If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering whether or not you have grounds to sue the other driver. Under what conditions are you eligible for a settlement? Your chances of winning compensation go up significantly if your auto accident lawyer can demonstrate that the other driver broke at least one driving law in the moments before the crash. In this article, you will learn about some laws that are commonly broken in Houston, TX.
9 Commonly Broken Driving Laws That Can Result in a Settlement
Speeding is estimated to be the cause of 1/3 of the accidents on the road today. Speed limits are intended to make sure drivers have enough time to react to unexpected contingencies and accommodate other drivers. Often times, accidents occur as the result of speeding combined with other infractions, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
2. Impaired Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offense that is taken very seriously by Texas courts. A DUI can result in criminal sentencing, including jail time, heavy fines, and license suspension. In a civil lawsuit, an impaired driver may be ordered to compensate you for your losses in addition to paying punitive damages.
Some forms of evidence that can help you prove that drugs or alcohol played a role in your accident include:
- The police report
- A positive breathalyzer or drug test
- Testimonies from people who saw the other driver drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel
3. Distracted Driving
Some studies have shown that driving while distracted can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. The human brain is not made for multitasking, and allowing one’s attention to stray from the road can easily result in driving errors. Some of the most common forms of distracted driving include:
- Using a mobile device
- Listening to music, dancing, or singing
- Trying to apply makeup or adjust one’s appearance
- Reaching for an object that has fallen into a footwell
- Watching a video
On a related note, fatigued driving is another major concern. All drivers are encouraged to take frequent breaks on long trips and plan their schedules to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
4. Texting While Driving
Technically, texting while driving is a form of distracted driving. However, this offence is so common that it deserves to be discussed in its own section. Texas laws prohibit the use of any handheld device while driving, although voice-to-text is still allowed.
If you suspect that the driver who hit you was texting at the time of the accident, your auto accident lawyer may be able to subpoena his or her phone records as evidence. If any bystanders saw the other driver looking down at his or her phone moments before the crash, they may be able to testify on your behalf.
5. Illegal Maneuvers
Intentionally breaking the rules of the road can be tempting when one is stressed or in a hurry. While it’s not surprising that many Texas drivers habitually make illegal U-turns, block intersections, run stop signs, and perform other illegal maneuvers, any of these infractions can result in a personal injury claim.
Sometimes, drivers break the rules of the road unintentionally. For example, a driver might forget to use his or her turn signal when commuting through a residential neighborhood at the end of a long day. Negligent drivers who cause injury can be held legally accountable for their actions regardless of whether or not they intend to break the law.
6. Failure to Account for Road Conditions
Many people don’t realize that speed limits and other driving laws are contingent on ideal road conditions. According to the law, drivers must adjust their behavior according to the weather, the surface of the road, and any other factors that could make driving more dangerous.
Failure to account for road conditions could lead to an injury and result in a lawsuit. For example, imagine that the speed limit is set at 40mph. A driver traveling at that speed may be found guilty of breaking the law if a crash occurs. The plaintiff could argue that, given the road conditions, the other driver should have been driving slower than the limit allowed in ideal weather.
7. Road Rage
Along with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, road rage is an egregious behavior that could incur punitive damages. Punitive damages are an aspect of sentencing that is available to judges and juries who feel that the defendant should be punished for acting irresponsibly. Road rage is defined as intentionally violating traffic laws, using a vehicle with the intent to harm, or exhibiting violent behavior.
While not considered as egregious as road rage, aggressive driving can be grounds for a personal injury claim as well. Aggressive driving can include verbally threatening another driver, using inappropriate hand gestures, tailgating, cutting cars off, and expressing frustration in other ways.
8. Failure to Grant Another Driver the Right of Way
Numerous car accidents take place at intersections, which tend to be areas of confusion. Not all drivers understand the principles that determine right of way, making them ill-prepared to navigate an intersection safely.
Determining who goes first if two cars reach an intersection at the same time can be challenging. Statistically, some of the most dangerous intersections involve more than two roads. If your accident occurred at an intersection, your attorney might suggest that you look for surveillance footage. By reviewing a video of the crash taking place in real time, you might be able to clearly identify the other driver’s error.
9. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
All drivers are responsible for the upkeep of their vehicles. While a faulty car part may be the result of an oversight on the part of the car manufacturer, it could also be due to the owner’s failure to maintain the vehicle. Driving with an expired inspection sticker can incur a lawsuit if the vehicle is involved in a crash.
Your lawyer can help you determine if the crash was caused by a negligent driver who failed to perform routine maintenance or a faulty car part. In the latter case, you may be eligible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Either way, your lawyer will advise you on how to seek maximum compensation from the correct party.
Learn More About Driving Violations From an Auto Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
Car accidents happen unexpectedly, often causing immense damage in fractions of a second. You may be unsure as to whether or not the other driver broke any driving laws. A personal injury attorney can review the details of your case with an experienced eye that is trained to catch any violations. To set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 713-597-3873.
When you need a lawyer who will investigate your accident and fight for your right to collect compensation, our legal team is there to support you. We understand how disruptive car accidents can be, and we stop at nothing to hold negligent drivers responsible for the damage they cause. To discuss your case with our experts, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC.