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What Is A Personal Injury Case?
Being injured in an accident can be devastating and serious. When you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, the situation may seem unfair and hopeless. However, if your injury was someone else’s fault, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for what has happened to you.
One of the biggest predictors of success or failure in a personal injury claim is engaging a personal injury lawyer with experience and drive. The legal system can make it extremely complicated to pursue a personal injury claim, and you do not want your claim to be thrown out on a technicality before your argument is even considered. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the lawyers at Zinda Law Group today for a free case consultation.
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Common Causes And Examples
Any time someone is injured by the actions of another, there is the possibility of a personal injury claim. Some types of accidents can occur with or without liability, such as a car accident resulting from a patch of ice on the road, where the defendant will argue that spinning on the ice was inevitable, and the plaintiff will argue that the driver could have prevented the accident, perhaps by driving more slowly or paying more attention to the road. There are also per se negligence cases, in which the court has decided that a behavior automatically makes one party responsible for an accident, such as drunk driving.
Some of the most common causes of personal injury cases include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and Falls
- Gas Explosions
- Drunk Driving accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Workplace accidents
- Dog Bites
- Rideshare accidents
What To Do After A Personal Injury Accident?
1. Seek medical attention
The most important thing to do after being injured in an accident is to seek medical attention. This is most important for personal safety reasons; some injuries such as concussions can be difficult to detect by someone who is not a medical professional, but if left untreated a concussion can be life threatening.
It is also important to visit a doctor as soon as possible after your accident because this increases the viability of your personal injury claim. In a personal injury claim, you must prove that your injury was caused by the accident that is the subject of your injury claim. The opposing party’s counsel will not want the opposing party to have responsibility for your accident, and may try to claim that your injury is not due to the accident in question, but something else.
Having a short timeline between your accident and your diagnosis of any injury makes the link between the two more clear. If you waited a month to go to the doctor after an accident, it would be easy for the attorney of the opposing party to argue that something else could have happened to you in the month between your accident and your diagnosis to cause your injury.
2. Document the accident
After being involved in an accident, you should try to document the scene as thoroughly as possible. In the case of a car accident, this may mean taking pictures of the surrounding area, the damage to both cars, and any injuries already visible. With a slip and fall accident, documentation may include pictures of the conditions of the floor or where any caution signs were or were not placed. In all cases, you should get the contact information of the other party involved in the accident and of anyone around who witnessed the accident.
In a situation in which you cannot document the scene yourself—for example, if you are severely injured and must receive immediate medical attention—you should try to arrange for a family member or emergency contact to come to the scene to do so. Getting evidence of the circumstances of an accident is extremely important in order to demonstrate that your accident was the fault of the other party.
3. Be careful with your words and actions
After an accident occurs, especially when a large corporation is involved (including an insurance company), you may be pressured to admit fault in your accident. You should not do this, even in passing, because it would destroy your personal injury claim to admit fault. You should also be careful what you express on social media—it is better not to discuss anything about your accident, as anything you say could be used by the opposing side to downplay your injury claim later, and even if your account is private it could still be subpoenaed (such as in this case).
You may also be asked to sign something such as a settlement agreement very soon after your accident. You should not sign anything without first consulting with a lawyer, and it is not a good idea to immediately sign a settlement agreement regardless because you may not yet know the full extent of your injuries or the consequences of the accident, and you deserve to be compensated for all the harm you have suffered and not just a partial amount.
4. Contact a personal injury lawyer
It can be intimidating to deal with a large company with vast legal resources, and this is by design. Companies such as insurance companies, even your own, are not your friends; they would not make a profit if they paid every claim they received. Having your own legal representation to help you with these interactions will help safeguard your claim. Your lawyer will look out for your best interests in your personal injury case.
It is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. This is firstly because of the statute of limitations on your personal injury claim. It may appear as though you have a long time to file your claim, but time can pass very quickly by as you deal with the fallout of a personal injury lawsuit, which may eventually lead to having to visit a lawyer and file a claim very quickly, or miss the statue of limitations entirely and be unable to file your claim.
Furthermore, the sooner you speak to a lawyer after your accident, the sooner your lawyer will be able to get to work investigating the case to present the facts to the court in the way that can get you the best possible settlement.
When a lawyer can begin working on a case quickly after the accident occurred, the memories of eyewitnesses will be more reliable, the same individuals are likely to be available for testimony, and similar circumstances are likely to be in force at the scene of the accident. For example, if a lawyer only begins investigating a slip and fall case at a grocery store a year and a half after the fact in preparation to file a claim, eyewitnesses could have moved away, the records of what store manager was on duty that day could have been lost, or the store could have been remodeled, making the scene of the accident unrecognizable. All of this information could be the difference between a strong and a weak personal injury claim, so you want your lawyer to be working with the best information possible.
Back and Leg Injuries
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
How Does A Personal Injury Case Work?
A personal injury case occurs when one person is injured by another person’s negligence. Negligence is when an individual fails to act with a reasonable amount of care for the people around them in order to prevent foreseeable harm coming to them.
What constitutes reasonable care varies depending on the activity: for example, when driving, reasonable care includes obeying speed limits and traffic signals, and not texting while driving. In a dog bite case, reasonable care may include obeying leash laws or muzzling an aggressive dog. Generally, a behavior that breaks the law is considered unreasonable, but a behavior does not have to break the law to be unreasonable.
