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What has to be proven in a personal injury case?

The first thing that is critically important is proving that there was negligence and that the negligence resulted in an accident. An attorney works to show that the defendant acted without reasonable care and because they did, the plaintiff was injured. This addresses the four elements that need to be proven to win a case. Those elements are:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care.
  • The defendant contravened that legal duty.
  • The plaintiff was injured.
  • The plaintiff was injured because the defendant breached their legal duty.

In Texas, a lawyer can prove the defendant had a legal duty toward the plaintiff in two ways, special duty and duty of care. Your attorney may discuss that with you when you go over the details of your case. The circumstances of the case and the personal relationship, if any, the plaintiff had with the defendant lays the foundation for a case.

Proving a duty was contravened means showing the defendants did not meet that legal duty and showing how they failed to do so. Proving the plaintiff’s injuries means showing emotional and/or bodily harm. Emotional harm is difficult to prove, but skilled attorneys know full well the emotional toll of an accident on a plaintiff. 

Once a plaintiff proves that there was a duty, the plaintiff must then prove how the defendant violated that duty. That is typically shown by proving: (1) that the defendant took an action that an ordinarily prudent person would not have done; or (2) the defendant failed to take an affirmative action that an ordinarily prudent person would have taken.

Once the plaintiff shows that the defendant violated the duty, the plaintiff must show that the violation of that duty caused harm or injury to the plaintiff.

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