In Texas, the personal injury claim process starts from the day of your injury until you received compensation. The first step is to have an experienced injury lawyer assess whether you have a case. Here at Khattar Law LLC. we have experienced lawyers who will be able to guide you through the process.
How to know if you have a personal injury case
Not every injury has basis for a lawsuit, however if someone else injured you, you may recover money for your injuries. In order to asses if your injury is proper subject for a lawsuit, the Texas injury claim process needs to recognize the injury.
Was the Lawsuit at the Right Time?
The first question your lawyer will ask if when you were injured. If the injury happened too long ago, it may be outside of the statute of limitations. The Texas personal injury claim process has very strict parameters about time. In most instances, the statute of limitation for personal injuries is two years. So, if you wait longer than that to file, you no longer have a case.
Does the Law of Torts Cover Your Injury?
Additionally, to the above mentioned, your injury must be the fault of someone else. Under the Texas personal injury claim process, there is a series of “torts”. Torts define when you can sue for someone else’s misbehavior. Most injuries fall under the category of the tort of negligence. Negligence includes injuries caused by someone neglecting the “duty of care” they owed to you.
Ex. If a driver injured you by driving recklessly, you may have a lawsuit or if medical providers injured you by failing to use reasonable care, skill, or knowledge, you may have a lawsuit for medical malpractice and so on.
Another basis for lawsuit could be if you sustained injury due to intentional action. For example, if someone used force or inflicted emotional distress to harm you, they may be liable for committing an intentional tort.
NOTE: Manufacturers and designers are also liable for your injuries if an unreasonably dangerous product that was used as intended injures you. Similarly, the manufacturer will be liable if you were injured from using a product in a way that the manufacturer should have known would be used, and there was no warning on the product.
Do You Have Any Damages?
Damages” are the money you get for your case. There are many types of damages, and your settlement is not always easy to calculate. Your damages include your economic losses and non-economic losses. Finally, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and prevent this kind of misconduct in the future.
Steps to the Texas personal injury claim process
Step 1: File a Petition to Initiate the Lawsuit
Your lawyer will file a document called a Petition. The petition explains the basic facts of the case. The lawsuit names you as a Plaintiff, and the person or company who injured you as the Defendant.
NOTE: Based on where you were injured, and who injured you, your lawyer will assess where to file a lawsuit. This means that he will determine which state, county and city (venue) is the proper place to bring your case.
Step 2: Serve Notice of the Lawsuit
After filing the lawsuit in the Texas personal injury claim process, your lawyer will notify the defendant of the lawsuit. The court issues a document called a citation which your lawyer will have a process server* serve on the defendant.
*Process server is a part of a company that regularly serves individuals with legal papers as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Step 3: Defendant’s Answer
After the defendant receives the petition, the defendant has to answer the complaint. An answer is a legal document in which the defendant responds to the facts and legal claims in the plaintiff’s petition. If the defendant does not answer, it’s possible you could win the case by securing a default judgment.
Step 4: Information Gathering
After you file a lawsuit, you have access to more information. Now, the Texas personal injury claim process allows you gather information through a “discovery.” During the discovery period is when both parties can be requested for documents, testimony and additional information.
Step 5: Pre-Trial Motions
Part of the Texas personal injury claim process allows the lawyers to file motions, these motions could ask the judge to decide certain issues before the case gets to a jury. These motions could include the defendants asking the court to terminate the case. Therefore, it is important to have a lawyer who is familiar with the Texas personal injury claim process as cases are primarily dismissed for failing to follow the procedural rules or failing to show that you have a case in the petition.
Step 6: Trial
You have the right to a jury trial. However, your lawyer may decide that it is tactically better to have a judge decide the case. Either way, the result is based on the decision the jury or judge make.
Step 7: Appeal and Post-Trial Motions
Either party can appeal the end result within a month, or, file a Motion for New Trial.