According to the National Safety Council, there were 62 million injuries in the United States in 2021. Most of these were preventable as they were due to someone’s negligence. Often that negligence was on the part of someone other than the person experiencing the injury.
Understanding negligence in the context of personal injury cases can help you to navigate the legal landscape in Texas. Negligence involves specific elements you must establish to make a successful claim.
Duty of care
The first element of negligence in Texas is the establishment of a duty of care. This duty is a legal obligation that one person has to act in a way that does not cause harm to another person. In personal injury cases, this element often centers on the idea that individuals or entities must exercise reasonable care to avoid causing injury or harm to others.
Breach of duty
Once you establish a duty of care, the next step is to show that the defendant breached that duty. Breach of duty refers to the failure of the responsible party to uphold their obligation. This typically involves demonstrating that the defendant’s actions or inactions fell below the standard of care expected in a given situation.
To establish negligence, you must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was a direct cause of your injuries. This requires demonstrating a clear link between what that person did and the result of you suffering an injury.
Lastly, you must prove that you suffered actual damages or losses as a result of the situation. Damages can include physical injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of income. You will want to provide evidence of these damages to support your claim.
While you may prove each element, you should also understand that Texas follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means the court can reduce your award if it finds you partially at fault for the accident. If the court finds you to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, you may not recover any damages from the other party.