Let’s understand Texas Negligence Claims and Possible Compensation
Most personal injury lawsuits are negligence cases. If you have been injured and are unsure whether someone else may be legally responsible, a basic understanding of negligence law and negligence-related claims can help. Of course, the best source of information about your rights after an accident is an experienced Texas personal injury attorney.
What Does Negligence Mean?
In simplest terms, one is negligent when they fail to live up to the standard of care that a situation requires. That standard may be different depending on the type of claim and the parties involved.
Proving Fault: What is Negligence?
The burden of proof in a negligence case rests with the plaintiff. In other words, it is up to the injured person to prove each of the elements of a negligence claim. That means showing that:
- The defendant had a duty of care
- The defendant breached the duty of care
These two elements establish negligence. But, that’s just the first step. The plaintiff must also prove that they suffered damages, and that the damages resulted from the negligence. Imagine, for example, that a shopper turned down an aisle in a store and unexpectedly stepped on a patch of wet, soapy tile. The area was soapy and there were no warning signs because the store employee who was mopping the floor abandoned the project in the middle to take his break.
The first step for the injured shopper would be to establish that the store was negligent. That would mean showing that the business had breached its duty to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition for members of the public who visit the store. Since a store employee knew the floor was slippery and left without cleaning it up, posting signs, or handing responsibility off to another employee, a jury will likely find that the business breached its duty of care.
Next, the injured shopper must prove that the shop’s negligence caused the fall, and in turn caused their injuries and other losses.
But sometimes, the analysis is more complicated.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence
Of course, it’s possible for more than one person to be negligent in the same situation. Different states address the possibility that the injured person is partly responsible in different ways. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence model. That means that in Texas, a person who was partly responsible for their own injury may still be able to recover some damages. But, there are limitations. First, someone who is found to be more than 50% responsible cannot recover damages. Second, a person who is partly at fault may receive compensation if they are less than half at fault, but that compensation will be prorated. For example, if the damages add up to $100,000 and the injured person was 30% responsible, they will only be able to recover 70%, or $70,000.
Most Common Types of Negligence Claims
Almost any situation in which one person’s negligence injures another can give rise to a negligence claim. Some of the most common types of negligence claims in Texas include:
- Car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents caused by speeding, distracted driving, and other negligent behavior on the road
- Injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists caused by negligent drivers
- Slip, trip, and fall cases when someone has been injured on somebody else’s property because the property wasn’t maintained in safe condition
- Wrongful death cases, when someone’s negligent actions result in death–this could involve a drunk driving accident, medical malpractice, or one of many other types of negligence
Your Potential for Compensation in a Negligence Case
The main factor in determining compensation in a negligence case is the amount and type of damages sustained. These may include things like:
- Property damage or loss or destruction of property
- Physical injuries and resulting medical expenses
- Lost income due to injuries or loss of property
- Non-economic harms such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life
Other factors can influence a jury award or settlement, too. These include the strength of the case, whether the injured person was partly at fault, and even factors like the county where the injury occurred, the insurance company, and the attorneys representing both parties.
Injured Due to Someone Else’s Negligence?
If you’ve been injured because someone else was negligent, the best thing to do now is to speak to an experienced Texas personal injury attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas know that the time after an accident can be difficult and confusing. That’s why they offer free consultations to injury victims who need information about their rights and options.
You can schedule yours right now by calling 210-225-0909, filling out our contact form, or clicking in the lower right corner of this page to chat.
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