Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Texas Personal Injury Law
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:
- Car crashes
- Dangerous hazards on the property of another person or business
- Defective products or warning labels
- Medical malpractice
- Intentionally harmful acts
- Property damage
Since the law in Texas addresses some areas of personal injury cases differently than other states. If you’ve been injured in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston, it is essential to find an attorney qualified to handle your case.
Negligence Claims in Texas
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:
- You were owed a duty of reasonable care
- The person breached their duty by acting unreasonably
- Their actions caused your injuries
- You suffered damages as a result
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.
How Long Do I Have to File My Claim?
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:
- Two years for property damage
- Two years for physical injuries or wrongful death
- Two years for medical malpractice
- Four years for fraud
The Process of Texas Injury Claims
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.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
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.
Special Damages & Damage Caps
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.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Texas Injury Attorney?
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.