If you have been injured through the action or negligence of a third party then you may have a case for damages for personal injury. The rules vary from state to state and are often very complex. Houston personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the maze of your specific case, but here are some things to bear in mind.
Texas, like all states, has a statutory limit on the amount of time you have to file. For personal injury cases this is two years – and if you take longer than that, the court will close the case and they will likely refuse to hear it again. Because filing a suit can take time, it is very important to start the process as soon as it becomes clear that they, or their insurance company, are going to be recalcitrant about paying. However, Texas has no cap on damages for personal injury except for medical malpractice
Additionally, Texas uses “modified comparative negligence” to determine awards. This means that if the court rules you are partially responsible, the damages will be reduced by a corresponding amount. If you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible, you cannot collect anything. Good Houston personal injury lawyers can help you work out whether you are likely to leave the court with nothing – or worse, be sued by the other party. When fault is very unclear it can often be better to settle out of court. You do have to prove that the other party was at fault before their insurance will pay – so engaging a lawyer right from the start is often the best course of action. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency – meaning they will not charge you unless you win. You will still have to pay court fees, though.
Another quirk of Texas law is that if the state might be liable, you have to file a formal claim rather than a lawsuit against the government, and that needs to be filed within six months. Also, the case must be filed in the county where the defendant resides or performed the service. For claims under $10,000 you can file in small claims court and can represent yourself – although this is not recommended.
Texas personal injury laws are complicated and your best chance of getting everything you are owed is to engage a good lawyer who will work to get you the highest damages possible.