If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may want to file a personal injury claim for compensation. However, it is important to understand the different Texas statutes that may affect your claim. Statutes affect cases differently, including the compensation you may receive for injuries and other damages.
Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers has over 25 years of experience helping victims navigate the implications of Texas personal injury statutes. With experienced counsel, you can navigate any challenges these statutes impose to maximize your compensation. Schedule a free consultation today if you or a loved one has been injured.
What Is a Statute?
A statute is a written law passed by a federal, state, or local government. They are crucial components of our legal system. If you or a loved one are injured by another person’s conduct, statutes give you the right to seek compensation for your losses and damages.
They also detail the different rules under which you may do so. In Texas, several statutes affect the outcome of personal injury cases and compensation. Statutes that may impact your personal injury claim include:
1. The Statute of Limitations
A key statute is known as the “statute of limitations.” This statute sets timeframes for filing lawsuits, which are important for personal injury cases. Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years from your injury date. This applies to different personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, and product liability cases in Texas.
If an injured party fails to file a lawsuit within two years, they are usually barred from seeking compensation for damages in court – forever. However, special circumstances can affect the statute of limitations in some instances. For example, if the injured person is a minor, the two-year timeframe may not start until they reach 18. The statute of limitations may also be extended for mentally incapacitated individuals until their incapacity ends. Contacting a Laredo personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is important to preserve your claim.
2. Statutes Defining Liability and Negligence
Statutes play an important role in outlining what constitutes negligence. They also help establish the criteria for liability in various situations. Both concepts are important because proving negligence and liability is a prerequisite for securing compensation.
For example, in medical malpractice cases, Texas statutes define medical liability. The definition is pivotal in determining whether a healthcare provider can be held liable for patient injuries in different cases. In car accident cases, statutes define negligence as violating traffic laws or failing to exercise reasonable care while driving. This could encompass behaviors such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or not obeying traffic signals.
Establishing liability in these cases often hinges on demonstrating that someone else’s negligence directly led to the accident and your injuries. These statutes are used in court to assess fault and responsibility. A Laredo personal injury lawyer can review your case and help you collect evidence to establish negligence and liability.
3. Comparative Negligence Statutes
In Texas, “modified comparative negligence” plays a major role in personal injury cases. This concept is codified in a Texas statute. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, the compensation you can receive in a personal injury case is adjusted based on your degree of fault in causing your injury.
For example, if you are found to be 40 percent responsible for an accident and the total damages amount to $100,000, you would be eligible to receive $60,000, or 60 percent of the total damages. This is meant to distribute damages in a personal injury case more equitably.
However, you should note an important aspect of modified comparative negligence in Texas. Texas’s rule includes a critical threshold known as the “51 percent rule.” Under this rule, if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault for your injuries, you are barred from recovering any compensation.
This aspect of Texas law shows the importance of thoroughly investigating an accident. Since a determination of fault directly impacts your potential for recovery, you should consult a personal injury lawyer if you may be responsible for your accident. A lawyer can help you refute allegations that your negligence contributed to your injuries.
4. Damage Cap Statutes
Texas statutes can set caps on damages in some instances. For example, in medical malpractice cases, statutes set caps on the amount of non-economic damages you can recover in a lawsuit. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses that do not have a direct monetary value. These damages can be large, so it is important to understand how caps may reduce your total compensation.
In Texas, the law caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000 per person, with a maximum of $500,000 for all healthcare institutions involved. This means that even if a jury awards a larger sum for non-economic damages, the amount you can collect is limited by these statutory caps. Consult with a Laredo medical malpractice lawyer to learn if a damage cap may apply in your case.
5. Sovereign Immunity Statues
Sovereign immunity statutes are crucial in personal injury cases involving government entities. Simply stated, sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine rooted in the idea that governments cannot be sued without their consent. In practice, it means that state and local governments, as well as certain government officials and employees, are immune from lawsuits, including personal injury claims.
However, Texas has enacted specific statutes that waive sovereign immunity in certain situations through the Texas Tort Claims Act. This Act allows for limited waivers of sovereign immunity in cases where injuries are caused by the negligence of government employees or by conditions or use of tangible property, like government-owned vehicles, equipment, or premises.
There are caps on the damages that can be recovered from a government entity. A Laredo personal injury lawyer can help you navigate personal injury claims involving governments or their officials.
Contact a Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Claim
Navigating the complexities of personal injury law in Laredo can be daunting, especially when dealing with intricate statutes. Whether it is understanding the implications of the statute of limitations, the intricacies of comparative negligence, or the challenges posed by sovereign immunity, the guidance of an experienced Laredo personal injury lawyer is invaluable.