When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit? And Should You?

People can file lawsuits for virtually anything. But just because they can, that doesn’t mean they should. Circumstances and timing influence this decision. The first things to consider are where you were injured, who hurt you, and the fact that most personal injury lawsuits are usually preceded the victim's filing a claim for “damages” with the insurance company covering the person or entity causing your injury. Another consideration is the statute of limitations. The general statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit arising from a personal injury claim in Texas is two years from the date of the injury or the date that the victim was made aware of their condition. ***Always speak directly with a licensed attorney to ascertain the specific deadlines that apply to your claim.***


Special Circumstances About Some Personal Injury Lawsuits May Apply



Were you injured at work? – Injured workers must file workers’ compensation injury reports within 30 days of the injury. Formal paperwork for a workers' comp claim must be filed within a year of the injury. Appeal of a workers’ comp decision, must be filed within 90 days after it was issued. Injury Claims against the Texas Government - If your injury case is against a government entity or employee, you must file a formal claim with the governmental unit which is responsible for causing your injury within six months of the incident.


The Difference Between Suffering Personal Injury and Experiencing Only Property Damage


If you were involved in a minor car accident that caused damage to your vehicle and personal property, but no physical or emotional injuries to you, there is no personal injury. Chances are that you can handle this matter with the other driver’s insurance company or a small claims petition without an attorney, since there is no foundation for a personal injury lawsuit.


Personal injury claims or lawsuits involve physical or emotional injuries which were caused by the negligence of another person or entity (such as a business or government agency). Negligence is generally defined as the failure of one to meet their “legal duty” to show a level of care that a reasonable person would have under the same circumstances.


If you can establish that another person or entity acted negligently, an insurance company may voluntarily agree to pay you a sum of money. If it refuses, you may win a judgment in civil court that can pay – among others – the following damages:


·       All your medical bills from treating your injuries

·       Lost income because you were unable to work due to your injuries

·       Physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish caused by your injuries

·       Punitive damages, if appropriate.


Depending on other circumstances, additional damages may be sought for long-term disability, diminished quality of life, and, in the case of wrongful death, survivors’ loss of companionship and support.


How do You Know What to Do after Suffering a Personal Injury?


First, you must understand that you are dealing with civil matters, not criminal. So the responsibility is yours to present all evidence which justifies your insurance claim or case. This means an investigation is necessary – and the sooner the better, as accident scenes change almost immediately and witnesses' memories tend to fade quickly. Seasoned personal injury lawyers, and the investigators they retain, are very good at uncovering the truth.


Another factor is the insurance companies themselves. They love taking in those customer premiums but aren’t all that keen at paying rightful damages – without being forced. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies. They also shield their injured clients from intrusive claims adjusters who look to trip up injured claimants such as you.


And finally, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you don’t pay a dime unless they win for you. If you are dealing with an experienced PI lawyer, chances are he or she won’t take your case you appear to have a valid claim with injuries that are clearly connected to your accident.


The best injury lawyer is not only your advocate, but your partner in helping you ask for and receive the just personal injury compensation you and your family deserve so you can place this experience behind you and resume living your life.