No matter how careful you may be, accidents and injuries can happen. When they do, questions about liability and your rights to compensation can arise. To help you figure out if you have a claim for financial recovery after an accident and injuries, here are the four basic requirements that must be satisfied in order to potentially have a case.
Requirement 1: A Personal Injury
First and foremost, you must have some type of personal injury in order to have a claim. This could be a:
- Physical injury – Medical records, including diagnostic tests and treatment records, can be essential to proving the nature and extent of the physical injuries.
- Mental injury or emotional suffering – Though usually more difficult to prove than physical injuries, mental and emotional injuries can be established through medical records as well, especially when injuries result in permanent damage or when they cause brain damage (that results in diminished cognition or emotional changes).
Without any injury, there is no basis for a claim, even if an accident happened. In other words, simply being a party to an accident does not mean you automatically have a case. If you didn’t experience an injury as a result of the incident, there will be no case.
Requirement 2: Negligence
Another requirement in personal injury cases is negligence. Some other party’s negligence must have caused or played a role in the accident (or incident) that harmed you. Here, it’s crucial to note that:
- Negligence can be shared by more than one party – When this is the case, each negligent party will be liable.
- A victim’s own negligence doesn’t necessarily mean (s)he has no claim – In Texas, victims can still be entitled to compensation as long as they were no more than 50 percent at fault for the incident. Although compensation in these cases will be reduced proportionally to victims’ degree of fault, there is still an opportunity to seek financial recovery from the other negligent parties.
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Requirement 3: Recoverable Damages
Once personal injury and negligence have been established, the next requirement that must be met in order to have a case is the presence of recoverable damages. In other words, you need to be able to prove that:
- You sustained personal and financial harm as a result of the accident or incident.
- Financial compensation can remedy this harm.
Depending on the specifics of your potential claim, you may be entitled to seek:
- Compensatory damages – Intended to compensate you for your suffering and losses, these damages can cover anything from medical bills and ongoing treatment costs to lost wages, property damage, and more.
- Punitive damages – Intended to punish the negligent party, these damages are not always available. Generally, they only come into play when the at-fault party has a history of negligence or has exhibited an especially horrible act of negligence.
Requirement 4: A Valid Cause of Action
The final basic requirement that must be met in order to possibly have a personal injury case is that the filing deadline hasn’t already expired. The deadline, referred to as the statute of limitations, is set by state law.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years.
While there may be some exceptions, this two-year period will usually start counting down from the date of the accident or the date on which the injuries are discovered. Once this timeframe has passed, the claim will no longer be valid. If you try to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, it will usually be dismissed.
To find out if you have a claim – and to get essential advice regarding how to proceed, contact the Amaro Law Firm today.
Set Your Case Up for Success: Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been victimized by another’s negligence, you can get answers about your legal options by contacting a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm. We are ready to partner with you in the pursuit of recovery and justice.
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At the Amaro Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are known for exceptional advocacy, personal service, and outstanding results. We know how to stand up to any opponent, protecting our clients’ rights while working relentlessly to maximize their financial recoveries.
While we know that money cannot erase the impacts of serious accidents and injuries, compensation from personal injury claims can help people heal and restore their lives.
The Amaro Law Firm’s record of excellence and success in all types of personal injury cases has earned us a 5-star rating on Google and Facebook, glowing testimonials from former clients, and a 10 rating on Avvo.
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