Every day in Texas, countless people get injured because someone was negligent. Whether it’s a slip and fall, workplace accident, or car accident, the victim deserves to receive compensation.
Most people don’t know how much goes into their personal injury claims, but here are 10 important facts about Texas personal injury law you should know:
There’s More to Personal Injury than Car Accidents.
When most people think about personal injuries in Texas, they focus on car accidents. However, these cases can involve any situations where one person’s negligence causes harm for another. Aside from vehicular crashes, personal injury claims can include:
- Wrongful death
- Accidental drownings
- Product liability
- Oil field accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and falls
- Many more
You may have a personal injury claim even if you weren’t in a car accident. Therefore, it’s wise to speak with an experienced lawyer in Texas who can determine if you have a case.
The Insurance Adjuster Is Not on Your Side.
All lawyers advise their clients to be wary about talking to insurance companies because they are businesses. Therefore, they focus on profits and not about appropriate compensation.
When an insurance company doles out less money for a claim, the CEOs pocket the rest. Therefore, the goal is ultimately to give you as little as possible, regardless of the situation.
Instead of talking directly to the insurance company, it’s wise to hire a lawyer to deal with the adjusters. They will focus on your needs and ensure you get appropriate compensation for your injury.
Most Cases Don’t Go to Court.
Roughly 95 percent of all personal injury cases settle without court. People tend to accept the insurance company’s offer, which might not be what’s fair to you. Generally, to get a reasonable settlement, you need a lawyer’s help. Someone with experience handling insurance adjusters will accurately estimate your claim’s value and see that you get an appropriate award.
Going to the Doctor Helps Your Case.
Many people don’t feel pain or illness after an accident, so they skip going to the doctor to save money. However, if you visit your primary care physician immediately after the incident, you could have a better chance of success for a personal injury claim.
The visit documents the injuries and stores them in your medical records. This can be crucial evidence when trying to win damages in a claim.
You Might Have to Collect Evidence.
If you’re injured, you should focus on getting a copy of the police report and data from your doctor’s visit because these documents can help your attorney.
However, you can collect other evidence, such as photos of the accident scene and witness testimonials, which means less work for the lawyer. This also allows you to save a little money because you’ve done most of the legwork.
There’s a Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Texas.
Texas has a two-year window for filing a personal injury claim. This starts from the date of the accident and is called a statute of limitations.
If you don’t file during that time frame, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries or damage. There are some exceptions for specific circumstances, but it’s wise to call a personal injury attorney in Texas as soon as you can to get started on the case.
Lawyers Rarely Charge Upfront Fees.
Most law firms don’t require victims to pay an upfront fee before starting on the case. Instead, they use a contingency fee, which means they get compensated after you win the case, and you’re not liable for charges if they don’t win.
The fee is generally a percentage of what you win for compensation, and they can take it directly from the award money. Therefore, you never have to worry about writing a check. It’s a good idea to ask the lawyer about payment options before hiring them.
Texas Is a Shared Fault State.
Sometimes, the business or person you file against for your claim argues that you’re wholly or partially to blame. If you do share liability, this affects the total compensation amount you receive from the at-fault party.
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule. Therefore, the court assesses a percentage of blame to you, and your compensation award is reduced by that much. However, if you’re found to be over 50 percent at fault, you cannot collect damages from any at-fault parties.
Texas courts must follow the rule in trial lawsuits, but many insurance companies also use it to lower the amount they’re required to pay out.
There Are Caps for Injury Damages in Texas.
In Texas, there are limitations for the damages relating to medical malpractice cases only. However, they are highly complex and not easy to explain in a short paragraph or two. In most situations, the non-economic damages can be up to $250,000 per defendant or $500,000 overall.
Likewise, wrongful death malpractice cases have caps that are indexed for inflation. It started at $500,000 in 1977, but now it’s about $2 million.
Remember that these caps only apply to medical malpractice personal injury claims and nothing else.
It’s Harder to File a Claim Against the Local Government.
You can’t simply file a lawsuit against the Texas government. For example, you had a slip-and-fall accident because the stairway of a state-owned building wasn’t maintained correctly. In this situation, you must file formal claims with the government unit responsible for the injury. It must be done within six months of the incident, as well.
In these situations, you can still hire a lawyer, and it’s generally wise to do so. They know which governmental units to charge for the injury and can help with paperwork and evidence gathering.
These 10 facts can help you understand more about personal injury claims in Texas. Most victims don’t realize there are time frames involved or don’t visit the doctor immediately afterward. These can hurt your case, so it’s wise to know as much as you can about the law.
However, the most important thing to do is hire a personal injury attorney in Texas to help you earn the maximum compensation possible.
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In the state of Texas, no-fault insurance is a type of car insurance that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages for policyholders regardless of who was at fault in an accident. This means that if you are involved in a car accident, your own insurance company will pay for your medical bills and other related expenses, regardless of whether you were the one at fault. This is in contrast to a traditional “fault” car insurance system, in which the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for the other driver’s injuries and damages. The purpose of no-fault insurance is to make the process of paying for medical expenses and other losses after a car accident more efficient, as it eliminates the need for determining fault before providing coverage.