Personal Injury FAQ

How long will it take to file my claim?

This is a very popular question and the answer varies. It is difficult to generate a timetable for personal injury claims. Some claims that are not taken to trial take a few months to complete. However, some claims take years to complete. Every personal injury claim is unique, the circumstances are different as well as the parties involved.

What type of compensation can I receive?

The answer to this question depends largely on the details of the case. The severity of your injuries, type of insurance you have and the actions of both parties that led to the incident all hold weight when determining the outcome. Possible areas of compensation include:

  • Medical bills
  • Current pain and suffering
  • Future pain and suffering
  • Loss of income

The attorney you hire will be able to predict the strength of your claim. They may also be able to offer a rough estimate of how much compensation you can receive. Factors independent of the incident may influence the outcome. Factors such as your criminal record, employment history, age and lifestyle may be considered when determining the amount of your compensation.

What is the cost of a lawyer?

When selecting an attorney to represent your case, it is always in your best interest to hire someone who works on a contingency basis. This means that your representative will not receive payment for their services until your case has been won. The lawyer fees vary from firm to firm.

When should I file a claim?

The sooner you file, the better. Most states operate under a "statue of limitations." This means that after an established period of time, you will not be able to file for a compensation claim for a particular incident. For this reason, it is advised to immediately contact a personal injury lawyer after the incident. Injured victims have a short period of time to file claims, file as soon as you can.

If the incident was partially my fault, can I still file a claim?

Once again this depends heavily on the laws of that state or jurisdiction. Most jurisdictions still allow you to file a claim if the incident was partially your fault. Very few places do not allow those partially at fault to file claims. In cases where jurisdictions allow you to file a claim, the compensation may be reduced if you contributed to your injuries.

What is the statute of limitations in personal injury cases?

The statute of limitations is the time limit placed on your right to file a lawsuit in a personal injury case in Texas. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you lose the right to take legal action. An experienced Austin personal injury lawyer can review your case and determine whether it qualifies for an exception that extends the time limit.

Every state sets its own time limits. In Texas, the statute of limitations in a personal injury case is two years from the date when the injury occurred. If the case involves a wrongful death, the statute of limitations expires two years from the date of the death.

In some cases, you cannot discover an injury until after a significant period of time has passed. An example is mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.

If you are in that situation, the discovery rule may apply. The statute of limitations will start to run when you discover your injury or when you reasonably could have discovered it.

In medical malpractice cases, the discovery rule usually does not apply. There are some exceptions, but medical malpractice has a two-year statute of limitations like other personal injury cases.

However, if you can prove that the medical professional deliberately hid the malpractice injury, there may be an argument for applying the discovery rule.

Another way the statute of limitations can be extended in a personal injury case is if the conditions necessary for "tolling" are met.

If the injured party was a minor at the time of the injury, the time limits will be "tolled" until the child turns 18. When the child reaches that age, the two-year statute of limitations will start to run. There is an exception to this rule for medical malpractice cases involving minors.

The same "tolling" rule applies if the injured person was not mentally competent to bring a case at the time the injury occurred. The statute of limitations can be tolled until the injured person is able to assist in the personal injury case.

You can expect the defendant in a personal injury case to raise the statute of limitations, if possible, to get your lawsuit dismissed. You should never assume the discovery rule or tolling will apply to your case.

For this reason, you should take action as soon as possible and get in touch with an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer. At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we can review your case immediately and help you to determine whether the statute of limitations has expired and, if so, whether any exceptions apply to your case.

When should you contact a personal injury lawyer?

Here are some cases where you will need assistance from a lawyer in dealing with personal injury claims.

After a medical evaluation.

When you have suffered an injury, it is advised that you see a medical practitioner right away. When you do this, you will not only get the necessary medication, but also have a proof of the incident. Once you have been evaluated and the medical professional has issued a certificate or report about your health, it is in your best interest that you communicate with a personal injury lawyer to determine whether you can file for a claim or not.

Once you have realized that you are a victim of an accident that could have been easily prevented.

There are times when a victim fails to understand or realize that the injury he or she is suffering from is somebody else's fault. Oftentimes, it will take them months, weeks or days before they finally do. Evaluate your case as soon as you feel a bit better and gauge if you have the rights to file a legal complaint.

When the other party insists that you put the incident behind.

Once you have finally realized that there is a case worth pursuing, the other party will surely fight back. This is why they would try to convince you that the accident was not their fault. If they fail to do this, they would threaten you or try to bribe you. If you feel threatened, it is best that you call a lawyer so that he can help you out.

When the accident will cause permanent damage.

No matter how minor an accident is, there are times when its effect will last for a very long time. Just take the example of a simple slip and fall. The damage it can create will surely bring pain and agony for many years to come. When the accident leads to surgeries or disfigurements, it is best that you talk with a legal professional.

What Makes A Personal Injury Case?

Duty

The duty is a relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant that is recognized by law, and this relationship obligates the defendant to behave in a certain way toward the plaintiff.

As an example, a construction worker is loading bags of cement on a truck, and then accidentally hits a child while doing so. Building a negligence case requires that there is a neglect of duty by the worker toward the child — that he failed to exercise reasonable attention and care that could have prevented the situation. If the worker was doing his job in a public area where people were passing by, then he owes a duty to the child (and everyone else around him). However, if it was found that the situation happened in a restricted area and the child was trespassing property, then it is possible that the court would deem the worker having no duty as the child was not supposed to be there in the first place, and it was possible that the worker was not aware that the child was present.

Breach Of Duty

If the defendant is found to have breached the duty that he owes to the plaintiff, then it lays the ground for a negligence case. A breach occurs when it is found that the duty was done with no reasonable care.

Following from the example above, a breach of duty means that the worker knew he had a responsibility to do, but did not do as such. He was doing his work in a public area, and yet did not exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting and injuring others.

Cause In Fact

If it can be proven that it was the defendant's breach of duty that caused the injury, then it makes for a negligence case. If the defendant had exercised reasonable care, then the injury would not have occurred.

If the child can prove that if it wasn't for the worker loading the bags of cement hitting him he wouldn't have been injured, then this all the more strengthens his personal injury case.

Proximate Cause

The proximate cause is all about the complete scope of the defendant's responsibilities in a personal injury case. A defendant could be held responsible for proximate cause if something happens to the plaintiff that the defendant knew would happen as a result of being negligent.

Damages

The plaintiff must be able to prove a harm or injury that is legally recognized, to back his or her personal injury case. It can be damage to property, physical injury or any other damages done to the plaintiff as a result of the incident. It is not enough to just prove that there was negligence on the part of the defendant, but that same negligence caused damages to the plaintiff.