Who Is Liable if Evasive Driving Leads to a Car Crash in Texas?

photo illustration telling drivers to put their phone downEvasive driving is considered a reasonable response to a potential road hazard. As a driver, it is more than that. Taking steps to avoid causing harm to others is also part of your legal duty of care. However, what if you take evasive driving actions and it leads to a crash? Could you still be held liable?

That is a tricky question. In this article, Anderson & Cummings discuss more about evasive driving, including different situations that could cause drivers to be held liable for their actions or non-actions.

Need legal help following a collision? Our experienced vehicle crash lawyers in Fort Worth have the resources and staff to help. We work tirelessly every day to help ensure our clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their damages.

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When Might You Need to Take Evasive Driving Actions?

As a driver, you may need to take evasive actions in a number of circumstances. With so many vehicles on the road, you cannot know when another driver’s negligence could require you to make split-second decisions to try to avoid a crash.

Some familiar situations where you may need to take evasive action include:

  • Reckless drivers who cut in front of you
  • Distracted drivers who suddenly slam on the brakes
  • Drowsy drivers who nod off and swerve into your lane of traffic
  • Drivers who break the law by cutting across your lane to turn right
  • Negligent drivers who make sudden turns without signaling

Staying alert and driving defensively can help you prevent a crash by giving you more time to react. Looking away from the road for even a second could be the difference between avoiding a collision with another vehicle or driving down the road without incident.

What If Your Evasive Driving Actions End Up Causing a Crash?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may not have sufficient time to avoid causing a crash. However, this is where things could get tricky. Even if another driver, such as a driver who swerves into your lane of traffic, caused the crash, the liable insurance company will try to shift blame to you.

As the injured victim in a car crash case, the burden of proving your claim is on you. This is exactly why you want a knowledgeable attorney working on your side. We know how to dispute insurance company arguments and work diligently to ensure you are not unfairly assessed with liability.

If Anderson & Cummings handles your case, we will thoroughly investigate the crash scene and gather evidence on your behalf.

Your Actions Prior to the Crash Matter

The insurance company has a different objective after a car crash involving one of their policyholders, which is to limit the amount of compensation paid. To accomplish this, they will also examine the crash scene with the primary goal of finding evidence of negligence on your part, such as:

  • Failure to follow state and local traffic laws, signals and signs
  • Ignoring posted speed limits
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Failure to consider the road and/or weather conditions and adjust your driving accordingly

If they find your actions contributed in any way to the crash, they can reduce what they have to pay you by the percentage of your fault.

Failure to Take Evasive Actions Could Make You Liable for a Crash

If a driver fails to take any evasive actions and a crash occurs, he or she could be held at least partially liable for the damages. For example, say a car suddenly cut in front of you but you did not hit the brakes to even try to stop.

In those circumstances, you could be assessed with faulty evasive action because you did not apply your brakes or take other reasonable steps to avoid a crash.

Can I File a Fort Worth Injury Claim if I Am Found Partially at Fault?

In Fort Worth, as in all of Texas, we operate under a modified comparative fault rule. This law applies when at least two drivers are involved in a collision and both of them share a percentage of fault.

How Modified Comparative Fault in Texas Could Impact Your Claim

Under this law, a driver can be up to 50 percent at fault for a crash and still be eligible to seek some compensation to cover their losses. That said, drivers are still responsible for their percentage of the damages. This means that their percentage of fault will be deducted from any compensation they are awarded. If a driver is 51 percent or more at fault, however, he or she cannot recover any compensation at all.

How Can You Prove Another Driver Caused You to Take Evasive Driving Actions?

Crash cases involving one driver having to take evasive actions are rarely straightforward. Going back to our earlier example of a driver swerving into your lane. If he or she did not hit any vehicle, including yours, it can be challenging to prove that individual was the cause of your crash. That is unless that individual pulls over and gives a statement about his or her involvement. More likely, the swerving driver will continue on down the road, as if nothing had happened.

Your best hope in that situation is to try to get something about that driver or his or her vehicle that can help police identify them. If that does not pan out, then you would have to look to other evidence to help prove your claim.

Evidence that could support another driver caused you to take evasive action include:

  • Surveillance or dashcam footage: Obviously, this is the strongest evidence as it is very hard to refute
  • Credible witness statements: These statements could come from a pedestrian bystander, a business owner or another driver. A witness may also have captured the other driver’s license plate and other vital details.
  • Crash scene evidence: The location and extent of vehicle damage could lend insight to how a crash occurred.
  • Police report: First responders will investigate your crash and document their findings, providing an objective assessment of your crash
  • Photos: Any photos you can safely capture (do not put yourself or others at risk ever) could prove useful to your claim
  • Seek legal help: As with any type of crash, having a knowledgeable and skilled attorney handle your claim can improve your odds of recovering compensation for your damages.

Involved in a Crash Despite Taking Evasive Action? Call Our Law Firm To Discuss Your Situation

At Anderson & Cummings, we have handled many types of crash cases. Our legal team knows what evidence is need to prove your case and, more importantly, how to get that evidence. We have the staff and resources to build a solid claim on your behalf, giving you the peace of mind you need.

After this or any type of crash, we strongly encourage you to seek legal help as soon as possible. Delays could limit your ability to recover compensation. There are state deadlines that apply and your attorney also needs time to properly prepare your case.

We are here to help, and there are no upfront costs to pay. Learn if you have legal options by requesting a free case review. Then, if you have a case and choose our firm, we can get to work on your behalf to recover full and fair compensation for your damages.

Experienced Lawyers. Working for you. Call (817) 920-9000 today.

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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