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What Is a Personal Injury Case?

What is a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury includes any harm to a person’s emotions, body, or reputation. Personal injury claims seek compensation for damages caused by injuries. To recover money for a claim, you must prove that the other party caused your injury. 

Personal injury cases can arise from various accidents, including the following: 

Personal injury cases are based on claims of negligence, strict liability, or intentional torts. Negligence is the most common ground for personal injury claims in Texas.

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Proving Liability for a Personal Injury Claim in Houston, TX

Proving Liability for a Personal Injury Claim in Houston, TX

Negligence is failing to take reasonable care. Failing to act with a reasonable level of care results in injury and harm to another person. The at-fault party is liable (responsible) for the injured party’s damages.

The legal elements you must prove to establish negligence are:

  • Duty of Care – A legal obligation owed to you by another party. The legal obligation is to act with a reasonable standard of care while performing certain acts.
  • Breach of Duty The other party’s conduct falls short of the standard of care. The standard of care is measured by what a person with reasonable prudence would have done in similar circumstances. 
  • Causation – The other party’s acts or omissions were the direct and proximate cause of your injuries. In other words, you would not have been injured but for the other party’s conduct.
  • Damages – You must have sustained injuries and damages to receive compensation for a personal injury claim. 

Evidence proving liability includes physical and documentary evidence. Examples include videos, photographs, medical records, and accident reports. It also includes testimony from the parties, eyewitnesses, and expert witnesses. 

For a strict liability claim, you do not need to prove negligence to hold the party liable for damages. The party is liable if they caused the person’s injuries. Intentional torts are wrongs that a person commits, such as assault and battery. 

What Damages Can I Receive for a Personal Injury Case in Texas?

The damages in a personal injury case compensate you for your losses, injuries, and harm. The damages include expenses and monetary losses, referred to as economic damages. They also include your pain and suffering, referred to as non-economic damages.

Examples of damages in a Houston personal injury case include:

  • The cost of your medical treatment, including rehabilitative therapies and future medical bills for permanent conditions
  • The loss of income, including benefits, future lost wages, and reductions in earning capacity
  • Emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish
  • Disfigurement, scarring, impairments, and disabilities
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including nursing/personal care and household services
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, including diminished quality of life

The value of your damages determines how much your case is worth. Generally, damages increase as the severity of the injuries increases. Careful documentation of damages is essential to calculate the correct value of your personal injury claim.

How Does Comparative Fault Impact a Personal Injury Case in Houston, TX?

Damages in a personal injury case could be barred or reduced if you are partially to blame for causing your injury. The Texas modified comparative negligence law states you cannot recover damages if you are more than 50% at fault for causing your injury. Therefore, you cannot receive compensation for your losses and injuries if you are 55% to blame for causing a car accident.

If your percentage of fault is less than 51 percent, you can receive a portion of your damages. However, the court reduces the amount you receive by your level of fault. For example, if you are 30% to blame for a car crash, the most you could receive for your damages is 70% of the jury award.

An insurance adjuster might try to use comparative fault to pressure you to accept a low settlement offer. Do not admit fault or make statements that could be interpreted as contributing to the cause of your injury. Allowing an attorney to handle communications with the insurance company can help you avoid these situations. 

Are There Deadlines for Filing Personal Injury Claims in Texas?

The Texas statute of limitations contains the deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. The courts can dismiss your lawsuit for missing the filing deadline. A judge can dismiss the case regardless of whether you have a valid legal claim against the other party. 

Most personal injury cases based on negligence claims have a two year statute of limitations in Texas. However, exceptions could change the deadline. You might have less time to file a claim. 

It is in your best interest to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. An attorney calculates the deadline for filing a personal injury claim in Houston, so you do not miss the deadline. 

What Should I Do After a Personal Injury Accident in Houston, TX?

If you are involved in an accident or other incident resulting in a personal injury, the steps you take could affect the outcome of a personal injury case. 

Steps you can take to protect your legal rights include:

  • Report the accident to the appropriate parties, such as calling 911 to report a car crash or contacting a property owner about a slip and fall injury
  • Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
  • Document the accident scene and gather evidence, including taking photographs, making a video, and gathering witness information
  • Report the accident or injuries to your insurance provider
  • Do not agree to a recorded conversation with an insurance adjuster or write a statement without legal advice

Seeking compensation for a personal injury claim can be time-consuming and challenging. However, with the help of an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer, the process can be easier and quicker. 

Call Now for a Free Consultation With Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers

Being injured can change your life forever. You deserve fair and full compensation for all damages. Contact Zehl & Associates Premier Injury & Accident Lawyers to discuss your legal options with our Houston personal injury attorneys.