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Midland Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Attorney in Midland, Tx

Texas State Highway Loop 250 (Loop 250) and Texas State Highway 349 (SH 349) are two of the major roadways running through Midland, Texas, making them common locations for automobile accidents, but there are several other types of accidents that can occur in the county seat of Midland County. Any time you suffer injuries in an accident resulting from another party’s negligence, be sure to contact a Midland personal injury lawyer so you can get all of the help you will need to make sure your legal claim is handled successfully.

A Midland personal injury attorney will know how to ensure that you can recover all of the money you will need to achieve a complete recovery from your injuries, however long that might take. Personal injury cases can be enormously stressful for the people involved because of all the different requirements involved in filing claims relating to injuries, so you are going to want to be sure that you have legal assistance navigating all of the complex requirements.

Common Personal Injury Actions

Personal injury is a phrase that encompasses a wide variety of possible accident claims in which people suffer many different types of injuries. A few of the most common kinds of accident claims tend to involve the following:

The main focus of most personal injury claims will be the actual injury itself, so a person could be facing any number of possible injury claims. Injuries could be more or less severe depending on multiple circumstances surrounding a specific accident, and some people could actually sustain several kinds of injuries in a single accident.

Common types of injury claims often include:

Personal Injury Law in Texas 

Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, establishes that a person has to bring an action for personal injury within two years of the day their cause of action accrues. This time limit is more commonly known as the statute of limitations, and certain exceptions exist to this time limit, such as:

  • Age — Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.001, a person will be considered to be under a legal disability if they are younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether they are married. A victim who is a minor thus gets two years to file their case once they turn 18 years of age.
  • Unsound Mind — Under the same statute in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a person of unsound mind (or who is incapacitated) is also considered to be under a legal disability. In these cases, the statute of limitations can be tolled (delayed) until the person is again of sound mind.
  • Fraudulent Concealment — If a possible defendant intentionally conceals information from a victim so the victim does not know they have a legal claim, then the statute of limitations does not begin until the date that the victim discovers the relevant information or reasonably should have discovered it.
  • Discovery Rule — The discovery rule relates to cases in which an injured person is unaware of their injuries. Under the discovery rule, a person can file suit up to two years after the point at which they become aware of their injuries. The rule is commonly applied in cases such as diseases that people develop many years after their initial exposure to a hazardous situation.

Negligence cases in Midland Texas

Negligence cases in Texas are governed by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, which states that the theory of proportionate responsibility applies and a person cannot recover damages if their percentage of fault is more than 50 percent. The law makes Texas a modified comparative fault state, and you should understand that any award you receive may be reduced by your share of responsibility for an accident, meaning that if you are awarded $100,000 in a car accident claim you are found to have been 30 percent responsible for, your award is reduced by $30,000 and you ultimately receive $70,000.

You should know that Texas imposes limits on some kinds of damages in certain cases, more commonly known as damage caps. For example, medical malpractice cases involve a noneconomic damage cap of $250,000 for every defendant and $750,000 maximum overall regardless of the total number of defendants.

Claims against government entities can involve damage caps of $250,000 per defendant or $500,000 per case for bodily injuries and miscellaneous costs as well as another $100,000 cap for property damage. Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, will not exceed an amount equal to the greater of two times the economic damages plus an amount equal to any non-economic damages up to $750,000, or $200,000.

Elements of Personal Injury Cases

Filing a claim against another party for possible damages will mean that you have to prove four basic elements of a personal injury case:

  • A defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim
  • A defendant breached their legal duty of care
  • A victim suffered injuries
  • A victim was injured because of the defendant’s breach of duty

The duty of care means a duty to act as a reasonable person would under particular circumstances, while a special duty of care refers to a person being obligated to perform in a way an average person might not necessarily be expected or obligated to do. A person is not negligent if they fulfill their duty of care.

A breach of duty involves either an actual cause or cause in fact, which is an action that produces foreseeable consequences without any other intervention. A proximate cause relates to an event that is sufficiently related to an injury and the court deems an event causing injury.

Proving injuries usually involve a medical report after visiting a hospital. Most medical records indicate the nature and degree of injuries a  person suffers.

Connecting injuries to a breach of duty often require proving that a victim suffered some kind of damage because of the breach of duty. This type of evidence could include medical bills, proof of lost income, repair bills for property damage, or other forms of evidence.

Damages in Personal Injury Cases

If a personal injury case goes to trial and a person receives an award, the award the jury provides is known as damages and can take multiple forms. A common distinction between damages concerns economic and noneconomic.

Economic damages are tangible and provable losses. Noneconomic damages are non-monetary losses.

Economic damages can include:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Cost of hospital stays
  • Cost of treatment in an emergency department
  • Doctor appointment fees
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Lost wages 
  • Medication expenses
  • Rehabilitation or physical therapy costs
  • Surgical costs

Noneconomic damages may include:

  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Humiliation
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Worsening of prior injuries

Another less common form of damages is punitive damages or exemplary damages. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.001, exemplary damages are defined as any damages awarded as a penalty or punishment but not for compensatory purposes.  

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003 states that exemplary damages may only be awarded when a person proves by clear and convincing evidence that the harm with respect to which they seek recovery of exemplary damages resulted from fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Punitive damages will be awarded more to punish defendants and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

Exemplary damages can only be awarded if a jury is unanimous in regard to finding liability for the number of exemplary damages. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.008, multiple exceptions exist to the punitive damage cap, namely if a person seeks recovery of exemplary damages based on conduct described as a felony under the Texas Penal Code sections committed knowingly or intentionally involving aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, capital murder, commercial bribery, continuous sexual abuse of a young child or disabled individual, forgery, fraudulent destruction, fraudulent securing of document execution, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution, murder, removal or concealment of writing, sexual assault, third-degree felony theft or higher, and trafficking of persons.

Finding a Midland Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have sustained injuries in an accident in the greater Midland area, make sure to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Cesar Ornelas Law is a dedicated personal injury law firm serving Midland and many surrounding areas of Texas.

Our firm handles these cases on a contingency fee basis, so you do not pay anything upfront and instead agree to pay a prearranged percentage of your award when one is recovered. Call us at (888) 237-2794 or email us at help@cesarornelaslaw.com, or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.