Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in order to minimize the probability of harm or loss to another individual. Negligence is one of the most common personal injury cases filed in Texas. Under Texas law, the injured party has the right to pursue financial compensation for any loss or damages that may arise due to the negligence of other parties.
Understanding Texas Negligence Laws
Negligence laws do not differ much from state to state. However, some key differences arise concerning how states consider comparative and contributory negligence. Understanding the legal applications in Texas will increase your likelihood of recovering damages resulting from the negligence of other parties, especially if you work with a personal injury lawyer in Texas.
The Elements of Negligence in Texas
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, the legal standard to win such cases is to provide proof beyond reasonable doubt. As the claimant in a negligence lawsuit, you must demonstrate in your case that the following five elements are satisfied:
- There must be a duty owed by the defendant to the claimant: The defendant has an obligation to act or not act in a certain manner and thus owes you the duty to act or not to act. For example, a homeowner has the duty to maintain safe pathways to minimize the chance of injury to other parties. Indeed, duty is a question of the law, and it is upon the jury to determine whether a duty exists by considering factors such as the risk involved, the likelihood of injury, and the foreseeability of the risk.
- A breach of duty: This element seeks to establish whether the defendant violated the applicable duty of care and acted in an unethical manner. For example, a homeowner who does not provide clear warnings of slippery floors or unsafe walkways might result in a visitor suffering an injury in their pathway. The homeowner has breached their duty to maintain safe pathways.
- Cause in fact: Your injury should have resulted from the defendant’s violation of the standard of care. For example, you would not have slipped and suffered injury if the homeowner had provided adequate safety mechanisms or warning signs within their premises.
- Proximate cause: Would a reasonable person find it obvious that failure to provide adequate warning signs could result in slipping and falling?
- Damage: As the plaintiff, you must have suffered actual damage or injury to warrant compensation from the civil system.
Comparative Fault Law
Note that Texas relies on the modified comparative fault standard to determine liability and the extent of the damage. The system uses the 51% rule. The plaintiff is allowed to claim compensation if they were not mostly at fault for causing the incident. Compensation also goes hand-in-hand with the percentage of fault. If you are subject to a $100,000 award and the jury decides that you are 40% responsible for your injuries, you will receive $60,000.
More information on the subject of negligence is available on the following sites: