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How do I know if I have a claim after an accident?

A claim could involve personal injuries or wrongful death. Typically, you have a claim when someone else’s negligence caused the incident leading to injuries and/or death. When recklessness and/or negligence results in an accident, the survivors can pursue legal action for damages. 

There are several things that a plaintiff needs to prove. The first one is that the defendant owed them a legal duty to take care. The second is that the defendant did something he should not have done or failed to do something he should have done, thereby breaching his duty of care to others. 

The third is that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the direct cause of the survivor’s injuries or death. It’s easy to show the breach of the duty was the cause of the injury in some cases. For example, if a person was texting and hit you, then it’s not difficult to show that they probably hit you because they were texting. But other things can be harder. For example, a driver may breach a duty of care by driving without a license. But that driving without a license is not enough to create a claim. You must show how the driving without a license contributed to the injury.

The fourth element is the damages; in other words, you must show how you were hurt because of the way the defendant breached the duty of care. These damages can include costs of medical care, lost earnings, pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement, among other claims.

When considering negligence in a case in Texas, the state follows the comparative negligence law. It divides the blame for an accident – often a car crash – on proportionate responsibility. This means that if both people involved in a collision caused the accident, then they share the blame for the crash based on how much each of them was responsible for it. 

An example would be if a driver was speeding and blew through a stoplight, T-boning another car that was running a yellow light, both would bear a certain percentage of fault for causing the crash. Any damages awarded would be apportioned according to the percentage of each driver’s responsibility for the collision.

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