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What is Personal Injury in Dallas, Texas?

Personal Injury

What is Personal Injury in Dallas, Texas?

Personal injury in Dallas refers to physical, emotional, financial, or reputational damages suffered by a person or claimant as a result of accidents or another’s or defendant’s wrongful actions. As opposed to an injury to property, personal injury deals with the negative consequences an accident or intentional harm has on the victim’s life directly.

Moreover, unlike common injuries or accidents, personal injury in law often stems from negligence of duties owed to the victim, deliberate harm, or indirect damage through inherently dangerous activities or defective products. Generally, personal injury in Dallas often involves actual bodily harm, emotional distress, and suffering in regards to losses that occurred due to the event. In compliance with state laws, victims can seek compensation for these damages out of court or file a lawsuit in court if there is no settlement or terms are unsatisfactory.

What is a Personal Injury Claim in Dallas?

A personal injury claim in Dallas is a legal action taken by an injured party to get financial compensation from the person or entity that caused the injuries. It is essentially an injured party holding an individual, company, or government entity liable for the action resulting in damages and demanding fair compensation for the physical injury, financial loss, or emotional distress suffered due to the wrongful conduct or negligence.

Personal injury claims are mostly resolved through out-of-court settlements done after negotiations between both parties, which is usually between their insurers and attorneys. If unresolved, the victim (plaintiff) can file a lawsuit against the entity before the statute of limitation expires, which is usually two years.

Personal injury cases in Dallas are civil cases governed by the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, and there are three major types of torts or wrongful acts that may lead to personal injury;

  • Intentional tort: Occurs when the perpetrator knowingly commits an act that causes harm, for instance, battery, defamation, trespassing, and assault. Note that this may also result in criminal charges.
  • Negligence tort: Happens when a careless action (or inaction) causes non-deliberate harm, especially if the defendant had some degree of duty towards the victim. Examples include medical malpractice and accidents resulting from drunk driving.
  • Strict liability tort: When the injury was not directly caused by the defendant, but the entity is automatically responsible. For instance, injury resulting from defective products, animal attacks, and abnormally dangerous activities carried out by the defendant.

Additionally, to claim damages under each category of tort, the plaintiff will also have to provide evidence using each essential element of the claim as per the law. For instance, negligence claims require the proof:

  • That the defendant owed the victim/plaintiff a legal duty of reasonable care
  • Of the defendant’s negligence of that duty
  • That the negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Of damages suffered as a result.

Personal injury cases in Dallas are usually defendant-friendly, i.e., more favorable for the entity accused of causing harm. Therefore, the plaintiff should ensure that all elements are present in the case with valid proof.

According to the Judicial Statistics Report for civil cases in District and Statutory Courts, Dallas had 904 new injury cases and 12,318 injury cases on the docket in 2020. Out of the total cases, 10,363 (84.13%) were from motor vehicle accidents, and 1,682 (13.65%) were from other injuries or damages from animal attacks, slip-and-fall cases, slander/defamation, and other intentional injuries. The remaining cases consisted of 236 medical malpractice cases, 31 other professional malpractices, one asbestos/silica product liability case, and five other product liability cases. Furthermore, the statistics revealed that there were more dismissed cases than agreed judgments across all case categories.  

Note: In some cases, the statute of limitation may depend on the circumstances surrounding the case and the point at which somebody noticed (or should have known) that an injury occurred.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Dallas?

