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Personal Injury Law
BEAUMONT PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY AND CAR WRECKS
Here are some important points of the law of personal injury cases.
ELEMENTS OF PROOF - To win a case, the Plaintiff (person bringing the suit) must prove:
1. The Defendant (person being sued) was negligent AND
2. That negligence probably caused the plaintiff's injuries or damages.
Negligence occurs when a person violates a safety law or otherwise fails to exercise ordinary care.
COMMON DEFENSES raised in Texas cases - these are "excuses" or defenses often raised by defendants in automobile accident cases:
Comparative negligence - If the plaintiff and defendant are both negligent, a percentage of fault is assigned to each party. If a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, he recovers no damages. A finding of 50% fault or less on the part of a plaintiff reduces the plaintiff's recovery by that percentage.
Sudden emergency/act of God - an accident caused by something beyond the control of the plaintiff or defendant; neither party is at fault.
Fault of third party - an accident caused by some other person or product.
PROVING INJURIES AND DAMAGES - Often, the hardest part of a case is proving the extent of injury . Many conditions (sprains, strains, pain) cannot be medically tested, and can only be proved by the testimony of the plaintiff. Defense lawyers often try to show the plaintiff is lying or exaggerating about his injuries or damages. Many good cases are lost because a plaintiff gives inaccurate or incomplete information to his lawyer or doctor. It is very important to be complete and honest in your answers to your lawyer's questions, and in statements to your doctors.
ELEMENTS OF DAMAGES that can be recovered in a personal injury case are: Medical Expenses, Loss of Earning Capacity, Physical Pain and Suffering, Mental Anguish, Physical Impairment, and Disfigurement or Scarring. Damages are also available in the event of death, but only spouses, children and parents may bring a wrongful death claim.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES can be sought if the Defendant acted with "malice," which is defined as an intent to injure or a conscious disregard for the health and safety of others.
COST OF PROSECUTION - An attorney may spend several thousand dollars and hundreds of hours preparing a case for trial. For this reason, many lawyers only accept cases involving serious injuries.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS - Texas has a two (2) year statute of limitations in tort actions. Suits not filed by two (2) years from your date of injury are barred forever. Texas law also requires written notice of a claim must be given to units of city, state or federal government, often within 90 days to six months of an event. Failure to give proper notice may result in a claim being lost. Limited exceptions to these rules may affect the rights of minors and incompetents. However, these deadlines are rigidly construed. If you pursue a case, you should discuss these deadlines with an attorney.
CONTINGENT FEES - Lawyers should handle injury cases on a contingent fee basis: the fee is a percentage of the recovery (usually one third to 40%), and no fees or expenses are charged unless your case is won or settled.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED, you should do the following:
Take photographs of the place where the injury occurred, and of your injuries;
We hope this information helps you understand more about injury cases, and what is involved in any effort to prosecute and win a case in this area of the law.