Texas Personal Injury Law
Fact: No matter what state you are in, you can file a lawsuit for personal injury.
But even though a person in Montana files for the same charge “technically” as someone in Texas, the rules that govern how, when and where the personal injury cases are handled relies on specific state law. In Texas, there are personal injury law restrictions regarding the statute of limitations, shared fault, injury damage caps, and claims against any branch of the Texas government.
Time Limits: File Quickly!
A statute of limitations sets a time limit on when a victim of personal injury can file a lawsuit for consideration. The Texas government gives personal injury victims two years from the day of the accident to file lawsuit. In other areas of the country it ranges from two to six years.
Shared Fault: Who’s to Blame?
During the consideration of the personal injury accident, some states consider how much the victim may be at fault for the injury. When the person filing the lawsuit is partially to blame, it is considered “comparative negligence.” In Texas, we follow a “modified comparative negligence rule,” which means that if the plaintiff (victim) is found to be 50% or more at fault for the injuries they received, they are not eligible for compensation from the defendant. In the case that they are less than 50% at fault, the court considers their percentage and subtracts that amount from the total amount of damages incurred. For example, if the plaintiff was suing Wal-Mart for not properly marking their wet floors and claimed a “slip-and-fall” injury, they may be considered 25% responsible if the plaintiff was running through the store, not paying attention to their surroundings in the first place. If the damages were measured to be $20,000, then the plaintiff would only receive 75% of it from Wal-mart, or $15,000.
Cap on Injury Damages Compensation
States have the authority to control the amount received by a plaintiff when claiming specific injuries. Depending on the type, whether it is a car accident or medical malpractice, the caps are different. In Texas, the only practice cap is placed on medical malpractice lawsuits. Claimed damages that are non-economic are limited to $250,000 per defendant, or person/company who inflicted harm. If there is more than one defendant, the limit is $500,000 total. This means if three or more defendants are involved - insurance, doctor, hospital - the rate per defendant will not be capped at $250,000 but instead will have a combined total equal or less than $500,000. Wrongful death specifically from medical malpractice has it’s own cap and set of regulations. In 1977, an “inflation cap” was set at $500,000 to those affected by a wrongful death case. In 2015, that amounts to around $1.9 million.
Claims Against the Texas Government
In the situation that a personal injury happens because of a Texas government entity, whether it happened in a government building or was inflicted by a government official, the defending party must be notified within six months of the injury. This is due to the fact that many times it is not the government’s fault but it is the fault of an individual or third party.
If you plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, be sure to contact Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. They will help you decipher which limitations apply to your case, if any, and get you the settlement you deserve.