No one ever expects to be injured in a car accident, but the reality is that accidents happen every day. In Texas, as in other states, some laws dictate when and how a personal injury case may be filed.
Generally, a person has two years from the date of the injury to file a suit. This is known as the statute of limitations. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, so it is essential to consult with an attorney if you have been injured. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended if the victim was a minor at the time of the accident or if they were incapacitated.
Additionally, the statute may be paused in some instances while criminal charges related to the accident are pending. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you are injured in a car accident in Texas, it is important to know your legal rights. A personal injury case can help you recover damages for your injuries.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas?
A person may file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she has been injured by negligence or carelessness. Under Texas law, there are certain requirements that must be met to prove that you have an actionable claim. A successful personal injury claim will require proof that the defendant was negligent and/or careless, resulting in your injuries.
Personal injury lawsuits must be filed by someone who is entitled to recover damages for the death of another person. If you are bringing a wrongful death cause of action on behalf of your deceased loved one, you should contact our firm immediately, so we can determine whether it is possible to bring such a claim within the applicable statute of limitations period.
When a married person dies, the surviving spouse has a right to claim wrongful death. If two people are legally married but were living apart, the claim belongs solely to the injured party unless there is an agreement providing otherwise or if one of them subsequently marries someone else and then either dies or becomes incapacitated.
If you caused your injuries, and there was no negligence on the part of another, you may not be able to maintain an action against that person even though your injuries may have been very severe. For example, while intoxicated behind the wheel of a vehicle, you lost control and hit several parked cars causing serious injury to yourself. You will most likely not be allowed to bring a personal injury action against the owner of one of those vehicles.
How Can I File a Personal Injury Case in Texas?
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing — in other words, if you were the victim of what lawyers call “negligence” — you probably have the right to seek compensation for your losses.
Here are seven steps every personal-injury plaintiff should take when filing a personal injury case:
1. First Steps To Take After an Accident
As soon as possible after the accident, write everything down: who was involved, where and when it happened, what you were doing just before the accident occurred, etc. Get contact information from witnesses — especially anyone who got the other driver’s license plate number — and take photographs of any property damage or other evidence that might exist.
2. Know Your Legal Options
Once the immediate pain has subsided, you’ll want to review your legal options carefully before deciding whether or not to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused your accident (known as “the defendant”).
3. Look Into Filing an Insurance Claim Against the Defendant
Assuming you didn’t cause or contribute to the accident that resulted in your injuries, you have a legal right to receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies are businesses designed to make a profit for their shareholders, so they’ll rarely offer an injured person more than what’s necessary.
However, if you don’t file a claim against the other driver’s insurer, you’ve waived your legal right to seek compensation from them in exchange for whatever settlement might later be available to you from the defendant.
4. Ready Your Case With Evidence
For most personal injury cases, it usually takes between six months and two years after filing to reach a trial date. This lengthy time frame allows plenty of time for you and/or your attorney (if you’ve retained one) to gather evidence.
Evidence includes medical records, receipts showing past and future medical expenses, the cost of any medications or supplies that will be needed, pictures of your injuries and property damage, and police reports.
5. Choose Your Trial Venue Wisely
In many cases, it’s best to file your lawsuit in the county where the defendant lives. This means contacting several counties and checking online to see if there are any actual or potential witnesses whose contact information you can obtain, so they can be located for depositions and/or testifying at trial. If filing a lawsuit against an out-of-state resident, do everything possible to have the case heard in their home state.
6. File Your Lawsuit and Serve the Defendant
This is probably the most difficult part of filing a personal injury lawsuit. As mentioned above, you’ll need to locate (or re-locate) the defendant as soon as possible so they can be served with papers informing them of your intent to file a lawsuit against them for damages suffered because of their negligence.
7. Wait for a Response from Defendant
Unless you’ve successfully served the defendant at work, they will likely need some time to review all the documents filed against them before responding with their own set of claims (called an “Answer”). Most courts require the defendant to file their response within 30 days, but it’s best to double-check with your local court clerk before assuming this is true for your case.
Get Legal Help for a Personal Injury Case
If you have been injured in an accident, our legal team is standing by here at Burkett Law Firm. We want to hear your story and learn exactly what happened, so we can present both sides of the case to a judge or jury.
Our legal team will stand beside you and help you through all parts of your case, from the beginning to the end. From accident scene assistance to filing an accident claim, we will be there for you!