The Texas personal injury claim process starts from the day of your injury until the you receive compensation. The first step is having a lawyer assess whether you have a case.
How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?
Not every injury has a proper basis for bringing a lawsuit. However, if someone else injured you, you may recover money for your injuries. Whether your injury is a proper subject of a lawsuit depends on whether the Texas personal injury claim process recognizes your injury.
Did You Bring Your Lawsuit at the Right Time?
The first question your lawyer will ask if when you sustained the injury. If the injury happened too long ago, it may be outside of the statute of limitations. The Texas personal injury claim process has very strict parameters about time. In most instances, the statute of limitation for personal injuries is two years. Thus, if you wait longer than that to file, you no longer have a case.
Does the Law of Torts Cover Your Injury?
In addition, your injury must be the fault of someone else. Under the Texas personal injury claim process, there is a series of “torts”. Torts define when you can sue for someone else’s misconduct. Most injuries fall under the category of the tort of negligence.
Negligence includes injuries caused by someone neglecting the “duty of care” they owed to you. For example, if a driver injured you by driving recklessly, you may have a lawsuit. Furthermore, if medical providers injured you by failing to use reasonable care, skill, or knowledge, you may have a lawsuit for medical malpractice. If dangerous conditions on an owner’s premises led to a slip and fall injury, you may have a case for premises liability.
You may also have a viable lawsuit if you sustained injury due to intentional action. For example, if someone used force or inflicted emotional distress to harm you, they may be liable for committing an intentional tort. One example of this is battery, which is when someone intentionally uses force or violence injuring you. Similarly, if you were emotionally injured by the intentional, extreme and outrageous conduct of someone else, you may have a lawsuit for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Manufacturers and designers are also liable for your injuries if an unreasonably dangerous product that was used as intended injures you. Similarly, if you were injured from using a product in a way that the manufacturer should have known would be used, and there was no warning on the product, the manufacturer will be liable.
Do You Have Any Damages?
“Damages” are the money you get for your case. Before taking your case, a lawyer will assess whether the damages justify the time and expense of a lawsuit. There are many types of damages, and the your settlement is not always easy to calculate. Your damages include your economic losses — money you spent for medical bills, as well as money lost in past and future wages. Non-economic losses for physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, or disability can entitle you to more money. Finally, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and prevent this kind of misconduct in the future.
Once a lawyer has determined that you have a case, your lawyer will begin to litigate your case according to the Texas personal injury claim process.
Step One: File a Petition to Initiate the Lawsuit
Your lawyer will file a document called a Petition. The petition lays out the basic facts of the case, what torts occurred and what kind of damages you suffered. The lawsuit names you as a Plaintiff, and the person or company who injured you as the Defendant.
Based on where you were injured, and who injured you, your lawyer will assess where to file a lawsuit. This means that he will determine which state, county and city (venue) is the proper place to bring your case.
Step Two: Serve Notice of the Lawsuit
After filing the lawsuit in the Texas personal injury claim process, your lawyer will notify the defendant of the lawsuit. The court will issue a document called a citation which your lawyer will have a process server serve on the defendant. A process server is a part of a company that regularly serves individuals with legal papers as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Step Three: Defendant’s Answer
After the defendant receives the petition, pursuant to the Texas personal injury claim process, the defendant has to answer the complaint. An answer is a legal document in which the defendant responds to the facts and legal claims in the plaintiff’s petition. If the defendant does not answer, it’s possible you could win the case by securing a default judgment.
Step Four: Information Gathering
After you file a lawsuit, you have access to more information. Now, the Texas personal injury claim process allows you gather information through a “discovery.” During the discovery period, you can request information, documents, and testimony from the defendant. However, the defendants can also request information from you.
Step Five: Pre-Trial Motions
Part of the Texas personal injury claim process allows the lawyers to file motions that ask the judge to decide certain issues before the case ever gets to a jury. This could include the defendants asking the court to dismiss your case. It’s important to have a lawyer who is familiar with the Texas personal injury claim process. Chiefly, your case could be dismissed for failing to follow the procedural rules or failing to show that you have a case in the petition.
You have the right to a jury trial. However, your lawyer may decide that it is strategically better to have a judge decide the case. Either way, the verdict is the decision the jury or judge make.
Step Seven: Appeal and Post-Trial Motions
Either side can appeal the verdict within a month, or, file a Motion for New Trial.
Hire a Skilled Attorney to Walk You Through the Texas Personal Injury Claim Process
Only a personal injury attorney in San Antonio has working knowledge of the Texas personal injury claim process. Our firm can effectively litigate your case to get you the best results. Call Brylak Law today at (866) 883-5533 to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio.