Brian White | June 4, 2023 | Car Accidents
High-beam headlights are useful under certain circumstances. When another vehicle is nearby, however, the use of high beams can constitute negligent driving that can cause a car accident. When this happens, you should seek full compensation from the at-fault driver by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Using High Beams With Oncoming Traffic
Using high beams with oncoming traffic is one of the deadliest mistakes a driver can make. The worst-case scenario is obvious: a head-on collision. The fatality rate of head-on collisions is one of the highest for any type of accident because its force arises from the combined speed of both drivers.
Tailgating Using High Beams
Tailgating using high beams can blind you every time you check your rearview mirror. This is important since you need to constantly monitor a driver who is tailgating you. Tailgating using high beams also comes across as an attempt to initiate conflict. The victim of such an encounter might turn into a perpetrator by intentionally slamming on their brakes and thereby initiating a “road rage” crash.
Using High Beams in Fog and Heavy Precipitation
Some inexperienced drivers don’t realize that turning on your high beams in fog and heavy precipitation can reduce visibility rather than enhance it. Such drivers might accidentally blind themselves, resulting in an accident.
The Elements of a Houston Negligence Injury Claim
To win a negligence claim arising from the other driver’s inappropriate use of high beams, you must prove the following “elements” of your personal injury claim:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. As long as the defendant was a driver on a public road at the time of the accident, proof of this element is almost automatic.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. Inappropriate use of high beams, if you can prove it, certainly constitutes a breach of the defendant’s duty of care.
- You suffered a personal injury. A “good scare” is not enough to win a personal injury lawsuit.
- The defendant’s inappropriate use of high beams is what caused the accident that injured you. This might turn out to be the most difficult element for you to prove.
You must prove each one of the four foregoing elements of a negligence claim by a “preponderance of the evidence” (more likely than not) basis.
Negligence Per Se and Texas Statutory Law
Negligence per se is a shortcut to proving negligence that excuses you from having to prove negligence in the manner described above. A driver is negligent per se (automatically negligent) if they break a safety statute while driving.
However, this automatic negligence does not result in automatic liability. Negligence per se becomes liability if (and only if) it causes personal injury to someone else. Normally, that requires the driver to cause an injury accident.
The Texas statute of the use of high beams prohibits the use of high beams:
- On lighted roads;
- In fog, heavy rain, snow, sleet, or dust;
- When approaching traffic is within 500 feet; and
- When following another car that is within 300 feet ahead.
A police citation for the inappropriate use of high beams can greatly help another driver establish negligence, if applicable to the case.
Texas Wrongful Death Claims
If someone dies in an accident caused by the inappropriate use of high beams, certain close family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action. In a wrongful death lawsuit, family members seek damages for their own financial and emotional losses arising from the death of the victim. In some cases, the estate executor can file a lawsuit. Damages can be substantial, given that a human life was lost.
Do You Need a Houston Car Accident Lawyer?
Fender-bender accidents often do not rise to the level of seriousness that justify the use of a lawyer. Accidents caused by the inappropriate use of high beams, however, are often far more serious than fender benders. You are likely to need a Houston car accident attorney to assist you in settlement negotiations and possibly trial.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054