When you or a loved one faces the misfortune of an accident, the resulting pain, stress, and financial strain can be overwhelming. But did you know that Texas law offers a pathway for seeking justice and compensation? It’s called personal injury law. In Texas, there’s a specific set of criteria to determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim and can attempt to get the compensation you deserve. Here are some signs your personal injury claim is viable, and why it’s worth engaging a personal injury accident attorney.
Someone Else is at Fault
When it comes to personal injury cases, determining who’s responsible, or ‘liable’, is paramount. Liability is, in short, about responsibility. When another party’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions result in harm or injury to somebody else, they can be held liable. But how is this liability proven? Often, it requires a combination of factual evidence and legal principles.
Concrete evidence is invaluable when pinpointing responsibility. This might include things like surveillance footage, photos of the scene immediately after the accident, witness statements, or documentation that showcases a breach of duty, such as ignoring safety protocols.
Negligence is one of the most common grounds for hiring a personal injury accident lawyer in Texas. Negligence occurs when somebody fails to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in similar circumstances. For example, imagine a store owner knew about a spill on the floor but did nothing to either clean it up or warn customers. If somebody slipped and got injured as a result of this, it could be considered negligence.
While evident liability forms the bedrock of a personal injury claim, the actual injuries sustained have a central role to play. Without substantial harm, even the clearest case of negligence may falter in court.
The word ‘significant’ can be somewhat subjective in the legal landscape. However, in personal injury claims, it generally refers to injuries that have a considerable impact on the victim’s daily life, long-term health, or financial well-being. Imagine broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, severe burns, or any other injury that results in prolonged medical treatment or permanent disability.
To prove the gravity of injuries, you will need more than just your word. Medical documentation is your best ally here. Doctor’s notes, hospital records, rehabilitation schedules, and even expert medical opinions can paint a comprehensive picture of your suffering and the journey to recovery.
The immediate aftermath of an accident is often focused on the physical and emotional pain caused. But many victims find that the monetary implications of an accident can be just as overwhelming as the injury itself. Financial strain post-accident is multi-dimensional, encompassing:
- Immediate medical expenses: This can include ambulance fees, emergency room visits, surgeries, medication, and more. These immediate costs can accumulate quickly, especially if the injury is severe.
- Ongoing treatment and rehabilitation: Injuries might need prolonged medical attention, physiotherapy, or rehabilitation. Continuous treatments and multiple visits add up.
- Lost wages: Time off work, whether a few days or an extended period, results in lost income. For those with severe injuries or disabilities, there might be an inability to return to their previous job or even to return to work at all, leading to a significant loss of potential future earnings.
- Assistive devices and home modifications: Some injuries necessitate the use of devices like wheelchairs, or home adjustments like specialist furniture or ramps, incurring additional costs.
- Miscellaneous expenses: These could range from transportation costs for medical visits to hiring help for daily tasks that the injured person can no longer perform.
Personal injury cases aren’t just about financial restitution for medical bills or lost wages. An essential yet often overlooked aspect is non-economic damages. These damages reflect the intangible losses a victim experiences after an accident.
Unlike economic damages, which can be quantified by a receipt or an invoice, non-economic damages are more abstract. They address the pain, suffering, and emotional upheaval an injury can thrust upon a victim.
- Pain and suffering: This considers the physical pain and discomfort a victim endures, both immediately post-accident and projected into the future.
- Emotional distress: Accidents can be traumatizing. Victims might struggle with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of enjoyment: An injury can inhibit one’s ability to partake in activities they once enjoyed, be in hobbies, exercise, or recreational events.
- Loss of consortium: This focuses on relationships. If an injury impedes your ability to maintain a relationship with your spouse, you can seek compensation.
A Clear Connection
Establishing a clear connection between the negligence and the subsequent injury is a pivotal piece of the puzzle and one of the main things your personal injury accident attorney will set out to do. While evident liability, significant injuries, and financial strain are cornerstones of your claim, demonstrating how one directly led to the other will cement your case.
A clear connection is all about causation. It’s not sufficient to simply show that somebody was negligent and, separately, that you were injured. The key is to work with a good personal injury law firm to illustrate the negligence directly caused the injury. Without this link, the foundation of your claim can quickly crumble.
There are two main types of causation, which are as follows:
- Actual cause (cause-in-fact): This is about connecting the dots. Can you trace your injury back to the specific negligent act? For example, if somebody ignored a stop sign, leading to a car accident where you were injured, their action is the actual cause of your injury.
- Proximate cause: This is more about foreseeability. Was it reasonably foreseeable that the negligent act could result in your specific injury? For instance, if a store owner left a wet floor without signage and you slipped, the injury was foreseeable. Hence, their negligence is the proximate cause.
Given the complexities that can arise in establishing a clear connection, the guidance of a personal injury accident lawyer is invaluable. We can gather the right evidence, bring in experts for testimonies, and present the causation narrative, making it harder for opposing parties to dispute the link.
Let Us Help You Get Justice
Accidents can be life-altering, and navigating the complex world of personal injury claims is daunting, especially during recovery. At Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, we are dedicated to championing your rights. Contact us today to discuss your case with a free consultation.