Negligence is a term you may hear often when it comes to personal injury claims. If you’ve suffered an injury and someone else caused it, you may want to make them pay for the losses you’ve endured. Yet, to do that, you must prove negligence occurred. Understanding what this means is essential. At The Cagle Law Firm, our team works closely with you to gain perspective on what occurred, why it happened, and whether or not someone else is negligent.
What Is Negligence?
Most personal injury cases come down to fault, which legally is referred to as negligence. However, negligence is not a simplistic topic. Rather, there are four key elements to proving fault. A duty of care must be established, and a breach of duty must occur. Then, causation and damages are considered. It’s important that each component of this occur.
In short, the party must have some duty to provide a safe environment to you, and in some way must have breached that requirement. For example, if the location was a retail store, you have the expectation of being able to walk across the floor without risk. If the company knew there was a problem, and did not take steps to fix it, they may be negligent. Additionally, they must have had the time to make repairs since the risk was reported. Finally, you must also have suffered some type of financial loss as a result of the incident.
Negligence in Texas
Texas law is very specific about some types of personal injury cases. Code section Civ. Prac. & Rem. §33.001 governs personal injury and negligence under the state’s rules. Personal injury claims are not allowed to file for compensation if the injured party is at least 51 percent at fault in the incident. If he or she is considered 50 percent at fault, the compensation can be reduced to match the amount of fault he or she maintains.
Types of Negligence
There are various types of negligence that may apply in situations. When you work with your Austin attorney, they will guide you in determining if your case meets these requirements:
- Contributory Negligence: In Texas, contributory negligence applies. In these cases, the amount of fault the injured individual suffers matters. In short, any claim is minimized by the amount of fault that individual has, as defined by the courts.
- Comparative Negligence: This particular type of negligence often applies to out-of-court settlements. Again, the individual’s responsibility or fault in the matter reduces the amount of compensation owed.
- Combination: In Texas, this rule does not apply as much as it does in other cases. Rather, in instances in which an injured party is more than 50 percent responsible, the compensation owed is reduced or, as in Texas, it is eliminated.
- Gross Negligence: In this situation, which typically applies to medical cases or violence-related matters, a person who is found 100 percent responsible for the losses occurred is considered grossly negligent.
- Vicarious Negligence: A final form, here, the party is held responsible for injuries occurring to an individual who the defendant is considered responsible for within the case. An employer, for example, may be responsible for the actions of his or her employees.
How to Prove Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
To prove negligence in Texas, individuals must work through those four elements and prove to the court (or the insurance company that settles out-of-court) that negligence occurred.
In some way, the defendant was supposed to act in some manner. The injured party was, in some way, owed that expectation. For example, a truck driver is expected to pay attention to the road.
#2 Breach of Duty Occurred
That responsible party failed to do something or did not meet the expectations of that duty. For example, the driver fails to pay attention to the road by falling asleep.
The losses suffered by the individual were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. In this example, the truck driver’s actions caused the vehicle to swerve and hit your vehicle.
#4: Damages Occurred
Finally, you must have suffered some type of financial loss. In this case, you may have medical bills, time missed at work, or even the loss of life.
Proving negligence is a challenge in some situations. In all cases, you should work with your attorney to learn more about your options in filing such claims.
How an Austin, TX Attorney Can Help You
Hiring an Austin, Texas personal injury attorney is your first step in proving negligence. As a team that fully understands just how difficult life can be after you’ve endured an incident like this, we aggressively pursue financial compensation owed to you. When you put our professionals to work, you gain insight into each one of your options. Contact your attorney at The Cagle Law Firm today by filling out our online form or calling 888-353-3619. We provide you with a free consultation to learn more.