If you have been hurt in an accident, you may wonder whether or not it is worth your time to pursue a settlement by submitting a personal injury claim. What are the conditions under which a personal injury claim is valid? What evidence do you need to support your claim? A personal injuries lawyer in Houston, TX can give you informed answers based on experience.
How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
Every personal injury claim has its own unique set of surrounding circumstances. Personal injury law is highly specific, so the best way to determine whether or not you have grounds for a case is by speaking with a lawyer who can review the details of your accident. Both the type of claim you need to submit and the events that led to the incident determine whether or not you are eligible for a payout.
Get a Case Assessment
When you meet with a lawyer for the first time, he or she will tell you how likely you are to receive compensation for your injury. Using the information he or she provides, you will be able to make an informed decision regarding whether or not you would like to go forward with the case.
A qualified lawyer will not agree to take on a case that has zero chance of success, so you don’t need to worry about wasting your time on a claim that has no viability. When considering a claim, lawyers take into account:
- Whether or not the deadline to submit the claim has expired
- If you have already closed the case by accepting a settlement offer
- If there is enough evidence to determine fault
- How the client can demonstrate his or her losses
- If the circumstances of the accident warrant a personal injury claim or another type of claim
Observe the Statute of Limitations
One simple mistake that can invalidate your claim is deciding to file after the statute of limitations has expired. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must take legal action on a personal injury claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident.
Some claims, including those involving discrimination, require government investigations that must be initiated much sooner. Conversely, you may be eligible for an extension of the statute of limitations if you were a minor when the accident occurred or if your injuries went undiscovered for a period of time. Your lawyer will review the specifics of your case to identify all of the important deadlines that you must meet in order to keep your claim valid.
Consider the Evidence In Your Favor
In most personal injury cases, the claimant must be able to show that the liable party acted negligently and that there is a direct causal link between the negligent actions and the injury. Furthermore, the claimant must be able to demonstrate the kinds of losses he or she sustained.
For example, if you want to seek compensation for your medical expenses, you would need to show your medical history along with the bills you received. If you wanted to argue for lost wages, you would need to show company records indicating your normal rate of pay and the time you missed while you were in recovery. Some other valuable sources of evidence in a personal injury case are:
- Photos or videos of the accident (either as it occurred or in the moments after it happened)
- Notes from the ER
- Physical objects bearing damage caused by the accident
- The testimonies of people who saw the accident happen
- Surveillance footage
- Statements from expert witnesses, such as physicians or accident reconstruction experts
- The police report
Know That It May Be Possible to Acquire Additional Evidence
When necessary, your lawyer will conduct his or her own investigation into the causes of the accident and its effects. He or she may be able to obtain evidence that would be difficult for you to obtain yourself. If your case involved a collision with a commercial truck, for example, your lawyer may take measures to get hold of the trucking company’s safety manual. When preparing cases that involve distracted driving, some lawyers subpoena the other driver’s phone records.
Your attorney may also be able to secure orders preserving evidence, such as the other driver’s damaged vehicle. By acting quickly to obtain a court order preventing the other side from destroying evidence, your attorney can help protect the validity of your claim.
Review the Context of the Accident
If your accident occurred while you were at work and your employer is a workers’ compensation subscriber, you may need to submit a workers’ compensation claim instead of a personal injury claim. Most people who suffer work injuries would prefer to submit a personal injury claim because there are fewer limitations on the amount of compensation available to individuals who are eligible for a personal injury settlement.
If your employer is a nonsubscriber, you can proceed with the personal injury claim. If not, you might want to look into the possibility of submitting a third-party claim. You may have grounds to sue someone other than your employer if:
- You were injured as a result of a client’s negligence
- You were injured while at work on a third party’s property
- A vendor working with your employer was responsible for your injury
Product Liability Claims
If you want to know if you have a valid product liability claim, talk with your lawyer about how you were using the product when it injured you. If you were using it as intended by the manufacturer and it malfunctioned, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Even if you were not using the product as intended, you may still have a claim if the intended use was not clearly communicated or if sufficient warnings were not provided by the manufacturer.
You Might Actually Have Multiple Valid Claims
Sometimes, multiple parties are responsible for an injury. In the case of a work accident, you may be able to submit a third-party personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. In the case of a multi-car accident, several of the other drivers could be found responsible. Many individuals find themselves in a position to sue the car manufacturer in addition to another driver if a faulty car part played a role in the crash.
Learn More About Your Legal Options From a Personal Injuries Lawyer in Houston, TX
Our attorneys will take every opportunity to highlight the validity of your claim when fighting for your compensation. While the circumstances surrounding your injury may give you ample reason to demand compensation, holding the other party accountable can only be done by proving their negligence.
If you want to learn more about your legal rights in a personal injury case, we invite you to set up a free consultation with us. You can request an appointment by calling 713-820-6839.
An injury can cause extreme challenges in your life. When you need to speak with a personal injuries lawyer in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC.