An accident of any type, such as a car or 18-wheeler wreck, can cause a person to suffer serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries. It can also lead to financial and emotional losses from medical bills, lost wages, pain/suffering, and other factors. If another individual was at fault for the accident, the injured party could seek compensation for damages from them. To get financial recovery, the injured party must prove negligence, deal with an insurance company, and/or take their case to trial. The steps involved are complex and can be difficult to handle after being injured. If you were harmed in an accident, work with an attorney who can take care of the details of your case, allowing you to focus on your health.
At Carter Law, our Fort Bend personal injury lawyers have 15 years of experience handling these types of cases. We put our skills and resources to work for our clients to fight for justice and fair compensation. Our team has secured over 1,000 legal victories. And while the outcomes of past cases do not guarantee future results, our achievements speak to our willingness to do what it takes for our clients. We are here to advocate for you.
Schedule a consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys in Fort Bend by contacting us at (713) 597-6562.
Establishing Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
To be awarded compensation for damages you sustained in an accident, you must prove that the party you are initiating a claim against was at fault. Generally, responsibility is based on the theory of negligence.
Establishing that a person was negligent requires showing that they:
- Owed you a duty of care. In the situation, the person was expected to act a certain way to prevent or avoid hurting anyone. Essentially, they were supposed to do what a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances. For instance, if someone is driving, they are expected to follow the rules of the road.
- Breached their duty of care. The person acted below the expected standard. Returning to the example with the motorist, the driver could have breached their duty if they were distracted while driving.
- Caused an accident. The person’s breach of duty must be the proximate cause of the accident. For example, suppose Rod was texting while driving. Because he was looking at the phone and not the road, he did not notice that Sue, the driver in front of him, had stopped because of traffic. Rod slammed into the back of Sue’s car.
- Caused damages. A person could pursue compensation only if they sustained losses in the accident. Losses can be financial, such as medical expenses, and emotional, such as pain and suffering.
Personal injury cases are two-sided. While you are working to establish the other party’s negligence, that individual, namely their insurance company, is working to show that they had zero or only partial responsibility for the accident.
In personal injury cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company may refute the injured person’s claims by bringing up several different defenses.
These include, but are not limited to:
- The other person acted in a way a reasonable individual would have
- The other person did not cause the accident
- The injured party was fully or partially at fault
Arguing your points with the insurance company can be difficult and frustrating, especially when the representatives are disputing what you believe are valid claims. Fortunately, you do not have to deal with the insurance company alone. A Fort Bend personal injury lawyer can go up against the representatives for you. Your attorney can develop your legal strategy, present your arguments, and negotiate on your behalf. If your matter isn’t resolved through an insurance claim, they can also take your case to court to have a judge or jury decide.
Recovering Damages in a Texas Personal Injury Case
In a personal injury case, you can recover compensation for various types of damages. Damages are losses and expenses you suffered in the accident.
They can include:
- Current and future lost wages
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The amount you can receive will depend on the facts of your case. Some factors affecting your settlement or award include the severity of your injuries and the medical care required.
Another element that can impact your financial recovery is your percentage of fault for the accident. Texas operates under the modified comparative fault doctrine. Under this system, a court can decrease the compensation a person receives based on that individual’s proportion of responsibility.
To illustrate, suppose you were in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. A judge or jury decides that you are entitled to $10,000 in compensation. They also determined that you were 20% responsible for the accident. Therefore, your $10,000 is reduced by 20%, bringing your actual recovery to $8,000.
Because Texas follows the modified comparative fault system, any person 50% or more responsible for an accident is barred from financial recovery.
The at-fault party’s insurance company may seek to minimize the amount they must pay you by arguing that you were at least partially to blame for the accident. Therefore, it is crucial to have a personal injury attorney in Fort Bend review the details of your case, clearly establish the other individual’s fault, and raise counterarguments if the other side tries to shift responsibility to you.
Incidents Giving Rise to Personal Injury Claims
Accidents can happen in nearly any situation. Thus, numerous circumstances exist where a person can file a claim against a negligent party.
Examples of personal injury cases include:
- 18-wheeler accidents: Collisions with big rigs are devastating, often resulting in serious or catastrophic injury or death. Large truck accidents can have various causes, which means one or more parties may be held responsible.
- Catastrophic injury: Some accidents can result in harm that lasts a lifetime, such as brain, skull, or spinal cord injuries. These injuries can require lifelong medical care, and requests for compensation must consider this to ensure that the financial recovery is just.
- Car accidents: Collisions between two or more vehicles can result in serious injuries. There are various types of car accidents, such as T-bone, head-on, or rear-end collisions. Determining fault in these matters requires a thorough review of the evidence.
- Insurance claims: One of the first steps in recovering compensation after an accident is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Communicating with insurance carriers can be frustrating. But if you have a lawyer, they can handle all contact with the company’s representatives.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are not protected like occupants in passenger vehicles. When they get into an accident, injuries are often severe. In some cases, bias against bikers causes settlement or award amounts to be unjustly low. An attorney can present evidence to help the deciding party see the facts and overcome prejudices.
- Oil field accidents: Accidents at oil fields can cause serious or fatal injuries. Although workers’ compensation might cover some of the injured party’s losses and expenses, it doesn’t cover all. It might be necessary to file a lawsuit to get the financial recovery needed.
- Plant or refinery injury: The chemicals and equipment used in plants and refineries can cause fires, explosions, fume leaks, or other hazards that could seriously injure a person. Because the individual may be incapacitated for a long time, they must receive sufficient compensation to cover future medical bills and lost wages.
- Premises liability: Business and residential property owners owe a duty of care to visitors and guests. To that end, they must timely address hazardous situations on the property by repairing dangers or warning others of them. If they fail to do this, they could be considered negligent and held responsible for damages resulting from an accident.
- Product liability: Products companies release into the market must be designed and manufactured well to prevent harm to consumers. Additionally, products must contain warnings to notify consumers of possible dangers of using the item. If a company produces a defective product or fails to provide adequate warnings, it can be liable for damages resulting from an accident.
- Wrongful death: If a person dies because of a preventable act caused by someone else’s negligence or willful misconduct, the wrongdoer could be responsible for expenses arising from the person’s death.
Contact Carter Law Today
Every personal injury case is unique, requiring a distinct approach to determine the value and establish fault. Our team provides personalized attention to develop individualized legal strategies for our clients.
To discuss your case with a Fort Bend personal injury lawyer, please call us at (713) 597-6562 or submit an online form.