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What Is a Personal Injury Claim? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions)

Nov 12, 2020 Catastrophic Personal Injury

While you’ve probably heard the phrases “personal injury claim” and “personal injury lawyer” before, you may only have a general understanding of what they mean. Sure, they arise out of an injury, but what does a personal injury lawyer do, and what do these claims involve?

At Crosley Law, we’re passionate about personal injury law. Our team has handled thousands of injury claims and recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients. Here, we answer some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions about injury claims in Texas.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injuries involve bodily harm. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), herniated disc, broken bone, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) due to someone’s negligence, you have a personal injury. You file a personal injury claim or lawsuit when you demand compensation for your injuries and losses. If your legal claims only involve property damage, you technically do not have a personal injury claim.

The more important question, in many ways, is “what causes personal injuries?” Personal injury claims include:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck and commercial vehicle wrecks
  • Bicycle and pedestrian crashes
  • Product liability claims involving dangerous or defective products
  • Premises liability, such as slip and falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death and survival claims

Now, let’s explore a concept that is fundamental to a personal injury claim: negligence.

What Does “Negligence” Mean in Texas?

When lawyers talk about “negligence,” they’re referring to a specific legal standard. In Texas, someone is negligent if you can prove the following elements:

  • The individual or business owed you a duty of care (like the duty to look out for hazards while driving or the duty to design products that are safe to use as directed)
  • They violated this duty of care, causing your injuries
  • You suffered economic and non-economic losses, like medical bills and lost income

While this may sound simple, you’ll need evidence that supports each element of your claim. This evidence may include police reports, medical records, and testimony from eyewitnesses and experts, as well as a detailed legal analysis.

The at-fault party may also fight back, asserting legal defenses. For example, if you miss Texas’ two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit (sometimes called the statute of limitations), you may lose your right to compensation. Or, the insurance company may try to reduce your damages, claiming that you contributed to the incident.

To address these issues, you’ll need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Crosley Law, we take a hands-on approach to our cases, carefully investigating our clients’ claims, educating them about their legal options, and aggressively pursuing compensation for their injuries. If you’d like to learn more about Texas’ negligence laws and how they might impact your claims, contact us today.

RELATED: How Does Texas Deal With Contributory Negligence?

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Before you file a personal injury claim, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer. A personal injury attorney can help you avoid mistakes that delay or reduce your compensation, and most lawyers charge a contingency fee in injury claims. So, they won’t get paid unless you recover a settlement or jury award.

Your personal injury lawyer will notify the insurance companies of your injury claims and negotiate on your behalf. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster will agree to pay a fair settlement before you file a lawsuit. Other times, negotiations stall (or your statute of limitations is fast approaching) and your lawyer will file a complaint with the court, starting a formal lawsuit.

Once the courts are involved, your attorney will guide you through a series of stages where you exchange evidence, evaluate your claim’s strength, and try to negotiate a fair settlement. While many personal injury cases settle out of court, jury trials are sometimes necessary.

Crosley Law has a reputation for cutting-edge trial tactics and jury presentations. We approach every claim as if it will go to trial, collecting evidence, consulting with experts, and building our legal arguments.

RELATED: The 3 Stages of Your Car Accident Lawsuit

How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Texas?

Your personal injury claim’s settlement value will depend on many factors, including:

  • Your chances of making a full recovery
  • The circumstances surrounding your claim, including potential defenses
  • Your medical expenses, including future medical treatment
  • Lost income and wage-earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The potential for punitive damages
  • How much insurance coverage applies to your claim

Notably, you may have multiple claims with different insurance companies. For example, suppose you were in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver. In addition to filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company, you may also have personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims with your own insurance company. And if a bar or restaurant overserved the drunk driver, you may have dram shop liability claims against the business too.

Should I Accept a Personal Injury Settlement?

There’s no easy answer to this question. When you settle a personal injury claim, you accept a lump sum payment in exchange for giving up your right to any additional compensation, even if your condition worsens and you need more medical treatment.

Deciding to settle your claim is a very personal decision. Some people want closure after a long legal battle, while others decide that it’s too risky to take their case to trial. However, you should never accept an unreasonably low settlement.

If you or a loved one are considering a personal injury settlement, make sure you understand your claim’s real value. Insurance adjusters will do their best to minimize your payout, often offering you much less than your claim’s actual worth. A personal injury lawyer will give you an honest assessment and help you negotiate a fair deal.

Crosley Law: Fighting for Crash Victims in San Antonio and Throughout Texas

If you or someone you love suffered a personal injury, Crosley Law wants to help. Our team of experienced injury lawyers has a significant track record of success and a reputation for aggressive advocacy. We also pride ourselves on our warm and welcoming client experience.

Our law firm offers free consultations, both in-person and by video conference. Contact us today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our brief contact form to schedule your initial consultation.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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