Personal injury as a result of an accident or someone else’s carelessness can leave you in a difficult position, not only caused by injury but also financial stress. The impact of your injury may extend beyond the harm felt from the initial occurrence, leaving you with considerable physical, emotional, or financial losses. Texas law enables you to bring a lawsuit against the person who hurt you to compensate you for your damages for incidents such as:
Since the law in Texas addresses some areas of personal injury cases differently than other states, it is essential to understand these distinctions and how to find an attorney qualified to handle your case.
In Texas, individuals and businesses have a duty to use reasonable care with their actions, whether creating products, providing services, or maintaining something. When someone acts unreasonably and you are injured as a result, you may have a negligence claim on your hands. Under Texas law, there are four elements required to prove negligence:
Texas law applies “proportionate responsibility” to negligence claims, also referred to as contributory negligence. This means you may recover damages if any negligence on your part is less than the person you are bringing a claim against and the amount of damages is reduced in proportion to your negligence.
The Texas statute of limitations determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after your injury occurs. After this time period ends, you can no longer bring your claim. This limit is determined by the type of injury, such as:
If you have suffered serious injuries or have substantial financial losses, hiring a qualified attorney from the start may be the right choice. These cases can be complex to litigate and require an extensive amount of legal work. Your attorney can help you navigate the court system, take care of filing requirements, find expert witnesses, and advocate on your behalf for the proper compensation given the severity of your damages.
For claims with minor damages, you may wish to try to handle your claim on your own in small claims court. Currently, Texas small claims court handled injury lawsuits with damages up to $10,000; however, the damage limit is increasing in September 2020 to $20,000.
For injuries from car accidents, you might opt for starting your process by filing a claim with the insurance policy of the person who hit you and with your own policy. But in the event you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer or there is a dispute of fault for the accident, then you may end up needing to pursue litigation.
The damages you may recover depend on a number of factors like the type and extent of your injury and who you are bringing a claim against. Your attorney can help you determine the type of damages you are eligible for and advocate for fair compensation.
Economic damages are for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, or other monetary losses. Non-economic damages provide compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship in a wrongful death claim, or physical impairment. Generally, these damages are not limited, however, there are some instances where Texas law enforces a damage cap.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the person who hurt you, but these are only awarded in rare cases involving malicious or wanton acts. You may receive no more than two times the amount of economic damages in addition to an amount equal to your non-economic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is greater.
If you are suing the state or local government, your damages are limited to $100,000.
For medical malpractice claims, Texas law limits non-economic damages to $250,000 per person per health care entity. If there is more than one health care company involved in the lawsuit, the limit is $500,000 in total. If the malpractice results in a wrongful death claim, then there is a damage cap of $500,000 for all types of damages.
Free consultations are offered by most attorneys and law firms, so they can review your case and determine the associated costs and fees. Injury attorneys typically use contingency fee agreements, which states a percentage of your damages you may receive at the end of the case that will pay for their representation. This means your attorney can get to work on your case without making you pay a large upfront fee.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills, and other complications. Before taking legal action or trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you should talk to an attorney about your case. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can level the playing field, help you protect your rights, and put you in the best position for recovering the compensation that you deserve.