Houston Personal Injury Lawyer for Personal Injury Claims
Houston is a big city. Just about any personal injury law firm in Texas will handle Personal injury and car accidents and truck accidents almost every day. A good Houston personal injury lawyer is highly regarded when a person suffers an injury in the car accident or truck accident, due to the fault of another person.
The injured party can contact a Houston car accident lawyer and seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, etc. through a personal injury claim in Texas. Also referred to as tort law, personal injury law aims to make the injured party whole again. When the injuries suffered by a victim can be compensated for with money, it is relatively easy to make the injured party whole. Effectively, the victim only needs to be reimbursed for the harm they have endured.
Personal Injury Protection – Personal and Car Accident injuries
Personal injury and car accident lawyers see many types of injuries. Some where it is impossible to literally make the injured party whole (for example, if the victim suffers a lost limb, it would be impossible to give the victim back the use of their lost limb), and for those personal injury cases it is the intent of the car accident attorney to present the proper claim to the courts so that the courts do their best to adequately compensate the injured party for the harm that they have suffered.
The laws that govern personal injury cases largely are derived from Texas case law and accident lawyers spend their lives getting familiar with personal injury law by going through personal injury claim after personal injury claim so they can hone their skills.
This means that over time, judges have considered personal injury cases and made certain rulings, which have become binding law.
However, some statutory law governs over certain types of personal injury claims. For instance, negligence is provided for by statute, as is strict liability for animal bites. These are just a few examples of statutorily provided personal injury laws.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are a number of causes of action that can be the basis of a personal injury claim. Personal injury cases can generally be broken down into one of three categories: Negligence actions, intentional torts, and strict liability causes of action. Below is a broad overview of what type of legal actions fall within each category of personal injury cases.
Negligence actions are based on injuries suffered by a victim due to the negligent conduct of another, such as an auto accident in the case of someone texting and driving, or one driver crossing the middle line and causing an accident for oncoming traffic. Personal injury attorneys handle these types of car accident claims every day. Negligence can be the result of negligent action, inaction or an omission. Negligence is demonstrated by facts that support that:
- The liable party owed a duty of care to the victim, which typically means a duty to use reasonable care and to avoid any foreseeable injuries to others;
- The liable party breached their duty of care;
- The breach was the proximate and actual cause of the injuries to the victim; and
- The victim suffered actual injuries (which can be physical, emotional or monetary).
Negligence can also be proven if it can be shown that the liable party was negligent per se, meaning that the liable party violated a law and caused harm to the victim, which is of a type of harm that the law was specifically meant to protect against or prevent.
Common negligence-based personal injury claims arise from:
- Car, truck, motorcycle and bicycle accidents;
- Drunk driving accidents or accidents involving intoxicated drivers;
- Common carrier accidents (trains, planes, etc.);
- Boating accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Premise liability;
- Medical malpractice;
- Professional malpractice;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Negligent supervision; and
- Workplace accidents.
When a party intentionally commits an act that results in harm to a victim, the liable party has committed an intentional tort. The party that committed the act does not need to specifically intend harm. Instead, the party must only have intend to commit the act. If harm to another results, then there is grounds for a personal injury cause of action based on intentional tort laws. There are a number of intentional torts that can be the basis for a personal injury claim, including:
- False imprisonment;
- Wrongful death;
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress;
- Trespass to property;
- Trespass to chattels;
- Invasion of a person’s privacy;
- Intrusion on seclusion;
- Public disclosure of private facts;
- Appropriation of name or likeness;
- Libel; and
There are certain types of injuries where it does not matter what the liable party’s actions were leading up to the injury. Rather, liability is strictly based on some other facet, such as ownership or consumer protection. Strict liability often arises in cases where personal injuries were suffered by a victim due to:
- Animal bites;
- Products liability;
- Defective products;
- Defective drugs; and
- Defective product design.
Time Limits for Texas Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims must be brought within a certain amount of time after the accident occurs. If a victim does not bring their suit within that period of time, also referred to as a statute of limitations, then the victim loses the right to ever sue on that claim in the future. Failure to file a personal injury claim within the statute of limitations bars a victim from initiating a lawsuit on the claim.
As a general rule, most personal injury causes of action have a statute of limitations of two years from the date that the injury occurred. Personal injury claims, medical malpractice and medical negligence claims, products liability claims, and wrongful death claims must all be brought within the two year statute of limitations under Texas law. But the statute of limitations for defamation claims, such as libel and slander, is one year.
Investigating A Personal Injury Claim
When an individual suffers injuries in Houston, the injured individual can bring a personal injury claim against the party who is liable for the injuries. A thorough investigation needs to be conducted regarding the injury claim in order to:
- Determine who exactly is liable, or could be held liable for the injuries;
- Assess the extent and scope of the injuries suffered by the victim, including determining how the injuries will impact the victim in the future; and
- Collect as much relevant evidence as possible concerning the injuries and the circumstances leading up to the injuries.
Equipped with information and facts learned during the investigation of the injury claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer can build a strong personal injury case and can strategize about how best to handle the case, i.e., settling out of court or taking the case to trial. Researching the claim gives the lawyer the information they need to seek the maximum possible recover for the victim.
