As a resident of Texas, you have certain rights regarding compensation for harm caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Texas has a long history of upholding the rights of its citizens to pursue damages related to personal injury. Whether suffering minor injuries from a car accident or life-changing harm due to medical malpractice, you deserve to understand your legal options fully.
The laws surrounding personal injury in Texas aim to protect individuals and ensure fair treatment. While no amount of money can undo damage to your health and well-being, the system works to determine appropriate compensation. With the help of a qualified attorney, you can pursue a personal injury claim to recover damages related to lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. By understanding your rights and the legal process, you take an important first step toward justice and financial security following injury. This article provides an overview of personal injury law in Texas to empower you in seeking compensation you rightfully deserve. Discussing your case with a texas car accident lawyer is always a good idea.
Understanding Negligence in Texas Personal Injury Law
To understand personal injury law in Texas, you must first comprehend the concept of negligence. Along with differences between personal injury and bodily injury, for example. Under Texas law, negligence occurs when a person fails to use reasonable care, resulting in injury to another.
To prove negligence in a personal injury claim, the plaintiff (the injured party) must establish:
• Duty - The defendant (alleged wrongdoer) owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances. For example, drivers owe a duty to operate their vehicles responsibly to avoid harming others.
• Breach of duty - The defendant failed to fulfill that duty through their actions or failure to act. For instance, a driver texting while driving would likely be breaching their duty.
• Cause in fact - The defendant's breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff's injuries or damages. But for the defendant's negligent actions, the plaintiff would not have suffered harm.
• Proximate cause - The injury to the plaintiff must have been foreseeable, resulting from the defendant's breach of duty. The breach of duty was so closely connected to the resulting injuries that the law considers the breach the proximate cause.
• Damages - The plaintiff suffered actual injuries, losses or damages due to the defendant's negligence. Without damages, there is no basis for a negligence claim.
If all these elements are proven, the plaintiff can recover damages to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses from the defendant's insurance provider or assets. Understanding negligence is key to navigating personal injury law in Texas.
Proving Liability in Texas Personal Injury Claims
To prove liability in a Texas personal injury claim, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, and the breach caused the plaintiff's injuries.
Proving Duty of Care
The duty of care refers to the responsibility individuals and entities have to act with reasonable care to avoid harming others. In Texas, every person has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring others. Property owners also owe invitees, like customers or clients, a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe.
Establishing Breach of Duty
To prove the defendant breached their duty of care, the plaintiff must show the defendant failed to act with reasonable care. For example, a driver texting while driving or a property owner failing to fix a hazardous condition after being notified about it could constitute a breach of the duty of care. The specific details of what constitutes reasonable care depend on the situation.
The plaintiff must establish that the defendant's breach of duty directly caused their injuries. But for the defendant's negligent actions or inactions, the plaintiff's injuries would not have occurred. The injuries must be foreseeable results of the breach of duty. Proving causation often requires medical evidence, witness testimony, police reports, and other records to determine how the events unfolded, and why injuries may be getting worse.
While the concepts of duty, breach, causation, and damages seem straightforward, applying them to a specific case can be complicated. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate the details of your case and determine the likelihood of success in proving liability.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas
In the state of Texas, there are strict time limits for filing a personal injury lawsuit. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations. For most personal injury claims in Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. This includes injuries from car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and other incidents.
After two years, if a personal injury lawsuit has not been filed, the claim is barred and cannot be pursued in court. There are a few exceptions to the two-year rule. Minors have until two years after their 18th birthday to file a claim. Certain product liability and medical malpractice cases also have their own statutes of limitations. It is best to consult with a personal injury attorney regarding the details of your specific case.
When determining if a claim is still within the statute of limitations, the date of injury is not always straightforward. In a car accident case, it is the actual date of the crash. For medical malpractice or a harmful product, it may be the date when the negligence was discovered or should have been discovered. Claims involving exposure to hazardous materials or toxic substances use the date the injuries or illness were first noticed.
To avoid missing critical deadlines, it is advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury. They can investigate your claim, determine the exact statute of limitations that applies, and file a lawsuit on your behalf before time runs out. Missing the deadline for filing a personal injury claim in Texas will result in losing your right to pursue compensation, even for significant losses or damages.
