Our team of experienced trial lawyers handle the cases that no one wants to think about having to deal with – the cases where you or a loved one is injured by the fault of another.

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Personal injury claims can include a variety of scenarios, but some of the most common types of cases our lawyers handle include oilfield accidents, slip and fall injuries, refinery accidents, maritime and offshore accidents, and dog bites and animal attacks. If you were hurt on the job or on another’s property, our personal injury attorneys will meet with you free of charge for an initial consultation and help you determine the best course of action for your situation and your loved ones. Below, we discuss how a personal injury case works and what you should know before hiring a lawyer so you can be prepared and informed when conducting your search for attorneys and meeting with them.

Personal Injury Claims and Texas Personal Injury Law

If you are injured in Texas due to the negligence of another individual or business, a variety of laws can potentially apply to your case. Whether your claim is the result of a car accident, truck accident, premises liability, products liability, workplace accident, or another scenario, the law will impact your eligibility to file a lawsuit, how much you can recover in terms of damages, who can be held responsible, and more.

Important ways that Texas law can affect your personal injury claim include:

  • Statute of limitations: A statute of limitations is a legal way of saying “this is how long you have to file a lawsuit.” In Texas, for most personal injury claims, the statute of limitations requires an injured party to file their lawsuit two years from the date of the incident. This also applies to wrongful death cases. While there are exceptions for cases involving injuries to minors and cases that involve fraud or breach of contract, the two-year statute of limitations in personal injury cases is the general governing rule. If your case involves a government entity or employee, your lawyer will need to file a claim within six months of the incident as per the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 101.101.
  • Liability: In order to have a viable claim, a plaintiff must be able to show a defendant owed a duty of care to the injured party and breached that duty, that this breach was the cause of the victim’s injury (causation), and that the victim did suffer damages as a result of the injury. In cases where the fault is shared among multiple parties, if the injured party is one of the responsible parties, it will impact the total compensation they can receive – the plaintiff will have their award reduced by an amount equal to their percentage of fault. If the plaintiff’s fault exceeds that of the parties they sued, they cannot win
  • Damages: Even if a plaintiff can prove a defendant was negligent and responsible for their accident, the victim cannot recover financial compensation unless they can prove damages. The damages available in a personal injury lawsuit generally fall into three main categories – economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages are measurable financial losses like property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify and thus more challenging to prove but are absolutely recoverable if presented by an experienced lawyer. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and more. Punitive damages are designed to punish a bad actor to deter similar future conduct. Texas does not have caps on any of these damages except in medical malpractice cases, in claims against the government, and when comparative negligence shows the plaintiff was partly at fault.

How A Personal Injury Case Works

You are likely wondering what to expect and how a personal injury case will work. While many of these claims settle without a trial, the entire process is important to understand. The first step after the incident that causes injury is for the injured party to seek out and receive medical treatment. Even if you do not feel the effects of bodily injury immediately following an incident, it is very important to go to the emergency room and/or seek treatment with your doctor as soon as possible. This is of course necessary to ensure you are safe and healthy, but it is also a crucial component of proving your claim. If you wait to seek medical attention for too long after your accident, linking the treatment to the accident will be far more challenging and may even cause an insurance adjuster to reject your claim entirely.

After ensuring your medical condition is secure, seek out and retain an experienced personal injury lawyer. Once hired, your attorney will investigate your claim and review all applicable records. As part of the investigative process, your legal team will interview you to learn as much as possible about the incident, your injuries, your medical treatment, and how what happened to you has affected and continues to affect your life. The lawyer will order all of your medical records and bills as well.

After a thorough review and assessment, your lawyer will send a demand to the representatives of the responsible party or parties – usually one or more insurance companies. Many lawyers will wait until their client has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before making a demand to ensure all potential damages have been included in what is sent over to the other side. If the demand does not yield fruitful settlement negotiations, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit.

The personal injury litigation phase begins once your lawyer files a civil lawsuit against the responsible individual or business. Your lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the incident that caused your injury and other losses. This filing leads to pretrial procedures which can vary depending upon what court your case is assigned to. One of the most important components of the pretrial phase is discovery, during which each side looks into the other side’s claims and defenses. Each side can send written discovery in the form of documents called interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, and more, as well as notice and take depositions – question people under oath. The court will set deadlines to govern and guide this process.

After discovery is completed, lawyers for both sides will discuss settlement negotiations. Sometimes they can work the case out through letters, phone calls, and emails; and, other times, they will turn to alternative dispute resolution through mediation. During mediation, all parties and their lawyers work with a neutral third-party mediator to try to resolve their case without going to trial. While it very often works, if mediation proves unsuccessful, the case will be set for trial.

A personal injury trial will vary in length depending upon a variety of factors, including how complex the case is and how the court handles its trials. Typically, the trial will last for at least several days and at the end a judge or jury will determine if the defendant or defendants are responsible for the plaintiff’s damages; and, if they are responsible, how much they will have to pay the plaintiff. After the verdict and award, either side can appeal.

What To Know When You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury attorney is a lawyer providing legal services to those who have been injured as a result of the negligence or wrongful behavior of another party or parties. Our lawyers fight for the rights of victims of others’ bad acts in order to get them the compensation they deserve and need to move forward with their lives. When you are in need of the services of legal counsel, you should ask the following questions during an initial phone call, meeting, or consultation:

  • Do you regularly handle cases like mine?
  • Do you have client testimonials or reviews I can see?
  • Who will I be talking to while we work together?
  • How long will my case take?
  • Do you think my case has any problems and what are they?
  • Do you have any personal injury case results I can look at?
  • How often do you go to trial?

Having the right personal injury attorney on your side makes a huge difference in your case. Ask the attorney any questions you might have. In addition, the attorney will also ask you many questions to fully understand your case. Be wary of a lawyer who promises you a certain amount of money early on, as good lawyers need time to evaluate the value of a case.

One important note about working with a personal injury lawyer is that most are paid on what is called a contingency fee basis. Our lawyers handle all injury and death cases on this payment structure. What this means is there is no fee unless your case is successful – your lawyer does not get paid unless you recover money. If you are awarded financial compensation, the lawyer’s fee is based on a percentage of your total recovery and they are paid at the end of the case after those funds have been issued. Once you hire an attorney, you will be asked to sign a contract with them that specifies the exact fee percentage they will take. Make sure to ask any and all questions about the fee before you sign it.

How long does a personal injury case last?

A personal injury lawsuit can take anywhere from a few months to several years. On average, these lawsuits take 18 months to three years. Understanding how a personal injury lawsuit works include understanding that it will take time to get you the best possible result. As detailed above, the litigation process is structured and time-consuming, but lawsuits are invaluable in forcing insurance companies to take your case seriously and make a reasonable offer of financial compensation. This is just one of the reasons why it’s always important to obtain the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney with extensive litigation experience who can guide you through the litigation process and achieve a successful outcome.

Contact the Pearland Personal Injury Lawyers at J.D. Silva and Associates

J.D. Silva & Associates has a team of attorneys ready to handle your personal injury case. Our injury law firm will work with you to explore all the possible ways to hold the responsible parties accountable and get you the compensation you deserve for your damages such as medical bills and pain and suffering.

Contact us to see how we can help!