Do I Have a Case? Part I: Negligence

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Negligence cases are the most common form of person injury claims. They occur when one party owes a duty of care to another to act with the same 'reasonable care' that a reasonable person would use under similar circumstances.

A range of accidents are subject to personal injury negligence claims, including: 1) reckless, drunk, or other negligent driving by a motor vehicle operator leading to a car accident (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even boats); 2) slip and fall (also known as premises liability), when a store fails to clean a slippery floor after a liquid spills on the floor (or warns of a slippery area on the store's floor) and a shopper slips and falls in that area, 3) the manufacture and/or sale of an unsafe or hazardous consumer product to the public without first making sure that it is safe for consumers to use, and/or, if the product has dangers known to the manufacturer, failure to place adequate warning labels on that product to inform and warn the consumer of those product injury risks before the consumer purchases and/or uses the product (also known as product liability), and medical malpractice.

To establish a negligence claim a plaintiff must prove: a) the existence of a legal duty on the part of defendant, b) that defendant breached that duty, and c) that plaintiff's injuries are proximately caused by that breach of duty (negligence).

Texas courts consider several factors to determine whether a defendant is under a legal duty in each particular case. The foremost issue is whether the risk (of action or inaction) is foreseeable. Foreseeability means that a party, as a person of ordinary intelligence, should have anticipated the dangers that his or her negligence created for others. (There is no legal obligation to guard against that which cannot ordinarily be foreseen.)

Texas Personal Injury Attorney's Role:

1. Gathering the Facts

The first step an expert Texas personal injury attorney will do is collect all the facts related to your (injured party's) accident and injury, from you and others who have such information. The attorney needs all the facts to: a) negotiate on an injured party's behalf with insurance companies who will be paying the costs to compensate the injured party, and b) prepare for a potential lawsuit if a fair settlement is not reached with the insurer to make the injured accident victim whole.

2. Determining Damages

A personal injury lawyer calculates the injured party's costs, including direct expenses of health and medical care services and lost income or wages. This means gathering all records and receipts of all accident and injury-related care and treatment, and all other services and products related to the client's injury.

These costs also include an amount for emotional and psychological 'pain and suffering' which the injured plaintiff suffered as a result of the accident and defendant's negligence. These are less quantifiable injuries than direct costs described above. An experienced personal injury attorney has the knowledge and expertise to know how to determine such 'pain and suffering' costs to ensure that you as an injured party are fairly and fully compensated by the defendant for your injuries.

Burleson personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lovelace Killen are ready to advise you, answer your questions, and represent you if you have been injured in a negligence personal injury case.

If you have any additional questions regarding a personal injury claim, please call our office at 817-447-0053 to make an appointment with Koy Killen or fill out the form on the right for a free consultation.