When it comes to personal injury claims, there’s no shortage of things you need to know. And at the top of the list is a sound understanding of negligence.
Negligence laws vary by location, so you must focus solely on the state in which you are filing a claim.
At The Burkett Law Firm, we have been fighting for the rights of Texas injury victims for three generations. For that reason, we are in the unique position to not only explain the meaning of negligence but also help victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
The first thing you need to know is this: in Texas, you have the legal right — as an injured party — to seek financial compensation for damages resulting from another person or entity’s negligence.
Examples include but are not limited to:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Lack of safety training in the workplace
With that out of the way, let us turn our attention to the five elements of negligence in Texas:
- Duty: This is all about the duty of the defendant to act in a specific way. For example, a driver has a duty to follow the rules of the road, so driving twice the speed limit is not only against the law but it is dangerous to others.
- Breach of duty: Sticking with the example above, a breach of duty could be a person driving fifty miles per hour in a twenty-five mile per hour zone.
- Cause in fact: Proof that your injury was caused by the breach of duty. For instance, you would not have been injured in a car accident if the driver obeyed the speed limit.
- Proximate cause: The idea that a reasonable person would realize that the action they took was a bad idea.
- Damages: The ability to prove that you suffered hardship related to negligence, such as a motor vehicle accident that caused serious injuries.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state. Also known as proportionate responsibility, it means that you may receive reduced damages if it is found that you were partially at fault for causing the injury.
In the example above, you are struck by a speeding motorist. However, imagine that you were texting and driving while this happened. The court could determine that you had some fault in the accident since you were not paying attention to what was happening around you. This could result in receiving less compensation for your injuries and damages.
Note: the “51 percent bar rule” is also in place in Texas. In short, this means that you can’t collect damages if the court finds that you are 51 percent or more at fault for the accident.
If you are injured in any type of accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical care. This has nothing to do with collecting compensation and everything to do with your health and long-term well-being.
From there, collect all applicable information and documentation associated with your accident. This can include things such as photos of the scene, photos of your injuries, medical records, and the police report.
You should then consult with a Texas personal injury attorney who understands negligence and how to use the law in your favor. Neglecting to obtain professional legal assistance could result in no payout or greatly diminished compensation.
If you need an attorney to guide you during this challenging time, contact us online or via phone at 361-223-6862. One of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys will review the details of your claim, answer your questions, and help you understand the ins and outs of negligence.