Settling vs. Trial
Not many personal injury cases make it to trial because the injured party’s lawyer and the defendant, or defendant’s counsel, work together before the trial to negotiate a settlement offer. A settlement offer is an amount of money offered by one party (the defendant) to the other (the victim) as compensation for the injuries that occurred to the victim. Settlement negotiations are good for injury victims because they offer a chance to arrive at a compensation amount that is fair and reasonable. Settlement amounts can include compensation for the injury itself, past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, and lost future wages. A good settlement amount should provide the injured victim with the compensation that they need to recover.
However, when settlement negotiations break down, the personal injury case can go to trial. Trial can be exciting and daunting all at the same time – evidence is presented, the case is made to the judge or jury, and the final decision is binding. One the positive side, a trial can produce considerably higher recovery if the judge or jury see a high rate of compensation as befitting to the injury and the circumstances surrounding how the injury occurred in the first place.
Statutory Cap On Medical Malpractice Claim Damages In Texas
In Texas, there is a statutorily provided cap on the maximum amount of noneconomic damages (for example, the type of damages meant to provide compensation for harm such as pain and suffering) that injured parties can collect for injuries arising from medical malpractice. The details of what the caps are, and how they work can be complicated, and it is best to discuss your medical malpractice claim with a personal injury lawyer to get a better understanding how the Texas statutory damage caps apply to your case.
Do I Need A Houston Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are some personal injury cases where a lawyer may not be necessary in order to obtain the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. The most straightforward cases, where the injuries are minimal and damages and fault are easy to determine, may not require an attorney. However, if any aspect of the case is complex it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. For instance:
- Cases where the injuries are extensive and long lasting. When you are seriously injured, you may not have the time or energy to deal with insurance companies, or the liable party’s lawyer. You need to focus on getting better. Having a personal injury lawyer represent you when you are seriously hurt can be a good idea because your lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your case while you work on healing. Additionally, your lawyer will know how to approach maximizing the compensation you can obtain for the scope and extent of your injuries. Your lawyer will consider your incurred medical expenses, in addition to estimates about what your future medical expenses will cost, and will also take into consideration any damages that you deserve based on the severity of your injuries, any pain and suffering you may have gone through, or any mental anguish you may have experienced due to your injuries.
- Cases where liability is difficult to determine. Any time when multiple parties are liable for an injury, or if you are partially responsible for causing your injuries, it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will have experience assigning a percentage of liability to each party, and if you are partially liable, your lawyer will build a strong case supporting your position that you were only responsible for less than 51 percent of your injuries under Texas modified comparative negligence laws. In cases where third parties could be held liable through special relationships or circumstances, your lawyer will be able to identify all potentially liable parties and can help bring those parties to justice. Vicarious liability and third party liability cases can be complicated and a challenge to prove, so having a lawyer representing you could be beneficial.
- Medical malpractice cases subject to damage caps. Medical malpractice claims are generally complicated legal matters to begin with, and the added wrinkle that medical malpractice damages are capped can make it difficult to get the compensation you need. A good personal injury lawyer will investigate your medical malpractice claim carefully to identify every possible avenue of recovery for you and will work hard to maximize the recovery that you can obtain.
What If I Can’t Afford A Personal Injury Attorney?
Most personal injury lawyers provide their services on a contingency fee basis. This means that they review the case and decide to take it on without any fee from the injured party. In a contingency fee arrangement, the personal injury lawyer only gets paid if the case is successfully resolved either through a settlement or by being successful in court. In these contingency fee scenarios, the personal injury lawyer will often also pay for any upfront costs associated with the case, which will be repaid to the lawyer if they successfully resolve the case.
Contingency fee payment structures usually have the attorney taking a percentage of the recovery as payment for their legal services and as recoupment for any expenses they have paid up front on the client’s behalf. The percentage can be up to a 30-40 percent, after everything is accounted for. But if the client does not win, the client owes the lawyer nothing. Contingency fee arrangements allow injured victims to obtain legal representation without risk.
Contingency fee agreements allow the victim to negotiate with the personal injury lawyer over the cost of their services. Stipulations can be put in place that limit how much of the recovery that the lawyer can take as payment for their services. For instance, a deal could be reached where the lawyer will be paid a lower percentage if the case settles before trial, a slightly higher percentage if the case settles while the case is at trial, and a higher percentage still if the case goes all the way through trial. Such an arrangement allows the victim to retain more of their recovery, and pays the attorney proportionally for the work that they have performed for the victim client.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers for Traffic Accidents & Personal Injuries in Houston
An automobile accident attorney in Houston will handle auto accidents on a daily basis. A car wreck lawyer works for the victims to get a fair car accident settlement. The end goal for an auto injury attorney is to get the most car accident compensation for the injured victim. If you are for the best car accident attorneys in Houston we are your choice.
Car accident attorneys can hand both personal injuries in general, or they can specialize in being a construction accident lawyer, a birth injury lawyer, a brain injury lawyer, or a car wreck attorney. All of these types of lawyers can deal directly and effectively with personal injury insurance companies. If you the victim of a “Houston accident” contact an accident injury lawyer in Houston today.