Learn about some important points of the law for personal injury cases.
To win a case, the Plaintiff (person bringing the suit) must prove:
Negligence occurs when a person violates a safety law or otherwise fails to exercise ordinary care.
Common defenses raised in Texas include:
Often, the hardest part of a case is proving the extent of injury. Many conditions cannot be medically tested, and can only be proved by the testimony of the plaintiff. Defense lawyers often try to show the plaintiff is lying or exaggerating about injuries or damages.
Many good cases are lost because a plaintiff gives inaccurate or incomplete information to his lawyer or doctor. It is very important to be complete and honest in your answers to your lawyer's questions, and in statements to your doctors.
Damages are also available in the event of death, but only spouses, children and parents may bring a wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages can be sought if the Defendant acted with "malice," which is defined as an intent to injure or a conscious disregard for the health and safety of others. In car accidents, punitive damages can be sought if the Defendant either (1) intended to cause injury or (2) knew his conduct created an extreme risk of severe injury and acted with conscious indifference to that risk. This is very difficult to prove, and many punitive damage awards are reversed by courts of appeal.
Texas has a two year statute of limitations in tort actions. Suits not filed by two years from your date of injury are barred forever. Texas law also requires written notice of a claim must be given to units of city, state, or federal government, often within 90 days to six months of an event. Failure to give proper notice may result in a claim being lost.
Limited exceptions to these rules may affect the rights of minors and incompetents. However, these deadlines are rigidly construed. If you pursue a case, you should discuss these deadlines with an attorney.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the law of premises liability. When a person slips or trips and falls on the property of a business, or a private residence, is there a right to file suit and collect damages? Many people believe these are easy cases to win, when they are often lost at trial.
Most cases involve injuries to invitees, people who come onto the premises at the express or implied invitation of the possessor of the premises. An example of an invitee is a person who comes into a store to purchase goods.
To win a case as an invitee, the Plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) must prove all of the following: