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Houston Personal Injury Law Blog

What is 'proximate cause' in a Houston motor vehicle accident?

Regular readers of this bog may recall that we have previously dealt with the general subject of 'negligence' in several posts. We have done this because negligence is one of the most often used legal theories during personal injury cases resulting from motor vehicle accidents. We have explained that there are several elements of negligence that must be shown for a plaintiff to succeed in a lawsuit against a defendant. Among these are duty, breach, causation and damages.

We have previously touched on duty and breach, noting that to be liable for injuries to another, a person must have had a legal duty to do or refrain from doing something, and that that duty was breached in some way. We also published a post explaining that negligence causation is usually broken down into two components: direct or 'but for' causation, and 'proximate cause.' In that post, we dealt with direct causation, and that it basically means that the injury was, in fact, the result of the breach of the defendant's duty.

Houston motorcycle accident leaves one dead

Most Houston residents are aware that motorcycles can be more dangerous than other types of vehicles. Their small size can make them harder to see on the road, their narrower base makes them unsteady, and they lack the protection drivers of other vehicles enjoy. Still, many Texans enjoy riding, and the state certainly has its share of people willing to take those risks for the thrill of the ride. In most cases, motorcyclists believe that a terrible accident won't happen to them

Unfortunately, for one man, this belief turned out to be false. The 28-year-old was traveling north on I-45 when he collided with the rear of an SUV that allegedly suddenly braked in front of him. The accident occurred in the early morning hours near the Rankin Road exit. The man was taken to a hospital, but died there of his injuries shortly after admission.

Track crashes preventable

Injuries and fatalities from truck accidents are tragic, but it is even more alarming that 77,000 of these accidents could be prevented each year with existing technology. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety made this finding in its recent research.

Large trucks were involved in over 400,000 accidents in 2015, which resulted in 4,067 fatalities and 116,000 injuries. AAA discovered that crashes could have been prevented by installing new technologies to the trucks, including lane departure warning systems, video-based monitoring systems on trucks, automatic emergency braking systems and air disc brakes.

When does a motor vehicle accident constitute wrongful death?

Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride as a passenger, you are taking a risk. After all, crashes happen every single day across Texas. Most of these crashes result in minor injuries. Some result in serious, even permanent injuries. A few are fatal. These crashes can happen without warning, many times caused by a driver who is intoxicated, impaired, distracted or simply negligent.

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is one of the worst things a person can go through. It can be hard to accept that someone you loved is now gone. Motor vehicle accidents don't give you any time to prepare or come to terms with your loss.

What is 'cause in fact' in Houston negligence?

Houston drivers are likely aware that when motor vehicle accidents strike, lives can change in an instant. The aftermath of such crashes can result in terrible injuries, creating a situation in which a victim may need extensive, and expensive, medical treatment. Because of their injuries, the victim may be forced to miss time off work, with the resultant potential for loss of income. When an accident is caused by someone's carelessness on the roadways, it is possible that those injured have a legal cause of action that can be used in a claim to seek compensation for the injuries suffered.

Previously, we mentioned that the most common type of potential legal action is one for negligence. We also touched on what the basic elements for such a case are. Regular readers may remember that they are duty, breach, causation, and damages. A few weeks ago we took a slightly more detailed look at duty and breach, as the foundational element of a negligence claim. Today, let's discuss one aspect of another element: causation.

Many truckers are required to follow rest rules

Most Houston residents know intuitively that fatigued driving is not a good idea and can prove to be quite dangerous. In particular, the driver of a large truck hauling property through Houston while en route to another part of the country can wreak havoc on smaller vehicles should the driver fall asleep behind the wheel or just mentally doze off.

What some Texans might not realize is that these drivers are in all likelihood subject to certain federal rules, called the hours of service regulations or rest rules, which require them to take a break every so often. These hours of service regulations help prevent driver fatigue and therefore reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents, making the roads safer for everyone, including the drivers being regulated.

It's time to get serious about distracted driving

If you're driving on the road in a motor vehicle -- it doesn't matter how big or small your vehicle happens to be -- you are operating a heavy piece of machinery that's barreling down the road at a speed that poses a serious threat to anything in its path. You and your vehicle even pose a threat to pedestrians and bicyclists on the side of the road in the event that you lose control of your car.

It's because of the inherent dangers associated with operating a motor vehicle that every driver must keep his or her eyes on the road at all times. Drivers who distract themselves with food, conversations and smartphones are placing themselves, their passengers and everyone else on the roadway at serious risk of suffering catastrophic injuries or death in a motor vehicle collision.

Motorcycles encounter unique hazards on the road

Although summer is unofficially over, the weather is still warm and it is not uncommon to see motorcycles on the roads. While drivers in traditional motor vehicles have certain protections that we often take for granted, including seat belts, air bags and even the car itself acting as a shell to protect passengers in the event of an accident, motorcyclists have certain inherent dangers.

What is 'duty' in a Houston motor vehicle accident?

We previously explored the basics of the legal theory of negligence in Texas in the context of accidents involving commercial vehicles. The same idea generally applies, however, to actions involving injuries following any motor vehicle crash. To recover compensation for their injuries, the victim usually will attempt to show that the other party had a duty to the victim, breached that duty, and that the breach was both the direct and foreseeable cause of actual damage that occurred to the victim. Today, we'll take a look at this idea of duty.

A legal duty is the responsibility one individual or entity owes to another to either do or refrain from doing something. This duty can be either general or contextual. For example, a driver may have a general duty to obey traffic laws and signals. More specifically, a driver on a certain street on a rainy day has a duty to not drive so fast that they can't stop the vehicle before hitting the car in front of them, even if that speed is not in excess of the posted limit.

Back to school crashes: Avoiding college collisions

When students head back to college or go there for the first time, it means that hundreds of people still new to driving are converging in one place. According to the College Parents of America, around 70 percent of college-aged students have access to vehicles or own their own. That means that around seven out of 10 students could be driving on campus, resulting in congested roads and a risk for collisions.

Since the first year of college is a time where students may try to explore their options and find themselves, there's a high risk of students drinking and driving, driving while drowsy and making poor driving-related decisions. Statistics have shown that younger drivers are more likely to drive when they shouldn't due to being tired, distracted or drunk, which is a serious problem on a campus.

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