Only those who have legal standing in Texas have the right to sue another person or business entity for damages resulting from an injury. These people will prove they owed a legal duty that was clearly violated by the defendant. In a large sense, we all owe each other a legal duty (responsibility) in life to exercise a certain amount of care and good judgment so we won’t harm others through our actions. Take for example, a person who is driving a car. All drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a way to protect everybody by not causing an accident. But if we drive recklessly, even if for just a second or two, or drive home from a bar after having too much to drink and we harm other people by getting into a DUI, we have violated our clear legal responsibility to not endanger others by harming them through our willful or careless actions.
If we have harmed others, the burden of proof is up to the victims to gather all of the relevant evidence to show that we owed that legal duty to the injured victims; and then violated that duty. Only when both of those occur will the victims’ personal injury case against us to have the best possible outcome for them. Depending on the circumstances of whatever accident has occurred, the person or entity who caused it owes victims a different legal duty than another might. An example of this difference is best illustrated by imagining the standard of care owed to you by your neighbor, and that of a doctor. Although your neighbor is your longtime friend who you probably trust with the keys to your house while you’re out of town, a doctor literally holds your very life in his or her hands. So, according to Texas law, the standard of care is much higher for that physician than it would for your neighbor and close friend.
The degree, or the level of legal duty, can differ depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident. Let’s say that the same doctor walks up to you in the grocery store and unexplainably slices your arm with a pocket knife. In this instance, he has likely violated a lower legal duty than he would have if you were on the operating table and – with his scalpel – performs malpractice by botching a surgical procedure. Legal duty accounts for circumstance, environment, and context at the specific time of the injury.
Most personal injuries occur through a clear violation of someone’s legal duty, although the rules of law surrounding some cases might be more obscure than others. Imagine for example, if a fellow employee at the company you work for drops a hammer on your head. The legal duty of your employer towards you – the injured employee – has been violated if, by legal definition, that employer allowed that employee on the job site to cause you injury or harm. But on the other hand, in most cases, there is a much lower legal duty owed by an employer to individuals who are hired as contractors which, in this case, you are not.
As a rule, the most proper and efficient way to decide if your case is a valid cause of action against the perpetrator or not is to speak with an injury lawyer at our Law Office. We can clearly explain the various legal duties that people and other legal entities owe one another, help you determine if a specific injury event warrants a personal injury lawsuit, share our views of how successful your civil action might be and possibly an idea of the amount of damages you can anticipate collecting from the defendant (or defendants).
Put our years of experience to work for you. If you want to know what your rights are, how to proceed with your claim and how much compensation you can secure from your personal injury case, regardless of how it happened or who is liable, we can answer all of your questions. Call a personal injury specialist with our Law Firm now at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.