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What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Recklessness?

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Have You Been Injured by Negligence or Recklessness?

If you’re injured in the San Antonio area – or anywhere in Texas – because of another person’s recklessness or negligence, you need to discuss your rights, and your right to recover compensation, as quickly as possible with a San Antonio personal injury attorney.

Recklessness and negligence are legally defined concepts that describe someone’s behavior or conduct in a particular situation. If another person has injured you, you need to know these legal definitions.

How are recklessness and negligence defined by the law? What are your legal rights if you’ve been injured by someone else’s recklessness or carelessness? Can you recover compensation? What steps should you take? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.

How Are Recklessness and Negligence Distinct?

In Texas, a failure to satisfy the legal “duty of care” to others as a reasonable person would fulfill that duty in a similar situation constitutes negligence. However, in some injury cases, a defendant may have gone beyond “simple” negligence. The defendant may have been reckless.

Recklessness happens when someone intentionally disregards or ignores his or her own safety or the safety of others. Recklessness is intentional, irresponsible, dangerous behavior, while negligence is simple absent-mindedness – everyday forgetfulness or carelessness.

If you are injured by another person’s behavior, what makes the distinction between everyday negligence and intentional recklessness so important? If a defendant acted recklessly rather than negligently, a personal injury trial jury is more likely to award you punitive damages.

What Damages May Be Awarded in Personal Injury Cases?

In personal injury cases, “economic” damages are the damages meant to compensate a victim of negligence for his or her financial losses: pending and projected future medical expenses, current and projected future lost wages, and other losses arising from the personal injury.

“Noneconomic” damages are meant to compensate an injury victim for personal suffering and pain, and in some cases, for the loss of the “enjoyment of life” or the loss of consortium.

“Punitive” damages are meant to be a type of punishment to the defendant and are paid only for recklessness and not for simple negligence.

Punitive damages penalize intentional recklessness and are meant to deter future reckless behavior. Although punitive damages are not considered compensation, punitive damages awarded by a court are paid to the injury victim.

How Much Can You Receive in Punitive Damages?

While there is no cap in Texas on the economic damages that an injury victim may recover (except when a government agency is the defendant), and there is no cap on non-economic damages (except in medical malpractice cases), Texas caps punitive damages:

  1.  at either $200,000
  2.  or at twice the amount of the economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000, whichever is greater

Did You Sign a Liability Waiver?

A liability waiver may shield a business from a negligence claim, but no waiver in Texas can shield a business from a claim of recklessness. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can tell you if you may claim that a defendant was reckless in your own personal injury case.

Most personal injury claims in Texas do not raise the issue of punitive damages since in most cases, the behavior of the person at fault was not reckless or intentional but was merely everyday carelessness – that is, simple negligence.

However, if you are convinced that the person who injured you acted recklessly, call the CRASH ANGELS, your San Antonio personal injury attorneys, immediately and let them know during your first meeting.

When is It Time to Contact an Attorney?

In Texas, if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, the deadline (or statute of limitations) for bringing a personal injury lawsuit is usually two years from the date you were injured.

But, you can not and SHOULD NOT wait two years to speak with a personal injury attorney, especially if your injury is keeping you from working. The sooner you contact the personal injury attorney, the sooner they can get working on your case and get you the medical treatment you need. Your attorney needs time to examine the evidence, speak to the witnesses, and develop the strongest possible personal injury claim on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.

What if Your Claim is Against a Government Agency?

The deadline is shorter if a government agency is responsible for your injury. State law sets a deadline at six months from the date you were injured, but many municipalities in Texas set shorter time limits for filing injury claims against them – typically ninety days after the injury.

The need to act swiftly can’t be stressed strongly enough. You need to schedule a free legal consultation with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Over time, evidence deteriorates or disappears, and the memories of witnesses fade.

What More Should You Know About Recklessness and Negligence?

If you’ve been injured in by an 18-wheeler, in a car accident, a slip-and-fall incident, a construction or oil rig accident, or in any other accident scenario, it is important to know if the cause of your injury was recklessness or negligence.

While a determination of recklessness cannot increase the economic damages that you can recover, if the person that injured you was reckless, then that fact could substantially increase non-economic damages and facilitate an award for punitive damages.

Having the right Texas personal injury lawyer handle your claim can make all the difference in the compensation you can get. But how can you know that you’re choosing the right personal injury lawyer?

Meet the Crash Angels at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels

The Crash Angels at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels, understand how difficult it can be for injury victims and their families after an unexpected accident. When you hire the Crash Angels at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels, you’ll have aggressive attorneys with an extensive knowledge of the law fighting for your rights and representing your interests.

Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels is an all-female personal injury law firm. All attorneys are native Spanish speakers, and completely and truly bilingual. You’ll meet personally with your attorney – not with a clerk or a legal assistant. Your attorney will explain how Texas law applies to your own injury claim.

When you become a client of the award-winning legal team at Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels, you’re treated with complete respect and offered every professional consideration. You pay us no fee upfront, and you’ll pay no attorney’s fee to Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels until and unless you are compensated.

If you have been injured in or near the San Antonio area by someone else’s recklessness or negligence, or if you are injured this way in the future, call Pelaez Law Firm, Crash Angels immediately at 210-801-9314 to schedule your first legal consultation – with no cost or obligation.

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