Austin Passenger Negligence Attorney
Have you recently been injured in a car accident in Austin, TX? Did a passenger’s negligence cause or contribute to the crash? Contact Lorenz & Lorenz for immediate legal assistance and advice. Your ability to recover compensation might be in danger. We can help you fight to protect it and work to get you all of the money you deserve.
To learn more, simply contact our Austin car accident lawyers to arrange a free personal injury case evaluation. We’ll listen to your side of the story, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have. It’s important to act quickly, so call our law firm now.
Why Should I Call an Austin Personal Injury Attorney If I’ve Been Injured Because of a Negligent Passenger?
Sometimes passengers can cause accidents, too. If you’ve been injured because your passenger was negligent, you need to discuss your rights and legal options with an attorney. Why? You might be blamed for an accident that’s not your fault. If that happens, you might be financially responsible for someone else’s injuries AND be barred from seeking compensation of your own.
But, you don’t have to let that happen. Lorenz & Lorenz can help you defend yourself and seek damages from your negligent passenger. Our award-winning Austin personal injury lawyers have more than 19 years of experience helping crash victims across the state. And, thanks to our tenacity and attention to detail, we regularly secure substantial settlements and awards for our clients.
If you’ve been injured because your passenger was negligent, we’ll help you prove it. Then, we’ll help you navigate an injury claim and recover the compensation you deserve. How? By:
- Listening closely to your side of the story to find information and details that can help us along the way
- Launching a thorough investigation into your auto accident in Austin
- Determining how your passenger was negligent and, in turn, caused or contributed to a collision
- Identify other potentially liable parties and work to hold them accountable, too
- Find evidence to disprove beliefs that you caused or are wholly responsible for the accident, and
- Handle negotiations with your passenger, insurance companies, and other parties.
We’ll do our best to prepare arguments that help you secure a swift and significant settlement. However, our trial lawyers will be more than ready to go to court, if necessary. We’ll be ready to do whatever we can to get you the results you deserve. End of story. To learn more, call now.
What is Negligence?
What exactly is negligence? What does it mean when someone is accused of being negligent? Negligence basically means that someone (the defendant) failed to exercise an appropriate level of care and now, as a result, another person (the plaintiff) has gotten hurt.
A lot of car accidents in Austin are a consequence of driver negligence. Speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving are all examples of negligent driving behavior. There, drivers aren’t exercising the level of care that’s necessary to keep others safe. When an accident happens and someone gets hurt, the drivers can be held legally responsible for their negligence.
What’s Involved in Proving Negligence?
Negligence has four different elements. For an injury claim to be successful, each of these elements must be established.
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- Breach: The defendant failed to uphold or satisfy this duty of care in some way
- Injury: The plaintiff has suffered an injury (physical, emotional, and/or financial)
- Causation: The defendant’s actions (or lack thereof) caused the plaintiff to get hurt.
In other words, the plaintiff has to prove that they’ve gotten hurt because the defendant was careless and put them in harm’s way.
Now, it’s important to understand that drivers aren’t the only ones who can be negligent and cause harm. Passengers can be negligent, too.
Examples of Passenger Negligence
Drivers assume a duty of care when they get behind the wheel. They have to pay attention, follow local traffic laws in Austin, and drive safely. Why? To avoid creating a situation that puts themselves or others in danger. You might not know that passengers assume a duty of care when they get in the car, too. Passengers also have to act in a way that doesn’t put others at risk of injury. When a passenger engages in conduct that makes an accident or injury more likely, they might be considered negligent.
Here are some examples of conduct that might be considered passenger negligence:
- Putting their feet on the dashboard or hanging them out of the window
- Throwing objects out of the car
- Throwing objects at the driver
- Placing their hands on the steering wheel
- Covering the driver’s face or eyes while the car is in motion
- Causing the driver to divert their attention from the road while the car is in motion
- Encouraging someone to drink and drive
- Obstructing the driver’s view or ability to see, or
- Engaging in conversation with the driver in a way that takes their focus off of the road.
Whether or not a passenger’s conduct rises to the level of negligence is subjective. It will depend on the specific circumstances and factors of a particular case. However, generally speaking, a passenger might be considered negligent if their actions (or lack thereof) contribute to a crash in Austin.
Why It’s Important to Establish Passenger Negligence
Drivers are typically blamed for car accidents in Austin. You were driving, so you’ll probably be the first one who is suspected of causing a crash. Passengers are usually overlooked. However, there are times when passengers contribute to or cause accidents. When this is the case, it is critical to make sure that this is established. Why?
- If you’re blamed, you’ll be financially responsible for other people’s injuries and damages (including your passenger’s); and
- If you’re blamed, your ability to recover compensation for your injuries will be reduced or barred.
So, if your accident happened because of something your passenger did, it’s really important to prove it. And, Lorenz & Lorenz is prepared to help you do that.
We’ll carefully investigate the crash. We’ll dig deep to uncover evidence to establish the cause. This might include video surveillance footage, photographs, or witness statements. It might even require enlisting the help of some accident experts along the way. Once we have the proof we need, we can begin to craft a legal claim that proves that your passenger – not you – caused the accident. IF successful, we can divert the blame away from you. This, in turn, will free you from liability and give you the right to pursue compensation of your own.
Sometimes Fault For a Car Accident in Austin is Shared
What happens if you and your passenger both share some of the blame for a crash? It’s still really important to shift as much blame away from you as possible.
Texas has modified comparative negligence rules. Basically, you can recover compensation as long as your proportionate responsibility is no greater than 50 percent. Once you’re primarily responsible, you forfeit the right to seek damages.
And, your ability to recover compensation will also be affected if you share less than 51 percent of the blame. Your damages will be reduced to reflect your role. If you’re allotted 30 percent of the blame, your damages will be reduced by 30 percent. At the same time, you’ll be on the hook for 30 percent of other victims’ damages, too.
You’ll want to minimize your role in the accident. The best way to do that is by having an experienced Austin accident attorney take the lead on your case. Lorenz & Lorenz will work diligently to downplay your contributions and, in turn, allow you to recover as much money as possible. The money you’re awarded can help to cover medical bills, make up for lost wages, compensate for your pain and suffering, and more.
How Long Will I Have to File an Injury Claim in Austin?
If you’ve been injured in an Austin car accident because your passenger was negligent, you might be entitled to compensation. If insurance isn’t an option or if your damages exceed what an insurer will pay, you might want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, you’ll have to make that decision quickly. The statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in Texas is two years.
If you don’t file your claim on time, you’ll forfeit the right to recover compensation from your negligent passenger or other at-fault parties. This is why it’s often critical to enlist the help of a qualified lawyer after an accident. Call Lorenz & Lorenz. We can help you understand your rights and fight to get the money you deserve for your injuries.
Austin Passenger Negligence Lawyers Here to Help You
Have you been in a car accident in Austin because your passenger was negligent? Whether you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, a rideshare driver for a different company, or were driving a friend of yours, contact Lorenz & Lorenz for immediate legal assistance. We can help you prove that your passenger caused the accident, and not you. This will be critical if you want to avoid liability and secure your right to recover compensation for your injuries.
We offer a free consultation, so give our Austin law office a call to arrange yours today.