Accidents happen. Some can be completely random twists of fate, but many are caused by human error. Negligence. Although oftentimes not committed with nefarious intent, the people who cause the problems should be held responsible for their actions. Negligence and personal injury can be confusing for those who wish to file claims.
If you have suffered an injury due to negligence, be aware of the factors involved, and Reich and Binstock can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Texas Personal Injury Lawsuits
In a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, the legal standard to win a case is “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This means you must have convincing and accurate evidence to prove your injury was the result of negligence by another party.
Civil Lawsuit Elements
In contrast with proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases, civil lawsuits are easier to prove and can be broken down into 5 elements.
Duty of Care
The first is duty, where the defendant is supposed to act or not act in a certain manner and owes you a duty to do so or not.
A driver has a duty to pay attention. Your doctor has a duty to give you the best medical care. A city worker has a duty to not shoot you with a nail gun.
Breach of Duty
The next is breach of duty, where the defendant has failed to abide by the duty he or she has to you.
The driver was texting, and ran into you. Your doctor prescribed you a dangerous combination of medication, and you broke out in warts. The city worker neglected to put up a warning or barrier where he would be using his nail gun, and you innocently walked into the line of fire.
Causation means your injury was caused by the breach of duty by the defendant. This can be proven in several ways. The “but for” test: “But for the defendant’s actions, would the plaintiff’s harm have occurred?”
If the driver had been watching the road instead of staring at his phone, you would have not been hit. If your doctor had spent an extra few minutes researching the medications’ interactions, you would not have had an adverse reaction.
There is also the Substantial Factor Test: “If several causes could have caused the harm, then any cause that was a substantial factor is held to be liable.”
The city worker was hungover, worried about being fired from showing up late, and caught sight of an attractive woman, all while forgetting to secure his work area. You unknowingly walked into a danger zone.
There is also proximate causation, which asks if a reasonable person would find it obvious that negligence was the cause of the injury.
The driver should have realized that looking at his phone instead of the road is dangerous. Your doctor should have known that not checking medication interactions can lead to unwanted side effects. The city worker should have been aware that being distracted can lead to an accident.
The final element is the damages you incurred, which require that you suffered real injury and hardship as a result of negligence.
Was there actual harm? Did you attempt to mitigate the harm?
Harm includes personal injury, property damage (you can get cost of repair or fair market value), and punitive damages (extra damages if the defendant’s behavior was reckless or malicious).
If you can establish these 5 elements in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you are eligible to receive financial compensation.
Factors the Prevent Compensation
Despite all difficulties you’ve sustained, be aware that there are factors that can prevent you from receiving civil justice compensation. You must not act in a manner that makes damages worse, like not going to the doctor (or in the case of medical malpractice, seeking a second opinion).
Contribution to Negligence
Be sure you did not contribute to the negligent act, because your damages award could be reduced.
You were texting while crossing the street, and the driver hit you. You suggested a medication to your doctor you knew could cause interactions. You knowingly walked through a construction zone as a short cut.
If you were aware of the risk and engaged in the behavior anyway, your damages award could be reduced or you could be denied recovery.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting against Negligence
Unfortunate events occur all the time and if you happen to be on the receiving end, be aware that negligence is a likely cause.
Get in touch with an experienced Houston personal injury law firm and we will answer any questions surrounding negligence and personal injury. Then, we’ll make sure the offending party is held responsible and you receive the compensation you deserve.