What Are The Elements?
The elements of a personal injury case are as follows:
1. The person accused of causing the accident must owe a duty of care to the victim. There are some situations in which the relationship between two people means that they owe specific duties to each other—for example, lawyers have a duty to their clients to act for their clients’ best interests. However, in most personal injury situation, the duty of care is the one that everyone owes to everyone else at all times: the duty of reasonable care.
2. The accused person breached their duty of care. The victim will have to show that the person accused of causing the accident was acting unreasonably.
3. The victim was injured.
4. The victim’s injury was caused by the breach of the duty of care. This can be the most difficult element to prove in some cases, because the question is not whether the accused person was acting unreasonably, but whether the unreasonable action was what led to the injury. This is not always the case.
For example, texting while driving is a breach of the duty of care; a reasonable person would not text and drive. If someone is texting while driving and their texting distracts them, causing them to hit a pedestrian, they are likely to be found liable for the pedestrian’s injury. However, if someone is texting while driving, but then the brakes of their car malfunction and cause the car to hit a pedestrian, it may not be possible to prove that the unreasonable action of texting while driving was the cause of the pedestrian’s injury.
Who Can Be Sued?
Both individuals and corporations can be sued in a personal injury claim. Individuals can be sued for their own actions. When an individual is working on behalf of a corporation, and they cause an accident while doing something within the scope of their duties of employment, generally the corporation will be liable for the accident and not the individual employee.
Most individuals and companies carry some form of insurance. Some insurance is mandatory—in most states, it is illegal to drive without at least some car insurance. Personal injury claims may end up litigating against an insurance company instead of the party that caused the accident.
In addition, products liability involves suing a corporation when a product has somehow malfunctioned and caused injury. The three categories of product liability are failure to warn, manufacturing defect, and design defect. Like any personal injury case, products liability involves a duty, a breach, and injury resulting from the breach; in this case, the manufacturer failed to act with reasonable care in labeling, manufacturing, or designing their product.
Failure to warn occurs when a product was not labeled correctly, leading a person to misunderstand the danger associated with the product or the possible consequences of using the product. A manufacturing defect occurs when an individual item malfunctions because of a fault in the manufacturing process, such as one stove catching fire because it was wired incorrectly at the factory. A design defect occurs when an item malfunctions because it was put together according to the design, but it was designed to be less safe than it could have been, such as a model of stove being designed in such a way that the wires are flammable.
Sometimes an accident victim may have a personal injury case against an individual that could result in a judgement against them. However, if that individual does not have any money, it is unlikely the victim will be able to recover anything, despite the court’s judgement. This person is “judgement-proof.” Your personal injury lawyer will analyze your case to determine which parties were responsible for your accident and how you could best be compensated for your injury, which might involve suing multiple parties, or a different party than expected—for example, suing the bar that provided a drunk driver with alcohol if the drunk driver is judgement-proof.
What Damages can be recovered?
In personal injury cases, damages can be economic, non-economic, or punitive. The general idea behind the first two categories of damages is to put the accident victim into the position he or she would have been had the accident not occurred.
Economic damages can directly compensate costs incurred by the accident victim. Anything that involved paying money or being unable to make money is an economic damage. Some examples of economic damages are medical bills, replacement or repairs to property, or lost wages.
Non-economic damages are harms that an accident victim suffers that do not involve a set monetary cost, but should still be acknowledged and compensated for. For example, emotional damage and pain and suffering are harms suffered by victims of accidents, but there is no set cost associated with them. Nevertheless, the court uses monetary damages as a way to compensate for these harms as well.
It is more difficult to obtain non-economic damages than it is to obtain economic damages because non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are more difficult to demonstrate and more difficult to quantify than economic damages. It is much easier for the court to determine that a $3000 medical bill must require $3000 worth of damages than it is to determine the correct dollar amount for someone’s emotional well being. This does not mean it is impossible to receive non-economic damages, however.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate an accident victim for the harm they have suffered; they are meant to punish the party that caused the accident. Punitive damages are only used in the most extreme cases, and generally against large corporations. Punitive damages are only awarded rarely because they are only for the most serious cases.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO
What is the statute of limitations?
The statue of limitations is the amount of time an accident victim has to file his claim. The legal system does not want people to wait years to file their claims, for the same reason it is not a good idea to wait a long time before seeing a lawyer—eyewitnesses, records, and surroundings change and become less reliable over time.
The statue of limitations varies depending on the state you are in and the type of accident that occurred. In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is two years after the day of the accident. If the claim is for someone’s death, the statute of limitations is two years after the day of the decedent’s passing.
Why Hire ZLG?
Being injured in an accident can have serious consequences. With medical bills, recovery, or even loss of a loved one on your mind, you might think that it is too complicated to pursue compensation with a personal injury attorney. Or you might doubt that a personal injury attorney is worth the expense.
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are hardworking and experienced, having achieved compensation for numerous personal injury clients in Texas. Our attorneys can fight for your right to compensation so you can stay focused on rebuilding your life after your accident.
In addition, Zinda Law Group uses a contingency fee system, meaning that you will only pay anything if you win your case. The legal system is never certain, and there can be no guarantees that anyone will prevail, but with ZLG, you are not spending money on a case only to see it come to nothing if you don’t win.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact Zinda Law Group today for a free case consultation.