request a free consultation

Unveiling the Key Elements: Building a Prima Facie Case of Negligence in Texas

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2023

Welcome to a comprehensive guide on building a prima facie case of negligence in the great state of Texas. Negligence is a legal concept that holds individuals accountable for their actions or lack thereof, resulting in harm to others. Whether you’re a lawyer, law student, or simply intrigued by the intricacies of the legal system, this article will provide you with a clear understanding of the key elements required to establish negligence in the Lone Star State. From duty of care to causation, we will delve into the fundamental components that form the foundation of a successful negligence claim. By the end of this guide, you will have the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate the complex world of negligence law in Texas. So, let’s dive in and unveil the key elements that will help you build a strong prima facie case of negligence.

Understanding Negligence in Texas

Negligence is a legal concept that forms the basis of many personal injury cases in Texas. It refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. In order to establish a prima facie case of negligence, certain elements must be proven. These elements include duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Understanding these elements is essential for anyone involved in a negligence case in Texas.

Elements of a Prima Facie Case of Negligence

Duty of Care

The first element of a prima facie case of negligence is establishing the existence of a duty of care. Duty of care refers to the legal obligation that one person owes to another to act with reasonable care and avoid causing harm. In Texas, duty of care is generally determined by the relationship between the parties involved. For example, a doctor has a duty of care towards their patients, while a driver has a duty of care towards other drivers on the road. Proving the existence of a duty of care is crucial in a negligence claim.

Breach of Duty

Once the duty of care has been established, the next element to prove is a breach of that duty. A breach of duty occurs when the defendant fails to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation. In Texas, the standard of care is determined by what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. To establish a breach of duty, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions or lack thereof fell below this standard. This can be done through evidence such as expert testimony, eyewitness accounts, or documentation.


Causation is another essential element in a negligence claim. It involves establishing a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. In Texas, there are two types of causation to consider: cause-in-fact and proximate cause. Cause-in-fact requires showing that the defendant’s actions were the actual cause of the harm. Proximate cause, on the other hand, requires demonstrating that the harm was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty. Both types of causation must be proven to establish negligence.


The final element of a prima facie case of negligence is damages. Damages refer to the harm or injury suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s negligence. In Texas, damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. In order to succeed in a negligence claim, the plaintiff must provide evidence of the damages they have suffered. This can be done through medical records, financial documents, and testimonies from healthcare professionals or other experts.

Proving Negligence in Court

Once all the elements of a prima facie case of negligence have been established, the burden of proof shifts to the plaintiff. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. This requires presenting strong evidence, such as witness testimonies, expert opinions, and documentary evidence, to convince the court of the defendant’s negligence.

Defenses to Negligence Claims

In Texas, there are several defenses that can be raised in response to a negligence claim. These defenses include contributory negligence, comparative negligence, assumption of risk, and the statute of limitations. Contributory negligence occurs when the plaintiff’s own negligence contributes to the harm they suffered. Comparative negligence, on the other hand, is a defense that reduces the plaintiff’s recovery based on their percentage of fault. Assumption of risk is a defense that applies when the plaintiff willingly and knowingly exposed themselves to a known risk. Finally, the statute of limitations sets a time limit within which a negligence claim must be filed.

Common Examples of Negligence Cases in Texas

Negligence can arise in various situations, and Texas has seen its fair share of negligence cases. Some common examples include car accidents caused by distracted driving, medical malpractice cases, premises liability cases involving slip and fall accidents, and product liability cases. Each of these examples involves the elements of negligence discussed earlier, and understanding these real-world scenarios can help individuals better grasp the application of negligence law in Texas.


Building a prima facie case of negligence in Texas requires a thorough understanding of the key elements involved. From establishing duty of care to proving causation and damages, each element plays a crucial role in a successful negligence claim. By familiarizing yourself with these elements and the defenses available, you can navigate the complexities of negligence law in Texas. Whether you’re a lawyer building a case or an individual seeking justice, the knowledge gained from this guide will empower you to build a strong prima facie case of negligence in the Lone Star State.

Aaron Herbert - Texas Injury Attorney
Average rating:  
 0 reviews