How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work in Texas?

In 2016, Texas experienced 14,202 serious injury crashes. The same year, there was no deathless day in the state.

In most cases, these crashes are usually a result of another person’s fault or negligence. If you or your loved one is involved in such crashes, you’re legally eligible to pursue compensation for the injuries and other losses in Texas.

But before you file your claim, you need to understand how the personal injury lawsuit process in Texas works. This will allow you to meet filing deadlines, ensure accurate paperwork, and determine your claim’s validity.

Read on to learn more.

1. Reporting the Accident

If you’re involved in a road accident, Texas law requires you to file a Crash Report, Form CR-2 within ten days after the event. This is mandatory when a police officer did not record the accident, it results in death, and the damage is more than $1,000.

At the scene of the accident, you should ensure everyone is safe, including other road users. It’s important to call emergency services if there are victims with serious injuries. If necessary, you should clear the road to allow other vehicles to move easily.

Once everyone is safe, you need to get the contact details of the other driver(s). Also, note down their vehicle and insurance information. If there were any witnesses, it would also be helpful if you get their names and contact details.

2. Pursuing a Claim in Texas

It’s typical to start the claim process by contacting the insurance company of the vehicle at fault. If you and the insurer fail to reach a mutual point, you’re free to file a lawsuit for your damages and losses. Keep in mind that you have up to two years after the accident to file a personal injury claim in Texas.

If you don’t understand the Texas laws regarding filing a claim, it’s best to work with a lawyer. A good lawyer can assist with your personal injury lawsuit process in several ways. They will:

  • Determine your claim’s worth and validity
  • Collect the necessary evidence to back your claim
  • Structure your settlement agreement
  • Represent you in court
  • Safeguard your interests during the whole process
  • Appeal a court’s decision if needed

Timely filling for your lawsuit is important. If you fail to file your claim within the two years that the statute of limitations provides, you have no right to demand compensation. Also, the court won’t hear your case.

3. Damages Accepted by Texas Law

Like most states, not all personal injury damages are recognized by the law in Texas. So, when pursuing a claim, you need to know if your damages will qualify for compensation. This is why having a lawyer review your claim is crucial.

In Texas, damages are put into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.

i). Economic Damages

These are types of damages that their value can be quantified easily. It can be through a receipt or a bill or a reference to the existing market values of similar damages. Examples of these damages include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of household services

ii). Non-Economic Damages

With these types of damages, it’s usually hard to quantify their value straight off. The jury also can’t use existing marketplace values to award the plaintiff fair compensation. These are the types of damages that tend to get wide media coverage and attention. Some examples include:

  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Past and present mental problems
  • Permanent physical impairment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement

Also, not all of these damages apply to every case in Texas. Your personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case and pursue those damages that are unique to you. Most importantly, how the jury will react to each of your damage claims is crucial.

There are also caps on certain damages, such as those sustained due to medical malpractice. In this case, there’s usually a cap on the amount you can receive for non-economic damages.

4. Challenges You're Likely to Experience

As noted before, the personal injury lawsuit process in Texas is not an easy road. You’re likely to encounter bumps, and it’s important you know what to expect. Just because Texas law grants you the right to pursue compensation for your damages doesn’t mean your claim will be successful.

It’s your burden to prove the defendant was at fault during the incident. Additionally, you need to prove the validity of the damages you experienced. Once you file a lawsuit, things can be really slow.

As expected, you will experience difficulty with the insurance company. Some might try to misrepresent the facts or negotiate in bad faith.

5. Claims Against a Government Entity

If you’re filing a case against a government entity, it helps to know that the process is different. To start, you just can’t file a lawsuit against the government.

The first step is usually to file a formal claim within six months of the incident that caused your injuries. When filing a claim, remember to include all the essential information and description of the incident and injuries.

Government entities in Texas are only liable for damages if they fail to perform certain “government functions” that they have the power to discharge under Texas Law.

6. Shared Fault in Texas

In some personal injury cases, both the plaintiff and defendant can share the fault of the accident. If you’re responsible for a degree of liability, don’t expect to get a full amount for your compensation.

In Texas, all share fault cases follow a “modified comparative negligence rule” as provided by the negligence laws.

This simply means that the compensation amount you’ll receive will be less than the percentage of your fault. However, if you account for more than 50 percent of the blame, you can’t demand compensation from other parties.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Process - The Takeaway

Well, this post shares adequate information about the personal injury lawsuit process in Texas. So, if you ever become a victim of an accident and you want to pursue a lawsuit, these are some of the critical things you need to know. Working with a reputable personal injury lawyer can make things feasible for you.

If you need to learn more about personal injury lawsuits, just reach out to us, and we’ll be glad to help.

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