to share some general information that applies to most car accident cases. We also wish to help you understand if you have a valid claim against those who may have caused the accident and explain how an insurance policy can affect your chances of winning just compensation. We’ll also explain the circumstances in which hiring a car accident attorney can greatly benefit your case. And finally, we will illustrate the things you should look for when selecting a vehicle accident attorney who can best assist you with your case.
The Process of Winning Accident Injury Compensation and How to Build a Winning Case
With hundreds of thousands of vehicle accidents happening every year, it’s a certainty that eventually, you or a family member will be involved in one. But how do we know whether or not we have a successful personal injury case against a defendant who should reimburse us for our injuries and other legal damages? Most of the time, an accident victim has a legal right to collect money for his injuries by proving the four elements of a car accident claim in court. Since all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the burden to you, the injured plaintiff. You must prove you are owed damages by the defendants who only have to deny and disprove your claim.
There are four elements to proving injuries against a defendant, and you must demonstrate your charges are correct. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below, we’ll briefly discuss each of these four elements so that you will have a better idea of what it will take to prove that you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries by a negligent driver.
To have a successful car accident claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed you a specific duty of care. Duty of care is defined by whether a reasonable person, under the same circumstances, could have anticipated that their action or inaction would have caused injury to another person. All people have a legal duty to avoid causing harm to another person. Sometimes a duty of care is pretty clear cut. A generally accepted example of duty behind the wheel is this: At a red light, you have must stop. A reasonable person in the same circumstances would be able to see that not stopping at the red light could cause an injury to the driver who has the right-of-way. Other times the duty of care can be more challenging to define because it can depend on the mitigating circumstances surrounding the accident and the injury. We’ll share a few examples of these possible exceptions shortly.
The next step is to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care he or she owed you. To prove this, you have to clearly show that the defendant acted unreasonably and didn’t adequately perform his duty as a driver. To confirm that the defendant breached the duty of care, you must have clear evidence to show what the other driver did or did not do to cause the accident. A jury will examine this evidence and the other facts in the case to decide whether the defendant’s actions were reasonable (or not) under the circumstances. Some examples of behavior that might be considered unreasonable include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, rolling through stop signs, improper lookout (the driver didn’t look for your car and went through an intersection or carelessly changed lanes on a freeway), or driving without headlights in the dark, just to name a few. Of course, all of these examples are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you can prove that the other driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances, then you have shown the jury that the defendant clearly breached his duty of care and acted negligently.
Once you show that the defendant breached the duty of care to you, you must next show causation. You must prove that the breach by the defendant was the cause of the vehicle accident that produced your injuries. Many times, to avoid liability for your injuries, the defendant will try to shift the responsibility of the accident to someone else. They may say another driver, a pedestrian, or even you forced them to react, leading to the mishap to get out of paying for your injuries. They might claim “unforeseeable circumstances” such as a homeless person stepped in their path and forced them to hit you, to their toddler threw a bottle of apple juice at them, which caused the accident. Maybe it happened, perhaps it didn’t. If the defendant can convince the jury that a third party’s unforeseen actions caused the accident, he might not have to compensate you for your injuries. To prove causation, you must show evidence that proves the person responsible for the accident, and your injuries is the one who is liable for legal damages.
Once you’ve proven the negligent defendant caused the breach of the duty of care he owed you while he was behind the wheel of his auto and then hit you, it’s time to demonstrate how much you are entitled to collect from the defendant for your legal damages and hand him the bill in court. “Damages” is the legal term that describes the amount the defendant owes you for your injuries. You will need to prove to the jury that the injuries the defendant caused have a specific dollar value and that you have calculated them reasonably. To prove the damages you sustained, you have to show the court evidence of your losses as a result of the injuries caused by the defendant.
While you and your car accident attorney are busy crunching numbers to establish your damage amount, the defendants are also doing the very same thing. They call it “totaling up the losses” (or what they will argue are the losses, and their number is certainly lower than yours). Damage amounts are almost always the most contentious issue in a car accident case. Defendants often claim that they owe you much less than you’re asking. They might accuse you of asking for a handout by saying your requested amount is far higher than traditional payouts, or that your suit is frivolous. Some sly defense attorneys may compare your damage suit to a winning lottery ticket as they ask for relief. So you must clearly show the jury that your requested damage amount is realistic and proportional to the actual harm done to you and any of your vehicle’s passengers who might have been in the car at the time of the accident. This is usually good news, as arguing over the damage amount is often the last stand of a guilty defendant who is throwing himself at the mercy of the court. You must finish your case strongly: with clear evidence that illustrates your losses and substantiates the sm total of your damages.
Determining the full amount of damages is as crucial as the other three burdens of proof since you have only got one chance at receiving compensatory damages from any single negligent defendant. You don’t get a second bite at that apple. But computing every single loss can be challenging unless you have an experienced attorney specializing in vehicle injury accidents who knows the value of personal injury losses and how to calculate them effectively.
How do you put a price tag on an intangible loss such as pain and suffering, or that of your child?
In calculating the loss of earning capacity, how do you account for hypothetical raises and promotions you would have received had you continued to work, or gotten a promotion, or were hired away by another company at double your current salary? How can you calculate how much all of your medical bills will amount to if your treatment is not yet complete, and your doctor can’t tell how long it will last? The Texas auto accident lawyers at our Law Firm know how to account for and calculate every one of your damages, and make sure that you recover as much as possible for your injuries.
Call us today. One of our accident injury attorneys will patiently listen to you, analyze your case, and explain your options. Our goal is to make sure that you recover as much as possible for your injuries and make this sometimes complicated legal process as easy as possible for you to bear.
The period after a car accident is often stressful and confusing. Don’t add to it and the confusion it creates by letting an inexperienced attorney handle your case or represent yourself when you are unqualified. With decades of experience, we are uniquely qualified and fully prepared to get you the best results possible. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, contact an attorney at our Texas Law Firm today at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.