Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer injuries each year, requiring nearly 90 million emergency room visits in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tragically, the CDC also reports that 200,955 people lost their lives in 2020 because of unintentional injuries.
You might wonder what your options are if you’re looking into suing someone who accidentally injured you. Further, you may wonder if it’s possible to sue someone if they accidentally caused your injuries. Depending on what led to the accident, you may have a legal claim against someone if they unintentionally caused an accident that injured you.
What You Need to Know About Suing Someone Who Accidentally Injured You
If someone else caused your injuries, you might be able to sue them, even if they unintentionally caused an accident. The law acknowledges that not all injuries happen because someone intended for them to happen. Texas law allows victims of unintentional wrongdoing to recover compensation under tort law. Torts is an area of civil law that allows a private party to sue someone else for causing them harm.
In terms of suing someone who injured you, bringing a negligence claim is one of the more common ways injured people hold the person who injured them accountable. Negligence encompasses reckless and accidental conduct that results in an injury to another person.
Negligent vs. Intentional Conduct
The legal definition of negligence is the failure to act like a reasonably prudent person would act under the circumstances when that failure causes injury to another person. This requirement to act how a reasonable person would act is called the duty of care. Oftentimes, negligent conduct occurs when someone makes a mistake, and that mistake causes an injury. Negligence also includes reckless conduct, which is when someone consciously disregards a substantial risk of harm to others. When bringing a negligence claim, you don’t have to prove that someone intentionally tried to harm you.
The Basic Elements of Negligence
When suing for negligence, there are four elements you need to prove to recover compensation:
- Duty of care. You must show that someone owed you a duty of care because of their relationship with you, such as a doctor, or the situation, such as driving a car.
- Breach of duty of care. You must also prove that they failed to meet their duty of care under the circumstances.
- Causation. You need to prove the at-fault party’s breach of their duty caused your injury.
- Injury or damages. You must show that you suffered an injury or damages from the breach that you can be compensated for.
A personal injury attorney can help you understand and meet your legal obligations when suing for an accidental injury.
What Are the Different Types of Torts?
Tort law is an expansive area of law that encompasses situations where one person causes harm to another. To sue someone who accidentally injured you, you can use a couple of different types of tort claims to prove they are liable for your damages.
There are three main types of torts:
- Torts based on negligence,
- Strict liability torts, and
- Intentional torts.
Each type of tort involves different elements you must prove to win your case. Generally, when suing someone who accidentally injured you, you’ll likely bring a negligence claim or a strict liability claim.
Torts Based on Negligence
As we discussed before, negligence occurs when someone breaches a duty of care they owe to you, and that breach causes an injury. Torts based on negligence include:
- Slip, trip, and falls;
- Auto accidents;
- Medical malpractice; and
- Dental malpractice.
Because negligence claims don’t require the at-fault party to have intended to harm you, you can bring a negligence claim against someone who accidentally injured you.
Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability torts don’t require you to show the at-fault party intended to harm you or was negligent. Instead, the at-fault party can be held liable if you can prove they performed a certain type of action that harmed you. Examples of strict liability torts include:
- Some product liability claims,
- Possessing a dangerous animal, and
- Engaging in abnormally dangerous activities.
There are other situations where an at-fault party can be held strictly liable for an injury. An at-fault party’s intentions or lack of care typically aren’t considered in strict liability cases.
Intentional torts occur when a defendant intentionally acts or works to cause a particular result. Intentional torts include civil battery and assault, false imprisonment, trespassing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In the realm of intentional torts, what constitutes “intentional” conduct and what is “accidental” can vary from the everyday meaning of those words.
For example, in most trespassing cases, the at-fault party must have intended to walk on the land to be held liable. It might be irrelevant whether they knew the land belonged to someone else when they intentionally placed a foot on the patch of grass. In contrast, if they accidentally landed on the property because they tripped on a rock, then the court probably won’t find that they acted intentionally.
Hartley Law Firm: Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Who Can Help
Hartley Law Firm has years of experience fighting for injury victims throughout Texas and helping them seek the compensation they deserve. In 2021, Expertise.com named Austin Hartley one of the “Best Personal Injury Lawyers” in Carrollton. If you or your loved one suffered an injury because of someone else’s conduct, contact our office today by telephone or online to schedule a consultation.