This is the next post in a series of articles intended to provide a basic overview of the legal process for victims of personal injuries in Laredo and other areas of Texas. The previous article discussed the importance of seeking medical treatment as quickly as possible after an accident occurs. Failing to treat injuries immediately can lead to claims, from the defense, that the injuries were caused by something other than the accident or more severe as a result of the delay. In this post, I will address various methods used to establish the defendant’s liability in a personal injury case. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact my office today to speak to a lawyer.
Under Texas law, when a person’s negligent behavior results in an injury to a third party, the negligent person will be liable for the damages suffered as a result. Once the person’s responsibility for the accident is established, the victim is entitled to compensation for, among other things, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. The defendant’s liability is often disputed. Even when a defendant is cited or charged by law enforcement, it is possible for defense counsel to argue that the defendant is not completely responsible. Claims that third parties, or even the victim, were partially at fault, may impact the plaintiff’s recovery. Under Texas laws of comparative fault, victims may still recover damages so long as they are not more than 51% at liable for the incident. In such cases, the victim’s compensation for damages will be proportionately reduced by the amount of relative fault.
A victim’s attorney has several tools at their disposal to establish the defendant’s liability. Through the discovery process, plaintiff’s counsel will gather evidence about the defendant’s conduct surrounding the accident. For example, in the case of an auto accident, counsel may request production of the driver’s phone records to understand whether the driver was distracted while driving the vehicle. They may also depose witnesses or law enforcement who responded to the accident. Furthermore, the victim’s attorney will conduct an independent investigation of the incident. Identifying eye witnesses, reviewing media accounts or scouring social media posts referencing the event may reveal evidence of the defendant’s responsibility. Finally, counsel may consult with and retain experts to provide opinions about the cause of the accident, damages, etc. The information gathered may be used to prove the responsible party or refute defense counsel’s claims that someone else is at fault.
It is important to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident has occurred. Your attorney will begin investigating the incident, preserving evidence, and engage in the discovery process on your behalf. My office will take all of the steps needed to preserve your legal rights. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact my office as soon as possible to speak with an attorney. I serve clients in Laredo and other areas of south Texas.