Incidents that result in personal injuries are quite common in Texas. Many of these injuries can lead to financial hardship. Some of them even lead to permanent disability. When that happens, a Texan may want to launch a lawsuit in civil court to obtain damages. While personal injury lawsuits are certainly not unique to Texas, there are certain things you should know about the legal process regarding personal injury claims.
The statute of limitations
Texas personal injury law is outlined in the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Among other things, this code outlines the fact that the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. Cases must be filed during this time. While filing deadlines can be extended due to extenuating circumstances, this two-year rule is otherwise strictly enforced. Any case filed after the deadline may be dismissed.
Filing your claim
Beyond the statute of limitations, there are also other rules for how a claim should be filed. Personal injury cases are civil lawsuits that must be filed in either district court for state-level trials or county courts if the damages are $10,000 or below. Once the injury lawsuit is filed, the judge will examine the claim and determine whether or not it is legitimate and should go forward. In certain cases, the judge may even send the case to federal court.
As with all states, personal injury cases in Texas are governed by the legal concept of negligence. If another party can be proven negligent, the suit will be successful. For negligence to occur, there must be certain elements present in the case in regarding the defendant and plaintiff. This includes:
- the existence of an injury
- the existence of damages stemming from that injury
- evidence of causation between the defendant and the injury
- a duty of care by the defendant to not cause harm to others
- a breach in that duty of care
You should also be aware that Texas uses a comparative negligence rule. This means that the percentage you are deemed responsible for the accident will be used to calculate damages. The higher the percentage of your responsibility, the less you will receive.
Overall, personal injury cases can be taken to courts in Texas to obtain damages in many situations, such as slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, dog bite cases and more. You must, however, act quickly within the statute of limitations, and your damages may be limited by exactly how much influence you had on your own injury.