Important Elements You Must Prove in Order to Win Your Texas Rollover Accident Injury Lawsuit
Rollover accidents can be very harmful to anyone riding in a car that flips, and the cost of the injuries inflicted tends to rise with the severity of the wreck.
If someone else has caused your car to rollover, you're already coping with the physical harm you've sustained. You shouldn't be forced to shoulder the financial burden as well. Thus, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries sustained in a rollover wreck or for the loss of a family member through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. However, some other party must be to blame for the accident. In order to succeed with such an action, you're going to have to prove the negligence and liability of the party who caused your car to roll over. We want you to understand exactly what that entails before you begin your pursuit of damages for the harm that has been done to you.
Proving the Negligence of the Liable Party
In order to establish that you have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim after you've been physically hurt or a family member has perished in a rollover accident, you must be able to prove the following requisites for the liable party:
Duty - When you're driving a car, you have a duty to operate your vehicle with reasonable care to avoid hurting others, and so do all of the other drivers on the road. However, there are other duties that could affect a rollover accident claim. The manufacturer of the car has the responsibility of selling a car that is not defective and a danger to roll over, and the maker of the tires also has a duty of supplying a product that functions properly. The Texas Department of Transportation (on a highway) or the local city or county (for side streets) has the duty of maintaining roads that are safe for travel and do not unreasonably cause rollover accidents. In the event of an 18-wheeler rollover, the company that loaded the cargo is responsible for making sure that it was adequately secured and doesn't cause a rollover by shifting during transit. Also, the mechanic charged with vehicle maintenance holds the duty of properly servicing the vehicle to prevent accidents.
Breach - Next up, you must be able to prove that a party breached its duty to you in some way. There are two types of breaches: a negligence per se breach and a common law breach. Someone commits 'negligence per se' by breaking a law. For example, when someone violates the speed limit and causes a wreck, then this is negligence per se. On the other hand, a common law breach occurs when someone fails to do what a reasonable person should be expected to do in a given situation, and an example would be if a city allows a street to remain in deplorable condition that could cause a rollover.
Causation - Besides proving that the defendant breached a duty, you must be able to show this breach caused your rollover accident either directly or indirectly. If the driver of the car in which you were riding sped around a corner, and the car rolled over, then the speed was a de facto cause of the accident. With a common law breach, establishing the causal link can be more difficult. When Ford had to recall some Explorer models in the 2000s, there was a minor legal battle between the automaker and tire manufacturer, Firestone, about whose negligence was causing an extraordinarily high rate of rollover accidents. Eventually, tests showed that the problem wasn't the Firestone tires themselves that was causing these wrecks but the instructions Ford gave owners about recommended inflation levels. In some cases, proving causation won't be easy. We recently litigated a rollover accident case in which a truck came speeding up behind our client and clipped the rear bumper of her SUV, causing the vehicle to roll over. The defense argued that his truck had not hit our client's car, so there was no causation. By interviewing eye witnesses, we were able to demonstrate that there was contact between his truck and our client's SUV, allowing us to establish causation.
Injury - Once you've shown that someone else's breach of duty has caused your rollover accident, you need to show that your injury resulted from this accident. While this might seem easy to do, especially if you were taken to the hospital and treated immediately after the accident, the defendant may try to argue that your injury was a preexisting condition.
When attempting to prove duty, breach, causation, and injury against a negligent party, the defendant is likely to use the possibility that someone else caused the accident - a responsible third party. If you were driving the car, then the defendant will likely attempt to show that you either caused the accident or contributed to its cause. If the defendant can get the court to accept the possibility of someone else's contributory negligence for the accident, then it can limit its liability. The court will only hold the defendant liable to the degree it was determined to have caused the rollover.
In order to make sure the party who caused your accident is brought to justice and made to pay damages, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced rollover accident attorney. At Grossman Law Offices, our lawyers have been litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases involving car accidents for more than 20 years. Thus, we can give you an excellent chance of proving duty, breach, causation, and injury and then countering the defendant's protests of contributory negligence by another party. If you'd like to learn more about what we can do for you, then call us today for a free consultation at (855) 326-0000 (toll free).