What’s Liability?

What's Liability?

If you are injured because of another party’s negligence, that party could be “liable” for your injuries and damages. Liability is the cornerstone of a personal injury claim. When a party is held liable for an injury or accident, that person is deemed at fault for the resulting damages.

Liability is a legally enforceable claim against the assets of a person or party who caused an injury. Proving liability for a personal injury claim generally requires that you prove negligence. 

The injured party has the burden of proving fault and liability. Therefore, the party must have sufficient evidence to prove each legal element of negligence to win their case. 

Liability, Negligence, and the Reasonable Person Standard 

Liability, Negligence, and the Reasonable Person Standard 

Negligence is the basis for most injury claims. A person is negligent when they fail to act with a specific level of care. The reasonable person standard determines the level of care for a situation. A jury determines what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances.

If the party’s actions fall short of the reasonable person standard, the party may be held liable for damages. However, proving negligence requires that you prove the following legal requirements:

  • The party owed you a duty of care
  • The party breached the duty of care
  • The breach of duty was the cause of your injuries
  • You sustained damages because of the breach of duty

The reasonable person standard is used to determine whether the other party breached their duty of care in an injury claim. A duty of care is the requirement to avoid causing injury or harm to another person. When the breach of duty causes an injury, it can create liability for damages. 

For example, drivers owe a duty of care to all other people using the road to follow traffic laws and avoid driving behaviors that cause accidents. Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients to provide medical treatment that meets or exceeds the medical standard of care. Property owners have a duty of care to provide safe premises for guests and invitees. 

Compensation Available for a Personal Injury Claim 

A negligent person can be held liable for your injury and personal damages. The types of damages you could receive for an injury claim include:

  • Reimbursement for medical bills and the expenses related to the treatment of injuries
  • The loss of income and benefits, including reduced future earning potential and future lost wages
  • The cost of personal care and nursing care
  • Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, mental anguish, and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
  • Disabilities, scarring, and impairments 
  • Out-of-pocket expenses and costs

How much your claim is worth depends on your economic damages, the severity of your injuries, and other factors. The insurance company for the at-fault party tries to avoid paying the total value of your damages. A personal injury lawyer fights to maximize your recovery by gathering evidence that proves causation, fault, and liability. 

Who is Responsible for Paying My Damages After an Accident or Injury?

The at-fault party can be held financially liable for your damages. That means the party who caused your injury is personally liable for the costs, expenses, and non-economic damages caused by the party’s conduct.

However, injury liability coverage often covers the costs of a personal injury claim. Injury insurance may be purchased to cover a variety of injury claims.

For example, auto insurance covers damages caused by traffic accidents. Texas requires drivers to purchase minimum amounts of insurance coverage. 

The required auto insurance in Texas is:

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 property damage insurance 

Homeowner’s insurance and personal injury coverage could pay the cost of a slip and fall claim or other premises liability claim. Personal liability coverage could also cover claims related to dog bites, swimming pool accidents, sexual assault, and wrongful death.

If an injured party files a lawsuit, the insurance provider may hire a defense lawyer to represent the at-fault party in court. However, most injury claims are settled through settlement negotiations with the insurance company. The settlement agreement releases the insurance company, the at-fault party, and all other parties from all claims related to the injury or accident.

Therefore, before accepting a settlement offer for an injury claim, it is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX.

Contact Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation 

If another party caused you bodily injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. Call our law office at (713) 224-4878 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a Houston personal injury attorney. Our office bases our legal fees for most personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing for attorneys’ fees unless we recover money for your claim.