Liability in Texas car crashes is generally governed by negligence principles. Negligence refers to a party’s failure to act in a way that an ordinarily prudent person would act under the circumstances to prevent an unreasonable risk of harm. Under Texas law, the elements of a negligence claim are: 1) a legal duty owed by one person to another; 2) a breach of that duty; 3) damages; and 4) proximate causation of the damages by the breach of duty.
The standard of care one person owes another depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as the relationship between the parties. Generally, the standard of care refers to the care and diligence that an ordinarily prudent person would use to prevent injuries under the circumstances. Therefore, a plaintiff must show that a defendant did something (or failed to do something) that a person exercising ordinary care would not have done under the circumstances.
In car accident cases, in order to hold another driver liable, a plaintiff must show that the driver was negligent and also that the other driver’s negligence proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Proximate cause refers to both the direct cause of the damages and the foreseeability of the damages. In cases involving more than one negligent driver, each driver is jointly and severally liable for the resulting damages.