Court Discusses an Insurer’s Liability for Collisions Under Texas Law

Generally, people seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident will name the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the collision as a defendant. Other parties may be deemed liable as well, however, if the judge or jury finds that their actions contributed to the plaintiff’s harm. Recently, in Elephant Insurance Company, LLC v. Lorraine Kenyon (No. 20-0366), a case of first impression, the court addressed the issue of whether an automobile insurer could be deemed liable for a fatal collision that occurred while its insured was taking photographs of another crash per its directive. If you suffered losses due to a collision caused by someone else’s negligence, it is prudent to speak to a Texas car accident lawyer to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the insured was involved in a single-car accident. The insured’s spouse arrived at the scene of the collision and, per the defendant automobile insurer’s instruction, began taking photographs of the car and roadway. While doing so, he was struck by another motorist and suffered fatal injuries. The insured filed a wrongful death and survival action against the motorist and against the defendant insurer. As to the defendant insurer, she alleged that its negligence caused the fatal crash. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that it owed no duty of care to the insured with respect to the collision. The trial court granted the defendant insurer’s motion, and the insured appealed.

An Insurer’s Liability for Collisions Under Texas Law

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, finding that the defendant insurer did not breach any duty owed to the insured or her husband and, therefore, could not be held liable for the insured’s losses. Specifically, the appellate court explained that the defendant insurer’s duty of good faith and fair dealing did not require it to process the first collision without requesting that the insured take photographs or to issue a safety warning to the insured along with the request.

Therefore, the appellate court reasoned, there were no grounds for imposing liability on the defendant insurer under a theory of negligence. Further, the appellate court found that there was no duty imposed on the defendant insurer under the negligent undertaking theory, as the defendant did not engage in any actions for the insured’s benefit that would support liability on such grounds. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to an Experienced Texas Attorney About Your Accident

A variety of factors can bring about a car crash, and anyone whose behavior contributed to another person’s harm may be deemed at fault. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be owed compensation, and it is smart to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Earl T. Drott is an experienced Texas attorney who can advise you of your rights and assist you in seeking the full amount of damages recoverable under the law. You can contact Mr. Drott through the online form or at 903-531-9300 to set up a free consultation.

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