What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury case is often a necessity to recover from an accident. These lawsuits arise when an individual suffers harm from an accident due to negligence from another person. A person or entity like a corporation or company is determined to be legally responsible for their injury.
Common types of personal injury claims in Sugar Land include:
• Construction accidents, and
Do I Have a Case?
You will only truly know if you have a claim if you speak to a knowledgeable lawyer. Four elements must be met to have a valid personal injury claim in Sugar Land, Texas. You will need to review the elements with an attorney experienced in preparing a claim for compensation.
1. Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care
First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a legal duty of care. Generally, this means that the defendant has a duty to exercise reasonable care not to cause you harm. For example, drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and safe driving practices.
The law places a higher duty of care on some professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. A doctor must act with the care of a reasonably competent and skilled medical provider, not only as a reasonable person would act under the circumstances.
2. Breach of Duty
Secondly, you must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, motorists breach their duty of care when they run a red light. Likewise, shop owner breaches their duty of care when they fail to warn customers about a wet floor.
It is important to note that a defendant breaches their duty of care even if they did not intend to hurt someone.
The third element that you must prove is causation. You must show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. Texas requires that you prove both actual and proximate cause. Actual cause means that but for the defendant’s actions, the victim would not be injured. Proximate cause requires that the injuries you suffered were foreseeable by the at-fault party.
For example, if another driver blew through a stop sign and you broke your arm when your vehicle was hit, their negligence was the actual cause of your injury. Additionally, it is foreseeable that failing to stop at a stop sign would cause an accident that results in broken bones.
When determining causation, it is critical to examine the plaintiff’s role in the accident. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. You are barred from recovering damages in a personal injury if you are 51% or more at fault for the accident. If you are less than 51% at fault, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
The final element you must prove in a Sugar Land personal injury claim is actual damages. The purpose of a personal injury is to compensate the victim, so you must prove that you suffered harm. The damages could be to you or your property. Some common examples of damages in personal injury lawsuits include:
• Medical expenses;
• Lost income;
• Pain and suffering;
• Disability; and
• Property damages.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Case in Sugar Land?
In most cases, Texas personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date the injury occurs. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003 is the statute of limitations on personal injury civil claims in Texas. Even if you have a slam dunk case and can easily prove the four elements listed above, your lawsuit will be dismissed if you file it after the statute of limitations has passed. It is critical not to delay, so your legal rights are protected.
There are some exemptions to the two-year statute of limitations, including, among others:
• Claims involving minors;
• Claims where the injury is subject to the discovery rule; and
• Asbestosis and silica-related claims.
How Do You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Sugar Land?
If you think that you have a personal injury case, you should immediately reach out to Adam Capetillo, an experienced Sugar Land personal injury lawyer. He will evaluate the claim and determine whether you have a valid case and what compensation you may be entitled to. He will answer all of your questions and let you know what you can expect throughout the legal process.
Your Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a personal injury claim, you should reach out to a qualified Sugar Land personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will protect your rights and get you the maximum compensation available. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.