Proving Another Driver’s Failure to Yield in an Accident

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Failure to yield cases in Texas constitutes a significant portion of automobile mishaps, often leading to complex legal confrontations and liability disputes. Despite the clarity of laws, failure to yield the right-of-way remains a persistent issue, resulting in collisions that range from minor fender benders to catastrophic multi-car accidents. Navigating the aftermath of such incidents requires a clear understanding of Texas traffic statutes, as well as a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

Proving that another driver failed to yield to you on the road can be an important factor in insurance claims and legal cases following a traffic incident. To legally establish that the other driver was at fault, you should consider the following steps:

  • Collect Evidence at the Scene:
    • Photographs and Videos: If you can safely do so, take pictures and record videos of the scene, including the positions of the vehicles, traffic signs, and signals.
    • Witness Statements: Get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the incident and are willing to provide a statement.
    • Police Report: Call the police to the scene so that they can create an accident report. This report can be crucial evidence, as it will contain the officer’s assessment of the accident and may include a determination of who was at fault.
  • Traffic Laws:
    • State and Local Laws: Review the state and local traffic laws that pertain to yielding the right of way. These laws can be used to support your claim that the other driver was required to yield to you. In Texas, the vehicle on the right generally goes first if there are no stop signs. Under Texas law § 545.151(d), drivers approaching a roadway without a light must stop and yield to the vehicle on the immediate right or a vehicle approaching from the right that is a hazard in the intersection.
    • Traffic Signals and Signs: If there were traffic signals or signs, these would define who had the right of way. Evidence that the other driver ignored or disobeyed these can be used to establish fault.
  • Dash Cam Footage:
    • If you have a dash cam, save and secure the footage that captures the incident.
    • If the incident occurred in a place where there might be surveillance cameras (like near shops or traffic cameras), you may try to secure that footage as well, although this may require a legal request.
  • Get Legal Advice:
    • Consult an Attorney: An attorney can provide you with advice on how to proceed and can help you gather evidence and present your case. They can also represent you in court or in settlement negotiations if necessary.
    • Legal Action: If the case goes to court, your attorney will present your evidence and argue on your behalf. The court will then determine fault based on the preponderance of evidence.
  • Insurance Companies:
    • Notify Your Insurer: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. They can also undertake their own investigation into the accident.
    • The Other Party’s Insurer: If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, be cautious about what you say. It is often best to speak to an attorney before giving a statement.
  • Documentation:
    • Medical Reports: If you were injured, medical reports can support the seriousness of the incident and the impact it has had on you.
    • Keep a Record: Maintain a file of all correspondence, receipts, and records relating to the accident.
  • Use Technology:
    • Reconstruction Experts: In some cases, accident reconstruction experts can be hired to analyze the evidence and create a reconstruction of the incident to show who was at fault.

It is important to act promptly, as there are usually statutes of limitations that apply to traffic accident claims, meaning you have a limited time after the accident to initiate legal proceedings. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is generally two years from the date the accident or injury occurred. Additionally, evidence can be more difficult to secure as time passes, and witness memories can fade.

Takeaway

Since every accident is unique, and the remedies available depend on the specific facts of the case and the laws of your jurisdiction, consulting with a personal injury attorney is extremely useful. Ceja Law Firm, PLLC has experienced attorneys who can help you understand your rights and options. We can provide an initial complimentary consultation to help you decide if you would like to use our services. Reach out to our office today.

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.