Personal injury in Houston, Texas, is defined as any accident or injury that occurs to an individual due to the negligence of another person. Most times, a personal injury may result in physical or mental harm. Therefore, personal injury is a combination of injuries, unlike bodily injury that refers to a specific physical injury suffered in an accident. In addition, under Texas law, personal injuries are considered civil court cases and not criminal court cases.
In Houston, an injury or accident is considered a personal injury, and within Texas law, if it is due to someone else’s negligence, intentional acts, or defective products. Meanwhile, personal injuries may fall outside the law if it exceeds the statute of limitations period or the victim shares greater blame for negligence.
What is a Personal Injury Claim in Houston, Texas?
A personal injury claim in Houston is a legal process of filing a lawsuit against the party at fault. The victim of a personal injury is known as the plaintiff, while the person who caused the injury or accident is referred to as the at-fault or defendant. To file a personal injury claim in Houston, the plaintiff must ensure:
- There is a damage or injury
- The accident was somehow preventable
- The accident or injury was due to the defendant’s negligence
- Their awareness or adherence to safety protocols could not stop the injury.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas?
To find a personal injury lawyer in Houston, Texas, a plaintiff must research and ask the right questions. Below are some tips for choosing a personal injury lawyer:
- Ask for Recommendations or Reviews: One way to find the best personal injury lawyer in Houston is to ask family members or friends. Often than not, insights and personal experiences working with a personal injury attorney can shape the decision-making process. In addition, a plaintiff can use the Houston Lawyer Referral Service provided by the Houston Bar Association.
- Lookout for Accreditations: Aside from the reviews and recommendations, ensure the personal lawyer is accredited. The Houston Bar Association, through its Houston Lawyer Referral Service provides access to over 200 accredited lawyers across the area.
- Lookout for Expertise: There are different types of personal injury cases. Therefore, a plaintiff must ensure the personal injury lawyer has handled similar cases. The Houston Bar Association provides access to personal injury lawyers in the county.
- Discuss Term of Service: A breakdown of the services available is another way to determine the best personal injury lawyer in Houston, Texas. The discussion should include the fees for the services listed. This way, there would not be cases of hidden charges when the claim is settled. In addition, a plaintiff must understand the terms and conditions before signing an agreement.
- Discuss the Payment Terms: Understanding the payment structure or terms of payment is crucial to finding a personal injury lawyer. Sometimes, personal injury lawyers in Houston work on a “No win, No fee” basis. Nevertheless, it is vital to clarify this and know the percentage to be deducted from the personal injury settlement.
What does a Personal Injury Lawyer do in Houston, Texas?
In Houston, a personal injury lawyer oversees and handles personal injury cases from start to finish. In most cases, they ensure the submission of appropriate documents and represent the plaintiff where necessary. Some of the techniques personal injury lawyers adopt to win a case include:
- Advise the Plaintiff: The personal injury lawyer is responsible for advising the plaintiff on everything concerning the case. A crucial aspect often ignored by victims of personal injuries is how they communicate the accident to others. In most cases, plaintiffs must refrain from making comments about the accident to avoid being used against them by the defendant in front of the jury.
- Investigate the Accident Scene: Another obvious but effective technique personal injury lawyers use is investigating the accident scene. Aside from the plaintiff’s account of the accident, expert personal injury lawyers always make their findings. Victims sometimes omit information that they consider minute but crucial in winning their case.
- Seek Expert Opinions: Depending on the type of case, a personal injury lawyer may employ the service of an expert in the field concerned. For instance, they may hire the service of a medical practitioner to determine the extent of the client’s injury. Such expert opinions will better inform the amount of claim or settlement the plaintiff should bargain for.
- The Threat of Litigation: Most times, the insurance company of the at-fault rarely wants to go to court. Therefore, an insurance company is more likely to pay a certain amount as a claim and avoid a lawsuit. An expert personal injury attorney can use this to win the plaintiff’s case.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Whether or not a plaintiff needs a personal injury lawyer depends to a large extent on the type of case. Most times, the best answer to the “Do I need a personal injury lawyer” question is to determine the type of personal injury and understand the law. Some of the different types of personal injuries include:
- Car Accidents: Car accidents are one of the most common personal injury cases in Houston, Texas. Often than not, these accidents result in job loss, high medical bills, funeral expenses, emotional harm, loss of wages, rehabilitation expenses, and so on. A plaintiff may need the service of an expert Houston personal injury lawyer to determine the worth of their settlement. The personal injury lawyer is also responsible for handling the procedures to handle the case.
- Truck Accidents: Truck accidents are injuries caused due to the size of a truck on the road or failure of some parts. Most times, these types of accidents are ghastly and may require the service of a personal injury lawyer. In addition, truck accidents may be due to check-up neglect or manufacturer defect.
- Motorcycle Accidents: This type of accident is caused by motorcycles. A plaintiff may require the service of a personal injury lawyer due to the devastating results or effects of the accident. The personal injury attorney examines the case to determine the types of damages and whether the plaintiff can file a lawsuit or claim.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: In a personal injury case, slip and fall refer to the injury sustained through slips or falls on someone else's property. A plaintiff in Houston may hire a personal injury lawyer due to the difficulties in proving whether or not it was the property owner's fault.
- Brain Injuries: Brain injuries are part of many injuries sustainable in a personal injury. The victim may suffer permanent brain damage, paralysis, and more. Also, the effect of the accident is usually not instant. Therefore, a professional personal injury lawyer needs to handle the process to ensure a victim is adequately compensated.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The negative impact of this type of injury on the plaintiff's life is usually massive regardless of the cause. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include car accidents and falls. Due to the devastating impact, the plaintiff may hire a personal injury attorney to ensure they are rightfully compensated.
- Wrongful Death: A wrongful death is any form of negligence that results in the death of the personal injury victim. It is important to hire a personal injury lawyer in Houston due to the severity of the case. The personal injury lawyer will assist in evaluating the level of negligence. Examples of causes of wrongful death include defective products, car accidents, medical malpractice, and more.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrian accidents are injuries that occur when a car or truck hits an individual on the road. Most times, these types of accidents happen when pedestrians try to cross the highway. Similar to other types of personal injuries, the plaintiff is eligible for a claim or lawsuit once the defendant’s negligence is established. Due to the complex nature of this type of injury, the plaintiff may hire a personal injury attorney to oversee the case.
- Bicycle Accidents: Bicycle accidents are quite common due to car accidents. However, it is not surprising that plaintiffs face difficulties in making claims. Therefore, the service of a personal lawyer may be required to handle the process. The lawyer must establish that the negligence is from the defendant and not the bicyclist.
How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement in Houston, Texas?
There is no fixed amount to a personal injury settlement in Houston, Texas. Plaintiffs in Houston may demand low or high personal injury settlements depending on different factors such as economic damages, punitive damages, and emotional damages. A personal injury lawyer is responsible for reviewing the listed factors to determine the worth of a personal injury settlement. The economic damage considers the financial effect the injury has on the victim. Meanwhile, punitive damages are damages calculated based on the defendant’s negligence. Furthermore, the level of pain and suffering of a victim is assessed based on the uniqueness of the personal injury case.
How Long does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
A personal injury lawsuit in Houston, Texas, may take up to six months or a year. There are no fixed durations because each personal injury case is different. In addition, some personal injury lawsuits may take up to two years or more. Examples of factors that may hinder the process of a personal injury lawsuit include:
- The type of case
- The number of parties involved
- The amount of the claim.