Posted in Car Accident on February 9, 2023
No one steps into a vehicle as a passenger and expects a routine ride to end in an accident, yet 15,764 accidents in 2021 alone ended in serious injuries to drivers and passengers in Texas. The aftermath of a car accident is a traumatic experience, but understanding your rights after a car wreck in Texas can be the first step toward physical and financial recovery. Texas is an at-fault state for car accident insurance and as a passenger, you are certainly not at fault. If you were a passenger in a vehicle and were injured in an accident, you have rights, including the right to compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
While a passenger in the vehicle is never at fault, every accident has a cause. Since passengers have the right to recover their damages after an accident, it’s important for their attorney to determine fault by examining the circumstances of the accident. The at-fault party’s insurance must cover your damages. A Texas accident attorney has the knowledge and resources to investigate a car accident to determine liability. Evidence includes:
- The police report
- Traffic camera footage
- Dash camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident scene photos
When necessary, a lawyer can also hire expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident scene and give a breakdown of events leading to the accident. Once it’s clear who was at fault in the accident—whether it’s the driver of the vehicle you rode in, another driver, or the city itself for a faulty traffic light or dangerous road condition—the next step becomes proving liability in order to meet the legal requirements and ensure your right to compensation for your damages as an unaccountable passenger in the accident.
Elements of Liability in Car Accidents in Texas
Showing liability in a car accident requires proving specific elements beyond being the party whose actions caused the accident. Proving liability so a passenger in a car accident can exercise their right to compensation includes showing the following:
- That the at-fault party owed others on the road a duty of care to keep them safe by following traffic laws and driving in a reasonably safe manner, or by maintaining roadways, traffic signs, and signals
- That the at-fault party breached that duty of care by acting in a negligent or reckless manner
- That the act of recklessness or negligence directly caused the accident
- That the accident resulted in real damages to the victim, including economic and non-economic damages
Once an accident claim meets the above criteria, the passenger injured in the wreck has the right to make a claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company to recover their damages.
What Damages Can I Recover as a Passenger in a Texas Car Accident?
As a victim in a car accident in an at-fault insurance state, the insurance company of the liable party must pay out on your claim for damages. Though insurance companies use common tactics to deny or minimize claims, a good San Antonio car accident attorney can help you to maximize your recovery of the following damages:
- Your medical expenses
- Future medical expenses if you have further treatment required for your car accident injury
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Diminished capacity for earning in the case of disability resulting from the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Other potential damages such as scarring, disfigurement, loss of consortium (the loss of ability to fully enjoy relationships such as a physical relationship with a spouse or the ability to support, guide, and enjoy fun activities with minor children), and emotional trauma
As a passenger in a car accident, you deserve justice and compensation when the actions of another cause you harm and your injuries cause financial concerns and detrimental changes in your life. Compensation can help you to move forward from the accident toward the best possible recovery.