Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Elements of Negligence cause of action

What are the elements of a cause of action for negligence under Texas law? 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). No duty of care - No viable lawsuit based on negligence 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.). When does duty exist - when not? 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 RELATED LEGAL TERMS: negligent conduct, omission, failure to act, exercise care, tort claims, claims sounding in tort, no fiduciary relationship, duty of care

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