What Type of Personal Injury Case Do You Have?
Texas law allows injured parties who prove they were injured by another party’s negligence to be compensated for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, personal injury laws are complicated, and your claim must be handled correctly or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to. If you feel you have a valid lawsuit, you should seek prompt legal assistance from an experienced attorney to make sure your case is handled properly.
What Do I Have to Prove?
To win a Texas personal injury lawsuit you and your attorney have to prove four elements:
- The accused owed you a duty.
- This duty was breached by the accused.
- The breach of that duty caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages from the injury.
Even if you can prove the first three elements, the damages you received must be substantial enough to warrant a lawsuit or there is no case.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Texas is a big state, and there are a correspondingly large number of personal injury cases filed each year -- 539,278 civil or administrative lawsuits filed in Texas in 2015 alone.
The following are the most common types of personal injury civil lawsuits in Texas:
- Vehicle accidents -- Lawsuits can be against drivers who cause accidents through speeding or drunk or distracted driving, against manufacturers for faulty auto parts that fail, or against construction companies who leave debris on the road. In addition, Texas may hold establishments liable for selling alcohol to ‘obviously intoxicated’ people.
- Medical malpractice -- Healthcare professionals in Texas have an obligation to treat their patients with a reasonable duty of care. Medical professionals and institutions may be held liable for negligence such as incorrect or delayed diagnosis, failure to prescribe appropriate medical tests, anesthesia or medication mistakes.
- Construction accidents -- Construction work is a dangerous occupation, and workers are always at risk of being injured or killed. If a construction accident such as electric shock, collapsed scaffolding, or being run over by machinery is caused by someone else’s negligence or by faulty equipment, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
- Slip and fall accidents -- When hazardous conditions cause someone to have a slip and fall accident, the owner or manager of the establishment responsible for maintenance may be liable for damages.
What You Can Sue For
Damages under Texas law generally can be broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include:
- Past and future medical and rehabilitative expenses.
- Loss of past and future earning capacity, including earnings lost from being unable to work after the accident or being unable to perform a job previously done at the same salary.
- Loss of household services. This places a monetary value on the duties customarily performed around the house by the injured person which they can no longer do.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify with an assigned dollar value. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering, past and future. This compensates injury victims for the ordeal they have to endure due to their injury.
- Mental anguish, past and future. For post-traumatic stress disorders that occur due to being in a particularly gruesome accident.
- Physical impairment, disability or disfigurement.
- Loss of consortium. Damages for spouses and children of the injured person who can no longer engage in certain legally recognized close social relationships.
Contact an Attorney for Help
In any personal injury case, the victim has the burden of proving the defendant’s culpability and that the damages sought are valid. To make sure that you can get the compensation you are entitled to, you should enlist the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Texas personal injury attorney. There is a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
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