Most people know that personal injury law allows car accident victims to pursue compensation for their injuries. However, unless you're intimately familiar with the ins and outs of personal injury law, you may not know about the various laws that can affect the outcome of a car accident case. When exploring your legal options after an accident, make sure to ask your attorney if any of the following laws apply to your particular case.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a strict legal time frame that dictates exactly how long an accident victim has to file a lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, such as car accidents, is just two years. This means an accident victim must file his lawsuit within two years of the date the accident occurred, or risk forfeiting the right to pursue a legal remedy for injuries.
Statute of limitation laws are notoriously rigid, but there are a few things that can pause—or “toll”—the ticking clock. If the victim was a minor or not mentally competent at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations may be extended.
Dram Shop Laws and Social Host Liability
Dram shop liability laws were passed to discourage bartenders and business owners from serving alcohol to customers who were already intoxicated by holding them legally responsible for injuries caused by the over-served party. For example, if you were hit and injured by a negligent driver who was on his way home from a bar, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, as well as a dram shop claim against the bar or bartender. Dram shop laws can also apply to social hosts who continue to serve visibly-intoxicated guests.
Laws Prohibiting Texting and Cell Phone Use
Texas doesn't have a law banning texting and cell phone use while driving. However, that doesn't mean that motorists can drive with these distractions without incurring consequences for their actions. As of 2016, more than 60 Texas cities have passed laws that prohibit texting and cell phone use while on the road. As a result, if you were texting or talking on the phone at the time of your accident, you may be held at fault.
Additionally, it's important to note that statewide, Texas disallows texting and cell phone use for certain segments of the population. For example, it's illegal for motorists to use hand-held communication devices in school zones, and new drivers and school bus drivers cannot text or make calls while driving.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
Seat belt laws can also affect the outcome of a car accident personal injury case. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, but weren't wearing your seat belt at the time, the amount you can receive in damages may be reduced. Seat belt evidence has been admissible in Texas personal injury cases since February 2015.
Likewise, Texas law requires children to be restrained in an appropriate car seat device while the car is in motion. If your child was injured in an accident because he wasn't properly restrained, this fact may affect the outcome of your car accident case.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you suffered a car accident that was caused by another person's negligence on the road, you may be interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, before taking legal action, it's important to understand all of your options, as well as all of the factors that may affect the resolution of the case. Discussing the details of your case with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you ensure that you're on the right track.
The skilled legal team at McGartland Law Firm has extensive experience handling personal injury cases just like yours, and can help you fight for whatever compensation you deserve. Complete our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.