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What Determines Who is at Fault in a Traffic Accident?

In Texas, just as in all the other states, there is a set of official rules which dictate how you are supposed to drive. Anyone with a Texas driver’s license is undoubtedly familiar with many of these rules, yet many people violate them intentionally and accidentally every day.

When an accident occurs, the insurance companies will look at the circumstances of the crash to see if one of the drivers is obviously at fault. For example, if one driver runs a red light, they are almost always at fault for the crash. In other accidents, however, fault is not immediately obvious. In these cases, fault will be determined by the rule of negligence.

What is Negligence?

In the context of a car accident, negligence refers to a failure to use ordinary care on the part of either driver. In our previous example, running a red light would be considered negligent behavior. Although this is fairly easily understood, proving negligence in court is far more complicated.


To prove negligence in an accident, you must first prove that the other driver had an obligation to use an ordinary standard of care. Essentially, this is the degree of care which a person of ordinary prudence would use given similar circumstances. Drivers have an implied obligation to remain safe on the road, and the Texas Transportation Code clearly defines this responsibility, so this is generally easy for an attorney to prove.


After you’ve defined what ordinary care is for the circumstances of your accident, you must then prove that the other driver failed to use ordinary care. This is where things can get tricky. In our red light example, the other driver was clearly not acting in the same way that a person of ordinary prudence would act. If both cars merged into each other, however, proving that the other driver acted negligently can be much tougher.

Hurt in a Car Crash? Call 512-982-9328 Today!

Proving negligence is just one small part of a personal injury claim. If you’ve been injured in a car or truck accident, call the experienced Austin personal injury attorneys at FVF LLP. We proudly stand for the rights of injury victims, and will work tirelessly on your behalf when you retain our firm. We understand that life after an accident can be very stressful, so we don’t charge you a cent until, and unless we win your case.

Don’t settle for the first check the insurance company sends you. Call our firm today for your free case evaluation.



Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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