Suffering an injury can put your whole life on hold. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to take time off work and dip into your savings to cover medical expenses. Unfortunately, many people can’t cover emergency expenses using savings, and medical expenses can become thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye.
It’s frustrating and difficult to deal with an unexpected injury, but it can be worse if your injury could have been prevented. If you were hurt because another person, party, or entity displayed negligent behavior, you are entitled to compensation for your financial, physical, mental, and emotional distress.
Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. have years of experience handling personal injury cases and stellar reviews from past clients. With a fearless Plano personal injury lawyer and an unmatched professional drive behind you, you can be sure we’re ready to fight for you.
Personal injury claims all revolve around two concepts: negligence and fault. The person, party, or entity found at fault, or liable, in a personal injury claim (or their insurance company) is the one responsible for compensating the victim.
The word negligence, in legal terms, refers to an individual’s failure to behave with the same level of caution and responsibility that someone of average prudence would have behaved within the given circumstance.
Negligence can be broken down into duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Negligence must be proven to have a personal injury case, and all four of these elements must be present to prove the existence of negligence.
Duty of care is the idea that each person must use prudence and reason in whatever situation they find themselves in to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. For example, a prudent individual would follow the rules of the road to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers.
The breach of duty of care occurs when average prudence is not used. Choosing not to follow the rules of the road by, say, running a red light, is a breach of duty of care, as it puts the driver and others on the road at risk.
Causation is the resulting harm caused by breaching the duty of care. Keeping with the above example, running a red light could result in hitting a pedestrian who had the right of way in the crosswalk.
Damages describe the aftermath of negligent behavior. The damages in the example we’ve been using could be anything from a cracked phone screen and a mild concussion, to a broken spine and severe traumatic brain injury, depending on the particulars of the situation.
Negligence can be broken down into three categories: gross negligence, comparative negligence, and vicarious liability.
Gross negligence is the most severe form of negligence. Reckless driving, especially when it results in injury, is a classic example of gross negligence.
Comparative negligence occurs when fault is shared by multiple individuals or entities in a claim. Percentage of fault is important when comparative negligence is involved because someone who is 20 percent at fault for an incident will suffer lighter consequences than someone who is 80 percent at fault.
Vicarious liability is more complex. Vicarious liability comes into play with companies and their employees, or parents and their children. For example, if a delivery person for a company is doing their job and is involved in a car crash, the company may be vicariously liable, instead of the individual.
Personal injuries can occur anywhere, at any time. The vast amount of circumstances that can lead to personal injury can make it especially difficult to determine the value of your claim by yourself, which is why it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
The most common personal injury claims filed in Plano, Texas, include:
It would be impossible to list every circumstance that could qualify as a personal injury claim, but the above list details the most frequent claims seen in Texas.
The common denominator is negligence. However, if you are unsure whether your case qualifies as a personal injury claim, be sure to contact your attorney so they can help you sort through the details.
The most common injuries reported in Texas personal injury claims are as follows:
Contacting a personal injury attorney and providing them with detailed information about your circumstances is the only way to be sure that you are properly valuing your claim. Without the help of an experienced professional, you could cheat yourself out of thousands of dollars in financial compensation.
The primary reason that people file personal injury claims is to receive compensation for damages they’ve suffered. Punishing the individual or entity whose negligence caused the injury is another motivation for some people who file personal injury cases.
The idea of going to court following a traumatic injury may feel daunting, but the financial recompense you could receive may be worth the trouble. With the right personal injury lawyer, the process can be much more painless.
Economic damages are any damages you’ve suffered that have a direct monetary amount tied to them. If it comes with a receipt, it would be economic damages. Medical bills, prescription costs, physical therapy sessions, ambulance fees, and lost wages are all common examples of economic damages.
Any of the expenses related to your accident, things you had to pay for that you otherwise wouldn’t have, should be included in the sum of your accident settlement.
Lost wages, while not an expense per se, is something that can be calculated by a professional. Your average hours, salary or wage, and the amount of time you’ve been forced to take off work due to your injury are all factored in to produce a number of lost wages you are owed by the person or party who caused your injury.
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to calculate because they never come with a receipt. Non-economic damages are often more amorphous concepts. These concepts are still valid and worthy of recognition and remuneration, but the numbers aren’t readily available in the same way economic damages are.
