Personal Injury Laws and Liability Rules in Texas
If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, there are many laws and rules that impact how much compensation you receive. These include:
- The law of comparative fault;
- The law of contributory negligence;
- The law regarding damages;
- The law related to liability insurance coverage; and
- The law of joint and several liabilities.
The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of some of the most important personal injury laws and rules in Texas. This information can help you understand what happens during a personal injury case and how it affects your ability to recover money.The Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
If you are injured due to someone else's negligence, it is important to know how long you have to file suit in Texas. A common misconception is that there is no limitation period for filing a personal injury claim in the state's civil courts.
However, if you suffer physical injuries such as broken bones, ruptured organs, or permanent disfigurement, you have up to four years to file a personal injury claim. For example, if you were injured in an automobile accident in 2016, you still have until 2018 to file a complaint against the driver responsible for causing your injuries.
If you are harmed emotionally, however, you have just one year to sue. In fact, if you experience mental anguish or emotional distress because of another person's negligent conduct, you have just a year to file a lawsuit.
To determine whether you have met the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit, look to the date of the incident that caused your injuries. If you did not discover your injury and its source until later, you may have additional time to file a complaint.Texas Shared Fault Rules
In some personal injury cases, such as car accidents, people argue that they are not legally responsible for the accident. They say that someone else caused the collision, either because he or she ran a red light or failed to yield the right of way. These claims are called "no-fault" claims because there is no requirement that the injured party proves that his or her injuries resulted directly from the defendant's actions. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care and that the defendant breached that duty.
If you're involved in a car accident where another driver is deemed negligent, you could still sue that individual in court. You'll likely have to file a lawsuit within two years of the date on which you suffered your injuries. However, if you wait longer than that, you risk losing your opportunity to recover damages.
You might think that you don't owe anyone a duty of care during a motor vehicle accident. After all, you weren't driving the car; you didn't cause the collision.Caps on Injury Damages in Texas
In Texas, statutory limitations on damage awards only apply to medical malpractice cases. However, some states place limits on the kinds of compensation one can recover in such cases.
Texas Medical Liability Act caps non-economic damages at $250,000 per individual defendant and $500,000 total. This cap applies even if the plaintiff dies during litigation.
For wrongful death claims, the cap starts at $500,000 in 1977 dollars and is adjusted for inflation each year. At present, it stands at over $2 million.Injury Claims Against the Texas Government
If you slip and fall in a public building owned by the government, it might seem like a simple matter of filing a lawsuit. But there are some things you must consider before doing so. For starters, you cannot sue the government directly unless you have a specific written contract. You also cannot sue a government agency for negligence without having filed a tort claim notice with the governing body. And even if you do file such a notice, you still may not be able to recover damages because of certain statutory limitations.
The good news is that you can bring a personal injury claim against a government agency. In fact, you can generally sue anyone else over almost anything under Texas law. All you need to do is meet three basic requirements: show that someone owes you a legal duty; prove that he breached that duty, and establish that the breach caused you harm.Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.