Accidents occur on a regular basis, and often the victim is injured through no fault of their own. In many situations, injuries occur as the direct result of the negligence of other individuals who breach a reasonable duty of care with regards to the injured individual. However, filing legal action against the negligent party can be difficult, as negligence claims often involve third-party insurance companies and legal representatives who are professionals at avoiding or limiting damage awards. Even when fault is admitted, it is often difficult to recover all damages available when the claim is actually handled by the injured party and the insurance provider if the insurance adjuster is adamant that a full release from further responsibility must be included in any settlement.
The legal claims process is no undertaking for the injured victim. In areas of vibrant commercial activity and dense population such as Houston, it is important to hire an experienced and effective Houston accident lawyer who is familiar with the local court system and understands how to craft a case that proves the respondent acted negligently or was in a position of responsibility. A prime example of the difference between negligence and responsibility is workers compensation injury claims. Workers typically cannot sue an employer for negligence if they are injured on the job unless the employer has routinely violated safety regulations or is blatantly aware of an illegal working condition. The employer admits responsibility when the worker is placed on workers compensation while recovering from the workplace injury.
Traditional typical accident cases, such as auto collisions, are based on proof that the respondent was actually involved in the accident and violated the law of vehicular control in some manner. The court system determines who is actually at fault in cases where the defendant or their insurance company refuses to pay medical bills and property damage settlements in the case. It is important to understand that the responsibility is charged to the plaintiff and their counsel to prove the negligence or responsibility in court. The respondent has the right to present a counter case defending the material facts, often claiming a reasonable assumption of risk on the part of the plaintiff. Legal procedures are crucial to winning a claim and solid professional representation is necessary for a maximum award.
The burden of proof in a civil tort claim is not beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil claims are decided by a preponderance of the evidence, often with one dominate material fact that can override other mitigating or extenuating material factors. The standard is roughly a 51-49% weighing of the admissible evidence when all facts are considered equally, which is rare. However, the amount of evidence is not the actual determining factor. A single case fact pinpointing negligence of a specific party or multiple parties can be the determining factor. Additionally, trials do not require unanimous decisions and the jury can award punitive damages as well as financial compensatory awards.