At Monsour Law Firm, our attorneys have decades of experience helping clients receive compensation for personal injury. When people come to us, they have a lot of questions. Let’s talk about the basics when it comes to selecting a personal injury attorney and receiving the best outcome for your case.
Personal Injury Defined
Personal injury is when a person gets hurt by someone else. The pain could be in their body, mind or emotions. It’s different from when the damage was done to property.
If you file a personal injury tort lawsuit against the person or entity that caused your hurt, you’re the plaintiff in your case and the other party is the defendant. The Texas justice system will examine if the defendant is liable, or responsible by law for what happened. Basically, the court will ask, are they blameworthy?
If the court determines they are liable, they focus on how much damage you experienced. If your personal injury attorney can prove the defendant is liable and you experienced damages, the court will most likely compensate you for what happened.
Key Personal Injury Concepts
If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney you probably already feel two things pretty strongly: you were hurt, and it was someone else’s fault. In this type of case, here are some of the most common legal concepts.
- Duty of Care – Employers are expected to provide a safe workplace for employees. Teachers are expected to pay attention when kids are on the playground. Doctors are expected to stay up-to-date on the procedures they use and the medications they prescribe. Legislation covers some of these things. Others are the way normal, reasonable people act. Duty of care is what one individual or business owes to others to keep from causing harm.
- Negligence – When a duty of care exists and the defendant didn’t do their duty, it causes an injury, and that injury can be tied to the defendant’s actions or lack thereof, that’s negligence.
- Gross negligence – A person can cause harm without meaning to because they’re being lazy or not paying attention. That’s negligence. When someone had an evil intent or showed deliberate disregard for others and caused them harm, your personal injury attorney might argue it was gross negligence.
- Reckless conduct – This is when the defendant knew better than to do what he or she did, but did it anyway.
- Intentional misconduct – When the defendant intentionally did or didn’t do something and their actions resulted in harm to others, the court might deem it intentional misconduct.
- Strict liability – With this type of liability, it doesn’t matter if the defendant intended to cause harm or is at fault. The fact the harm occurred is enough.
Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Claims
What are some examples of personal injury cases?
Car accidents lead to the most personal injury cases in the U.S. Almost always in an accident someone is at fault. If they weren’t paying attention or following the speed limit, that’s negligence. If a person gets drunk and chooses to drive, or speeds through a school zone even though the lights are flashing and school is being dismissed, that’s gross negligence.
Other common types of personal injury cases are as follows:
- Medical malpractice – when a health care professional causes injury to a patient
- Slip and fall cases – When a property owner fails to take reasonable steps to make sure others don’t become injured
- Dog bites – Texas has the “one bite” rule. If a dog bites someone and the plaintiff can prove the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, the owner can be found liable.
- Defamation of character – Libel and slander hurt a person’s reputation. They can cause mental distress, emotional pain or financial loss.
- Intentional torts – If an individual attacks you, he or she could face criminal charges. There is also the possibility of a personal injury case.
What can I expect if I win my case?
One of the first questions you might have for your personal injury attorney is, “how much is my claim worth?” When the judge or jury decides what damages to award they’ll weigh what the injury cost you both physically and financially. In some cases, they also consider whether the court should punish the defendant for what happened.
Compensatory damages provide money because of what you went through. If the court rules in your favor, compensatory damages you might receive include reimbursement for medical care, and compensation for any property lost or damaged. You’ll also possibly receive compensation for lost income and any future impact on your wages. Courts link pain and suffering compensation to what you went through physically. Emotional distress addresses the psychological impact.
If your injuries keep you from enjoying activities you did before, you might receive loss of enjoyment damages. Sometimes, unfortunately, personal injury cases damage relationships. If that happened to you, you may be awarded loss of consortium damages.
What happens to the person or company who caused my injury?
A personal injury case is a civil case, not a criminal one. Defendants don’t go to jail as a result of a personal injury claim. If what they did was intentional, they might have to pay a very large sum. Exemplary damages, also called punitive damages are meant to punish the person who was reckless or negligent.
If the person committed a crime, there may be a separate criminal case that does result in jail time. In the example of the defendant who chose to drink and drive, government officials could bring a lawsuit that leads to criminal penalties.
How quickly does a personal injury lawsuit have to be filed in Texas?
In Texas, you have two years from the injury date to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, you will probably lose your right to compensation.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Case
At Monsour Law Firm, our mission is to help victims receive maximum compensation for their losses. We’re here to help you with your personal injury case, and a consultation is free. If we don’t obtain a recovery, you don’t pay anything, ever. Call (903)999-9999 or contact us online today.