Houston personal injury claims in the legal world follow four specific categories or elements that have to be included. Whether the case involves a car accident, a slip, and fall, or a dog bite, these elements are standard requirements for how the case is framed and argued successfully. The four categories include:
- Duty – the responsible party had a duty of care that should have been provided.
- Breach – the above duty failed to be taken care of or provided.
- Proximate Cause – the injury to the victim was caused by the breach.
- Damages – the victim suffered harm as a result of the Cause.
If a pattern is noticeable in the above, it’s a good observation. Each element in Houston’s personal injury claims builds on the former when creating and making a formal personal injury case via the legal system, i.e., a lawsuit. Suppose these elements are not included or provided. In that case, the case can be dismissed, which is a common angle a party defending itself from a lawsuit will frequently take via their own representation.
The Concept of Liability in Recovery
The downside of personal injury recovery is that there is no time machine that can go back and make things right or put things back the way they were before an injury occurred. So, in recognition of the damage done that could have been prevented, the legal system uses financial recovery and orders of behavior change to correct problems that shouldn’t have happened (i.e., injunctions or court orders). While these solutions don’t make an injury go away, they are intended to provide equivalent compensation for the losses suffered. A qualified Houston attorney applies the law to both assert liability as well as the responsibility to restore the victim as much as possible to the status quo.
However, because the legal system is adversarial, both sides involved, the plaintiff and defendant, are allowed to make opposing arguments for the court’s consideration. Along with the liability for a personal injury, the parties also argue about the extent of damage recovery that should be paid. So, for example, party A may argue and win that a personal injury occurred due to party B’s dog biting them. However, while Party B may have lost the case in terms of arguing the bite didn’t happen, or they are not liable, Party B can still argue the cost of the dog bite’s damage isn’t anywhere as big as Party A is asserting in court for damages.
Damages in a Houston case are argued for or against in categories. These categories include:
- Physical injury
- Medical costs
- Mental anguish in pain and suffering
- Physical property damage
- Income Loss
- Opportunity loss
- Punitive damages (the punishment factor)
All, depending on the facts of the case and the extent of loss, can be argued for or against in a personal injury case. The decision by the jury and court ultimately decides what, if any, is provided in recovery as a result. The amount, if provided, varies considerably based on whom the court thinks is fully responsible, the extent of damages agreed to, and the nature of how egregious or shocking the preventable harm was (the punishment factor).
How a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Helps in Recovery
An often overlooked area of legal help involves the knowledge and experience of a local qualified attorney in Houston cases. Technically, any attorney in Texas can handle a case anywhere in Texas, but that doesn’t mean they have a full understanding of the court system in Houston. Local court rules matter as much on the procedural side as the substance of an injury case. Using a Houston personal injury attorney means having representation that fully understands the local trial court and how to avoid rookie attorney mistakes that otherwise harm a case.
The statute of limitations, or the deadline to file an injury case, is probably one of the most common errors in injury lawsuits. Essentially, it happens when a case is filed too late. While it won’t automatically stop the filing, the defendant can have the case dismissed without being heard by pointing out to the court the lawsuit is too late for the general deadline in the law. A good Houston attorney makes sure this never happens. Typically, only extreme equity cases convince the court to keep a late-filed case on the docket.
Significantly-shared responsibility can also be a big negative for an injury case. Where a victim shares more than 50 percent of the Cause of the injury, the court can be very unsympathetic to a full recovery for the same injury. In these cases, legal experience matters tremendously in obtaining any kind of recovery at all.
Hard to prove liability can be a challenge as well. Again, legal experience in similar cases makes a big difference. While there’s no argument that an injury happened, proving who is responsible may be complex. A multi-car vehicle accident, for example, could have multiple parties and mistakes involved once the evidence is examined. Defense parties will aggressively try to argue that much of the blame is someone else’s responsibility. Houston attorneys who have dealt with these types of cases previously know how to competently clear up the gray areas and assert liability.
In some rare cases, the responsible party may not be a private entity at all; it may instead be a government agency. The government has a tremendous influence on how daily life occurs, affecting everything from the water people drink to the roads traveled. Where a personal injury has occurred that turns out to be the Cause of government action or inaction, the claiming process can follow a very different path than a traditional lawsuit. Having a Houston attorney who knows the difference and how to pursue a claim makes a big difference in the same.
Don’t Leave Recovery to Chance
A Houston personal injury attorney with experience in both litigation and personal injury damages is essential for successful recovery. The combination of understanding local court procedure, tort law, accident liability, and damage calculation combine toward increasing the potential for the best recovery. With one’s health, long-term rehabilitation, and future opportunity directly impacted by an injury, it only makes sense to rely on a Houston accident attorney for the best representation and recovery results.