The Texas Personal Injury Guide was created by Garcia & Ochoa to help injured residents obtain the compensation they need from the insurance companies. Call today for a free consultation.
Getting hurt can really be a setback to your life. It can especially set you back if you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence. When someone else’s carelessness is the cause of your injury, then you may be able to bring a personal injury case against that liable party. This can either be an individual or an entity such as a government who is responsible for your injury. There are many different types of personal injury cases that our attorney handles on a daily basis. We have the experience and expertise to get you the best possible result. After you read about your case, please call our office to set up a free consultation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
At Garcia & Ochoa, we handle a wide variety of cases. We have experience in each of our practice areas and will treat your case like a priority. We handle personal injury cases such as:
- Car accidents
- Ridesharing accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Truck accidents
- Forklift accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Slip and falls
- Construction accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Oilfield accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
If you have a personal injury case that falls under one of these categories, please do not hesitate to contact our office to set up a free case evaluation where we will go over the details of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
You will have a designated amount of time after your accident to bring your personal injury claim. Texas statute of limitations are two years long. Typically this period of time begins on the date of your accident, but there are exceptions to this. If you were hurt in a medical malpractice case and you didn’t know there was a surgical object left in your body, it might take some time to discover the negligence. In similar instances, you will have two years from the date you discover or should have discovered the negligence. We do not suggest ever waiting to seek out an attorney. Once this deadline passes, you will no longer be able to bring your claim.
How Personal Injury Compensation Works
You will be compensated for a number of things when you seek a personal injury case. You will get compensation for your medical bills both past and future, lost wages past and future, and pain and suffering. Generally speaking, you will get more compensation when you have worse injuries. What also goes into how much compensation you get is how much of this accident is your fault. Texas follows the rules of shared fault which means that, if you are more than 50 percent at fault for your accident, then you will not be allowed to collect any compensation. If you are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident, your compensation award will be reduced. For example, if you are 20 percent at fault and have been awarded $100,000 for your injuries and damages, then you will be allowed to collect $80,000 of that award.
Important First Steps for a Successful Case
With any successful case, we suggest that you seek medical attention as soon as you can. It is imperative that you seek treatment if you even suspect that you are injured. What could be a minor pain today might turn into a severe problem down the road. Also, if you delay medical treatment, you run the risk of having the insurance company try to throw out or reduce your claim. They will say that you were not badly injured or that your injury came from something else.
Second, it is important to gather evidence from your accident. You should get photos of what caused your accident and your injuries. For instance, if you were injured in a slip and fall, you will want to take photos of the cause of your accident. That might be spilled liquid or uneven sidewalk. There also might be security footage that collected some of your accident. Your attorney will be able to fully investigate all possible evidence that can be utilized.
Avoid Talking to the Liable Party’s Insurance Company
The absolute worst mistake you can make is taking to the insurance company for the liable party and giving them a recorded statement. They will reach out to you very shortly after your injury and it will be to get you to say something that absolves them from giving you full and fair compensation. It is best to have your attorney deal with all communications with the insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Personal Injury Guide
What Do I Do After I’m Hurt?
There are several things that must be done after a personal injury to make sure you have a solid claim and your rights are protected. First, we need to make sure that the investigative agency was informed. For instance, were the police get informed? Was OSHA or any other necessary governmental entity, informed of the accident?
The second thing that’s important is to seek immediate medical attention. This not only means going to the local hospital but also going to see your personal doctor. Typically when you go to a hospital, they are just going to look at life and death situations and only take care of that. There are going to be many injuries that are going to be untreated, which is why you need to go seek additional medical help.
The last thing that’s important to do is hire an experienced lawyer who can guide you and look into everything that needs to be done. For example, does there need to be an investigation? Does an expert need to be hired to go examine the scene or the area where the accident happened?
How Do I Pick My Attorney?
There are four criteria that every person should ask when visiting a lawyer involving a personal injury. First, you’ll want to know if the firm or lawyer is a personal injury lawyer. That means all they handle is personal injury work. Here at Garcia & Ochoa, that’s all we do.
The next thing that you’re going to want to know is if they’ve had success as a personal injury trial lawyer. The lawyer should show that they’ve successfully handled injury cases, taken them to court, and won verdicts. Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer to show you their past results.
Lastly, if they are a trial lawyer, are they board-certified? Board-certified means that you’re one of the top 3% of the lawyers in this state in that area of law.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
The most typical and common mistakes that we see in personal injury cases are that people don’t report their accident. They don’t make a claim. They don’t call the police, which can be very damaging because then there’s no documentation or preservation of the evidence.
Another mistake that we see is that they don’t contact attorneys specializing in personal injury cases to seek legal advice at an adequate time. They don’t do it quick enough, which is also very damaging because then you won’t be able to properly deal with insurance companies. Another issue that we typically see is that people don’t seek medical attention right away, which the insurance company can use against you later on in the case.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
The other day, we had a client come in who had been seriously injured in an accident. They wanted to know if they should talk to insurance companies about their injury. We do not recommend that you do this. Insurance companies are not there to protect you. They are out to protect themselves.
