While an angry motorist will occasionally strike someone on purpose, car accidents are usually just that: accidents. As such, most car accident victims must demonstrate mere negligence in order to recover compensation for their damages.
If you think you have grounds for a personal injury claim on the basis of negligence, here’s what you’ll have to prove for your case to yield a payout:
1. A Duty of Care
When you pull out into traffic, you assume a duty of care to those on the road around you. In that same vein, the motorist who struck you also had an obligation to take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.
In most cases, the official police report will prove this duty. As long as the crash occurred on a public road and you were not traveling in the wrong direction or otherwise doing something that negated the driver’s duty to you, you should be able to proceed with your claim.
2. A Breach of Duty
After establishing that the liable motorist had an obligation, you’re going to have to demonstrate how they failed to meet it. The strongest evidence of the breach will come down to the circumstances surrounding the crash, but it will probably include some combination of the following:
- Dash camera footage;
- Surveillance recordings;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Toxicology reports;
- Cell phone records;
- Photographs of the wreckage;
- Maintenance records; and
- Vehicle schematics.
To be eligible for compensation, you’re going to have to prove how the other driver’s negligence—and, subsequently, the collision that occurred—was directly responsible for the damages you suffered. This generally starts with presenting medical records, which can link the accident in question to your injuries. If there’s any doubt over causation, your legal team may also ask medical experts to speak on how your condition is consistent with the impact.
You must have incurred actual losses as a result of the motorist’s breach of duty. In Texas, recoverable damages include medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, alternative transportation, domestic help, and home and vehicle modifications. You can demonstrate such losses using bills, receipts, and records.
Claimants are also entitled to seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairment. Naturally, proving such damages poses a bit of a challenge. Because they’re intangible, they’re not accompanied by any documentation.
Thankfully, there are a couple of widely accepted ways to prove their legitimacy. For example, insurance adjusters—or judges and juries, when claims go all the way to court—will usually accept personal journal entries, psychological evaluations, photos of visible scarring and disfigurement, and statements from friends, loved ones, and colleagues who knew the victim prior to the accident.
Speak with a Houston Car Accident Attorney
If you were hurt in a wreck and you need help proving negligence, turn to Chelsie King Garza, P.C. Backed by nearly two decades of experience, this strategic attorney is well-versed in tort law. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer in Houston, call 713-893-8808 or complete her online contact form.