What is Texas Negligence Law?

The vast majority of personal injury cases are based on Texas negligence laws. In simple terms, negligence is an action or inaction that differs from how a reasonable person would behave. When negligent behavior leads to an injury, the victim may be eligible for damages.

For example, if someone watches a video on their phone while driving and causes an accident, then this is clearly a negligent act. A reasonable person would not watch a video on their phone while driving.

While this may sound straightforward, each state has its own negligence laws, and it is important to have a firm grasp of the law and experience navigating personal injury claims in order to secure just and fair compensation.

Although every state utilizes some form of the five elements of negligence which are duty, breach, cause in fact, proximate cause, and actual harm, various state laws impact how this plays out in practice. For example, Texas operates under a comparative fault system which means that more than one party can be found to be at fault for an accident, and this can have a dramatic effect on the result of personal injury claims.

Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works

We are proud to be spearheaded by Chris Morrow, an experienced trial lawyer for personal injury victims. He is dedicated to helping victims secure just and fair compensation and has a stellar reputation.

When you secure representation from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, you send a message to insurance defense lawyers that you will not accept less than what you deserve. A personal injury attorney will be assigned to your case and will be personally available by phone or email so that you feel supported and guided throughout your case.

Thanks to our dedication to personal injury in Texas since 1994, all of our experiences, skills, and resources go toward helping people like you secure the compensation they deserve.

We believe that all victims deserve access to high-quality legal representation. That is why we offer a free consultation, and work on a no-win no, fee basis.

Call us today at 512-520-8100.

What is Texas Negligence Law? – The Five Elements of Negligence

In a personal injury claim, the burden of proof lies on the defendant, meaning that in order to recover compensation, the injured party and their attorney have to prove that someone else’s negligent behavior caused their damages.

In order to establish negligence, five elements must be proven, they are:

Duty of Care Owed

The first element is the duty of care; the defendant owes a legal duty to behave or not behave in some way toward the injured party.

For example, all road users owe a duty of care to other people on the road to obey traffic laws and act in a reasonable way to keep those around them safe. Similarly, companies owe a duty of care to their employees to take reasonable measures to protect their safety and well-being.

Duty of Care Breached

The second element is a breach of duty, the defendant must have failed to exercise reasonable care, and they breached their duty to the injured party.

For example, the defendant breached his or her duty by speeding over the limit or running a red light. Or an employer may have breached their duty by failing to provide adequate protective clothing.

Cause in fact

The third element is cause in fact, which means that the defendant’s breach must have been the actual cause of the injuries in question. This means that the plaintiff would not have sustained the injuries they are claiming for if it were not for the action or inaction of the at-fault party.

Proximate Cause

The fourth element is proximate cause, which means that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have known that their actions could lead to injuries.

For example, a reasonable person understands that breaking the rules of the road could lead to an accident. Or an employer should reasonably understand that failing to provide adequate protective clothing puts their employee at a higher risk of suffering an injury.

Damages Suffered

Finally, the fifth element is damages suffered, which demands that the actions of the at-fault party led to actual damages. This means that the actions of the defendant caused injuries to the plaintiff that led to compensable losses such as medical bills and lost wages.

Comparative Negligence in Texas

Texas operates under modified comparative negligence, which means that even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you may still have a valid claim for compensation.

For example, if you were in a car accident and the defendant failed to exercise due care by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but you were speeding, then you both may have contributed to the cause of the accident.

Some states operate under pure contributory negligence, which entitles parties to compensation regardless of their percentage of fault. So if the defendant’s negligence was considered to contribute to 85% of the cause of the accident, the plaintiff could still claim 15% of their damages.

However, Texas operates under modified comparative negligence, which means that plaintiffs may only claim compensation if they are found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident.

How Does Modified Comparative Negligence Affect Compensation?

If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident that led to your damages, then your settlement will be reduced by the percentage to which you were at fault.

For example, if you are awarded $200,000 in damages but were found to be 10% at fault for the accident, then your settlement will be reduced by 10%, and you will be awarded $180,000. However, if you are found to be 50% at fault or more, then you will not receive anything.

It is common for insurance defense lawyers to fight to assign fault to victims and, therefore, reduce the amount they are required to pay. That is one of the reasons why it is important to have the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight to establish the true cause of the accident and ensure that you are not unjustifiably assigned fault.

How Can I Prove Negligence?

The best way to ensure you have a strong case for compensation is to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will undergo a comprehensive investigation and gather as much evidence as possible to establish the facts of your case. Key pieces of evidence may include:

  • Photographic Evidence – Photos from the scene of the accident, as well as your injuries, could be important pieces of evidence in your claim. Your attorney will also investigate whether there is any CCTV footage that could benefit your case.
  • Official Reports – If police attended the scene of the accident, they would have completed a report. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may also be a report completed by a manager or business owner.
  • Medical Records – Medical records are integral to your claim. It is important that you seek a medical examination soon after the incident occurred, as this will help to establish the third element of negligence, that your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
  • Witness Testimony – Your attorney may draw upon witness testimony to establish the facts of your case.
  • Expert Testimony – Expert testimony may also be used to figure out what exactly occurred and what your damages could be worth. Experts may include accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts. An established attorney will have working relationships with key professionals who can benefit your case.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Texas Personal Injury Case?