Personal injury lawyers in Dallas represent plaintiffs and have expertise in providing legal guidance and representation in different cases. For instance, some lawyers deal with medical malpractice and car accident cases, and some deal mostly with defective products. Persons looking for a personal injury lawyer or attorney in Dallas to handle a case should do the following to ensure that the lawyer is the best fit for the case:

  • Ensure that any research done or questions asked is not just on a firm but on the specific lawyer to be assigned to the case
  • Look for a lawyer from the jurisdiction who understands how the court system in the area treats personal injury cases and has a good judicial relationship with courts, judges, and experts in the area. This may help in overcoming challenges and taking advantage of any home-advantage
  • Ensure that the lawyer has case-specific experience and knowledge. It will be best if the lawyer has helped clients negotiate and get satisfactory settlements out-of-court and won damages in similar court cases.
  • Go through reviews to make sure the lawyer has a good overall relationship with clients, especially in terms of communication. Having consultations or interviews can also help in determining if the lawyer can provide meaningful, directed, and strategic advice.
  • Determine what other resources the lawyer has that will be beneficial to the case, including dedicated time, since too much workload will not have optimum effects.
  • Conduct research to check on past disciplinary actions
  • Discuss fees. Although many personal injury lawyers get paid in contingency fees – a percentage of damages gotten – some may also demand large upfront payments. Be sure to make sure that the rates are reasonable and fees are affordable.

What does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do in Dallas?

A personal injury lawyer in Dallas helps clients negotiate settlements and deals with legal disputes that may arise when seeking compensation for physical, financial, or emotional distress suffered. The work of a personal injury lawyer may include:

  • Use experience and resources to determine who is responsible for the suffering
  • Consider the details of the case, advise clients on options, and figure out strategies to resolve it favorably for the client.
  • Levels the playing field as the other party usually has a lawyer
  • Help prepare and file documents and help clients interpret documents given by the other party’s insurance and lawyers
  • Guide clients through negotiation, mediation, trial
  • Use negotiation skills and experience to get the best possible compensation
  • Use knowledge of the legal system and customs to provide an objective perspective on client's decisions
  • Help gather proofs of claims using additional resources like expert opinions for professional malpractice cases and private investigators, which may also increase potential compensation
  • Finding inconsistencies in the other party’s defense and evidence
  • Keep track of court procedures and make sure each step is done properly and speedily.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Not all personal injury cases require a personal injury lawyer. Cases with minimal injury and a reasonable settlement offer from the other party can be settled by both parties, saving the injured from legal fees.  However, if there is a dispute or the injury caused considerable physical, emotional, and financial damages, a personal injury lawyer is required to represent the injured party. Different types of personal injury include:

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Wrongful Death
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents.

How Much to Ask For in a Personal Injury Settlement in Dallas?

As each personal injury case is unique, compensation for a personal injury in Dallas depends on several factors, including the extent of injuries, economic damages like medical bills or lost wages, and non-economic damages in terms of pain and suffering. Texas law also limits settlement prices in some cases, such as:

  • Medical malpractice as per the Texas Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act: Non-economic damages not exceeding $250,000 in total if the case is against a doctor, multiple doctors, or other healthcare providers. Non-economic damages not exceeding $250,000 from one healthcare facility and $500,000 per claimant in a case against multiple healthcare facilities. Total for all claims should not exceed $500,000 for medical malpractice resulting in wrongful death.
  • State or local government: Damages up to $250,000 per claimant involved and a maximum of $500,000 among every claimant in a single event
  • Punitive damages for intentional tort: (Awarded in rare cases). Two times the economic damages plus a sum equivalent to the non-economic damages, up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is larger. For example, a case with $1 million in economic damages and $150,000 in non-economic damages can have up to $2.4 million in punitive damages.

Skilled personal injury lawyers use knowledge of these and other laws to calculate or estimate what the economic and non-economic damage settlement should be for a case.

How Long does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

The average personal injury case is settled within one year. This may take longer or a few months depending on the case, especially the extent of damages suffered. Additionally, some personal injury cases may be related to a criminal case, and both cases cannot run simultaneously. Hence, if a civil case is ongoing, it may be suspended for the criminal case to be decided and can only resume after the criminal court disposition.

Lastly, note that it may take more time to collect the settlement. A personal injury may also provide advice on what to do if medical bills are piling up while a personal injury case is ongoing.