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What Is Liability and Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?

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If you’ve been injured as a result of another’s negligence, considering liability might not be on your radar as you deal with physical injuries and financial difficulties. It’s important that you have a strong Fort Worth personal injury attorney from Noteboom—The Law Firm on your side who knows how to comprehensively prove liability in a personal injury case. You need our legal team by your side from start to finish to ensure that your claim is professionally calculated, liability is proven, and that you receive a full and fair settlement, whether through negotiations or a positive verdict at trial. 

The legal team at Noteboom—The Law Firm will help you get the medical treatments you need to get better. We will then ensure you have the time to heal from your injuries while we do what we do best—fight for you, your rights, your family, and your future. We will never back down from an insurer who does not want to pay what your claim is worth. At Noteboom—The Law Firm, we prepare every single case as though it will go to trial—thoroughly and comprehensively. This ensures that no matter what twists and turns your case may take, we are always 100 percent prepared. When someone else’s negligence is to blame for your injuries, we are here to help you through a challenging time with the best possible outcome.  

What Is Negligence?

Each state has legal standards in place with the goal of proving negligence through a preponderance of the evidence. The elements of negligence in the state of Texas include:

  • Duty of care—We are all expected to act in a certain way, following the laws of the state and, in the case of auto accidents, the rules of the road. Drivers have a duty to pay attention to their driving and to all the other drivers on the roadways. This means that if a driver is driving 20 miles over the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, sending a text, or eating a Big Mac while driving, they are not acting in a manner that shows this duty of care to others. 
  • Breach of duty of care—When an individual does something—or fails to do something—that a reasonable person would have done in the same set of circumstances, then the duty of care has been breached. 
  • Injuries resulting from breach of duty of care—If a driver, while sending a text, slams into the back of your car and you are left with severe whiplash injuries, then that driver breached the duty of care that was owed to you and you were injured as a result.
  • Proximate cause—If a reasonable person would conclude that sending a text while driving could likely cause an accident, then there is proximate cause for any driver to assume the same. 
  • Damages—Perhaps you are unable to return to work because of your whiplash injury. Your injuries have resulted in actual damages or hardships. Your damages are your physical injury and resulting pain, but also your loss of wages. If your injury prevents you from ever returning to your job, your damages are also future lost wages. Pain and suffering damages can include actual physical pain, as well as emotional trauma. 

Once your attorney has established these elements of negligence, he or she will build your case based on the facts.  Texas is a modified comparative fault state—also referred to as proportionate responsibility. This means that you may have been partially responsible for your accident, and if so, your settlement could be reduced by your percentage of fault. As an example, suppose a driver runs a stop sign, slamming into the side of your vehicle. While that driver is obviously liable, perhaps you were turned around to see what your children were doing in the back seat, so couldn’t react to the situation as you normally would have. A court may determine that you were five percent responsible for the accident, so a $200,000 settlement award may be reduced to $190,000. Establishing negligence in a personal injury case can sometimes be an uphill battle, but the experienced legal team at Noteboom—The Law Firm can take that worry from your shoulders. 

How Does Negligence Relate to a Personal Injury Accident?

Any type of personal injury accident must have an element of negligence. As an example, suppose you are walking through a restaurant on your way to your table when you slip on a spilled drink, crack a rib, and end up with a neck injury and a traumatic brain injury. If the spilled drink should have reasonably been cleaned up before you slipped on it, then there is negligence involved. As another example, if an individual’s dog attacks and bites you as you are walking through the park, the owner of the dog was negligent in not having the dog on a leash. Similarly, when another driver ignores a yield sign, slamming into your vehicle, that driver is negligent for not following a traffic sign or traffic rule.  

What Is Liability in a Personal Injury Case in Texas?

Liability is the same thing as responsibility. When a person or organization is liable for your accident and subsequent injuries, it means they are at fault, and you are entitled to make a claim for compensation for your damages. Suppose you are the victim of medical malpractice. This means that a medical professional who treated you either acted in a way another similarly trained medical professional would not have done, or failed to act in a manner that another medical professional would have done. 

If a truck driver has caused you to have catastrophic injuries because they were not properly trained or vetted, then the driver and the trucking company may both be liable or responsible for your injuries. Proving liability in a personal injury case is crucial, because without this element, you cannot seek damages from the responsible party. You can pursue a liability claim in a slip and fall accident, a medical malpractice situation, a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, an animal attack, or in other situations where you are injured on another’s property as a result of the owner’s negligence. 

What Are the Different Types of Negligence and Liability in a Personal Injury Claim?

There are different types of negligence that depend on the specific situation as well as the laws in each state. These different types of liability include:

  • General negligence claims depend on the elements listed above: a duty of care was owed, that duty was breached, injuries resulted, and damages followed. 
  • Comparative negligence can reduce the value of your personal injury claim based on your own percentage of fault. 
  • Strict liability does not require the injured party to prove intent or negligence, only that the defendant engaged in a specific conduct that caused injury to another individual. Strict liability applies in product liability claims, as well as in animal attacks and abnormally dangerous activities.
  • Vicarious liability applies in certain cases where damages were caused by another party. Vicarious liability may be used to create employer liability when an employee has acted in a negligent manner. (The employee must have been acting within the scope of his or her employment when the accident occurred).
  • Negligence per se creates a presumption of negligence, leading the defendant to convince a jury that the presumption of negligence is false (Instead of the plaintiff being required to prove negligence on the part of the defendant). Negligence per se can be used when the defendant broke a safety law, and by breaking that law caused injury to the plaintiff. 

Contact Noteboom—The Law Firm to Establish Liability in Your Personal Injury Case

Thinking about liability and negligence is the very last thing you should be doing following your accident with injuries. At Noteboom—The Law Firm, we will handle all the legal details of your claim, giving you the time you need to heal from your injuries and make plans for your future. We fight for you every step of the way, never allowing a recalcitrant insurance company to devalue your claim. When you are injured and dealing with financial difficulties, physical pain, lost wages, and emotional trauma, you need strong, professional, compassionate legal assistance. Contact Noteboom—The Law Firm today.   

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