What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

personal injury lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim wherein a person who suffered injuries and other losses in an accident sues the negligent party for monetary compensation. Personal injury lawsuits must comply with the state’s laws, statutes, and deadlines. As such, it is wise to retain a Houston personal injury lawyer at Dax F. Garza, P.C. as soon as possible after your accident for help preparing, filing, and resolving your lawsuit.

Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Generally, any time an individual is injured due to someone else’s negligence, they may have a personal injury claim. A wide variety of situations can give rise to a personal injury lawsuit, including the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Defective products
  • Slip and falls
  • Dog bites
  • Work injuries
  • Maritime injuries
  • Construction injuries
  • Refinery explosions
  • Oilfield injuries
  • Wrongful death

If you have been injured in an accident because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. You have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the parties who hurt you. A personal injury attorney in Houston can investigate your claim and determine your options for recovery.

Parties in Personal Injury Lawsuits

There are several parties that could be involved in personal injury lawsuits. The injured victim, called the plaintiff, and the party they are suing, called the defendant, are the main parties to a lawsuit. In addition to those, other people play important roles in personal injury cases, including but not limited to:

  • Attorneys
  • Insurance adjusters
  • Witnesses
  • Medical providers
  • Expert witnesses
  • Mediators
  • Jurors
  • Judges

Each party involved in a personal injury lawsuit has a specific role. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston is familiar with all of these roles and how they can affect your claim.

A qualified trial attorney will investigate the situation and help you build a strong case to increase your chances of obtaining maximum financial compensation for your injuries.

Laws That Govern Personal Injury Lawsuits in Texas

Personal injury claims in Texas are governed by the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This code defines negligence, which is what personal injury laws are largely based on. Negligence is a failure to act with a level of care that a reasonable person would have used under similar circumstances.

Comparative negligence laws are also defined in the code. Texas adheres to a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if you were partially responsible for your accident, you may still recover personal injury damages up to the percentage for which you were at fault, as long as you were no more than 50% liable.

This code also sets the statute of limitations and describes duties of care, liability, damages, and recovery, which are all important elements in a personal injury claim. Everyone has a general duty to act in ways that avoid harming others. Some parties, such as healthcare providers and business owners, have stricter duties of care.

Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury Lawsuits

In Texas, the statute of limitations in personal injury lawsuits is typically two years. This means you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries. It is important that you do not miss this deadline because if you do, you will be barred from filing a legal claim and obtaining compensation from the responsible party or parties.

Liability in Personal Injury Lawsuits

To establish liability in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove negligence. Establishing negligence is the most important part of a personal injury claim, as without it, you have no basis to file a lawsuit or obtain recovery. The elements needed to prove negligence are:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to prevent harming you.
  • They breached that duty.
  • If it were not for their breach, you would not have suffered injuries.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Types of evidence that can prove liability and establish negligence in your personal injury claim include the police report, your medical records, photos of the scene and your injuries, and your pay stubs and tax returns. Testimony from witnesses and experts can also help your claim.

Potential Compensation in Personal Injury Lawsuits

The compensation you may be eligible to recover in a personal injury lawsuit is known as damages. There are three types of damages you may collect in a personal injury claim. These damages are:

  • Economic: These are your monetary losses and can include your medical expenses, costs for rehabilitation, and your out-of-pocket costs. They can also include your lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of benefits.
  • Non-economic: These are difficult to calculate because they do not have a clear monetary value and commonly include your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. In some personal injury claims, such as wrongful death, damages for loss of consortium may be obtained.
  • Punitive: These damages may be awarded if you have suffered actual damages, which include the economic and non-economic losses discussed above. You must also prove that the responsible party acted with gross negligence.

Consulting with a skilled Houston trial attorney can increase your chances of prevailing in your personal injury claim. We can investigate your accident, demonstrate liability, and collect the evidence necessary to support your claim of injuries. We will work diligently to try to get you maximum compensation for your losses.

Resolutions in Personal Injury Lawsuits

MediationThroughout the personal injury lawsuit process, your lawyer will try to negotiate a favorable settlement to compensate you for your losses. Many personal injury cases in Texas go through the process of mediation. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution wherein a neutral third party works to facilitate a settlement between the parties.

Sometimes, despite ongoing negotiations and mediation, no settlement can be reached in your case. If this happens and the parties cannot agree to a satisfactory amount, your case will be scheduled for trial. If your claim goes to trial, the lawyers for both sides will typically present evidence and make arguments to a judge and / or jury, who will decide the outcome.

The Length of Personal Injury Lawsuits

It is difficult to say how long any individual personal injury case will take from beginning to end. There are many factors that can affect the amount of time involved for your claim to reach resolution, such as:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The number of parties involved
  • The complexity of the legal issues
  • The amount of evidence
  • The insurance adjuster’s level of cooperation
  • Whether liability is disputed
  • The court’s caseload
  • The parties’ schedules
  • Whether a settlement is reached

We will try to get your case resolved as quickly as possible. However, issues out of our control may affect the speed of how many weeks or months it could take to reach a resolution.

We will consistently keep you updated on the status of your case.

Hiring Dax F. Garza, P.C. Will Benefit Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits have many components. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. will prove the legal elements of your claim, establish liability, and fight for a favorable outcome on your behalf. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you after your personal injury accident.

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