Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Suing for Negligence: Elements that must be proven

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENCE CLAIM A negligence cause of action has three elements: (1) a legal duty owed by one person to another, (2) a breach of that duty, and (3) damages proximately caused by the breach. D. Houston, Inc. v. Love, 92 S.W.3d 450, 454 (Tex. 2002). The threshold inquiry in a negligence case is duty. Centeq Realty, Inc. v. Siegler, 899 S.W.2d 195, 197 (Tex. 1995); Mathis v. RKL Design/Build, 189 S.W.3d 839, 844 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.). The existence of duty is a question of law for the court to decide from the facts surrounding the occurrence at issue. Van Horn v. Chambers, 970 S.W.2d 542, 544 (Tex. 1998); Siegler, 899 S.W.2d at 197; Greater Houston Transp. Co. v. Phillips, 801 S.W.2d 523, 525 (Tex. 1990). “The nonexistence of a duty ends the inquiry into whether negligence liability may be imposed.” Van Horn, 970 S.W.2d at 544. Generally, no duty exists to take action to prevent harm to others absent certain special relationships or circumstances. Torrington Co. v. Stutzman, 46 S.W.3d 829, 837 (Tex. 2000). SOURCE: Houston Court of Appeals - 01-10-00078-CV - 6/9/11