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Breach of Duty

Breach of Duty

Breach of DutyPersonal injury victims must prove certain legal “elements” before they can show they are entitled to compensation for their injuries. One of the most important elements you must be able to show is breach of duty. When you retain the services of the experienced personal injury lawyers at FVF Law Injury Attorneys, we can help you prove these elements.

What is a Legal Duty?

What is a Legal Duty?Before you can understand what a breach of a legal duty is, you must understand what a legal duty is. A duty is the legal obligation to act or not act in a certain way toward another. A legal duty is the first element that must be proven in a negligence cause of action.

The matter of whether a duty exists is a question of law that the court must decide based on the circumstance surrounding the accident. If there is no legal duty, there is no legal liability.

Texas courts consider several factors when determining whether a duty exists, such as:

  • The risk involved
  • The foreseeability of the risk
  • The potential likelihood of injury
  • The burden on the defendant

In some situations, a legal duty is clearly stated by law. Sometimes the duty is based on the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. Other duties may include:

  • A driver owes other motorists the duty to obey all the rules of the road
  • A property owner owes visitors the duty to maintain the property in safe condition
  • A professional owes a duty to provide the same type of care as another professional in the same industry
  • A medical provider owes their patients a standard of care equal to that of another medical provider in the same specialty

If there is not a more specific duty, the duty may simply be to act as a reasonable, prudent person would have acted under the circumstances.

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What Is a Breach of Duty?

A breach of duty occurs when someone who had a duty to act in a certain way failed to act in that way. Examples when a breach of duty may occur include:

  • A driver was texting, speeding, or ignoring traffic signs
  • A professional failed to exercise the same level of care another professional would have exercised under similar circumstances
  • A property owner failed to check the premises for possible hazards to prevent injuries to customers
  • A doctor provided care below the applicable standard of care

If you were hurt in a way that you think was due to a breach of duty, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can review the circumstances and determine if you have a viable claim.

How to Prove Breach of Duty

Ultimately, you may need to prove that the defendant failed to act in the way they were supposed to and should have foreseen this behavior could harm someone. This may be proven by:

  • Showing the legal standard, such as a specific traffic law the defendant violated
  • Presenting eyewitness testimony about what the defendant did wrong
  • Playing video footage from traffic or surveillance cameras

It can be difficult for injury victims to concentrate on investigating the accident and gathering evidence. An Austin personal injury lawyer can handle these responsibilities while the victim concentrates on their recovery.

What Else Do You Have to Prove to Recover Compensation in a Texas Personal Injury Case?

Most personal injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. In addition to duty and breach of that duty, you must also show:

  • Causation – You must be able to connect the breach of the duty and the harm you suffered.
  • Damages – You must also be able to show that you suffered economic or non-economic damages. For example, you may have suffered a physical injury, incurred medical bills, or experienced pain and suffering.

If you can establish all of the elements of a negligence claim, you may be able to recover financial compensation.

What If You Also Breached a Duty?

Not all personal injury claims are cut and dry. In some instances, the personal injury victim was also partially negligent in causing the accident. For example, a driver may have been driving a few miles over the speed limit when another driver failed to yield and caused a crash.

In these types of situations, Texas law still allows the accident victim to pursue a claim for compensation as long as the defendant was more negligent than the plaintiff. However, any compensation the plaintiff receives is reduced by their share of fault.

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Contact an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Proving Negligence

Consulting an attorney after an accident can help you determine your rights to seek compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Contact FVF Law Injury Attorneys at (512) 982-9328 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Austin.

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