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Texas Personal Injury

Sometimes the symptoms of an injury you sustained may not take effect until long after the injuring incident. For example, you may develop back pain several months or years after a car crash. If you seek financial compensation for your personal injury and its treatment, you may run into complications with Texas's statute of limitations or other applicable personal injury laws.

If you've been injured in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston, use LawInfo's Texas personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.

Texas Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice case is one in which the negligence of a patient's medical care provider causes personal injury to or the death of the patient. For example, a nurse who negligently increased the dosage of anesthesia for a surgery patient, resulting in brain damage may be liable for medical malpractice.

Texas law limits a medical malpractice lawsuit's noneconomic damages claim ("health care liability") to $250,000 per claimant (the plaintiff), per health care institution. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering rather than medical bills or other related economic losses suffered by the patient. If more than one health care institution is involved, noneconomic damages cannot exceed $500,000 total.

If the medical malpractice resulted in the wrongful death of the patient, Texas limits the claim to $500,000 per claimant for all types of damages, not just noneconomic damages, regardless of how many health care institutions are involved.

Proving Negligence in Texas

One legal requirement that could make or break your Texas personal injury lawsuit is that you'll need to prove the defendant's negligence in the case. In Texas, the plaintiff, the defendant and any relevant third parties in a personal injury case share a proportionate share of responsibility for the cause of the injury. If the court finds the plaintiff to be more than 50 percent responsible for the injuring incident, the plaintiff may not recover any damages.

Therefore, it's important to prove the defendant's negligence to maximize your recovery. As a general rule of law, the court determines negligence by comparing the defendant's actions surrounding the injuring incident to those of a "reasonably prudent" person. A reasonably prudent person is one whose actions are considered responsible and law-abiding in a given situation.

A Texas court then breaks down the determination of negligence into four questions:

  • Was the defendant responsible for providing a duty of care to the plaintiff's safety? In other words, was the defendant responsible for preventing the injuring incident from occurring, such as stopping at a red light at an intersection?
  • Did the defendant breach that duty of care?
  • Did the breach of duty directly cause or contribute to the plaintiff's injury?
  • Are the plaintiff's injuries actual damages that can be financially compensated?

Texas Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute "runs out," a lawsuit cannot be pursued. Texas's civil statute of limitations includes:

  • Two years for injury (or damage) to property.
  • Two years for medical malpractice.
  • Four years for fraud.
  • Two years for personal injury and wrongful death.
  • Four years for breaking written or oral contracts.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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