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Every year in College Station and throughout Texas, thousands of innocent victims are injured because of the actions of another party. If you have been the victim of a personal injury accident, then you know just how stressful these situations can be. Aside from having to deal with countless doctor visits and potentially painful surgeries and rehab, accident victims may have to worry about their ability to pay for everything, a problem that can be compounded by an inability to work. If you have sustained a personal injury in College Station, the best move you may ever make is to call a College Station personal injury lawyer.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INJURY?
Personal injury is a term that you likely have heard thrown around by lawyers on TV, but may have never gotten a thorough and exact definition for. Generally, a personal injury is an injury to the body, mind, or emotions of a human person. Personal injury is used commonly when discussing car accidents, but it encompasses any sort of injury that fits into this broad definition. Personal injury lawsuits generally come into play when you have sustained an injury that another party may be liable for.
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A critical component of any personal injury claim is establishing liability. If you suffered injuries in an accident that no one was responsible for and could not have been foreseen, then you may be on the hook to pay for the losses that you sustain. However, if another party can be held liable, then they may legally responsible to compensate you for things like medical bills and lost wages from being unable to work.
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Though automobile accidents certainly do not encompass the entirety of the field of personal injury law, they provide a good example of how the concept of negligence operates. According to the American Bar Association, a negligence claim exists in a “fault” state, like Texas, if you are injured by a driver on the road who failed to exercise reasonable care. Any time drivers are on the road, they are expected and obligated to behave as a reasonable driver. When they breach this duty, the field of personal injury law says that they may be liable for your injuries. This same law applies beyond car accidents—anytime someone has a responsibility to act in a certain way and their failure to act in this way results in an injury to you, you may have a compensable claim.
Negligence Per Se
Rather than a different category entirely, negligence per se is a method of establishing negligence. Negligence per se is applicable when the person who you wish to hold liable based on negligence violated a statute or other law. In this situation, they are said to be negligent “as a matter of law.” For example, in a car accident case, negligence per se could be applicable if the other driver was greatly exceeding the speed limit—establishing that they were not driving as a reasonable driver becomes easier when they violate the explicit standards that are set out for reasonable drivers.
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Negligence is not the only theory by which someone may be held responsible for your injuries. Strict liability is another important area of personal injury law that tends to come into play more often in product liability lawsuits. In these cases, the injured person does not need to establish the negligence of the manufacturer. Rather, they simply need to show that the product was defective or dangerous when used as intended.
Intentional acts may form the basis of a personal injury claim, but they are rarer. If someone hits you, even if their intention is to play a practical joke rather than to hurt you, they may be liable if their actions result in an injury. Intentional act claims are sometimes associated with criminal charges. For example, if the person who hit you is criminally charged with assault and battery, you may have an entirely separate civil claim to compensate you for your losses.
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WHAT TO DO AFTER SUSTAINING AN INJURY
Recovering from an injury can be very stressful, and even frightening. Because of this, having a few simple steps to follow can be very helpful. Though it is impossible to give advice for every situation given the complexity of the field of personal injury law, the following are generally going to be helpful for you and your case.
1. Report the Accident
As soon as possible, report the accident to the proper authorities. Exactly who this is will depend on what type of accident you were involved in. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, then you should call the police and have them file a report. If you were involved in a workplace accident, follow whatever protocol your company has, whether that be reporting to your immediate supervisor or human resources. Reporting your accident is important for a couple of reasons. For one, it may be required by Texas law or company policy, and failing to abide by these regulations can impact your ability to collect later on. Reporting also gives you an opportunity to give a full and clear account of the details that led to your accident soon after they occurred.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Seeking attention from a qualified medical professional as soon as possible after your accident is extremely important. As with reporting the accident, the reasons behind this are twofold. For one, certain injuries may not present symptoms until days, or even weeks, after you sustain them. Going to a doctor quickly can help catch these sorts of injuries and prevent them from getting any worse. Your claim will likely depend upon being able to associate your injuries with the accident in question. The sooner you seek medical attention for your injuries, the stronger this link becomes.
3. Document the Accident
After reporting the accident and dealing with your injuries, it is important to keep up with documenting your accident. Make sure to retain any and all paperwork that you receive as a result of dealing with your injuries. For example, make sure that you keep any receipts for personal property that you had to repair or replace and begin to gather medical records as well. It may also be important to gather pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as contact information for any potential witnesses.
4. Contact a College Station Personal Injury Attorney
Perhaps the most important thing to remember after your accident is that you don’t need to go through it alone. A College Station lawyer specializing in personal injury law might be able to take the legal side of matters off of your plate, allowing you to focus solely on the health of you and your family. They may also be able to use their experience and training to increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.
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PERSONAL INJURY DAMAGES
One of the more pressing questions that personal injury victims have after their accident is often, “How much is my accident worth?” You likely have a lot of expenses to deal with and may have been rendered unavailable to perform the duties of your job to pay them. While it is not possible to give an exact estimate without digging into the details of your case, damages will usually come from two main sources.
Economic damages are the measurable, objectively verifiable losses that you sustain as a result of your accident. Some common damages in this category include medical bills, damage to personal property, and lost earnings from being unable to work due to injury.
Non-economic damages are not objectively measurable, meaning they can’t be calculated by adding up bills and receipts like economic damages can. Instead, non-economic damages compensate accident victims for the pain and suffering that they experience as a result of their injuries. Though they aren’t tied to receipts or bills, this number will generally be higher the worse your injuries are.
STATUTORY TIME LIMITS
Every personal injury claim has an associated statute of limitations, or time limit, to file a claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations for general personal injury claims is two years, which means you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. Any claim that is brought outside of this window is likely to be dismissed.
Certain exceptions to the general rule of timeliness exist in the state of Texas. For example, if the person who causes your injuries leaves the state of Texas for a period within which you could have filed a claim, this time may not count towards the statute of limitations. If the accident victim is a minor, the statute may not begin to run until they reach the age of majority. However, speaking to an attorney as soon as possible is usually the best way to avoid running into any sort of problem.
CONTACT THE COLLEGE STATION PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS TODAY
Before you try to handle things on your own, we strongly recommend that you contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group. Insurance companies and opposing attorneys often try to take advantage of unrepresented parties, and the best way to prevent this from happening to you is to retain your own counsel. Zinda Law Group believes accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case.
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