You could incur significant expenses when someone else’s actions injure you. Medical expenses and income losses will accumulate. Worse yet, you might suffer disabilities that prevent you from paying your doctor’s bills or even your living expenses. Studies estimate that as many as two-thirds of bankruptcies result from unpaid medical bills.
It is unfair for these losses to fall on you when someone else’s actions led to your injury. Texas law gives personal injury victims the right to pursue legal claims for injury compensation from the people or businesses that injured them. In many situations, an injury attorney can provide significant assistance in securing a fair outcome based on your injuries.
Injury lawyers do not always handle every type of tort. For example, tort law includes defamation, such as slander and libel, but many injury lawyers do not handle these types of cases.
Traffic crashes usually result from negligence. Even when drivers take deliberate actions like running stop signs, they do not intend to hit other vehicles. Instead, they unreasonably disregard the risks that come from disobeying the signs.
Occasionally, a car accident claim may involve an intentional act. For example, if a driver intentionally bumps your car in a road rage incident or hits your vehicle during a police chase, you may have a claim for an intentional tort.
Medical malpractice cases also arise from negligence in many situations.
Malpractice occurs when healthcare providers fail to meet the professional standard of care when dealing with patients during:
- Prescribing and administering medication
Medical providers and facilities can commit medical malpractice. Facilities like hospitals can commit ordinary negligence. For example, you might have a negligence claim if you have a slip and fall accident in a hospital because the facility failed to clean up a spill in a reasonable time.
Property owners and tenants owe a duty of care to guests on their property. You may have a premises liability claim when they fail to take reasonable steps to find and fix hazardous conditions. These hazards can include various physical conditions like broken steps or burned-out lights.
Assault and Battery
The two most common intentional torts in personal injury claims include battery and assault. A battery happens when someone intentionally makes harmful contact with you. Assault happens when someone intentionally causes you to fear an imminent battery.
Many types of incidents can fall under this category of claim, such as nursing home abuse, fights, and even some homicides.
Product liability is a type of strict liability tort.
After you get injured by a product, you only need to prove the product contained a defect in its:
- Warnings or instructions
Importantly, you do not need to prove the manufacturer knew about the defect or was negligent in creating it.
Under the old English and American common law rule, a person’s death extinguished any claims against the person or business that fatally injured them. This created an unfairness in the law — at-fault parties were better off legally and financially if the victim died of their injuries.
Texas’s wrongful death statute allows the family of a deceased person to assert a claim against those who caused the death through their tortious actions. In other words, you must prove that the other party caused the death through an intentional, negligent, or strict liability tort.
Legal Basis for Injury Cases
All lawyers learn tort law in law school. This field of law defines the rights between people in the absence of contract or property rights. Essentially, torts are the actions you cannot take to harm someone else’s body, mind, or reputation.
Torts fall into the following three types:
Intentional torts happen when someone intends an action that injures you. Thus, when someone deliberately sticks their foot out to trip you, they have committed an intentional tort.
Importantly, several legal doctrines expand the scope of these torts. First, under the doctrine of transferred intent, you can often pursue a claim for an intentional tort even if the at-fault party did not direct their actions toward you. For example, suppose someone throws a cup at your friend but hits you instead. The thrower may have committed an intentional tort against you.
Second, the at-fault party does not need to intend to injure you. Instead, you only need to prove that they intended to make harmful contact. The person who threw the cup bears liability for your lost eye, even if they only meant to hit your friend to get their attention.
Negligence happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care and, as a result, injures someone else.
You must prove the following four elements to win a case asserting negligence:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
The duty arises from the relationship between you and the other party. Drivers owe a duty of care to other road users. The doctor-patient relationship also creates a duty of care.
A breach of this duty happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care. You typically prove this by showing that they did something that a reasonable person in the same position would know to be unreasonably hazardous.
You must show you suffered an injury. Your damages include your financial losses and the reduction in your quality of life.
Finally, you must prove the at-fault party’s breach of duty caused the injury and the losses. Causation means the breach fell within the chain of events that ended with your injury. It also means harm was foreseeable, even if the other party did not foresee your exact injury.
Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability applies to injuries that result from inherently dangerous activities. When these activities injure you, strict liability means you can recover compensation even if the at-fault party did not intend to injure you. You can even pursue a claim when they did not know the danger posed and took reasonable steps to prevent the resulting harm.
Hiring the Right Texas Personal Injury Lawyer
Most injury lawyers offer free consultations to new clients. This allows you to discuss your case with an injury lawyer to determine whether they have the time and ability to handle your case. During this conversation, you should also ask the lawyer about their relevant experience with cases like yours.
An injury claim can help you recover the financial compensation you need to focus on your health and recovery. Contact our attorneys at Anderson Injury Lawyers to discuss your injuries and how we can help you protect your legal rights under Texas law. You can call us today at (817) 294-1900.