PERSONAL INJURY FAQs
- What is a “Personal Injury” Case?
“Personal injury” cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed:
- Informal Settlement In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal early settlement, usually among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action (such as a lawsuit), choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.
- Lawsuit: A personal injury case in Texas starts when an injured person files a civil “Petition” against another person, business, corporation, or government agency based on his or her injuries. The person suing is called the “Plaintiff” and the party being sued is called a “Defendant.” In most cases the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant or Defendants negligently caused the injuries.
- How long does the injured party have to file the Petition?
In Texas, the length of time for an injured party to file suit is based on a law called a Statute of Limitations. Cases based on personal injuries at subject to a two year statute of limitations. A plaintiff must file his suit within two years of the negligent act that caused the injury. There are special circumstances that might extend the time period, but two years is the general rule.
Note that suits based on sex crimes have a five year statute of limitations and suits for libel and slander have a one year statute.
- Does a Plaintiff have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt as seen on crime shows on TV?
In Texas, the Plaintiff has the burden to prove his case by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard than in a criminal case. A preponderance of the evidence only requires that the Plaintiff show that something more than 50% of the credible evidence is in his or her favor.
- Do I Have a Viable Personal Injury Case?
Any potential personal injury case requires a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. If an accident has impacted your life, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney to see if you should pursue a lawsuit. Not sure if you have a case? You can always contact me for an evaluation of your case in a free initial consultation.