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How Much is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Texas?

Offered by Weinstein Law

An attorney can help assess a Texas personal injury claim accurately

If you've suffered injuries in Texas due to another person's actions or negligence, pursuing a personal injury claim becomes essential for obtaining the justice and financial compensation you rightfully deserve. Beyond the physical pain, you may find yourself burdened with mounting medical bills, missed work, and the overall disruption to your daily life.

A personal injury claim serves as a means to hold the responsible party accountable while providing the financial assistance necessary to address your damages. However, it's crucial to recognize the true value of your claim. In Texas, a dedicated personal injury attorney can vigorously advocate on your behalf to secure the fair and just compensation you deserve.

What is the formula for personal injury settlements? 

Personal injury settlements often vary in Texas, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The amount a victim receives often depends on: 

  • The severity of the injury.
  • Accrued medical expenses. 
  • Current and future lost wages or income.
  • The victim’s pain and suffering. 

Examples of personal injury settlement amounts in Texas

Imagine you had a slip and fall accident in a grocery store due to an unmarked wet floor. This incident resulted in a sprained ankle and some minor bruising. As a consequence, you had to seek immediate medical attention at the emergency room, incurring $1,500 in medical expenses. Additionally, you missed three weeks of work, resulting in a loss of $2,000 in wages.

In a case like this in Texas, the settlement amount for a personal injury claim can vary greatly depending on several factors. For a slip and fall accident with a sprained ankle and minor bruising as described above, the settlement could include compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: You would likely be reimbursed for the $1,500 in medical expenses incurred from the emergency room visit.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for the $2,000 in lost wages due to missed work would also typically be included.
  • Pain and Suffering: This is harder to quantify, but compensation for pain and suffering resulting from the injury is often factored in. The amount can vary widely.
  • Other Potential Damages: Depending on the case, you might also be eligible for compensation for any ongoing medical treatment, emotional distress, and any long-term impact on your quality of life or ability to work.

In Texas, there's also consideration of comparative negligence. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident (for example, not paying attention to where you were walking), your settlement could be reduced proportionally.

Remember, each case is unique, and the final settlement amount can be influenced by the specifics of the incident, the clarity of liability, the insurance policies involved, and the negotiation skills of those representing the parties.

How is pain and suffering calculated in Texas?

Calculating pain and suffering in a personal injury claim in Texas can be complex, as there's no strict formula. That's because, unlike other types of damages, pain and suffering falls under the category of "non-economic" damages.

Pain and suffering is classified as "non-economic" because it reflects losses that are not directly measurable in monetary terms. This contrasts with "economic" damages, which are easier to quantify and calculate. The key difference is that economic damages are tied to tangible financial losses, while non-economic damages are more about the subjective, intangible impacts of an injury. 

In Texas, while calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward, assessing non-economic damages like pain and suffering requires a more nuanced approach, considering the individual circumstances of the injury and its broader impact on the victim's life. This is why the role of legal representation is crucial in personal injury claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer can effectively argue for fair compensation that reflects both the economic and non-economic facets of the victim's losses.

How are personal injury settlements paid out?

Personal injury settlements in Texas are typically paid out in one of two ways: as a lump sum or through a structured settlement. A lump sum payment is the most straightforward payment and is paid in one payment.

Once your attorney reaches a settlement agreement with the at-fault party, you will receive a check for the agreed amount. This allows you to pay off large medical bills, legal fees, and other expenses immediately. 

In a structured settlement, the total settlement amount is paid out in regular installments over a period of time. These payments can be designed to meet future needs, such as ongoing medical care, living expenses, or periodic large expenses.

How long does a personal injury settlement take?

Simpler cases, where liability is clear and injuries are straightforward, can be resolved quickly. This might happen within a few months. More complex cases can take much longer, sometimes even years. This often happens in cases involving severe injuries or disputed liability.

If the insurance company is willing to settle, the process can be quicker. However, disagreements over who was at fault or the extent of your injuries can prolong negotiations.

While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, some go to litigation, which extends the timeframe significantly. Court schedules, motions, hearings, and the trial itself add to the duration.

Should I accept the first settlement offer I receive?

It's usually best to let an attorney negotiate for a fair settlement before you accept one. Insurance companies are notorious for offering quick, lowball settlements to make personal injury cases go away as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Moreover, as soon as you accept a settlement offer, your case is closed. That means you won't be able to seek additional compensation to cover the full extent of your damages, including those that haven't been calculated yet. Ultimately, you could find yourself paying out of pocket for expenses down the road if you don’t maximize your recovery.

The first offer is often just a starting point for negotiations. There's usually room to negotiate for a higher settlement that more accurately reflects your current and future damages. Ensure that any settlement accounts for future medical costs or ongoing care if your injury has long-term effects.

Are personal injury settlements taxable in Texas?

In Texas, the taxability of personal injury settlements depends on the type of damages that are awarded. Settlements for physical injuries or physical sickness are generally not taxable.

However, there's an exception. If you've already taken a tax deduction for medical expenses related to the injury and then received a settlement that reimburses those expenses, you must "recapture" that amount in your income. Additionally, punitive damages are always taxable, regardless of the type of lawsuit. 

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Texas?

Texas's statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the incident. If you miss that deadline, it's unlikely that you'll be able to seek damages. 

However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you're mentally incapacitated at the time of your injury, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the period of incapacity ends. The same applies if the responsible party leaves Texas and can't be found or you were under 18 at the time of the incident.

How to file a personal injury claim

The personal injury claim process in Texas involves several recommended and required steps: 

  • Document the incident: Whether you're involved in a car accident or slip and fall, always document the incident. Note the date, time, location, and parties involved. Also, take pictures of the accident site so you have fresh visual evidence. 
  • Report the accident: If you're involved in a car accident, call the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene. For slips and falls, you can report the incident to a building owner, store manager, or other party responsible for the property.
  • Get medical attention: No matter how you feel initially, always get a medical evaluation. Many injuries take days to produce symptoms. This is common with whiplash, concussions, and soft tissue injuries. Plus, getting a medical diagnosis helps link the incident to your injury.
  • Keep all medical records and receipts: This includes your diagnosis, imaging tests, prescriptions, hospital bills, appointment logs, and medical receipts.
  • Speak to a Texas personal injury lawyer: If you're involved in a traffic accident, you'll need to report the incident to your insurance company. But be careful about providing a recorded statement to the at-fault party's insurance company. What you say can be used against you. Instead, speak to a lawyer about your rights and legal options before you talk to the insurance company.
  • Follow your doctor and lawyer's advice: Attend all medical appointments, avoid activities that can worsen or disprove your injury, and avoid sharing any details about your claim on social media. 

How do I find a Texas personal injury lawyer to handle my claim?

A personal injury claim can be confusing and often frustrating to navigate. But with a Texas personal injury lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.

A personal injury attorney will leave no stone unturned when investigating the incident that led to your injury. They'll accurately value your claim and fight to recover every dollar owed to you in damages. If the insurance companies refuse to budge, they'll be prepared to take your case to trial and fight for a maximum court award. 

Hiring a Texas personal injury lawyer doesn't cost anything upfront. They work on a contingency fee basis and only get paid if they successfully secure compensation on your behalf.

To set up a free consultation, contact a Texas personal injury lawyer in your area today. They'll advise you on your rights, review your potential legal options, and advocate for you every step of the way.

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Founded in the 1980s, Weinstein Law has recovered millions of dollars for people injured in Athens, Henderson County and throughout East Texas. If you were injured or lost a loved...