What Is a ‘Personal Injury’ In Texas?

what is considered a personal injury

A personal injury is a legally compensable harm done to at least one person by another.

Personal injuries are injuries that cause harm to the person. The harm can be physical or mental. The harm can also be interference with a person’s convenience or damage to their reputation.

A personal injury occurs when someone acts in a way that is prohibited by law and those actions result in injury to someone else. Harmful actions may be intended by the wrongdoer or may be the consequence of a failure to exercise the appropriate degree of care in order to avoid injuring others.

The injured party must adequately prove all of the legal components a personal injury before they are entitled to collect compensation for their losses. Proving up a personal injury requires showing there was wrongdoing, the wrongdoing caused the claimed injury, and the injury resulted in compensable damage.

Common Causes of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Some types of activities present a greater risk of harm and are associated with an increased likelihood that a personal injury will occur when things go wrong. The following activities are commonly associated with personal injury claims:

Dangerous Driving

In 2021, accidents involving motor vehicles were the second-largest source of preventable deaths and the fourth-largest source of preventable injuries as reported by the National Safety Council (NSC).

On Texas roads, one person was injured in a motor vehicle accident about every two minutes in 2021. Traffic fatalities increased over 15% from 2020 totals. Pedestrian fatalities were also up over 15%; and, fatal accidents involving bicycles increased close to 14%.

Defective Products

The use of faulty products by consumers causes nearly 29 million medically treated injuries each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Manufacturers of defective products can be held liable for the damage done to consumers who use their products and are injured because of dangerous defects. Manufacturers can also be liable to consumers for failing to properly warn them of product risks that are not easily detected.

High-Risk Occupations

Certain types of jobs are performed under conditions that can result in serious personal injuries. Workers in the maritime, construction, and oil and gas industries face severe risks in Texas, such as falling, explosions, being crushed or struck by heavy equipment or materials, electrocution, exposure to toxic substances, and burns, among other workplace injuries.

Injured workers may have personal injury claims against employers and/or others on a jobsite who are not maintaining a safe work environment and/or properly training workers to appreciate the risks of their jobs.

Personal injuries can also occur as a result of intentional – as opposed to accidental – actions by others. Intentional actions often also result in criminal penalties for the offender. Personal injury damages may be increased where conduct is intentional to discourage the wrongdoer from similar behavior.

Personal Injury Compensation

A person must experience some type of loss to recover compensation for a personal injury. Compensable losses can be monetary or have to do with how a person is able to experience the world after the injury. A personal injury can cause someone to incur unexpected expenses and take away their ability to do things they used to enjoy.

Economic damages include expenses and other financial losses such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are not readily calculable and can include amounts for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship.

Punitive or Exemplary Damages

Exemplary or punitive damages are not intended to compensate a victim for their injuries but rather to deter the wrongdoer from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Exemplary damages can be awarded for a personal injury when the conduct causing the injury is proven to involve one of the following:

  • Fraud
  • Malice
  • Gross negligence

When awarded, the amount of exemplary damages is the greater of twice the amount of economic damages plus up to $750,000 of the non-economic damages or $200,000.

When Compensation In A Personal Injury May Be Limited

A person claiming personal injury is only allowed to be compensated for damage done to them by others. Having fault for an accident or injury can limit or even bar an injured person from recovering compensation.

In Texas, a personal injury claimant must have no more than 50% responsibility for causing their injuries in order to receive compensation. Any percentage of fault attributed to an injured person will proportionately reduce the amount that can be recovered for their injuries.

Where To Find Help After A Personal Injury In Texas

A personal injury is a legal wrong, and it gives an injured person the right to be compensated by the wrongdoer. Exercising the right to compensation involves a legal process. The process is adversarial because the wrongdoer and/or their insurance company is looking for every opportunity to minimize the amount that has to be paid out.

The personal injury attorneys in Houston at Dax F. Garza, P.C. are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and familiar with their tactics. You should take advantage of a free consultation during which our lawyers can recommend legal strategies to give you the best chance of recovering all of the compensation you are entitled to.

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