People get injured as a result of other people’s shortcomings. People get injured in auto accidents, at their workplace, due to medical malpractice, due to an assault. In some other cases, people’s reputation gets injured through making false statements about a person, an action called defamation.
A personal injury is an injury inflicted on a person due to the deliberate or undeliberate disregard of due processes by another person. Rightfully, when a person is injured and another person is at fault for the injury inflicted, the victim may try to seek justice. In seeking justice, the victim files a personal injury claim against the person at fault and if successful, the victim is compensated according to the law governing that jurisdiction.
In this article, we consider the tort law in Texas as it relates to personal injury cases – we examine the process of personal injury claim in Texas and what determines whether a personal injury claim will go to trial or not.
The Personal Injury Process in Texas
The best thing to do first when you are involved in a personal injury situation is to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer.
The personal injury lawyer who is well versed in Texas law will request details of the incident with you, discuss terms of your agreement with them and investigate the issue – speak with eyewitnesses, medical professionals, police officers, etc. – to verify the details of the situation. This investigation is necessary to avail the lawyer enough data to verify the gravity of the incident and determine the corresponding compensation.
Initially, some lawyers attempt a settlement with the defendant while some file for a summons against the accused. Following a summons, the lawyers of both sides discuss the case to fully unveil the facts and evidences (the discovery process). As the case is being concluded, the lawyers may attempt a settlement again between each other, however, if this fails, a mediator comes in to mediate between both attorneys and try to achieve settlement.
If the mediator fails, then an arbitration hearing is the next step. The arbitration hearing is like a casual hearing presided over by a retired judge or attorney. While the mediator cannot enforce a settlement, the arbitrator can. However, if the arbitration fails, then the case goes to trial. At the trial, the judge decides the outcome of the case – whether you should receive compensation and how much you should receive.
A fault percentage system is used in Texas i.e. the percentage for which the plaintiff was at fault will determine the compensation the plaintiff gets. However, when a plaintiff is adjudged to be more than 51 % at fault, the plaintiff will receive no compensation.
One thing to note is that in Texas, one can only make a personal injury claim within 2 years from the date of injury. However, once the case has been filed, this statute of limitation becomes paused.