Personal Injury Causes of Action Recognized by Texas Law
You don't have to be especially familiar with how the court system operates to know that you cannot sue someone for just anything. You already know that if your neighbor cruelly ridicules your favorite football team and makes you angry, you're not going to get any sympathy from a court of law---you cannot sue him for that. Courts are not in place to make us feel better when people are mean or tell us that we're not smart people.
The courthouse doors aren't open to us for everything. So what CAN we sue someone for? In order to file a lawsuit, you need to have a justification that the courts have already acknowledged exists. In legal terms, this is called a "cause of action". There are dozens of these, but the bottom line is that you have to fit what was done wrong to you into one of them or a court will simply throw out your case.
For example, you can't file a lawsuit against a company because they "took your money". A court won't know what to do with that. However, courts have long recognized a cause of action for "breach of contract." To file a breach of contract case, you'd need to explain to the court that you and the business:
- Had a contract
- The business failed to perform as promised
- You've been harmed as a result
Once you've alleged that to a court, your lawsuit is off to the races.
With personal injury claims, it works the exact same way. In order to get a court to award you financial compensation, your attorney must file a lawsuit that alleges the defendant violated some recognized duty that was owed to you.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What exactly is a cause of action in a personal injury case?
- What are causes of action recognized in Texas?
- How does a cause of action work in Texas?
Personal injury cases have their own specific sets of causes of action.
Long before courts ever existed, people have been hurting each other. We humans are especially creative in how we do this, and sometimes we consider it justified or at least accidental. Courts long ago established that when someone is unjustly harmed, they're entitled to demand something from the person who hurt them. Courts could have created an exhaustive list of prohibited conduct, but instead chose a different route.
Think of it this way: if you tried to establish a set of laws that speaks to every possible circumstances, you have a lot of laws that say "no one can hurt his neighbor with a baseball bat unless his neighbor provokes him" and "no one can hurt his neighbor with a hammer unless his neighbor provokes him," etc. There's simply no end to the scenarios we can hurt each other, especially with the seemingly endless supply of new technologies and innovations coming out.
Instead, just like "breach of contract," courts recognize breaches of other duties we owe each other as causes of actions for which you can sue someone else. The main duty we have is one of "reasonable care." That's a broad and vague term, but the point is that we're not supposed to go through life causing other people pain. You can live how you'd like, but leave other people out of it. That's the "duty" you owe to your fellow man, whether you know him or not. When someone has ignored this duty and hurts you, you can sue them for a cause of action based on negligence. These negligence-based causes of action are specifically allowed by Texas courts:
- Negligence: These claims require you to show that a person failed to live up to a reasonable standard of care. You'll need to be able to show that the person who hurt you was careless in his actions and that carelessness caused your injuries.
- Negligence per se: A cause of action based on a perpetrator's failure to a follow an actual written law or regulation.
- Gross negligence: Courts recognize that sometimes people willfully disregard the well-being and safety of other individuals.
- Bystander claims: Those who witnesses a close family member get injured or killed can sue for the mental anguish specifically caused from seeing the accident,
- Negligent entrustment: Individuals cannot allow their possessions (like vehicles) to be used by patently dangerous persons
- Negligent hiring: Employers have a duty to investigate the competency and qualifications of an employee.
- Negligent training: Employers must train their workers to be safe
- Negligent handling of animals: Owners of animals must make reasonable efforts to secure them from harming people
The bottom line is that your attorney needs to fit your accident into a recognized right to sue someone or a company.
Call Grossman Law Offices:
The attorneys are Grossman Law Offices have over 25 years of experienced with personal injury cases in the state of Texas. We know this area of the law almost better than anyone. With literally thousands of personal injury lawsuits under our belt we're confident we can put you in the best possible position to recover your losses. Give us a call at (855) 326-0000 to talk about your potential case.
Other articles about personal injury cases that may be helpful:
- What are common negligence arguments under Texas law?
- What are the elements of a negligence case?
- What damages are available in a personal injury case?