Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jun 14, 2017 in Personal Injury
Personal injuries can have a lasting impact on your life, affecting you physically, emotionally and financially. If you believe your injuries were caused by another person's negligence, you should strongly consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve.
The Fort Worth personal injury attorneys of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers about these types of cases to show injury victims why it may be worth it to file a claim.
Do I Have a Viable Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim is viable only if the victim can establish the four elements of negligence:
Duty of Care
A duty of care is an obligation to exercise reasonable care given the situation. For example, drivers have a duty of care to avoid any form of reckless driving, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol. Property owners have a duty of care to keep their property safe to prevent injuries to visitors who have a legal right to be on the property.
Breach of Duty of Care
This means that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in the situation where your injury occurred.
Breach of Duty of Care is the Primary Cause of Injury
This is one of the hardest things to prove in a personal injury case. You must show a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty of care and the injuries you suffered.
You need a skilled attorney to successfully counter claims from the defense that your injuries were caused by something other than the defendant's actions, such as a preexisting medical issue.
Your Injury Resulted in Damages
This simply means you need proof that your injuries created medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. If there are no damages, there is no basis for an injury claim.
What if I am Partially at Fault for My Injury?
In some cases, the victim is partially responsible for his or her injuries. Texas' modified comparative fault rule takes these situations into account.
Under this law, injury victims are barred from recovering compensation if they are found to be more than 50 percent at fault.
If they are less than 50 percent responsible, they can recover compensation, but the total compensation award will be reduced by the victim's percentage of fault. This means that an award of $100,000 will be reduced to $70,000 if you are found to be 30 percent liable for your injuries.
How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
The value of your Texas personal injury claim is determined by several factors. One of the them is the cost of the damages you suffered in the accident. This includes:
Treating a personal injury can become quite costly. Fortunately, personal injury victims may be able to recover compensation for past, present and future medical care, such as the cost of:
- Appointments with specialists
- Emergency room bills
You may need to take time off work while recovering from your injury. If this happens, your attorney can try to recover compensation for all wages lost due to your injury.
Lost Earning Potential
Personal injuries may be permanent, leaving you with lifelong physical limitations and ailments. This may prevent you from doing your previous job or doing it in the same capacity as before, thereby reducing your earning potential.
If your injury hurt your earning potential, you may be able to recover compensation to make up for the damage to your earning potential over your lifetime. Compensation for lost earning potential is equal to the difference between your current earning potential and what your earning potential would have been if you could continue working in your former capacity.
Pain and Suffering
This is compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering that resulted from your injury. If you sustained serious trauma or chronic pain due to the accident, this award may be sizeable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas?
All personal injury claims are governed by statutes of limitations. These laws set deadlines for filing claims and if you do not file a claim before the deadline passes, you will be unable to do so.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the incident that gave you grounds to file a lawsuit, according to Section 16.003(a) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Wrongful death actions must be filed within three years of the date of death, under section 16.003(b).
The statute of limitations for product liability actions is also two years. However, claims cannot be filed more than 15 years after the purchase of the product that allegedly caused your injuries.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?
Every personal injury case is different. Some settle out of court in under a year while others go to trial and take years to reach a resolution.
There is no surefire way to determine precisely how long your case will take. However, the duration of your claim will be affected by a variety of factors, including:
- The length of your treatment and recovery – In most cases, your attorney will not start negotiating a settlement unless your treatment is complete and you have reached the point of maximum medical improvement. This is the point when you are as healthy as you can be, given your injury.
- The difficulty of proving liability – In some cases, it is relatively easy to prove that someone else is liable for your injuries. However, there are other cases where this is a very contentious issue. These cases may take longer than others to resolve and may require a trial.
- The type of case – Some types of personal injury claims take longer to resolve than others. For instance, a lot of motor vehicle accident claims can be resolved quickly. However, truck accident claims could take longer because multiple parties may be liable. Mesothelioma cases could take a while also, since it is difficult to determine when the victim was exposed to asbestos.
Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases never reach trial, as both parties agree on a fair settlement beforehand.
However, there are times where it is not possible to obtain a fair settlement from the liable party without going to trial. When these situations arise, our attorneys are fully prepared to take your case to trail to achieve the justice you deserve.
We understand that the thought of going through a trial may cause a lot of stress and anxiety. That is why we are prepared to manage every aspect of your claim.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Working with a personal injury attorney is in your best interest when pursing compensation for accident injuries. An attorney can help you in the following ways:
- Determining if you have a valid case
- Determining how much your case is worth
- Conducting an in-depth investigation to collect relevant evidence
- Handling all settlement negotiations
- Taking your case to trial if necessary
The advantage of having an attorney doing these things is that it will allow you to focus on your recovery. You do not have to worry about the various aspects of your claim. You will not have to spend hours trying to interpret state laws and statutes that apply to your claim.
The attorneys at our firm have many years of combined experience handling all aspects of personal injury claims. We also have the legal knowledge necessary to help improve your chances of recovering fair compensation.
Schedule a Free Legal Consultation Today to Find out if You Have a Case
Stephens, Anderson & Cummings has a successful track record of recovering fair compensation for personal injury victims in many types of cases.
When you contact us, we will carefully evaluate your claim and determine if you have a viable case. If you choose to proceed, we will conduct a thorough investigation to build a strong case.
We work on contingency, which means your initial consultation is free and you will not be charged legal fees unless you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact our experienced attorneys today by completing our Free Case Evaluation form.