A Quick Overview of Personal Injury Cases in Texas
Damages: What Kind of Compensation is Available?
Most personal injury cases seek financial damages to compensate for an injury. This will compensate for medical costs, lost wages, future lost pay, and pain and suffering both physically and mentally, disfigurement and disability as a result of the negligence of another, as well as for loss of consortium.
Statutes of Limitations
There are built in time limits on filing suit for personal injury cases. In the State of Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
How Do I File a Lawsuit?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they will not charge a fee unless you win your case. This does not mean that you will not owe any money to the attorney or the court. There are costs associated with filing the suit, filing motions, court fees, etc… Those fees may be owed by you regardless of the outcome of the case.
You must file your case in the county where the defendant resides or where the event substantially occurred. If the claim is under $10,000, you must file in the local small claims court. In that circumstance, you may wish to represent yourself. But the truth is that the laws in the State of Texas are complicated, so it may still be beneficial to the outcome of the case to seek the help of a lawyer.
What Should I Expect?
Once you have filed your personal injury suit in the proper court within the time limit, you can expect the process to continue in a predictable way:
- First, speak with an attorney.
- We will ask for all documentation you have, including police reports, insurance agreements and medical information. We will also have you sign a HIPAA release so that your health care providers will share necessary health information related to your case, should we need it, and most likely we will.
- We will file your lawsuit.
- The defendant will then need to file an answer and assert any counterclaims they may have.
- If counterclaims were made, we will reply to these counterclaims by filing an answer.
- The discovery process begins. Facts about the case will be gathered. An expert witness may be required. This must be disclosed and the witness deposed by the opposing litigant.
- There may be some preliminary motions and hearings. There are very important to your case because they help narrow issues and focus the case on the contentious portions only once we get to trial..
Reaching a Settlement
Reaching a settlement at some point prior to trial is very common. In fact, based on statistics, it is very unlikely that your case will go all the way to trial. Especially in Texas, the court will usually require mediation prior to a trial being placed on a docket. Mediation can help both sides reach a mutually satisfactory solution and has been proven to be a very effective tool the courts will use to get a case settled before trial.
If no settlement is reached via mediation or other negotiation, the case then proceeds to trial. A jury will be selected. We will make opening statements. Then each side will produce evidence of negligence or ways to negate liability. Once the facts of the case have been laid out, deliberation by a judge or jury begins. When a verdict is reached, it will be read in court. At this time damages may or may not be awarded. Funds will be disbursed soon after trial.
In Texas, personal injury law is applied in accord with the proportionate responsibility rule. This means a claimant cannot receive damages if his or her percentage of responsibility is more than 50 percent. If less, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by the amount of their liability. The defendant is only liable for the amount of harm for which he or she is deemed responsible.
Statement of Caution
State laws for personal injury claims are multifaceted and different in every state. Speak with a personal injury attorney if you need help to establish your claim and damages.
What Should I Expect When I Meet With An Attorney From Guest and Gray?
You will meet with chief of civil litigation, Scott Gray. He has over 12 years of experience representing clients. He was named a 2015-2016 Rising Star in Texas SuperLawyers®. Scott will answer any of your questions about the case.
We handle your personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means there is nothing out of your pocket until you get paid.
Give Us a Call Today!
If you have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you need to act now. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become for you to get the recovery you need. We have assistants awaiting your call. Let Guest and Gray, P.C. get to work on your case, so that you can get to work putting your life back together. Call Now! 972-564-4644