Determining Liability in a Failure-to-Yield Accident

Car accidents cause a high number of injuries and deaths each year. The Texas Department of Transportation reported 15,843 serious injuries from crashes and 3,610 deaths in 2019 alone. Determining liability is a necessary step for an injured car accident victim who wishes to recover compensation. When a car accident occurs due to someone’s failure to yield, determining who is responsible requires an understanding of Texas’ yield laws.

What Are Texas’ Right-of-Way Laws?

Yielding refers to stopping or reducing one’s speed to allow another person – the person with the right-of-way – to proceed. In general, if a driver does not bear the right-of-way, he or she will be responsible for yielding to others until he or she does have the right-of-way. Several statutes in the Texas Transportation Code control when a person does and does not have to yield to other roadway users.

  • Section 544.010. This statute says that, unless otherwise directed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, a driver approaching an intersection must make a full stop and yield the right-of-way to any driver that has approached the intersection first. A driver must yield to any vehicle that is close enough as to constitute an immediate hazard.
  • Section 545.155. This law states that any vehicle entering a highway from a private road must yield the right-of-way to vehicles already on the highway.
  • Section 545.156. If an emergency vehicle with its audible and/or visual signals engaged approaches another vehicle, the driver of the nonemergency vehicle must yield. The driver must immediately move as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible, stop and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed.
  • Section 551.101. This law holds that unless specifically stated otherwise, all the laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to bicyclists. Therefore, when a motor vehicle driver is expected to yield, so is a cyclist.
  • Section 552.001. According to this law, pedestrians must yield to oncoming drivers that constitute an immediate hazard, even if they bear the right-of-way. Pedestrians must also yield when they do not have the right-of-way, such as if a traffic-control device is signaling for the pedestrian not to cross.

If a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian breaks a right-of-way law in Texas, that party will most likely be liable for a related car accident. Failing to yield when state law mandates doing so is a moving violation as well as a breach of the driver’s duty of care. A duty of care is a legal responsibility all drivers have to obey traffic laws and reasonably prevent accidents. Breaching a duty of care will typically make someone liable for a resultant car accident in Texas.

Can Both Parties Share Fault?

Two (or more) parties can share fault for the same car accident in Texas. The law presiding over these cases is known as Texas’ law of proportionate responsibilities. As long as the injured party is less than 50% responsible for the accident in question, he or she can still recover at least a portion of an award. The amount will be reduced, however, by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.

How to Prove Liability in a Failure-to-Yield Accident

If you’ve been injured in a failure-to-yield accident in Texas, hire a San Antonio car accident attorney to help you prove your case. Obtaining compensation for your injuries will require proof that someone else caused them by failing to yield the right-of-way. Proof could take the form of eyewitness accounts of the accident, police report information, photographs and crash reconstruction.

You or your lawyer will need to establish that the other driver negligently failed to yield and that this is more likely than not what caused your car accident. A lawyer can help you gather enough clear and convincing evidence to meet this burden of proof. Then, your lawyer can defend you against a shared fault allegation to help you maximize your financial recovery.

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