According to a Jury Verdict Research study, the average compensation for a personal injury lawsuit over the past six years in Texas was $826,892 but was altered by a verdict that came in at over $100 million. Leaving aside the massive settlement, the average award for personal injury lawsuits that go to trial is $22,360, with a 52 percent success rate for Texas plaintiffs that mirrors the national average.
What is a personal injury lawsuit? Most of the time, personal injury lawsuits result from vehicular accidents, whether from a vehicle striking vehicle or a vehicle striking a pedestrian. Some cases arise from what is called premises liability. If a person slips and falls in a grocery store because of a wet floor, that person would likely have a claim for personal injury under the concept of premises liability.
In either type of accident, the first place for the injured party to turn is to the at-fault party's insurance, whether it's for the vehicle they were driving at the time of the accident or for commercial liability for the owner or operator of the store. When these policies fall short of covering the injuries sustained by the victim, then a personal injury lawsuit may be the only recourse to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone else in or around Houston, Texas, contact the legal team at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm. Let us handle all aspects of your insurance claim.
We know the tricks used by claims adjusters to lowball or even deny your claim, and we will fight for what's due you. If warranted, we will also file a personal injury lawsuit. We proudly serve clients in the Greater Houston communities of The Woodlands, Greenspoint, Katy, Houston Heights, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Pearland, Third Ward, Rice Village, Fifth Ward, North and South Houston, and more.
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Personal Injury Claims in Texas
Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state, which means that the driver who caused the accident is liable for any personal injury or property damage that they cause. If you are struck by another vehicle and suffer injuries because of that driver's negligence, you have options. You can file a claim with your own insurance company, which in turn will file a subrogation claim against the other driver's policy; you can file a claim directly with the negligent driver's insurer, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
Texas auto insurance minimum requirements are known as 30/60/25. This breaks down as $30,000 in personal injury coverage for injuries you cause to one person, $60,000 in coverage for all persons you injured, and $25,000 in coverage for property damage you cause. Note that a basic policy offers no coverage for your own injuries or damage to your vehicle. It only covers injuries and property damage you cause to others.
If the at-fault driver has no insurance, your only recourse would be a personal injury lawsuit, but if that person can't even afford auto insurance, you may not be able to recover much. You should consider the auto insurance options of uninsured/underinsured coverage, medical payments coverage for your and your passengers, and collision coverage for your vehicle.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing an insurance claim can be a challenging proposition. The insurer will assign a professional claims adjuster to your case who will try to limit the parent company's liability, that is, its cost in compensation for your claim.
Claims adjusters will grill you on every detail of the accident that you assert caused your injuries. They may even ask you to sign a medical release form so they can probe if you had pre-existing conditions. And worst of all, the first settlement they offer you are going to be as low as they think they can get away with. That's why you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight the adjusters for you.
If you're unsatisfied with the compensation offered, you can launch a personal injury lawsuit, especially if your medical bills and lost wages exceed the coverage of the other party's insurance. Texas imposes a two-year statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit. That's a consideration, but so is the concept of modified comparative negligence, also known as the “51 percent rule.”
The principle of modified comparative negligence means that you cannot sue the other party or their insurance if you're more than 50 percent at fault for what happened, thus the 51 percent rule catchphrase. It also means that your award or settlement can be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Say your brake lights were malfunctioning, and the driver behind you slammed into your car and caused neck and back injuries. You sue for $50,000 to cover all your expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The jury finds you 20 percent at fault, so you will receive $50,000 minus 20 percent, or $40,000.
Note that insurance claims adjusters are also fully aware of comparative negligence, so they will try to assign as much fault as they can to you.
An important consideration in your settlement or lawsuit is that the sum you receive is final. If your injuries resurface or continue to need treatment after the settlement or award, you cannot go back and seek more. Therefore, you need to take into account the losses and expenses you may suffer in the future when you make your claim or file your lawsuit.
In a lawsuit, you can seek recovery for medical expenses already incurred or anticipated, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage and repair costs, and past and future earning potential. Medical expenses can include any modifications you had to make to your home to accommodate your injuries or medical devices you may need going forward, and even any assistance you need for the daily chores of life that you can no longer perform yourself.
Personal Injury Attorney Serving Houston, Texas
If you're in or around Houston and you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else's negligence, contact The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm. Your consultation is free, and we will handle your case on a contingency basis, meaning no out-of-pocket outlay by you. We will negotiate with the insurance company and if need be, take the matter to court. While you recover from your injuries, we will fight for the just compensation you deserve.