As personal injury attorneys in Houston, our sole mission is to ensure that those who have been injured because of someone else’s actions get the justice and compensation they deserve. To do that, we set out to prove that the person who caused your injuries displayed a certain level of negligence. Here, we’ll talk about the legal definition of negligence and how proving it fits into a typical personal injury case.
How Is Negligence Defined?
Under Texas law, negligence means that someone has failed to take a reasonable amount of care to protect other people. For example, when you encounter an 18-wheeler on a Houston highway, it’s expected by reasonable people that the truck driver and employer have taken steps to ensure the safety of those who pass their vehicles.
If someone else acts in such a way that places you or other people at unreasonable risk, they could be found negligent.
What’s the Important Part of Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?
While the above definition of negligence may be straightforward, proving it in a personal injury claim is not so simple. To establish someone else was negligent and is responsible for causing your injuries, a few hurdles must be cleared.
You were owed a certain level or duty of care. There needs to be an established relationship between you and the defendant, and because of that relationship, a level of care was owed to you. Often, this is simply the duty to act with reasonable care to the people around you.
The defendant breached their duty. This is the heart of just about any personal injury claim. In essence, it means that even though a level of care was owed to you, it was not provided. It’s the failure to act responsibly or failure to take action to prevent your injuries.
The failure to act reasonably caused your injuries. In addition to proving the defendant failed to provide you with a certain level of care, your personal injury attorney must then determine that failure to act led directly to your injuries.
You experienced monetary loss. As the plaintiff, you and your personal injury attorney need to show that you suffered actual financial loss because of the injuries. Money is the only way the court can compensate you for your damages caused by the defendant. This can include reimbursement for medical bills you’ve already experienced because of your injuries and future costs for rehabilitation, lost wages for time missed from work, decreased ability to earn a living, and pain and suffering.
To win your personal injury claim, your attorney must be able to prove all four of these elements.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Texas?
Each state has its own set of laws, or statutes of limitations, that set timeframes within which different types of personal injury lawsuits can be filed. According to Texas law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim against the person who caused your injuries.
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, your best option is to contact the personal injury attorneys at Williams Hart & Boundas for a free initial consultation.