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Understanding Texas Personal Injury Laws

Getting injured through no fault of your own takes a toll on you. Your body has been physically injured and it takes time to recover.

Often, a physical injury means doctors bills, medications, and time away from work. Then there’s the emotional toll to consider.

Often, hiring an attorney is your best course of action so you can recoup your losses and move forward in your life.

But if you’ve been injured to the point where you think you need a Dallas personal injury lawyer, there are some things you need to know first. Keep reading to find out.

The Statute of Limitations

Every state has a statute of limitations on the amount of time you can go to court and file a lawsuit after you’ve been injured. How long you have depends on what type of case you want to file.

If you’re planning to hire a Dallas personal injury lawyer, in most cases, you have two years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit with the state’s civil court system.

If you miss that deadline to file your lawsuit, it’s unlikely the Texas civil court system will be willing to hear your case. At that point, your right to compensation is gone forever.

If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own within the last two years, the time is now to take action and consult with your Dallas personal injury lawyer.

What Happens When You Share Part of the Fault

There are times in a personal injury case where the person or business you’re filing the claim against says that you’re fully or partially responsible for causing the incident which led to your injuries.

If it’s true, it can affect how much you’ll be compensated for by the other at-fault parties.

Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. What that means is that the amount of compensation you’ll receive is reduced by an amount that’s equal to whatever percentage you’re considered to be at fault.

If your share of the fault is over 50%, a Dallas personal injury lawyer will tell you that you will not be entitled to collect any compensation from any of the at-fault parties.

If an injury lawsuit makes it to trial, Texas courts must follow this rule.

Negligence Laws

Many personal injury cases are based on negligence. A mail carrier could slip and fall due to ice on your front doorsteps and injure themselves.

In that case, you could be sued for negligence for not maintaining a safe walkway.

Most states have similar negligence laws, except in how the law considers comparative and contributory negligence.

If you are the injured party, a Dallas personal injury lawyer will tell you that in order to make a case, you’ll have to prove the following.

You must prove the defendant had a duty to act (or not act) in a certain way. In other words, a motorist has a duty to pay attention to the road, not their cell phone.

Next, you must prove that the defendant breached that duty. It must then be proven that the breach of duty was, in fact, the reason for the injury. In other words, if a motorcyclist had been paying attention to the road, they wouldn’t have struck and injured the pedestrian.

Proximate cause shows that a reasonable person would understand that by not paying attention to the road, it could lead to an accident or injury.

Lastly, actual harm must be proven so that the system can actually compensate him or her for their injuries.

A Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer Will Tell You if There Are Any Caps

In Texas, there are only limitations on damages for medical malpractice cases. Since they are complex, if you’re the victim of medical malpractice, contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer to have them explain the caps and limitations.

Non-economic damages which compensate for pain and suffering are limited to $250,000 per defendant. If there is more than one defendant, the cap is set at a total of $500,000.

If the medical malpractice results in a wrongful death, there is a cap that’s indexed for inflation. It began in 1977 at $500,000. With inflation adjusted, it now is capped at $1.9 million.

The Types of Damages

A Dallas personal injury lawyer will tell you that there are three types of damages to consider. Economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic damages are easy to calculate. They include medical costs, lost wages, losing the capacity to earn money in the future, and any damages made to a property.

Non-economic damages are more difficult to put a price tag on. Texas law allows an injured party to receive damages for pain and suffering, emotional pain, anxiety and stress, loss of companionship, losing the ability to have sexual relations, and any general conveniences you may have suffered as a result of your injuries.

Punitive damages are used to send a strong message against a person or company who has found to be guilty of fraud, malice, or gross negligence.

Punitive damages are capped at $200,000 or twice the number of economic damages, plus the amount equal to non-economic damages up to $750,000.

Personal Injury Claims Made Against the Government

A Dallas personal injury lawyer will tell you it’s not so easy to file a lawsuit against the government. And it doesn’t matter if it involves the potential liability of a government entity or an employee.

They are both immune from liability in a personal injury lawsuit. This law was enacted to prevent frivolous lawsuits.

If you are injured, you’ll need to file a formal claim with the unit of government you believe to be responsible for causing your injury. That claim needs to then be filed within six months of the injury happening.

A summary of the damage or injury, time and place of incident, and an account of what happened should also be included

The cap for each injured person involved is $250,000 and for the entire event, the total cap is set at $500,000.

Don’t Wait

The more time that passes after an injury, the more difficult it becomes to launch a successful lawsuit. Don’t wait until it’s too to hire a Dallas personal injury lawyer.

You deserve to be compensated for your injuries.

Each case is unique. To help you determine what your next steps should be, contact us today.