Personal Injury Negligence Claims
Accidents can happen at any time and to anyone. They can happen on the road, at the store, or even at work. Sadly, in many cases, these accidents could have been avoided if people had taken the proper precautions. By neglecting to address dangerous conditions or drive responsibly, people can often cause others to get seriously injured or even killed.
If you or a loved one was injured due to another person’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Juan Hernandez Law. We can help prove that the negligence of an employer, property owner, driver, or other person caused your injuries. We’ll make sure that the offender is held liable for their negligent actions.
Proving the Defendant’s Negligence
Negligence is often cited as the cause of personal injuries. To win a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the following:
1. The Defendant had a Duty to the Injured
The first element of a negligence case is proving that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries would not have occurred if the defendant had not been negligent.
For example, the owner or manager of a worksite has a duty to their employees to maintain equipment and make sure that workplace conditions are safe.
2. The Defendant Breached their Duty
The plaintiff must next prove that the defendant breached this duty. To do so, the plaintiff must first prove that the plaintiff should have taken steps to prevent the cause of the accident. Furthermore, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant could reasonably be expected to know what steps they should have taken, but they neglected to do so.
For example, if the owner or manager of a worksite fails to properly maintain the equipment on site and a worker gets hurt by the equipment because it wasn’t maintained, the owner or manager could be found negligent.
3. This Breach was the Cause of the Injuries
The third element is known as “causation.” This step involves proving that the defendant’s negligence was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
For example, if a worker pushes another worker directly in the path of a moving crane and the crane was later found to be improperly maintained, this negligence to maintain the crane would not be the cause of the worker’s injuries.
4. What Damages are Owed to the Defendant
If all of the above can be proved, the plaintiff must then prove what damages they are owed. These damages may include:
- Loss of income
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage (in cases such as car accidents)
- Funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)
Proving all four of the elements of a negligence case can be difficult without the right legal representation. At Juan Hernandez Law, our attorneys have extensive experience proving negligence in a wide variety of personal injury cases. We’ll help you gain the full compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Common Defenses to Negligence Claims
Of course, another element of negligence cases is disputing the defendant’s claims that they are not liable for any injuries or damages. Common defenses in negligence cases involve the following principles:
1. Assumption of Risk
In certain cases, a defendant may be able to argue that the plaintiff knew the risks involved in whatever action they engaged in and that they voluntarily accepted those risks. This usually applies when a dangerous condition exists that has not been taken care of, but the injured person was made aware of the dangerous condition and proceeded anyway.
For example, if there is a spill in a store, a wet floor sign is in place, and a person proceeds to step in the liquid anyway, the store would not be liable for any injuries that person sustained from a slip and fall. By ignoring the warning of the wet floor sign and stepping in the puddle, the injured person assumed the risk and engaged in the action anyway.
2. Comparative Negligence
Comparative negligence is the determination of the percentage of fault for an accident. There are three different types of comparative negligence:
- Slight-Gross Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff can only recover damages if they didn’t contribute or only slightly contributed to the accident that caused their injuries
- Pure Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff will recover a percentage of damages equivalent to the percentage of fault for which that the defendant is found guilty. For example, if the injured party is found to be 75% at fault for the accident and the defendant is found 25% at fault, the injured party may be able to recover 25% of the damages they incurred.
- Modified Comparative Negligence – this principle is similar to pure comparative negligence, except a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. Defendants in Texas negligence cases will often try to prove that they are less than 50% at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries.
3. Contributory Negligence
A few states use the doctrine of contributory negligence instead of comparative negligence, in which a plaintiff may be barred from recovering any damages if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident. This doctrine, however, has been replaced by comparative negligence in almost every state.
Negligence vs Gross Negligence
In some cases, injuries can be attributed to gross negligence, which is not the same thing as ordinary negligence. Ordinary negligence is the failure to take actions that may have prevented a person from getting injured. For example, a person may be guilty of ordinary negligence if they knew about a broken railing on their property but failed to fix the railing in a timely manner.
Gross negligence is defined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 41 as an act or omission that “involves an extreme degree of risk,” which the actor is aware of, but the actor “nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.” As opposed to ordinary negligence, gross negligence involves an intentional action or an extreme degree of disregard for the safety and welfare of others. For example, a doctor who intentionally does not warn a patient of potential side effects before administering a vaccine may be found guilty of gross negligence.
Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
Negligence and gross negligence are the causes of the majority of personal injuries. In fact, many of the actions that the Texas Statutes establish to be legal specifically mention that exceptions exist if negligence or gross negligence was involved. Negligence and gross negligence are often cited as the causes of
- vehicle accidents;
- work injuries;
- injuries on someone else’s premises;
- slip and fall accidents;
- nursing home abuse;
- prescription drug errors;
- injuries caused by faulty products; and
- food poisoning.
Contact our Experienced Negligence Attorneys
You should never have to suffer from the negligent actions of another person. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed due to someone else’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at Juan Hernandez Law are here to help. As one of the 2% of lawyers who are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Certification to practice personal injury law, you can trust that Juan Hernandez is the best choice to litigate your case. If you want justice for the injuries you suffered due to another person’s negligent actions, contact us today.