3 Types of Civil Liability and Examples from Texas Cases

Liability means legal responsibility – personal injury basics in Texas

Liability means legal responsibility – a crucial part of any Texas personal injury case

Texas is a state famous for their BBQ, love for football and extreme weather.

However, Texas is also home to some of the more renowned cases of civil liability (also known as personal injury).

Liability is legal responsibility. It is the state of being bound, as in a contract, or obliged to do, pay or make good on something.

Civil liability is the term that is used when someone commits a tort (personal injury) and must face the consequences.

In other words, they have done some kind of harm to another person - and are usually required to compensate them.

In Texas personal injury law, where a personal injury has occurred, the defendant becomes legally obliged to make the plaintiff whole.

In most cases, a settlement may be made without a trial. In other personal injury cases, a judge and jury are called to hear the case and decide what compensation is considered fair for the victim.

Enjuris Tip: Civil liability is the term that is used when someone commits a tort (personal injury) and must face the consequences. In other words, they have done some kind of harm to another person - and are usually required to compensate them.

Three major types of torts (wrongful acts) leading to legal liability include:

  • Intentional torts (e.g., assault and battery)
  • Negligence torts (e.g., car accidents)
  • Strict liability torts (e.g., product liability or oil spill liability)

1. Intentional torts are committed when the perpetrator has a clear purpose of causing harm.

Intentional torts are committed when the perpetrator has a clear purpose of causing harm to the victim.

The harm is not caused by an accident or simple forgetfulness. Rather, the act is planned with the intention of damaging the other person.

A person can also commit intentional tort to another person's property.

Common examples of intentional tort (liability) include: 

  • Battery - Hurting a person through physical acts or by using an object such as a gun.
  • Assault - Threatening to commit battery, although no injury occurred.
  • Defamation - Speaking lies about another person that result in some kind of harm.

Texas intentional tort cases

Defamation case

In Bexar County, TX, a case was filed against a security company for the charge of defamation. An undercover detective made claims that a salesperson was stealing merchandise from her workplace.

There was no proof to support this crime. However, the security company broadcasted its accusations to other employees. The salesperson was unable to find work after this and fell into a deep depression. Her attorneys helped her secure compensation at trial.

Aggravated assault

Another intentional tort case occurred in the city of Mineral Wells. A woman was arrested for aggravated assault after she threatened to kill a man. She slashed the tires of his car and also ran at him with a knife.

2. Negligence torts are the most common type of civil liability.

Negligence torts are the most common type of civil liability. They are not committed with the purpose of harming another person; they are considered to be non-deliberate.

A case of negligence might occur if a person fails to take proper precautions, and someone else gets hurt because of this.

Negligence. Most of the time, the defendant has the trust of the victim, and they end up failing in their promised duty. Tweet this

Most of the time, the defendant has the trust of the victim, and they end up failing in their promised duty.

Negligence torts include: 

  • Criminal negligence - Breaking the law with a negligent act, for example leaving a small child home alone and the child gets hurt.

  • Civil negligence - When a person does not exercise due diligence in their responsibilities, for example when an employee washes the floor and does not put up a sign to warn customers to be careful.

Texas cases of negligence

Workplace negligence

A man from Lubbock, TX, suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling from a flatbed trailer that had been loaded unevenly.

He took the company who employed him to court to try and prove that the workplace environment was unsafe and had caused his injury. He won his case because the judge decided that the company should have provided him with safety equipment and more supervision while he completed his task.

Medical malpractice/negligence

A woman in San Antonio, TX checked into a hospital with extreme pain in her leg.

She informed the medical personnel that she had a history of blood clots. However, the doctors diagnosed her with a condition that was less serious. A few days later, Connie was taken to another hospital where doctors were forced to amputate both her legs due to a serious blood clot.

She has been unable to fight her case in court due to unyielding Texas laws concerning medical malpractice, though her injuries are certainly catastrophic.

See Texas Damage Caps – How Much Can You Sue for in Texas?

3. A strict liability does not take into account whether an individual or company was negligent or not

A strict liability does not take into account whether an individual or company was negligent or not.

If the defendant's actions caused damage of some kind, they are considered to be liable.

Strict liability torts occur even when the act was out of the defendant's control. The categories of strict liabilities include:

  • Animals - If an animal owned by the defendant gets out of the house and bites someone while the owner is away, the owner will be held liable

  • Dangerous Acts - When an individual decides to engage in a dangerous act, they are potential putting others at risk as well. E.g., firing a gun at a target and hitting someone else by mistake.

  • Product liability - Suppliers are entirely responsible for the products that they sell to the public.

Texas cases of strict liability

Dog bite case

A case in Texas involved a dog attacking two different children; an eight-year old girl and two-year old boy.

The families involved did not have insurance. When the lawsuit was filed against the dog's owner, he was charged and held strictly liable for the attacks. He was required to pay both families double what insurance would have given them.

Product liability case

A six-year old girl was accidentally burned with a BIC lighter. A case was filed against BIC and it was proven that their lighter was defective, which caused Brittney's injuries.

Thousands of crimes are committed each and every day. Some of them are committed on purpose, while others are entirely accidental. When these cases are brought before a court of law, it is with the purpose and hope of righting the wrongs that occurred.

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