What is a Defendant in Houston Personal Injury Case?
Texas tort laws give you the right to seek compensation for damages caused by an accident or injury. Most personal injury claims are settled with the insurance company for the party who caused your injury. However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, you may need to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages.
Who Are the Plaintiff and Defendant in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you file a lawsuit, you will be the plaintiff. The plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is the person who was injured. You allege that the other party’s negligence, intentional acts, or other wrongdoing caused your injuries, financial losses, and other damages.
The defendant is the person being sued for damages. That is the person or other party who caused your injury.
What Is the Plaintiff’s Role in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.
A preponderance of the evidence means there is more than a 50% chance that the defendant did what you claim they did. In other words, it is more likely than not that the defendant caused your injury.
In most cases, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent. Proving negligence requires that you prove the following legal elements to establish liability for damages:
- Duty of Care – The defendant owed you a duty of care based on a legal, moral, or other obligation.
- Breach of Duty – The defendant breached the duty of care because of their acts or omissions.
- Causation – The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injuries.
- Damages – The breach of duty caused you to sustain damages.
Injured victims may receive damages for their expenses and costs (economic damages) and their pain and suffering (non-economic damages). The damages in a personal injury lawsuit may include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Nursing care and personal care
- Property damages
- Lost wages and benefits
- Decreased quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished earning capacity
- Out of pocket expenses
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Impairments, disabilities, and disfigurement
A plaintiff could be entitled to punitive damages. However, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions rose to the level of malice, gross negligence, or fraud. It is a higher standard of proof, so punitive damages are only awarded in a small number of personal injury cases.
What Is the Defendant’s Role in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A defendant has the opportunity to refute the evidence presented by the plaintiff. In addition, the defendant may cross-examine witnesses and produce evidence alleging a different set of facts or circumstances.
The defense may raise allegations of contributory fault. Contributory fault alleges that the plaintiff contributed to the cause of their injuries. If the jury finds the plaintiff is partially to blame for the cause of the accident, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault.
The defense may also claim that the statute of limitations bars the lawsuit. The Texas statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. The court dismisses the lawsuit if the plaintiff misses the filing deadline.
If the jury finds that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s damages, the jury decides how much money to award the plaintiff for damages. If the defendant has insurance coverage, the insurance company should be liable up to the policy limits. However, the defendant is personally liable for any amount above the policy limits.
Who Are the Defendants in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Any party who causes you an injury can be named a defendant in a lawsuit. Examples of parties that you might sue for an accident or personal injury include:
- Traffic Accidents – Motorists, rideshare drivers, pedestrians, government entities, bicyclists, road and construction companies
- Medical Malpractice Claims – Physicians, laboratories, dentists, nurses, hospitals, chiropractors, medical facilities, and other medical providers
- Truck Accidents – Trucking companies, loaders, truck drivers, shippers, truck manufacturers, repair companies, and maintenance facilities
- Dog Bites – Dog owners, landlords, property owners, and tenants
- Premises Liability Claims – Residential property owners, government entities, commercial property owners, landlords, business owners, and rental companies
- Product Liability Claims – Manufacturers, sellers, designers, and distributors
Our Houston personal injury lawyers conduct thorough investigations into the cause of your injury claim. We identify each party who contributed to the cause of your injury and name them in the lawsuit.
By naming all parties liable for your injuries, we increase the chance that you receive maximum compensation for damages. The goal is to put as much money as possible in your pocket after a negligent party causes you to be injured.
Call Now to Schedule Your Free Consultation With Our Experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyers
Our Houston personal injury lawyers help accident victims recover the compensation they deserve after an accident or other personal injury. Call our law office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.