Civil courts in states like Texas offer legal recourse for injury victims to recover their damages if the injury was caused by someone else. The word “Damages” refers to the consequences of the injury. In a personal injury case such as a car accident, slip-and-fall injury, or an injury from a defective product, the injury victim must prove the at-fault party’s negligence caused the injury. Unlike in criminal court where the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, in personal injury claims, the injury victim must prove the at-fault party’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence.
In order to prove liability, the injury victim (plaintiff) in a personal injury case must gather and document evidence proving the legal elements of liability occurred, leaving the negligence party liable for damages. If you are facing the personal injury claim process, it helps to understand how your Austin accident attorney will prove the at-fault party’s (defendant’s) liability for your damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.
Duty of Care in Injury Cases
We all owe a general duty of care to others in our orbit. Our duty of care is to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injury. Often, the success of a personal injury claim hinges upon the answer to the question, would a reasonable person have acted the same way under the same circumstances? If the answer is no, then the party who did not take reasonable care is liable for damages.
Breach of Duty
When one person or business entity doesn’t take reasonable measures to prevent harm to others, they breach their duty of care. If a negligence or reckless breach of duty causes harm to someone else, the injured individual shouldn’t have to be responsible for the damages.
Causation in Personal Injury Claims
Causation is an important part of an injury claim. The injury victim must prove the defendant’s negligent or reckless breach of duty directly caused the injury. For example, if a slip-and-fall victim later suffers a heart attack, it’s unlikely that they can make a successful claim for damages unless they can prove that the fall directly caused the heart attack.
Damages From the Injury
Even if someone’s negligent breach of their duty of care toward others causes someone to sustain an injury, they are unlikely to win a case for damages if they didn’t suffer any damages from the injury. A successful injury claim requires proving the at-fault party’s negligence caused damages to the victim such as medical expenses and lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
Do I Have a Good Case for a Personal Injury Claim?
The law establishes acceptable standards of behavior for people and businesses so others aren’t exposed to risks of serious harm. If someone fails to live up to the standard of taking reasonable care to prevent causing harm and the result is an injury, the injury victim may file a personal injury claim against the defendant to recover their injury-related damages. Typically, compensation in a personal injury case comes from the appropriate insurance policy of the negligent party, like auto insurance in a car accident caused by a distracted driver or the commercial property liability insurance of a store owner who failed to address a plumbing leak that caused a slip-and-fall hazard.
If you’ve suffered an injury caused by another party’s negligence, you have a right to make a claim for compensation for the resulting damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Austin is the key to proving the required elements of negligence in a personal injury case.