Most of the times, if you make a statement, it will be recorded and used against you in the future, which will be very damaging to your claim. What we recommend you do is find an attorney who specializes in personal injury. You can then tell the insurance companies to contact your attorney directly.
Can I Recover for Emotional Damages?
The other day, we had a client come in who had been involved in a serious accident and suffered severe injuries. Those injuries led the client to suffer other injuries such as anxiety, fear, and depression. They wanted to know if they can recover compensation for emotional damages. The answer is always yes.
A lot of the times you hear the term “mental anguish.” That’s a term used to recover for these damages. Anytime you’ve been involved in an accident and you suffer PTSD, anxiety, fear, or loss of companionship, all those damages can be recovered if you seek the right attorney that will advocate and fight for you.
Do I Need to Have Minimum Medical Bills to File?
The other day we had a client call in who had been involved in a serious personal injury accident. They wanted to know if there is a certain amount of medical bills needed to have an adequate claim.
The answer depends, but we don’t recommend or want any individual making that judgment on their own. In fact, if you go to the hospital, sometimes people take that report as conclusive. If the hospital says they have no injuries, they take it as that and that is what it is. Most of the times, hospitals are just looking for life-threatening circumstances. They’re not looking to see, for example, if you have any herniated discs or other injuries that need to be closely examined.
What we recommend you do is seek further medical attention to take care of all your needs. We also recommend that you contact an attorney right away that specializes in personal injury cases so they can advocate for you.
Can We Settle Before Going to Court?
I had a young man that came in the other day who was involved in an accident. He wanted to know if it was possible that his case could settle before going to court. That is a very complicated question to answer because there are several factors that go into it.
The statistics will show that an overwhelming majority of the cases settle before they go to trial. However, it’s very important that you hire a lawyer that can make sure the case is ready for trial. You have to assume it gets ready for trial because if it doesn’t, the case is going to settle for less money.
Could the case settle ahead of time? Perhaps, but is it going to be for the right value of the case? That’s why it’s important that you properly prepare and assume it’s going to go to trial. Like I said earlier, the chances are it will settle prior to the time of trial.
How Much is My Case Worth?
I had a client come in last week who was involved in a personal injury claim. She wanted to know how much her case was worth. It’s important to note that when answering this question, there are several factors you must look at.
One of the first things you must figure out is the extent of the injuries that the person suffered. Another factor that you’re going to look at is how and why the accident happened. The third thing you’re going to look at is the amount of insurance involved for the person who you have a claim against.
Now, with respect to how and why it happened, the jury is going to look at had this accident happened before, how many times, and why it happened. Was there a policy in place that got violated by the defendant that you’re going to sue?
All of these are important factors. It’s important that you talk to a lawyer who has experience with this so they can help you determine what the potential value of the case is.
How Long Will My Case Take?
To resolve a personal injury claim in the state of Texas, it can vary anywhere from six months to three years. Personal injury encompasses a lot of things. Are we talking about a strained back? Are we talking about a broken knee? Are you going to need an operation? Once we’ve worked with your doctors and see the extent of injury that you’ve suffered, then we know how much treatment you have to go through and what is it going to take for you to get well.
We also have to look at the court docket and see how many cases are in front of yours before we get a trial date. Then we have to see how fair we are going to be treated by the insurance company and how hard they’re going to fight us.
What If I Have Pre-Existing Injuries?
I had a lady come in the other day who was involved in an auto accident who had pre-existing injuries. She wanted to know if these prior injuries were going to affect her case. This is a complicated question because there are several factors that you need to look at.
One of the factors is how long ago did the pre-existing injury occur? If it was a long time ago, the chances are it may not hurt it as much. If it was more recent in time, it could. The second thing is what that prior injury was. Was it to the same area of the body, or was it completely unrelated? The third thing that we’re going to look at is, immediately prior to the current accident, was the individual still experiencing problems or symptoms from that pre-existing injury?
Lastly, we’re going to look at is if those pre-existing injuries became worse? For example, the woman I spoke to had a prior back surgery and screws placed in her back, but it was over 15 years ago. She was totally fine. However, as a result of this accident, those screws became dislodged and she developed complications. In that situation, the pre-existing injury is not going to be a problem. In fact, it adds to her damages because she was totally fine up until this recent accident.
What is the Role of an Expert Witness?
The other day, we had a client come in who was concerned because he had heard the term “expert witness” being thrown around in preparation for his case. He was wondering, what is an expert witness? What is their duty and how do they help?
The answer is an expert witness is someone specialized in a certain field. Their primary function is to conduct their own independent investigation. They’ll look at the facts and other statistics to come up with their own independent opinion of what happened and how it occurred.
Contact Our Texas Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Texas personal injury attorneys are here to help guide you through this every step of the way. We will protect your rights, collect your evidence, and litigate against the insurance company if necessary. Call our office today to set up a free consultation and we will treat your case like the priority that it is.