Common Negligent Activities in Car Wrecks

Driving without fuel

The personal injury attorneys in San Antonio have seen all manners of accidents. Often time drivers are unaware of the rules of road and what activities can subject them to a negligence lawsuit. Whether someone is speeding, driving too slowly, driving with defective equipment, driving while intoxicated, hasn’t secured their cargo, hasn’t maintained fuel, parked in a dangerous area, or drag racing, Major Law Firm car crash attorneys can help.

When you drive a motor vehicle you have a duty to exercise ordinary care as not to endanger the safety of other who may be using the highway. What is ordinary care? The law defines ordinary care as the degree of care that would have been used by a person of ordinary prudence under same or similar circumstances. This is the same standard that applies to children who are over 14 years old unless the child is suffering some mental deficiency.  

Depending on the driver’s conduct, exemplary (or punitive damages) may be awarded. If Plaintiff shows by clear and convincing evidence that her harm results from “malice” or “gross negligence” then Plaintiff is entitled is exemplary damages.  What is malice? Malice is defined as a specific intent by the defendant to cause substantial injury or harm to Plaintiff. Gross negligence means an act or omission that, when observed from the standpoint of the defendant involves an extreme degree of risk considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others. For example, merely speeding is not enough to support an award of exemplary damages. Other factors must be present. The jury when deciding whether to award exemplary damages will consider the conditions and circumstances of defendant’s conduct.  

A driver’s duty to exercise due care extends to people who may reasonably be expected to enter the zone of danger. This includes others on the roadway such as drivers, pedestrians, passengers and people who attempt to rescue an accident victims.  

Improper stopping or slowing  
A driver must exercise reasonable care in the slowing or stopping of a vehicle. If a driver slows or stops in a manner that endangers others, then they can be held liable. Plaintiff may recover if Defendant stops too suddenly without giving an appropriate signal or stops in an unsafe place. This is because defendant can be liable for failing to use reasonable care to alert other motorist to the presence of the vehicle.  

Driving with defective equipment  
If defendant knows that his vehicle is in a defective condition and he can reasonably foresee that the continued operation of the vehicle may cause an accident, then defendant can beheld liable. Also, if the defendant knows, or by the exercise of ordinary care should know, that the vehicle has defective equipment, the defendant can be liable for negligence.  

Intoxication 
Intoxication by itself does not constitute negligence however a jury may consider a person’s intoxication when deciding if a defendant is negligence. Evidence of intoxication has been held admissible when there was additional evidence of speeding or erratic driving. Some trial courts have treated driving while intoxicated as negligence per se. Under the negligence per se doctrine, courts define negligence according to a statutory standard of conduct. Texas Penal Code § 49.04 defines driving while intoxicated. The statue prohibits a person for operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Chapter 49 of the penal code contains intoxication offenses for example Texas Penal Code § 49.08 intoxication manslaughter.  If you want to learn more about intoxication offenses click here.

Securing cargo  
A defendant has a duty to secure cargo being carried by the vehicle. This includes trailers and items stored on top of the vehicle. A defendant must secure the cargo in a way that prevents the cargo from falling off the vehicle and causing injury.  

Maintaining adequate fuel
 A defendant has a duty to maintain an adequate supply of fuel. Failing to keep enough vehicle with enough fuel can subject a defendant to liability when the car causes an obstruction of traffic resulting in injury.  

Drag racing 
It is unlawful for a defendant to drive or participate in a drag race on a highway. If a defendant participates in a drag race then it constitutes negligence.  

Unsafe vehicle movement  
Defendants are required to signal their intention whenever the operator turn the vehicle, changes lanes, starts from a parked position, or stop the vehicle. Texas law requires that a turn signal must be given continuously for 100 feet before the turn. If a defendant does not signal for at least 100 feet before a turn is negligent per se.  

Unsafe Turning  
§ 545.103 of the TransportationCode prohibits unsafely turning vehicles. If a defendant does not exercise reasonable prudence when turning, then the defendant was negligent. Transportation Code § 545.101 makes it illegal for a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in the proper position on the roadway.  

Following Too Closely 
Texas law prohibits following a vehicle too closely. A defendant must maintain a clear distance between two vehicles, exercising due regard for the speed of the vehicles, and traffic. A car must be able to stop without colliding into a vehicle or veering into another vehicle. 

Passing on the Right  
Texas transportation code § 545.057(a) prohibits passing on the right of a vehicle when the vehicle to be passed is making or about to make a left turn, on a road with unobstructed pavement free of parked vehicles that is wide enough for two or more lines of traffic in each direction, on a one-way street or on any roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement. 

Passing on the Left 
A driver is required to pass a vehicle at a safe distance and may not cross back to the right side of the road until safely clear of the vehicle. According to Tex. Transportation Code § 545.054(b) when passing on the left side of the road, the overtaking vehicle must return to the authorized lane before coming within 200 feet of an approaching vehicle. It is also illegal to drive on left side of the road when it is marked as a no passing zone, when approaching within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad or approaching within 100 feet of any bridge or tunnel.   

There are plenty of negligent activities that can supply the basis of your recovery. If you have been injured in an accident and someone committed one of these acts, call the Major Law Firm’s personal injury attorney to discuss your personal injury case. All of our cases are taken on a contingency basis therefore you do not have to pay any money upfront. In all of our cases you do not owe anything unless we recover on your behalf.