There are multiple common statutes across all 50 states that dictate personal injury cases filed in the United States, but due to the federal nature of the US Constitution, there are certain differences that do exist within the state laws. Texas state rules add a few unique aspects to the personal injury laws, which can be summarized as follows.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas
By definition, a statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time within which a case must be filed under the state’s jurisdiction authority, beginning from the day of the incident.
The Statute of Limitations is two years from the date of the injury sustained by the claimant party as far as the personal injury filings under the jurisdiction of Texas is concerned. On failing to meet this criterion, the court will likely dismiss the case without a hearing.
Shared Liability Clause or Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
The shared liability clause in Texas provides the sued party with an opportunity to settle for shared fault if and where applicable. In other words, if the defendant can prove that the claimant is also at fault to a degree for the injuries sustained, then the compensation amount awarded to the suing party will be adjusted and reduced in accordance with the modified comparative negligence laws of Texas.
The reduction of the compensation amount will be in proportion to the extent the injured/deceased claimant can be held responsible for the incident. During settlement discussions, this factor might be put forward by the defending party’s attorney as well.
In absence of the consultations, negotiation skills, and advice of an experienced personal injury attorney Houston by the claimant’s side, the defendant’s lawyer will most likely cite the statutes of Texas’s modified comparative negligence in their client’s favor. A shrewd lawyer might be able to convince the claimant or even the judge to settle for/reduce the total compensation amount below what the claimant should be entitled to by citing shared liability.
The One Bite Rule of Texas for Pet Owner’s Responsibility
If a pet dog or any other animal that belongs to a Texas resident bites or causes physical harm to the claimant, the claimant’s attorney will need to prove that there was sufficient reason or that there were already signs that the animal was dangerous before the first bite or attack. On failing to prove so, the claim will be dismissed, but post that incident, all attacks/bites by the animal will be held against the owner in a no-contest situation.
Caps on Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is the only personal injury claim that has a cap in Texas, and while the exact calculations are quite complicated, the following could be ascertained and held as valid in most cases.
- Non-economic damages (pain, suffering, stress, etc.) must not exceed $250,000/defendant
- The total amount including economic and non-economic compensations must not exceed $500,000
- Wrongful death is held as an exception to the above, so the cap is adjusted in accordance with the inflation rates ($ 1.9 million+)
Note that in order to file a claim against the Texas state government, the Statute of Limitations is only 6 months. Also, suing the government is not an option, but filing a claim with all associated details of the personal injury caused to the claimant within the 6-month period is possible.