Unraveling the Complexities of Personal Injury Law: Insights for Victims
Hurt in an accident in Texas? You are far from alone. Serious injuries remain a major problem. On a national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 40 million people end up visiting emergency rooms (ERs) for accidental injuries each year. A major accident could put an enormous burden on a person and their family. Knowing what to do can make the difference.
You could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, many people struggle to effectively navigate the system. Defendants and insurers always put their own interests before what is best for injured victims. In this article, our Houston personal injury lawyer helps to unravel the complexities of personal injury law in Texas.Build Your Claim: Steps to Take After an Accident in Southeast Texas
A proactive approach can make the difference in a personal injury claim. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make after a serious accident in Texas is to simply assume that everything will take care of itself on its own. Unfortunately, that is rarely how life works out. Big companies—including the insurance carriers that take on most personal injury cases—put their own interests first. You should work to build your claim right away after an accident. Here are four steps to take:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Any Injuries: Your medical needs always take priority after an accident. Be sure to see a doctor right away. Not only is getting proper care necessary to protect your health and well-being, but it is also a required aspect of the personal injury claims process. Without medical records, you have no viable claim.
- Document the Accident and Your Injuries: Evidence matters. Be sure to gather and secure as much evidence as possible. Among other things, this includes photographs of the accident scene, photographs of your injuries, witness contact information, and other relevant information. The evidence will be key in proving the extent of your damages.
- Ensure that the Incident is Properly Reported: You should always report the accident to the proper authorities as soon as possible after an accident. For example, a motor vehicle crash in Houston should be reported to the police. Other types of accidents, such as slips and falls, should be reported to the property owner.
- Consult With a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Before an Insurer: Before dealing with insurance companies, consult a Houston personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies are not on your side. A top-tier Houston personal injury attorney will protect your rights and help you unravel the complexities of personal injury law.
Establishing liability is another one of the important things that you should do in a personal injury claim. In Texas, proving that the other party was negligent and that their negligence caused your injury is essential. Negligence is the failure to take due care. Elements of negligence include:
- Duty of Care: The defendant must have had a legal duty to act to avoid causing harm to the victim. The scope of the duty of care varies depending on the relationship.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant must have failed to fulfill their duty of care. This means that they acted (or failed to act) in a way that a reasonably prudent person would have.
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. This includes both actual causation and proximate causation.
- Damages: Finally, the injured victim (plaintiff) suffered actual damages, such as physical injury, property damage, or financial loss, as a result of the defendant's breach of duty.
It should be noted that some cases in Texas are not negligence claims. Most importantly, a dangerous and defective product claim can be pursued on the grounds of strict liability. A corporation may be liable for a defective product even without a finding of negligence.Texas is a Modified Comparative Negligence State (51 Percent Bar on Recovery)
Every percentage point of fault matters. Under Texas law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.001), a standard of proportionate responsibility applies. If you are more than 51% responsible for the accident, you cannot recover damages. If you are liable for 50% or less of an accident, then you can still recover financial compensation, but your settlement or verdict will be reduced based on your degree of blame. As an example, if you are 20% at fault for a rear-end collision in Houston, your financial recovery would be reduced by a corresponding 20%.Personal Injury Claims: Understanding Compensatory Damages
In Texas, compensatory damages in personal injury cases are meant to restore you to your pre-accident condition as much as possible. In other words, your compensation should be equivalent to the scope of your damages. Depending on your accident, you may be entitled to recovery financial compensation for:
- Property damage;
- Emergency medical care;
- Hospital bills;
- Other medical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Long-term disability; and
- Wrongful death.
You must bring your claim in a timely manner. In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In other words, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Missing this deadline can bar you from recovering any compensation. Do not fall behind in the claims process: Consult with a Houston, TX, personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a major accident.Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, our Houston personal injury attorney is an aggressive, experienced, and justice-focused advocate for accountability. If you or your loved one was seriously hurt in an accident, we have the expertise that you can trust. Call us at (888) 378-1784 or contact us online to set up your free, no-obligation initial case review. From our Houston office, we fight hard for victims and families across Southeast Texas, including in Harris County and Fort Bend County.