Montgomery County Personal Injury Lawyer Servicing Houston, Conroe, and The Woodlands
Personal injury claims fall under the general area of the law known as torts. Torts are any civil wrongful act that causes harm to a person or property.
Torts for a personal injury fall under three different categories: intentional torts, negligence and product liability. A premises liability claim is a type of negligence claim that incorporates principles of real property law. Negligence is by far the most common personal injury claim.
An intentional tort, as the name suggests, is an act that is committed willfully and purposefully. Assault, battery, fraud, libel and false imprisonment are types of intentional torts. Because intentional torts implicate intentional misconduct or wrongdoing, punitive damages may very likely be recovered as well as actual damages.
In an intentional tort, negligence and product liability case, the injury victim may recover damages for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement. In some instances, punitive damages also may be recovered.
Our Montgomery County personal injury lawyer has successfully litigated hundreds of intentional torts, negligence, and product liability claims and he will go to court and try your case if necessary to maximize your recovery.
Negligence and Premises Liability
Most personal injury claims involve negligence principles. The Texas Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act and Texas Tort Claims Act add procedural hurdles to recovery against healthcare providers and governmental units, but these claims are ultimately resolved under negligence principles.
The application of negligence law, however, is not limited to personal injury claims. Negligence claims are routinely and successfully pursued in commercial litigation matters to recover property damages, loss of personal and business profits, income and revenues, and to recoup personal and business expenses and losses.
Negligence is the most basic and common personal injury and business tort claim. The elements of negligence are: (1) the existence of a legal duty owed by one person to another; (2) a breach of that duty; and (3) damages proximately caused from the breach. A premises liability claim is basically a negligence claim in which the legal duty of the premises owner or operator is established under principles of real property law.
Legal Duty and its Breach
Generally, everyone’s legal duty is to observe a standard of care (e.g., ordinary care while driving, an employer to provide employees a safe workplace, or a premises owner or operator to correct or warn of a dangerous condition on the premises). This legal duty, which is synonymous with “standard of care”, is the cornerstone of every negligence claim. This legal duty is usually “that which a person of ordinary prudence would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.”
Some legal duties are obvious and presumed, others are created by lawmakers in statutes or regulations, Oftentimes, the question of whether a legal duty exists is simply a matter of common sense: Would reasonable people recognize and agree that a person should conduct themselves in a certain way?
When a negligence case involves the conduct of someone in a specialized field, (i.e., a physician, hospital or nursing home, accountant, or attorney) the legal duty is “that which a person of ordinary prudence in that specialty field would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.”
Once the legal duty is established, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent. To do that, the plaintiff must convince the jury that the defendant’s conduct breached the legal duty. (i.e., that defendant did not act as an ordinarily prudent person would have acted in the same or similar circumstances).
When the conduct of someone in a specialized field (i.e., a physician, hospital or nursing home, accountant, or attorney) is at issue, the plaintiff must prove negligence by presenting expert testimony to establish the standard of care for those in the specialized field and that defendant breached that standard.
Premises Liability – Legal Duty of Owners and Operators of Property and its Breach
If you or a loved one was injured on someone else’s premises, you or your loved one may be able to recover compensation against the premises owner or operator under premises liability law. Premises liability law imposes a duty on the premises owner or operator to protect others from unsafe conditions on their premises and if they fail to do so and an injury results, the injury victim may be able to recover compensation.
The legal duty owed by the premises owner or operator to you or a loved one injured on their premises will depend on whether a person injured was on the premises as an “invitee” or “licensee” or “trespasser” when the injury occurred.
An invitee is usually someone who is on the premises for business purposes. An owner or operator owes the highest duty of care to an invitee, which means if an invitee is injured, the invitee will more likely be entitled to compensation.
A licensee is usually someone who is on the premises for a reason other than business. Normally, a house or social guest is a licensee. An owner or operator owes a very high duty of care to a licensee, but the duty is not as high as the duty owed to an invitee.
A trespasser is someone who is on the premises unlawfully or without consent. An owner or operator owes no duty of care to a trespasser but may be required to exercise some care if they knew of the unsafe condition and knew the premises were often trespassed upon.
If a defective product injured you or a loved one, whether compensation can be recovered for the injury against the manufacturer or seller will depend on product liability law. A product liability claim is often referred to as a strict liability claim because it does not require proof that the manufacturer or seller acted negligently.
Product liability law is the most complex area of personal injury trial law. There are three categories of product liability claims: a design defect claim, a manufacturing defect claim, and a marketing defect claim,
A design defect claim exists when a product’s design renders it unreasonably dangerous, taking into consideration the product’s benefits and its risks. For a design defect to exist there must have been a safer alternative design.
A manufacturing defect claim exists when a product’s construction or quality deviates from its specifications or planned output in a manner that renders it unreasonably dangerous.
A marketing defect claim exists when there is a failure to give adequate warnings of the product’s dangers or a failure to give adequate instructions to avoid such dangers, which failure rendered the product unreasonably dangerous.
Our Montgomery County Injury Lawyer Will Fight for Full Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an intentional tort, negligence, an unsafe condition on someone else’s premises, or a defective product, contact our Houston Injury Lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.