February 23, 2018
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or a wrongful death due to another’s negligence in an auto accident, you are likely trying to pick up the pieces and make sense of this tragic occurrence. You may also be facing financial concerns from mounting medical bills and lost wages.
Seeking damages can help protect your family’s financial future and hold the negligent driver accountable for his or her actions. However, to successfully establish negligence for personal injury claims in Texas, you must be able to prove that certain elements were present.
Let’s take a look at the elements needed to prove negligence – and what you’ll need to do to win an auto accident negligence case in our state
Duty means that the defendant was obligated to act (or not act) in a certain way, and owed you, the plaintiff, this duty.
For example, in an auto accident negligence case, the other driver is obligated to pay attention to the road, to avoid distraction from cell phones or other stimuli, and to be in an alert state.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty means that the defendant did something (or failed to do something) that constituted a duty to you.
For example, if the other driver was texting on his or her cell phone or watching a movie and hit you or your car as a result, he breached his duty to pay attention to the road. Similarly, if the other driver was intoxicated and this caused an accident, she breached her duty to be in an alert state while driving.
Cause in Fact
Cause in fact means that your damages were specifically caused by the other driver’s breach of duty.
For example, you would not have been hit and injured if the other driver had not been texting on his phone or had not chosen to drive while intoxicated.
Proximate cause refers to whether the defendant should have been aware that his or her negligent actions could result in the injury of another. This means that it must be obvious to a reasonable person that what the defendant did or failed to do could result in an injurious accident.
For example, a reasonable person should know that texting and not paying attention to the road could result in someone’s injury, or that choosing to drive while intoxicated could result in an accident.
You must be able to prove that there was actual harm, or damage, to you that the defendant can compensate you for. Proving damages may not be as straightforward as it seems, as the defense will attempt to invalidate the extent of any harm done to you.
To document the extent of your injuries, it is important to find the right doctor. This likely means finding a specialist who focuses on treating your specific type of injury, and is familiar with personal injury cases. Notably, you should avoid seeking treatment from your primary care provider, or from doctors suggested by legal referral services.
To document damages from lost wages, you will need to save pay stubs, leave requests, and tax documents such as W2s.
If You Are Seeking Compensation
If you are seeking damages for an auto accident injury, you should not be intimidated by these requirements. A knowledgeable Texas personal injury attorney with a track record of success will be able to help you navigate this process and get the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
The strength of Brian S. Eppes as a lawyer is in his unique and varied background. Like many other private attorneys, at one point he worked as a prosecutor. However, he also served in George W. Bush’s White House, has helped Texas legislators to write laws, and spent time at a tax and estate planning firm. These experiences have enabled him to look at cases in a different way than his peers and find creative solutions that benefit his clients.