Hello, my name is Michael Galyen and I’m a personal injury attorney with Bailey & Galyen, one of the largest consumer law firms in Texas. These are some of the first questions clients have when they come to us after any kind of accident.
In Texas, you can always sue for injuries intentionally caused by another party. As a practical matter, though, virtually all personal injury claims are based on legal theory of negligence.
Negligence can be easily explained as carelessness or inattentiveness. However, in a court of law, there are very specific things you must prove to successfully show negligence:
First, you must show that the person you are suing (known as the defendant) had a duty of care toward you. This “duty” is an obligation to act with a certain degree of reasonableness. For example, as a driver, you have a duty to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to not drive recklessly.
Second, you must show that the defendant did not act as a reasonable person would in the same situation. Everyone in society has a duty to use reasonable care—whether driving a car, maintaining property, designing or manufacturing a product, or running a business. If they aren’t reasonable, they can be held accountable.
It’s important to understand, though, that there are no written definitions or guidelines for what will be considered “reasonable.” That’s one of the roles performed by the jury—they get to determine whether the defendant’s conduct was reasonable.
Once you’ve shown that the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would, you must show that the defendant’s failure to do so caused an accident. In a personal injury lawsuit, this requires that you show two things: that the accident would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably, and that the accident and the injuries suffered were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the defendant’s behavior.
Finally, you must demonstrate that you suffered “actual losses.” These can include personal injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering.
At Bailey & Galyen, we’ve helped personal injury victims just like you for more than 40 years. Call us today.