Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck or car wreck? What can you do? What does Texas law provide? Was someone negligent? Was the harm foreseeable? Did someone else’s negligence cause the death? Does the law recognize a remedy, and if so, what remedies are available? Are damages an available remedy? What can you do, and when must you do it?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (“Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts Calendar Year 2022") in 2022 the following occurred in Texas:
* There were 15,299 serious injury crashes in Texas in 2022 with 18,880 people sustaining a serious injury.
* There were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2022.
* 244,092 persons were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022.
* Based on reportable crashes in 2022: (1) 1 person was killed every 1 hour 57 minutes, (2) 1 person was injured every 2 minutes 9 seconds, and (3) 1 reportable crash occurred every 57 seconds.
Under Texas law, to establish a claim for negligence, a plaintiff generally must prove four elements:
Duty: The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances. For instance, all drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to others on the road.
Breach: The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way. This could involve actions such as speeding, not signaling while turning, or not maintaining a safe following distance.
Causation: The defendant's action (or inaction) caused an injury to the plaintiff. This is usually divided into two types: actual cause (also called "cause in fact") and proximate cause (or "legal cause"). Actual cause usually means that "but for" the defendant's action, the injury would not have happened. Proximate cause usually means that the injury was a foreseeable result of the defendant's action.
Damages: The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant's actions. These could be physical, emotional, or financial injuries.
Under Texas law, economic damages refer to the specific types of damages that are meant to compensate a person for their measurable financial losses or expenses incurred as a result of an injury or harm. Here are some examples of damages that are typically categorized as economic damages in Texas:
Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, therapy, rehabilitation, and any other related healthcare expenses resulting from the injury.
Lost Wages: Compensation for the income or earnings that the injured person has lost due to their inability to work or reduced work capacity resulting from the injury. This may include past and future lost wages.
Property Damage: If personal property is damaged or destroyed due to the defendant's actions, the cost of repairing or replacing the property may be claimed as economic damages.
Loss of Earning Capacity: In cases where the injury permanently affects the injured person's ability to earn income or reduces their future earning potential, damages may be awarded to compensate for the loss.
Funeral Expenses: In wrongful death cases, the economic damages may cover funeral and burial expenses incurred by the deceased person's family.
Property Repair Costs: If property is damaged as a result of the defendant's actions, the expenses incurred to repair or restore the property may be claimed as economic damages.
It's important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and economic damages can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
Under Texas law, non-economic harm or injury refers to damages that are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms and are typically associated with pain, suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life. Here are some common examples:
Pain and suffering: This includes physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of an injury or accident.
Emotional distress: Mental anguish, anxiety, depression, or other emotional harm caused by an incident.
Loss of enjoyment of life: The inability to engage in activities or experience life's pleasures as a result of an injury or harm.
Disfigurement or impairment: Permanent physical disfigurement or impairment that affects one's appearance or quality of life.
Loss of consortium: The deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship, such as companionship, affection, or intimacy, due to the injury suffered by a spouse or family member.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, and the specific circumstances of a case can lead to additional considerations.
It is important to note that the specific details and limitations of each wreck and each claim will vary. The Dietrich Law Firm has experience representing people in court concerning negligence claims. If you think your family member died as the result of someone else's negligence, The Dietrich Law Firm may be able to help. Give us a call to schedule an appointment. The firm only represents clients based upon a signed, written agreement. The firm sometimes offers a free, no obligation, initial, in-office consultation.