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Getting involved in a car accident is not unusual. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation has reported that over 634,000 traffic accidents occur each year in our state. As a result, the odds are good that you may be involved in a collision this year. What is less likely is that you will suffer two or more car crashes this year, but it does happen. The concern is whether your first car accident lawsuit can and will be held against you if you are involved in any subsequent ones. As any experienced car accident attorney will tell you, the unfortunate answer is yes. However, this will not preclude you from collecting for your injuries in a second accident. It will just make things more complicated.

Texas is an at-fault state and uses a comparative negligence standard

In Texas, in order to collect for your injuries in a car accident, you must prove that the other driver was at fault. This means that the other driver either acted recklessly or acted or failed to act in a manner that caused the accident.

In most cases, though, both drivers may have contributed to the circumstances that led to the collision. When this happens, the court, lawyers and insurance companies will use a comparative negligence standard to determine fault, as well as compensation. If it turns out that the other driver was primarily responsible, but that your actions may have contributed 25% to the odds of the accident occurring, then you will be able to recover an amount equal to 75% of your injuries and other damages from the collision.

If you have been involved in a prior accident, the attorney for the other driver will try to use this to prove that you were responsible. He or she will make the argument that your first accident shows you are a reckless or negligent driver. However, your attorney can use the specific facts and circumstances of the second accident to show that this is not true. If the two accidents were completely different, then the fact you were involved in a prior car accident lawsuit will be deemed irrelevant.

The evidence of prior accidents can also be used to reduce the amount you collect under the comparative negligence standard. The other driver’s lawyer will argue that the court should take into account your driving record, and that this should increase the percentage of your contributory negligence. If the other lawyer is successful, this could reduce the amount you are able to collect for your injuries in the second accident.

Pre-existing injuries

Another area where your prior accident may affect your ability to collect in a subsequent collision relates to pre-existing conditions. If you suffered a physical or mental injury as the result of the first accident, the attorney for the other driver may argue that you are claiming for an injury in the second accident that was actually compensated for by the first one. Here, there will need to be a review of your medical records to determine if you were already injured in the first accident. In addition, a determination will have to be made whether the subsequent collision exacerbated your injuries in the first one.

If someone has a pre-existing condition, it does not take the defendant off the hook. Like most states, Texas has an eggshell skull rule. This means that negligent parties are responsible for all of the injuries to their victims. So, if you had an injury in the first accident and it was made worse by the second one, then the other driver could be held liable for the amount that his or her actions impacted your pre-existing condition. This will come down to testimony from medical experts from your side and the other driver to show whether and to what extent your prior injuries were made worse.

If you are injured in an accident, call our firm today

When you are injured in a car accident, you will have more to deal with than just healing your body and fixing your car. You may also have to sue the other driver who was responsible for the collision. This becomes complicated when you are injured in a second car crash. Call Hernandez Sunosky LLP so our team of experienced car accident attorneys can assist you with the representation you need to get the compensation you require.