What is a Personal Injury Case?
Each day, individuals throughout Texas are injured through no fault of their own. They are victims of accidents, negligence, or other wrongdoing.
Texas personal injury laws provide a way for victims to recover compensation for their injuries, suffering, financial losses, and other damages.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
When a person or a party acts negligently or commits intentional acts, you might have a personal injury claim.
Filing a personal injury claim is the process of holding the negligent party responsible for your damages.
Damages in a personal injury claim may include:
- Your physical injuries, including permanent impairments, scarring, disfigurement, and disabilities
- Your emotional and psychological injuries, such as stress, anxiety, PTSD, and depression
- The loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
- The cost of your past, present, and future medical care and treatment
- Your past, present, and future loss of income, including wages, benefits, salaries, bonuses, and commissions
- A decrease in your earning potential because of a disabling condition or impairment
- Long-term medical care and personal care costs
- Reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket costs and expenses related to the accident or your injury
There could be additional damages depending on the facts of your case. A personal injury lawyer works with you and your physicians to document your damages for an injury claim. Careful documentation of damages is essential for recovering maximum compensation.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and other circumstances, your attorney might retain medical experts and financial experts to assist in identifying and valuing each of your damages.
Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Texas
A variety of situations could result in a personal injury claim. If a party owed a duty to others to use reasonable care to avoid injury to another person, there is a good chance that you could recover money after an injury.
Examples of situations that could lead to a personal injury claim include, but are not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites and dog attacks
- Defective products
- Dangerous property conditions (slip and fall accidents)
- Aviation accidents
- Oil & gas field injuries
- Workplace accidents
If a person dies because of an accident, the family members could have a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. The family might receive compensation for damages and losses caused by the death of a loved one.
What Do I Have to Prove to Recover Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence claims.
Negligence claims involve four legal elements:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- The party breached the duty of care
- The breach was the direct cause of the incident that resulted in your injury
- You sustained damages because the party failed to meet the duty of care
Proving liability in a personal injury case can involve complicated and challenging hurdles. The party responsible for your injuries could deny liability. You must gather evidence to prove that the party’s actions or inactions resulted in your injuries and damages.
A personal injury lawyer investigates the cause of the accident and your injuries. He gathers evidence and may work with one or more experts to prove that the other party caused your injury.
By proving that the other party is at fault, the attorney establishes liability. Liability means that the party is financially responsible for your damages. The next hurdle is to calculate the value of your personal injury claim.
How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth in Texas?
There is not a damages calculator that applies to all personal injury claims. The facts of the case determine the value of the claim. There may also be factors that can impact the value of a personal injury claim.
Factors that can impact the value of your injury claim include, but are not limited to:
- The parties involved in the case
- The severity of your injuries
- Your lost wages, medical bills, and other financial losses
- The duration of your recovery
- Whether you can be blamed for the accident or contributed to the cause of your injury
- Available insurance coverage
- Whether you sustained catastrophic injuries or permanent disabilities
Some factors increase the value of your claim, such as sustaining a disability and substantial financial losses. Other factors can lower the value of your personal injury claim, such as being partially at fault for the cause of your injury.
An accident lawyer carefully analyzes each factor that impacts the value of your claim. He attempts to minimize the factors that could hurt your claim while utilizing the other factors to maximize how much your injury claim is worth.
Three Things to Know About Texas Personal injury Claims
There are many things that you should understand about personal injury claims before you accept a settlement offer or decide to handle your claim without an attorney. However, three of the most important things to understand about a personal injury case are:
Time Limits for Filing Personal Injury Claims
All personal injury claims are governed by the statutes of limitations. The Texas statutes of limitations restrict the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit before time runs out, you cannot pursue legal action against the party who caused your injury.
Generally, most accident victims have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. However, that deadline can change.
For instance, if you are suing the government, special rules apply. You must comply with the notice requirements to preserve your right to sue the government for a personal injury. Notice requirements can be as short as a few months following the accident.
Minors usually have more time to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins when the injured child reaches 18 years of age. However, parents should not assume that this is the case until they speak with a lawyer.
It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to avoid missing the deadline to file your injury claim.
Caps on Compensation in Texas
Some states place caps on the amount of compensation you can receive for a personal injury claim. Texas does not cap personal injury awards in most instances. You can receive full compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
However, there are caps on compensation for claims involving the government and medical malpractice. Also, there are caps on punitive damages.
Punitive damages are not generally awarded in most personal injury claims. To receive punitive damages, you must prove that the party who caused your injury is guilty of gross negligence, willful disregard for others’ safety, or egregious intentional acts.
Modified Comparative Fault
Claims of comparative fault can reduce the amount of money you can receive for your personal injury claim.
If you share some of the responsibility for the cause of the accident or your injury, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of responsibility. If your percentage of responsibility is 51 percent or higher, you are barred from recovering any compensation for your injuries and damages.
Learn About Personal Injury Cases
If another party injured you or a family member, do not settle your claim or talk to an insurance adjuster without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Learn about your legal rights and get the information you need to make a decision that gives you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.