If your personal injury claim is successful, then you should be able to claim compensation for all of your economic and non-economic damages.

Some damages are relatively straightforward, such as medical expenses that you have already incurred and have clear evidence for. However, other damages, such as your future medical expenses and damages related to your emotional pain and suffering, are a little more tricky. A Texas personal injury attorney will understand how to evidence your claims so that they are difficult to argue with.

Damages that may be considered in your settlement include:

Medical Expenses

Medical bills in the United States are notoriously high, and following a serious injury, even the most comprehensive coverage may be insufficient.

In a successful personal injury claim, you should be reimbursed for all of your medical expenses, including hospital bills, physiotherapy costs, medication costs, transport to and from the hospital, and more.

It is also important that your future medical costs are considered, or you could still end up out of pocket. Your attorney may draw upon expert testimony to establish what your future medical expenses will be.

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages may be available to compensate you for your emotional suffering. When you are injured due to the negligent actions of another person, it is often incredibly traumatic. In addition, physical injuries often lead to pain and life-limiting consequences, such as an inability to continue with the same hobbies as you did before.

Pain and suffering damages can be highly contentious, but a skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to evidence your experiences so that you are properly compensated.

Lost Wages

Following a serious injury, you may need to take time away from work, leading to a loss in wages. All lost wages should be reimbursed to you in a successful personal injury claim, as well as the future loss of wages if your injuries are likely to prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity.

Is Every Personal Injury Case Founded On Negligence?

Most personal injury claims are based on negligence, including car accident claims and slip and fall accidents. However, not every successful personal injury claim is based on negligence.

For example, most product liability claims are founded on strict liability, which means that victims of defective or dangerous products may be eligible to claim compensation without having to prove that anyone behaved negligently.

Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Lawyer For a Negligence Claim?

Establishing negligence can be a long and complex process. Although you are well within your rights to pursue a claim without representation, it is not recommended.

The reason is that you will be up against large insurance companies and their legal teams, whose sole job is to limit the amount of money they have to pay out to you. They may do this by limiting their own liability through the comparative negligence law or questioning your damages.

When you hire experienced representation, you level the playing field. It is also important that your attorney is experienced in the courtroom. Insurance defense lawyers know which attorneys will take them to court and which will not. When you have a skilled attorney by your side, they are more likely to offer a fair settlement rather than have to deal with court fees.

For most people considering tackling a personal injury claim alone, it is because of concern over what representation could cost them. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a no-win no-fee basis, so you can never be left out of pocket. We only get paid if you are successful and as a percentage of your settlement. Thanks to the skills, resources, and experience that a personal injury attorney offers, most people with representation end up with a higher amount of compensation, even after legal fees are considered.

It is also important to be aware that personal injury claims can take a long time to settle, often over a year. When you try to make a claim alone, it can be incredibly stressful. When you have representation from our law firm, we will take over the entire process, including the investigation and negotiations with insurance companies. That means that you can focus on what’s important – your recovery.

Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today

At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we have a long history of successfully establishing negligence for our clients and securing them the compensation they deserve.

Our phone lines are always open so that you can get the help you need when you need it. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to get in touch today at 512-520-8100.

Every car accident claim is unique and how long your case takes depends on many factors, such as how willing the other party is to settle, the complexity of liability, the severity of your injuries, and the quality of your representation. Simple cases could be over in a matter of months, while overs could take over a year to settle.

Without an in-depth consultation, it is impossible to say whether you have a valid claim for compensation. In a free case evaluation, your attorney will be able to advise you on whether your case is worth pursuing so you can make an informed decision regarding your next steps. However, if you have already been offered a settlement, then it is likely you have a valid claim.

If the person who was at fault for your car accident was uninsured, then seeking the compensation you deserve could be difficult. Your own insurance policy may have uninsured motorist coverage; if so, this could be the best avenue for compensation. Either way, a car accident attorney can help you explore your options.

If you had an injury before the car accident, then you still have a right to compensation and should not be deterred. However, it can be difficult to establish your damages as you will need to show what damages were a direct result of the accident and which will not. These types of cases require the investigation of an experienced attorney who can help you evidence your claims.

Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today – The Attorney That Works

Every car accident lawyer here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, works under the same ethos – to support personal injury victims to recover just and fair compensation. We will fight to ensure that your past and future costs are considered as well as both your economic and non-economic losses.

Call our law office today to arrange a free consultation at 512-520-8100.

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