If you were in a car accident involving another vehicle, your first thought may be to blame the other driver for what happened. However, many motor vehicle accidents have more than one at-fault party. Here are a few of the parties that may be liable for your accident.
The other driver
If the other driver acted negligently behind the wheel, they may be at-fault for your accident. As the operator of a motor vehicle, the other driver owes a duty to others to operate his or her vehicle responsibly and in accordance with the law. A violation of traffic laws is considered a breach of duty. If this breach of duty caused the accident and your resulting damages, the other driver may be liable for negligence.
Common forms of driver negligence include:
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection
- Running a red light
- Following too closely behind another vehicle
- Driving at an excessive rate of speed
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while distracted
The owner of the other vehicle
The owner of the other driver’s vehicle may be liable if he or she negligently entrusted the vehicle to the other driver. For example, the owner may have been negligent if they allowed the other driver to operate the vehicle knowing that the driver did not have a valid license.
The employer of the other driver
If the other driver was driving a vehicle while within the course and scope of their employment, their employer could be liable for the driver’s negligence under the theory of respondeat superior. However, if the other driver was using an employer vehicle for personal use or while off-the-clock, the employer may not be liable.
You may have also acted negligently behind the wheel and therefore may be partially at-fault for your own accident. However, in Texas, a modified comparative fault state, you can still recover damages from other parties if you are less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. Your damages will be reduced in accordance with the fault apportioned to you by the jury. For example, if you are found to be 40 percent at-fault, you may only recover $60,000 of your $100,000 in awarded damages.