Austin Vehicle Accidents Lawyer
In any type of motor vehicle, when an operator fails to use “reasonable care,” and causes a crash, they can be liable for his passengers’ and other parties’ losses.
Federal, state, and local laws are designed to keep motorists safe on the roads. Driver education and licensing requirements prepare people for the responsible operation of a motor vehicle, and insurance helps protect them in the event of car accidents. But laws that apply to other types of transport – all-terrain vehicles, boats, or motorcycles, for example – are less strict, and that creates questions about liability when a crash occurs.
In any type of motor vehicle, when an operator fails to use “reasonable care,” and causes a crash, he could be liable for his passengers’ and other parties’ losses. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident as a result of someone else’s carelessness, you might be entitled to compensation. Call an Austin traffic accidents lawyer at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm today at (855) 414-1012.
Vehicle Accidents in Texas
An Alarming Trend
Each year, nationwide, ATVs cause an estimated 100,000 injuries. These vehicle injuries occur mostly in rural areas, among white men between the ages of 18 and 30, but children – who account for only 15 percent of ATV riders – account for 27 percent of ATV injuries and 28 percent of deaths, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
In February 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released the 2013 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries. While the CPSC is still collecting figures for 2013, preliminary statistics show that between 1982 and 2013, 716 ATV-related fatalities occurred in Texas. Of that number, 135 occurred between 2010 and 2013, which shows how much more common these accidents have become over time.
Some factors that may increase the likelihood of ATV crashes are the age of the operator, overloaded vehicles, a lack of safety training, and operating an ATV on public roads. The design of ATVs may also contribute to an increased risk of rollover accidents, as these heavy, powerful vehicles can be difficult to control at high speed.
In January 2015, following six months of litigation, an ATV manufacturer offered a settlement to the family of a woman killed in an ATV crash. Her vehicle had flipped while she was riding it and crushed her. The woman’s family claimed the ATV “was not reasonably crashworthy” or “reasonably fit for unintended but clearly foreseeable accidents,” as reported by The Southeast Texas Record.
Defining ‘Reasonable Care’
When a court attempts to determine the cause of a crash, it will evaluate the parties’ “reasonable care” – that is, the degree of caution and concern shown for themselves and others that would be expected of any rational person.
If a court finds someone did not exercise reasonable care, that person is considered negligent, and therefore liable for some or all of the other parties’ damages.
The court may find that more than one party is liable for an auto accident and will assign a percentage of fault, as appropriate. An injured person may still be awarded damages, provided his share of the blame is less than 50 percent.
Texas courts show that in 2014, 74 percent of all injury or damage cases filed in the state involved a motor vehicle. That’s the highest number of such cases in the past 35 years. The large volume of cases could cause delays for injured people hoping for a quick resolution of their claim.
Some behaviors that could constitute a breach of reasonable care include:
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while distracted or drowsy
- Texting or talking on a cell phone
- Using a vehicle for an unintended purpose (such as driving a golf cart on a highway)
- Operating a poorly-maintained vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident don’t wait – call us today at (855) 414-1012 for a free consultation.