Pain and suffering are non-economic damages. In Texas, pain and suffering include physical, mental, and emotional pain. It is highly dependent on the specifics of each individual case and is calculated in different ways depending on the circumstances. In some instances, it is used as a multiplier on the sum of your economic compensation.
Another non-economic concept that is compensated is the loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is the idea that your personal injury may have a deep, lasting impact on your interpersonal relationships (especially your marriage).
Punitive damages are instituted in cases where the negligent party was especially reckless. Drunk and distracted drivers have been awarded punitive damages in precedent.
If you think you may want to pursue punitive damages, you should have a conversation with your attorney to determine the best way to go about it.
Consulting an attorney is always a wise move when you find yourself in any sort of legal predicament. Personal injury attorneys have the education, experience, and resources to make the process of filing your claim and any subsequent court appearances much more painless.
Attorneys can use their resources to help investigate your claim and gather evidence to support your telling of events. This strengthens your case, allowing the whole thing to move along faster, and possibly increasing the value of your eventual settlement.
Lawyers can also help take the weight off your shoulders by handling all communications with your insurance companies. Insurance companies have a much more difficult time trying to hoodwink an experienced attorney into accepting a lowball settlement.
With years of experience and legal knowledge, an attorney can help make all of the stressful paperwork and lengthy back-and-forth communications go much quicker.
Without decades of education and experience and the vast resources that a personal injury attorney has, it can be nearly impossible to properly evaluate your claim. You likely won’t have enough information to consider all of the factors that may impact your claim and may end up seriously undervaluing the compensation you deserve.
Don’t lose out on the financial compensation you are owed. Be sure to contact a personal injury attorney you trust to help you.
If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury in Plano due to another person or entity’s negligence, you don’t have to fight for justice on your own. There are resources available to you.
The lawyers at Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. understand how frightening it can be to suddenly find yourself in a physically and financially vulnerable state due to the irresponsible behavior of another person. Our Plano personal injury attorneys are fearless, aggressive, and ready to have your back.
If you are ready to explore your legal options, Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. is here for you. Contact us by calling 214-984-3113 or by filling out our convenient online form.
When you’re hurt because someone else was careless, you may have questions about your next steps forward. Getting personalized answers is important, so talk to a lawyer about your options as you check out some of the common questions we’re asked.
Personal injury attorneys only get paid if you win your case. Instead of being paid by the hour, personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. This means that, if you win, a portion of your winnings goes to the attorney to pay for their services. If your attorney fails to win your case, they don’t get paid.
It is vital to determine who is at fault, or liable, for your injuries. In some cases, the individual who caused your injuries is not the liable party. For example, if a 12-year-old child takes their parents’ car for a joyride and hurts you, the child’s parents will be responsible for the child’s actions.
You are able to file a personal injury claim up to two years after the incident occurs. It is advisable to file sooner rather than later, but if you have any questions, you can consult your attorney.
It is unwise to talk to your insurance company before you speak to an attorney. The best course of action is to hire a legal counselor to handle the insurance company entirely so that you can avoid getting taken advantage of or accidentally giving away information that could hurt your claim.
It’s wise to gather the names and contact information of any people who were present at the time of your injury, but do not discuss the incident with them. Any statements you make could come back to bite you, even if you didn’t mean any harm by them. Your attorney will investigate your claim and speak to witnesses so that you don’t have to.
You can certainly lean on your support system for comfort and advice, but discussing your personal injury claim with them can cause trouble. Any admission of fault, even made casually or unintentionally, can cause issues further down the line.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Although the hard-earned money you give them each month for your protection is the way they stay in business, they don’t care about giving you a fair settlement. Profit will always come before your suffering. Letting an attorney calculate the value of your settlement is the only way to ensure your settlement is fair.
Fortunately, most personal injury claims are able to be settled out of court. Every individual circumstance is different, but only some cases go to trial. Your lawyer will determine the best action for your claim and help you take the next steps forward.
For example, the insurance company may be unwilling to settle with you following a serious injury. In these cases, going to court may be required.
Children don’t have the same agency that adults do, but they are not safe from the irresponsible behavior of others. If your child was injured in an accident, you and your attorney can work together to file a claim on your child’s behalf.