If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that was not your fault, but caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. The following article is intended as a brief but comprehensive explanation of personal injury law in the state of Texas.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a civil law claim made by an injured party against the at-fault party who caused their injury. The at-fault party can bring a claim against an individual (for example, a driver who ran a red light) or a business entity (for example, a bar that over-served a drunk driver).
In the case of fatal injuries being sustained, the deceased victim’s surviving relatives are entitled to make a wrongful death claim in lieu of a personal injury claim.
Typically, a claim will not be directly against the individual wrongdoer, but against their relevant insurance policy. Thus, a personal injury claim is essentially a type of insurance claim, despite the fact that it is commonly regarded as “suing” the at-fault party. Additionally, when a personal injury claim goes to court, it is usually described as the injury victim versus the at-fault person, even though the reality is that it is the injury victim versus the at-fault person’s insurance company.
Since a personal injury or wrongful death claim is based on civil law, its sole purpose is to compensate the injured party for their various losses. Although punitive damages may be sought in certain circumstances, a civil claim is not intended to punish the at-fault party. Thus, a personal injury claim is entirely distinct and separate from any criminal case against the at-fault party concerning the same incident.
It is important that you consider making a personal injury claim if you have required medical care following an accident because the consequences of being injured can be significant and far-reaching, not least in regards to your finances.
In addition to incurring expensive and unanticipated medical bills as a result of being injured (as well as other accident-related costs) it is also likely that you will suffer a loss of income due to your immediate inability to work, and your probable reduced earning capacity in the future. Texas law also permits you to recover additional damages related to intangible losses you have suffered as a result of being injured (such as pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life).
How Does a Personal Injury Claim Work?
What most people don’t realize is just how difficult it can be for an accident victim to recover the full and fair compensation they are entitled to in accordance with Texas law. In the majority of cases, most people’s only previous experience of making an insurance claim is for something relatively minor, such as damage to their car.
In contrast with such claims, a personal injury claim is much for difficult to settle for fair value. The reason for this is that personal injury claims are usually worth a lot more money that a property damage claim, which in turn means the insurance company is much more reluctant to settle the claim fairly and for full value.
Consequently, this means is it usually necessary to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to deal with the insurance company on your behalf. Otherwise, you risk being shortchanged by the insurance company, which will only serve to add further troubles on top of everything else that you and your family have already suffered through in the aftermath of being injured.
As a rule, there are three things that it is generally recommended you NOT do until you have first conferred with a board certified personal injury lawyer:
- Do not agree to give the at-fault party’s insurance company a recorded statement regarding the circumstances which resulted in your injuries;
- Do not sign any paperwork that the at-fault party’s insurance company – including any request for them to access your medical records;
- Do not accept any money from the at-fault party or their insurance company in any manner whatsoever – this could be portrayed as you accepting a settlement from them, which essentially means you are waiving your right to recover any further compensation.
The bottom line is this: if you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury as the result of a car crash, dog bite, or any other type of preventable accident, it is important that you consult with a personal injury attorney as a matter of priority. Not every injury victim requires the services of a legal professional, but it is always better to have a thorough understanding of your legal situation before you attempt to handle your claim on your own.
Contact the board certified personal injury lawyers at our Dallas-Fort Worth law firm today for honest and unbiased assessment of your case. The initial consultation is completely free and there is no obligation whatsoever to retain our services. Indeed, if we feel that your case does not warrant our services, we will tell you so. However, if you do decided to hire us, then we will take your case on a contingency fee basis (a no win, no fee guarantee).
Contact us today to discuss your case by calling us toll free from anywhere at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.
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