Personal Injury Law in Texas – Everything You Need to Know
If you or a loved one was the victim of an accident, knowing your rights can dramatically improve the road to your recovery.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal Injury Law pertains to a person who suffers an injury due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Personal Injury Law enables victims to get the justice they deserve by allowing them to claim compensation for damages from the person proven accountable for the accident. Types of Personal Injury Laws in Texas:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Wrongful death
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
Where should I start?
Seek legal assistance.
To get the full compensation you deserve it’s important to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer. Each personal injury case is different and the laws vary depending on the nature of your accident and the state you were in when they occurred. It is extremely advantageous to hire a personal injury lawyer who has a complete and extensive understanding of the specific laws that apply to your case.
Keep in mind that it is always in your best interest to hire and file your case as soon as possible. In Texas, you have 6 months to 2 years (depending on your case) from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.
Most experienced personal injury attorneys will advise you on the proper timeline on filing your claim. This will give you, your doctor and your lawyer time to fully assess the damages.
Once you have found your lawyer, the investigation will begin.
What do I need?
You’ll need to provide as much documentation and relevant information relevant to your accident.
- Photo and videos of the accident and injury
- Police report
- Medical report
- Hospital bills and medical receipts
- Pay stubs
- Information gathered during the incident (parties involved and eye witness contact information)
Your attorney will conduct an investigation to determine how much each party is at fault.
Texas uses fault percentage commonly referred to as “proportionate responsibility” which states if a person is partially to blame, they can be held liable for the amount of damages proportionate to their fault.
However, Texas also follows the 51% bar rule. This means you are eligible for compensation when you are 50% below at fault. If you are 51% or more at fault for your accident you may not receive any compensation.
How much can I claim?
Damages are not exclusive to physical injury or property damage. Your claim amount can also depend on the nature, severity of your accident and how it affects your and your families lives. These are just some of the other factors considered when calculating the correct claim amount.
The 3 types of damages under Personal Injury:
The cost of these damages are relatively easy to quantify. It pertains to medical expenses, lost wages for missing work, lost capacity to earn, and property damages. It can be proven using documents, receipts and current prices in the market.
The cost of these damages are subjective and difficult to quantify because it has no monetary value. These types of damages include the physical, mental and emotional pain you have suffered from the injury.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain
- Anxiety and stress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of ability to have sexual relations (consortium)
- General inconvenience
There are currently no caps on non-economic damages in Texas, except in medical malpractice cases.
Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages because it aims to carry out a message that bad behavior will be punishable by law. There must first be actual economic and non-economic damages before we calculate punitive damages. You also need to prove that the cause of the accident was due to gross negligence, fraud or malice to justify additional punishment and you must be able to convince all of the 12 jurors to agree. However, in Texas, you’re limited to an amount between $200,000 and $750,000, depending on the actual economic damages determined by the jury.
What happens next?
After the investigation, your personal injury lawyer will begin negotiations for your settlement with the insurance company. Most people with personal injury lawsuits prefer to achieve a financial settlement without going to trial. This saves both time, money and removes the heavy burden of a lengthy trial. In the event that the insurance company does not want to negotiate and agree with your claim, your case will go to trial.