Here are the laws that govern Texas car accident cases:
Most clients are surprised to learn that there is not a set of Texas laws called "car accident law." There's no such thing. Car accident case are based on an amalgamation of law from several different sections of Texas law. In this article, our Texas car accident attorneys will explain which laws car wreck cases are built upon.
Questions answered in this article:
- What laws govern Texas car accident cases?
- How do these laws apply to my accident?
- Is there one place I can look to learn all of this?
There are actually several different types of law that apply in a car accident case.
As mentioned above, recovering compensation for your damaged property, medical bills, economic and emotional damages in a wrongful death case are determined by interpreting a wide spectrum of Texas law. Potentially, your attorney will need to interpret and apply Texas' Insurance Code, Property Code, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Texas' Wrongful Death Act, the Texas Rules of Evidence, and Texas common law in proving that the responsible party owes you damages for your injuries. Here is how each of those subsections of the law apply to your case:
- Texas Common Law
If you don't understand several basic common law concepts, it'll be tricky for you to know what to expect in your case. Here's a quick primer on how common law works. Generally speaking, almost all personal injury cases are based on the common law concept of the negligence cause of action, which is a fancy way of saying that virtually all injury claims are based on the notion that you can sue someone whenever they are obligated under the law not to hurt you but they hurt you anyway. Common law concepts are not developed by elected officials down in Austin. Instead, they are developed by judges. When a case covers some new topic or reinterprets and old topic, precedent is set, and it applies to all similar cases in the future. This concept is at the core of common law. The main thing you need to understand about common law is that it is not then divided into "car accident injuries" and "baseball bat injuries" and "injuries caused by dogs," etc. Instead, we have a general common law rule that says you can be sued if your carelessness hurts someone you were not supposed to hurt, and this general principle gets applied to all manner of injury cases. As it gets applied to specific cases, new precedent is set, and this pattern continues forever and ever. The point to be made here is that the main legal mechanism by which car accident cases are decided is ever evolving and not written down in any section of code. The only way one is to understand all of the important cases that make up the common law is to continuously educate oneself by reading new cases as they come to pass. This is precisely why lawyers are in demand; that's what we do. Even though most of the case hinges on your lawyer's understanding of ever-evolving legal principals, there are also concise sections of codified law that have been created by our state's elected officials. If common law is the frame upon which your car accident case is built, these codified laws are the windows, doors, and walls. Important, sure, but they're essentially meaningless without the frame.
- Property Code
Texas's Property Code is helpful in recovering damages for your property damages in your car accident case. Essentially, the Property Code dictates the terms by which you can recover compensation for the value of your property.
- Texas Wrongful Death Act
In the tragic event that someone's spouse, parent, or child died in a car accident due to another driver's, car manufacturer's, or auto shop's negligence or reckless conduct, the Texas' Wrongful Death Act may allow the surviving family members to recover compensation for the financial hardships that you've suffered as a result of your loved one's death in addition to the mental distress you've suffered.
- Civil Practice and Remedies Code
Simply put, Texas' Civil Practice and Remedies Code is the set of laws that is specifically devoted to lawsuits. Even though it's common law principals that serve as the mechanism by which you file suit, the CPRC is what sets the rules with respect to how you do so. It outlines the timelines, any limits on compensation (when applicable), who has standing to sue, etc. A good way to explain the difference between common law and the CPRC would be to say that common law legal concepts say when you can sue and the CPRC says how you can sue.
- Texas Insurance CodeThe Texas Insurance Code outlines the complex duties insurance providers owe both their clients and accident victims in a typical car accident case. Insurance is a tricky thing in that state lawmakers must balance an insurance carrier's right to due process for their insured with the desire of citizens to get paid for their injuries and property damage quickly. As you can imagine, if the laws are too plaintiff-friendly, the insurance carriers suffer by having to pay on unjust and frivolous claims. If the laws are too insurance-friendly, then insurance carriers can deny and delay compensation that should be paid. Though the pendulum swings back and forth over time, the current state of insurance law in Texas is that insurance carriers are given a great deal of latitude to fight you.
- Texas Rules of EvidenceTo add to the complexity inherent Texas car accident cases, the facts of your case can only be used to prove your claim if they're presented in a way that it complies with the stringent formalities of the Texas Rule of Evidence. The Texas Rules of Evidence are complex, and many inexperienced lawyers don't know how to understand them, let alone leverage them to their advantage. Most lawyers only develop the skill necessary to apply the Texas Rules of Evidence in car accident cases after practicing for decades. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have represented car accident victims like you in Texas' courts for twenty five years, and we know what it takes to make sure that the jury hears what really happened in your car accident case.
With all these laws at play, you need an experienced Texas car accident attorney.
As you can see, obtaining compensation for a car accident victim's injuries can be a difficult and complex endeavor. To best ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries, you should contact our experienced car accident attorneys at Grossman Law Offices. Our attorneys leverage all their 25 years' experience when pursuing our clients' claims.
If you've suffered moderate to severe injuries in a Texas car accident, you should contact our attorneys for a free consultation regarding how they can help you begin the heeling process. Our attorneys invite you to call them anytime, day or night, at 1-855-326-0000.
Related Articles for Further Reading:
- A "Play by Play" Breakdown of a Car Accident Case
- Wrecks Involving Out-of-State Vehicles
- Do I Really Need a Lawyer?