Each year millions of accidents occur in the United States, causing injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.
Whether a road accident, medical malpractice, premises slip and fall accident, workplace incidents, or defective products, it can lead to injuries affecting one’s quality of life, financial status, relationships, and disturbances in daily routine.
Fortunately, Texas personal injury law allows injured victims to recover financial compensation for accidents caused by a third party’s negligence. Our Texas personal injury attorneys protect the rights of injured victims suffering from devastating injuries.
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Determining who is at fault is critical in recovering compensation for an accident. In most states, negligence law holds the at-fault party responsible for the damages.
However, in Texas, the insurance companies follow modified comparative negligence, slightly different from the traditional negligence law.
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Under modified negligence law, injured victims can pursue compensation against the responsible party, similar to the traditional negligence rule. The law allows victims to recover damages even if they’re partially at fault, meaning their award of damages is reduced by the losses for which they are responsible.
However, if the injured victim is more than 50% responsible for the accident, they lose their right to recover damages.
Although the modified comparative negligence rule is not as harsh as the pure contributory fault standard followed in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, whereby an injured victim loses the right to recover damages even if they’re 1% at fault, the 51% bar rule can jeopardize an individual’s right to financial recovery if they’re partially responsible for the accident.
The most common personal injury cases we handle include:
Besides the types mentioned above of personal injury cases, our law firm has substantial experience handling trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, workplaces, cruise ships, and many other accidents.
To have a successful personal injury case in Texas, injured victims must establish the following legal elements by providing solid evidence.
The plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care, a special relationship between parties.
For example, a doctor’s responsibility toward their patients is to ensure a high standard of medical care when treating them. A driver’s duty to others on the road is to follow traffic rules and ensure reasonable care while driving.
Whether a driver, doctor, manufacturer, or property owner caused someone else’s injuries, our experienced personal injury lawyer can help establish their duty of care to the injured victim.
The next element a plaintiff must establish is that the defendant breached their duty of care. An injured victim must show the defendant’s actions or inactions under the circumstances, comparing it to what a reasonable person would do in the given situation.
For example, in auto accidents, injured victims can provide evidence that the defendant was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, or running a red light.
Accident victims must also provide enough evidence that the breach, not any other factors, resulted in their injuries. They must prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions were the direct cause of the accident, and had they not acted in the way they did or failed to act in a certain way, the incident would’ve never occurred.
The breach must also be a “proximate cause” of the accident victim’s injuries, meaning that the defendant could predict the accident but failed to take steps to prevent it.
For example, a reasonable person knows that driving under the influence is dangerous and, after having a couple of alcoholic drinks, chooses to take a cab home rather than drive themselves.
Even if the plaintiff establishes the above three elements, they won’t receive any compensation if they do not prove that the defendant’s action caused damages to them. To make recoveries, the plaintiff must establish harm to them or the property.
For example, in an accident, the plaintiff can suffer injuries, and to demonstrate that, they can provide medical bills. In the event of property damage, accident victims can provide vehicle repair bills.
Skilled personal injury lawyers can help recover the following types of damages resulting from an accident in Texas.
Economic damages are quantifiable and represent the financial losses to the injured victim, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, hospital costs, rehabilitation and therapy bills, and loss of earning capacity.
These types of damages are straightforward and are not as challenging to prove as non-economic damages as they are calculable.
For example, in a car accident, victims can add all the expenses directly related to economic damages in their injury claims.
Non-economic damages are not directly linked to economic damages following an accident and are challenging to prove, calculate, or put a value on.
These can include emotional trauma, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, scarring, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.
These are exemplary damages awarded by the court to punish the defendant for their reckless actions or misconduct.
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In many states, there are limits to how much damage can be awarded in a personal injury case.
The limit for non-economic damages in the case of medical malpractice in Texas is $250,000 per claimant against a single health care provider involved in your injuries. In cases involving multiple medical providers, the overall cap is $500,000 per claimant, with no individual health care institution paying more than $250,000 per claimant.
For the government entity responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, the cap is $250,000 per claimant and $500,000 for the entire incident.
In the case of punitive damages, the limit is twice the amount of economic damage or $200,000, whichever is greater, plus up to $750,000 in non-economic damages.
Let’s look at an example of how that may work out.
Suppose Ben suffered a traumatic brain injury and sued the negligent party. The court awarded Ben $1 million in economic losses and 1.5 million dollars in non-economic damages. In that case, Ben will receive a punitive damage award of $2.75 million for his losses (two times the economic damages plus a maximum of $750,000 in non-economic losses).
Before an injured victim can pursue any action, they must consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand their legal options. Consulting with a legal expert can increase a victim’s chances of recovering maximum compensation.
The first step to filing a personal injury lawsuit involves investigating to determine the liable parties.
Once the personal injury lawyer identifies the at-fault party, they will gather evidence (including the police report and medical records), collect necessary bills, calculate the value of the damages incurred, and interview witnesses and record their statements to ensure a strong case.
After having the necessary documentation and evidence, they will file a claim against the negligent party’s insurance company. In many instances, the insurer and the victim’s attorney will try to resolve the claim and settle as Texas Insurance Code prohibits bad faith practice during negotiations.
At times, claims adjusters will reject or reduce the value of the claims coercing the victims to settle at a lower amount. However, a skilled attorney with trial experience will initiate litigation, pursuing a lawsuit if they believe that the case is worth more than what the insurer is offering.
When negotiations between the insurer and the attorney fail, the attorney may decide to take the case to court.
The process of going to trial includes:
Filing complaint: The attorney initiates the process of a lawsuit by filing a claim against the at-fault party, naming the defendant in the official complaint document in the relevant court.
Service of complaint: A victim’s attorney must send a summon with a court date to the defendant to let them know they’ve initiated the lawsuit process.
Filing pre-trial motions: This stage involves attorneys from both sides requesting the court to rule on the admissibility of certain evidence, order a party to furnish required information, provide summary judgment or even dismiss the case. During this stage, all the parties and their attorneys discuss the case and try to resolve matters.
Trial: When there is still a disagreement between all the parties and they cannot resolve issues, the case will proceed to trial. Here, the jury (if applicable) will provide a verdict after the parties present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses. If the plaintiff wins the case, the judge or jury may calculate the damages under the circumstance and award them.
Judgment enforcement: If the defendant refuses to pay the damages awarded, the plaintiff’s attorney can take additional steps for financial recovery.
Appeal: If either or both parties believe that mistakes made by the judge or jury affected the trial’s outcome, they can proceed to appeal the decision.
Although Bayou city has a Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030, the numbers are not so promising.
On March 14, 2022, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 4,480 deaths in 2021 in fatal traffic crashes across Texas, a 14% increase from 2020.
In Houston, traffic deaths went up from 275 in 2020 to 330 in 2021, a 20% increase. These numbers are a reminder of how dangerous roads are in Texas, causing thousands of injuries each year.
Our Houston personal injury lawyers have experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. Whether it is a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, or any other incident resulting in serious injuries, reach out to our experienced Houston personal injury lawyer to increase your chances of recovery.
Filing claims and dealing with insurance companies after your accident can be hectic. A serious accident can leave you with long-lasting injuries and, in some cases, permanent disabilities, affecting your life forever. Although money won’t bring back your past life, it can pay your medical bills and help you move on.
Whether a wrongful death claim or a personal injury claim, you need an experienced personal injury attorney from a reputable law firm to protect your rights. Our attorneys are well versed with Texas personal injury law and have the resources to take on large insurance companies on your behalf.
If you suffered a serious injury that was not your fault or lost someone in an accident, contact our Texas personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation, as you may be eligible for compensation.
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