One of the reasons I love living in Texas is how nice people are. And I grew up in Nashville where folks were just as friendly.
Most of us drive responsibly and even go out of our way to help others get around.
But should there be a limit to our Southern hospitality if it endangers others?
What if a driver is slowing down for a red light and another driver signals to turn left. After Driver 1 waves Driver 2 across and he darts across, Driver 3 crashes into 2’s car. Which of the three people caused the collision to happen?
Multi-vehicle cases can be difficult. I just settled a lawsuit when my client was driving on a busy road at night in the rain. A young woman claimed that she was waved through and was therefore not responsible for causing the collision. I took her deposition, made her admit that she was in fact responsible, and successfully resolved the lawsuit.
This tactic of blaming other drivers is often raised in-car accident cases.
Blaming other drivers not valid defense
The driver who relies on other drivers is usually held to be at fault since he has a legal duty is to be aware of his surroundings. This duty cannot be delegated to another motorist.
Our roadways are designed to help us navigate safely on our own. Drivers have no obligation to help out other motorists and when they do so, they may be found liable if a car wreck results.
This is based on the voluntary undertaking doctrine. This applies when one who undertakes, gratuitously or for payment, to render services to another which he should recognize as necessary for the protection of the other’s person or things. He is subject to liability to the other for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to perform his undertaking. Restatement (Second) of Torts, 324A.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by another motorist, you have grounds for a civil suit. However when third parties are involved, voluntary undertaking can muddy the issues.
There are four things someone must prove in court to establish negligence:
- The other driver undertook to perform services that he knew or should have known were necessary for the other’s protection;
- The driver failed to exercise reasonable care in performing those services;
- The injured person relied upon the defendant’s performance and
- The driver’s performance increased his risk of harm.
Driving is the most dangerous activity we do. And while it may be refreshing to see a friendly wave from a fellow motorist, you should never proceed until you confirm for yourself that the coast is clear.
What you can do
A serious car, truck, or motorcycle accident can change your life forever. And any crash will cause you injuries, financial problems, and stress.
At Berenson Injury Law, we fight aggressively to help you get the money you need to rebuild your life and pay your damages.
Call us at 817-885-8000 (toll-free at 1-888-801-8585) or contact us online to discuss your case in a free no-obligation meeting or conference.