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Winning a personal injury lawsuit and securing a fair settlement takes diligent legal work and a strong understanding of the law. Even cases that seem airtight can be lost or settled for less than what they ought to have been without good attention to detail and a disciplined focus on proving the four elements of negligence that are necessary to win any personal injury case.
When it comes to awarding damages, the state of Texas uses a system called modified comparative fault. What this essentially means is that your final damages recovery will be in proportion to how much fault the court believes you share in.
Let’s say that a court concludes that you’re right–the defendant was negligent and responsible for your injuries. They award you a $500,000 settlement. But the court also concluded that you were 20 percent responsible for the incident. You can still collect, but only 80 percent of the settlement amount. In this case, that would be $400,000. What’s more, if your share of the blame rises to 50 percent or higher, you get nothing at all.
This is why it’s important to have a legal team that is deeply attentive to all the details that make up your case. In our example of a $500,000 settlement, the shift of blame 10 percent in either direction means a $50,000 difference in the final recovery amount. Be assured that the defendant’s insurance carrier will be deeply attentive to all this and do what they can to shift even a small amount of blame onto you. Your personal injury lawyer has to give the defense team some hard pushback on your behalf.
To win a personal injury case, you must demonstrate that the opposing party (the defendant) was negligent. That requires proving four different points in civil court. The failure to prove any of these four means defeat.
Negligence consists of:
- Establishing a duty of care that the defendant owed you
- Showing that the defendant breached the duty
- Demonstrating that the defendant’s breach of duty is what caused your injuries
- Proving that the damages you suffered are specifically because of this injury.
Then, when all that is established, you (the plaintiff) must show the court the full extent of the damages you suffered, from the financial to the psychological to the emotional. An accurate assessment of your damages is what can lead to a genuinely fair settlement.
The defendant’s insurance company should not be expected to simply accede to your claims however accurate they may be. There are a wide range of legitimate defense strategies available to defendants in personal injury cases.
A defendant might argue they acted as any reasonable person would have in the situation which caused the injury, thus seeking to show there was no breach of duty. The defense lawyer may seek to show the court that even if their client did breach duty, that the ultimate source of your injuries came from somewhere other than the accident. People with pre-existing medical conditions may be particularly vulnerable to this line of defense.
Depending on the nature of the case, the argument might be advanced that you undertook some sort of activity that was inherently risky. They may even seek to turn the tables and argue that you are in fact the one responsible for the accident.
Very few people relish talking to insurance carriers in any circumstance. Doing so when you’re injured can leave you more susceptible than most to accepting a settlement offer that’s significantly lower than what you might win in court.
That’s why personal injury lawyers–a part of that small subset of people who really do relish taking on a tight-fisted insurance carrier–are here. We can protect your rights and our experience gives us a good understanding of what can be accomplished if your case goes to trial.
Personal Injury Claims Can Come About in a Multitude of Ways
Being in an accident with a big rig can be terrifying. A direct collision isn’t the only way to be injured in an 18-wheeler accident. If the truck wasn’t packed correctly, objects could have flown into the path of your car and caused the injuries.
Traumatic injuries like damage to the brain will alter your life permanently. The settlement you get should address medical care and quality of life issues for the rest of your days. Your lawyer should be experienced in knowing what needs to be considered in tallying up the final damages.
Was someone driving too fast or not paying attention to the road? Was a person’s driving inappropriate for conditions? These are just a few of the questions that will arise in a car accident case. Your lawyer can talk to witnesses, read police reports and review accident scene photos to help you build your case .
Dealing with the claims department of an insurance company can feel like one long trip to the dentist’s office. The best way to deal with a carrier is to say, “Call my lawyer”. Those are three words that might get the claims office to snap to attention. We’re here to help move your claim through the red tape and get you the money you deserve.
The nature of these accidents can be devastating. Motorcycle riders can be thrown from their bike and suffer severe, life-changing injuries. They can also face unique challenges in court, with potential jurors perhaps prejudiced against the rights motorcyclists have on the road. Your lawyer has to protect your interests.
The fact oil accidents are rare doesn’t mean the ones that do happen aren’t exceptionally serious. Workers compensation is rarely sufficient to meet the needs of the injured worker. An attorney will know how to go about investigating the accident and how to gather the information necessary to get you a fair settlement.
When your job involves chemicals or work around dangerous equipment, your employer has an obligation to do what’s necessary to keep their people safe. The accidents suffered in plants and refineries can be severe on their own, with mental trauma often added on. It’s the job of your attorney to make sure your final settlement reflects everything you suffered because of the injury.
A property owner, be it commercial or residential, has duties of care to those that enter their premises. Reasonable steps must be taken to either eliminate dangers or provide adequate warning as to where hazards might exist. When those steps aren’t taken and you’re injured, the foundation of a personal injury lawsuit can be in place.
A manufacturer has three core responsibilities to their customers. The company must ensure the design of their product is sound. The production process itself must meet industry best practices. And any dangers a person might face when reasonably using the product must be identified on the label. Do you believe the product that injured you might have failed any of these three tests? If so, let a lawyer take up your case.
A person dying is always a tragedy, and that sense of tragedy can be heightened even further when there’s a belief that it didn’t need to happen. If you believe a loved one’s death came about because of another person’s negligence, then a wrongful death action is the legal recourse available to you.
All of these personal injury claims are different in their own way. They invite different questions needed to establish negligence. You need a lawyer who is experienced in handling the unique nature of your case.
Carter Law has 15 years of experience handling cases like these. What’s more, our firm has winning experience. We’ve racked up over 1,000 legal victories. That kind of track record comes from hard work, attention to detail, nuanced understanding of the law and never taking anything for granted. We want to put those qualities to work for you next.