If you have a personal injury case, it is critical that you understand the concept of negligence. If you cannot prove that the other party was negligent, your personal injury case will fail.
What is the Legal Definition of Negligence Under Texas Law?
Negligence is the failure to exercise the care towards others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the same or similar circumstances. To prove negligence under Texas law, you must show that the following five components or “elements” existed:
You must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. A duty of care means that the individual has an obligation to act or not act in some way. For example, every driver has a duty to all other drivers on the roadways to obey traffic laws. Sometimes a duty of care stems from the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant (i.e., doctor and patient, landlord and tenant, or business owner and customer).
2. Breach of Duty
You must prove that the defendant breached their duty by failing to act with reasonable care. You must show that the defendant acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
3. Cause in Fact
You must prove that the plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. You must show that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s act or omission.
4. Proximate Cause
Proximate cause means that the defendant’s breach primarily caused your injuries. A defendant is only liable for their actions when it causes foreseeable injuries to foreseeable plaintiffs. For example, consider a situation where a drunk driver runs off the road and scares a dog into the roadway, causing a second driver to swerve to avoid the dog. You crash into the second driver. Although the drunk driver technically caused your injuries, the cause was not direct.
The plaintiff must have suffered actual financial or emotional hardship. The harm that the plaintiff sustained needs to be translated into an amount of money.
What is Modified Comparative Fault?
Texas uses a modified comparative fault system to award damages. This system is sometimes referred to as proportionate responsibility. In a modified comparative fault system, the court distributes damages in proportion to how much each party is at fault. A plaintiff’s compensation is reduced if they are found to be partially at fault. Additionally, you are barred from collecting damages if you are 51% or more at fault for your injuries.
For example, suppose you are in a car accident and your damages total $10,000. The court finds that the other driver was 90% at fault and you were 10% at fault. You would only be entitled to recover $9,000 in damages.
Examples of Negligence in Auto Accidents
Some common examples of driver negligence in Fort Bend car accident cases include:
• Failing to stop at a red light;
• Failing to use turn signals;
• Driving under the influence;
• Driving while tired; and
• Texting or talking on the phone while driving.
Examples of Negligence in Construction Accidents
Common examples of employer negligence in Fort Bend construction accidents include:
• Failure to obtain necessary permits;
• Lack of fall protection;
• Inadequate safety equipment;
• Lack of proper training;
• Failure to follow industry regulations; and
• Improper labeling of hazardous chemicals.
Examples of Negligence in Defective Products Cases
Common examples of negligence in defective product cases include:
• Defective design that makes the product inherently dangerous;
• Missing safeguards;
• Inadequate instructions; and
• Inadequate safety warnings.
Examples of Negligence in Dog Bite Cases
Common examples of negligence in Fort Bend dog bite cases include:
• Violating animal control law;
• Allowing a dangerous dog to roam freely; and
• Letting a stray dog into a playground where children are playing.
Examples of Negligence in Medical Malpractice
Common examples of healthcare professional negligence in medical malpractice cases include:
• Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis;
• Prescribing the wrong drug or dosage;
• Failure to follow accepted medical practices;
• Making a surgical error; and
• Releasing a patient too soon from the hospital or failing to provide proper instructions for follow-up care.
Your Fort Bend Personal Injury Attorney
If you think you have a personal injury case, you should reach out to a qualified Fort Bend attorney as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will evaluate your case and provide the best possible representation. As a skilled personal injury lawyer, Adam Capetillo can effectively guide you through the entire process from start to finish. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.