Issue: Is a post accident inspection of a motor vehicle’s brakes admissible to show gross negligence?
Area of Law:
Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Gross negligence; Admissible evidence; Motor vehicle's brakes
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 41.001 (11)
Evidence of a defendant’s subjective knowledge of the peril created by his conduct is admissible to prove gross negligence. Brichfield v. Texarkana Mem. Hospital, 747 S.W. 2d 361, 364 (Tex. 1987).
Gross negligence is defined as an act or omission:
(A) which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and
(B) of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 41.001 (11).
Although the decision to operate a truck with faulty brakes may have shown a “conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others,” a party who alleges gross negligence must still show that the gross negligence was the proximate cause of the party’s injury. Elbar, Inc. v. Claussen, 774 S.W. 2d 45, 49 (Tex. App. – 5th 1989).
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