Damages Available in Texas Personal Injury Cases
If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of another party in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. The damages available in personal injury lawsuits include:
Economic damages refer to the actual financial losses incurred as a result of an injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. Economic damages aim to make the plaintiff "whole" financially.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more subjective but aim to compensate the plaintiff for the physical and emotional hardships resulting from the injury.
Punitive damages may be awarded in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for reckless or willful behavior and deter similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are capped in Texas at the greater of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages plus non-economic damages.
Pre- and post-judgment interest may also be awarded. Pre-judgment interest accrues from the date of the injury until the date of judgment. Post-judgment interest accrues after the judgment is rendered until it is paid in full. Interest aims to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of use of the money during litigation and after judgment.
The damages available will depend on the facts of your specific case. An experienced Texas personal injury attorney can evaluate your claim, determine which types of damages may apply, and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. With the help of a lawyer, you can seek a fair recovery for the harms and losses you have sustained.
Why Hiring a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Matters
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Texas, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is crucial. An attorney who specializes in Texas personal injury law can help guide you through the legal process following an auto accident and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
- An attorney can handle all communication with insurance companies on your behalf. Discussing an accident with insurance companies can be complicated, and anything you say may be used against you. A lawyer can speak for you to ensure your rights are protected.
- Accident lawyers are familiar with Texas personal injury law and legal procedures. There are strict deadlines and legal requirements in injury cases that must be met to preserve your rights. An attorney will make sure all necessary evidence from the accident scene is collected and the proper claims and forms are filed in a timely manner according to Texas law.
- Negotiating with insurance companies and determining a fair settlement amount can be challenging without legal counsel. An experienced lawyer knows how to calculate current and future costs of your injuries to fight for maximum compensation. They can determine how much your claim may be worth and will work to get you a settlement that covers all your costs.
- If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawyer can represent you in court. Taking a personal injury case to trial requires knowledge of legal procedures and how to build a strong case. Accident attorneys have experience litigating injury claims in Texas courts to get clients the best outcome.
Hiring a car accident lawyer in Texas is one of the most important steps you can take after being injured in an auto accident. An attorney can handle the legal complexities of your case so you can focus on healing from your injuries. They have the knowledge and experience to get you fair compensation for your claim.
Fletcher Law Texas Injury Lawyers Have Experience To Help
The state of Texas has laws in place to protect individuals who suffer personal injuries. These laws allow victims to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. If you have suffered an injury in Texas due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another person or entity, you may be entitled to damages.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are many types of incidents that can lead to a personal injury claim, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, that result in common injuries from the car accident.
- Premises liability: Slip and falls, trip and falls, or other injuries that occur on another's property due to unsafe conditions.
- Workplace injuries: Injuries suffered while on the job as a result of employer negligence or unsafe working conditions.
- Medical malpractice: Injuries that arise from a healthcare professional's improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment.
- Product liability: Injuries from a defective or dangerous product.
Damages Recoverable in Personal Injury Claims
If a personal injury claim is successful, the victim may recover both economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses: Costs of emergency care, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medication, medical equipment, etc.
- Lost wages: Income lost due to inability to work during recovery and treatment.
- Pain and suffering: Physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. arising from the injuries. These damages may take into account the time that your body hurts after a car accident.
- Loss of consortium: Damage to the relationship with a spouse or family member.
- Punitive damages: Additional damages aimed at punishing the defendant for reckless or intentional harmful conduct.
The attorneys at Fletcher Law have decades of combined experience helping injury victims in Texas. We have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate your claim, deal with insurance companies, and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
As you have learned, the laws surrounding personal injury cases in Texas aim to protect the rights of victims and ensure they receive fair compensation. By understanding your legal options and working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can pursue justice for harms and losses. Though the process may seem daunting, the law is on your side. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights, and do not accept less than you deserve. With persistence and the help of legal counsel, you can hold the responsible parties accountable and gain closure so you can move on to the next chapter. The path ahead may not be easy, but justice is worth fighting for. Know your rights, stand up for yourself, and stay determined. The law is on your side. Contact Fletcher Law’s Texas Injury Lawyers for help today.