• May 19, 2017

Debra Valles, Josefa Hartnett Injured in Alpine, TX, Accident

Alpine, TX -- May 18, 2017, Debra Valles and Josefa Hartnett were injured following an accident where they were struck by a pickup.

Authorities from the Alpine Police Deprtment received the call at around 11:40 a.m. to come to the intersection of East Holland Avenue and North 4th Street.

According to preliminary details, 43-year-old Valles and 65-year-old Hartnett had just left B's Day Spa and were crossing the street to get to their nearby vehicle. As they did so, a pickup driver failed to see them crossing and crashed into them.

Both women sustained injuries that were said to be non-life-threatening. They were transported to hospitals for treatment, one via helicopter.

Police indicated that the pickup driver was not paying attention to the roadway, but also that the women were crossing in an unprotected area. No charges or citations have been filed at this time.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Reports I've read on this accident indicate that police have put all three people partially at fault--the driver, Ms. Valles, and Ms. Hartnett. If reports are accurate, this could very well be the case. When accidents like this happen, our firm often gets calls asking about how a case with these details might work out. Situations like these can be very complex when trying to determine who is liable for the damages resulting from the accident. Ultimately, it all comes down to what the proximate cause of the accident is determined to be.

Let's say, for example, that two cars are driving along the road, one in front of the other. The front vehicle hits its brakes, and the rear vehicle is driving too fast to stop in time and crashes into the back of the other vehicle. The front vehicle driver files a claim against the rear vehicle driver, and the case goes to a civil trial. In the process of that trial, it's determined that the defendant (the rear-vehicle driver) was speeding at the time. However, it is also determined that the plaintiff (the front vehicle driver) did not have working brake lights despite several warnings from authorities.

Now in this case, the jury is asked to determine what the proximate cause of the damages is--in other words, whose actions were most responsible for the damages. Was it the defendant's speeding, or the plaintiff's lack of brake lights? Each side's legal team gives their evidence and arguments to try and make their case. In Texas, if the jury determines that the defendant is at least 50% at fault for the accident, then they are responsible for 50% of the awarded damages. However, if the plaintiff is found to be mostly to blame for the accident (i.e. 51% at fault), then the defendant is off the hook and the plaintiff's claim is essentially void.

Like I said, when everyone involved in an accident shares the blame, it is up to the evidence that is gathered and presented by each person's legal representation to convincing the necessary parties that their client was not the proximate cause of the accident. In other words, whoever has the most experienced attorney and the well-presented case is more likely to win.

--Grossman Law Offices

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