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What Is Personal Injury in Plano, Texas?

Personal Injury

Personal injury in the City of Plano is any damage suffered by an individual due to an intentional, non-deliberate, or inherently dangerous action of an entity that owes the injured party a legal obligation of reasonable care. Damages suffered by the victim may be physical, financial, or emotional.

Unlike common injuries, personal injury in law is a tort or civil wrong, in which the perpetrator has legal liability for losses suffered, as per the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Hence, the victim can demand financial compensation from the individual, business, or government entity at fault through out-of-court settlements or by filing a lawsuit. For instance, a person falling and sustaining considerable injuries at a shopping mall by accident may not be a personal injury case unless the fall was due to the negligence of an employee who failed to put up a “wet floor” sign.

What is a Personal Injury Claim in Plano?

In Plano, personal injury claims are demands for compensation for injuries suffered as a result of another’s actions or negligence. An injured party can make claims for physical, emotional, or financial damages out-of-court by negotiating with the other party or the party’s attorney or insurer. If out-of-court settlements remain unresolved, the personal injury victim may sue the perpetrator under the following torts under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code:

  • Negligence tort: This is the most common type of personal injury. Injuries under this tort are caused by the careless (but unintentional) actions of another who owed the defendant a legal duty or reasonable care. Examples of negligent tort cases include automobile accidents, medical or professional malpractice, and slip and fall accidents.
  • Intentional tort: Unlike negligence tort, intentional tort occurs when the perpetrator causes injury on purpose. This category also includes the intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by instilling extreme fear in another person. Battery, false imprisonment, trespassing, and defamation are examples of intentional tort. Some cases can be both a tort and a criminal offense. 
  • Strict liability tort: This is a more complex category where the perpetrator can be held liable for injuries without proving negligence or direct fault. Common examples of torts under this category are animal attacks, defective products, and abnormally dangerous activities.

However, to receive compensation for damages, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff who must make sure that the case has all elements of the tort claim. For instance, negligence torts claimants must prove the defendant’s duty of care, breach of duty, that the action caused injuries, and that the injuries cause considerable damage physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

Under intentional tort, victims may establish intentional infliction of emotional distress by proving that:

  • The perpetrator acted knowingly or recklessly
  • The perpetrator’s actions were outrageous and extreme
  • The actions caused the plaintiff emotional distress
  • The plaintiff’s emotional distress was significant.

In Collin County, where Plano city is located, there were 1,718 personal injury cases on the docket in 2020, out of which 139 were new cases, and 1,583 were active. As provided by the Judicial Statistics Report, a majority (77.8%) of the total cases on the docket were personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Other cases included medical malpractices, other professional malpractices, product liability/asbestos silica, other product liability cases, and other types of injuries, such as slander/defamation, slip-and-fall cases, and animal attack. Additionally, the report showed that there were at least twice as many case dismissals compared to agreed judgments in 2020.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Plano?

Persons interested in getting a personal injury lawyer in the City of Plano should first determine what type of case or tort the personal injury falls under. This is because there are lawyers who specialize in handling different types of injuries, and finding one with experience and success with similar cases can make things easier for the plaintiff. For instance, a lawyer who specializes in product liability cases may not have the experience or access to medical expert opinions that will be beneficial in handling a medical malpractice case.

Interested persons should do the following to find a personal injury lawyer in Plano who fits a specific case:

  • Carry out lawyer-specific reviews and research instead of focusing on the law firm.
  • Look for lawyers that deal with similar injuries of a similar scale. A lawyer with experience in product liability may still be unable to handle a mass tort case on product liability.
  • Ensure that the lawyer has enough time to dedicate to the case and resources that will aid the investigation or discovery process. Resources also include relationships in the jurisdiction, such as with police, judges, experts, and other lawyers.
  • Look for a lawyer with proven negotiation skills who has obtained fair settlements for past clients because most personal injury cases are settled out-of-court.
  • Because there’s still a possibility of a court case, make sure that the lawyer understands the court system in the jurisdiction and court processes.
  • Look out for past disciplinary actions and complaints from past clients. Reviews, interviews, and consultations may also provide insight into the lawyer's communication skills and ability to provide direct strategies and meaningful advice.
  • Make sure fees are reasonable and in line with your budget. Most personal injury lawyers are paid according to the contingency fee arrangements decided beforehand. This means that clients do not need to make upfront payments and that the lawyer needs to get the compensation to get paid. However, there are different types of contingency arrangements, from sliding scale contingency which deals with a percentage of compensation, to contingency hourly, which depends on hours the lawyer spends working on the case. Hence, discuss the payment method and which type of expenses will be paid out of the client’s or law firm’s pocket. This includes court fees, travel expenses, and other costs incurred during the case.

What does a Personal Injury Lawyer do in Plano?

A personal injury lawyer or personal injury attorney in the City of Plano is a civil lawyer who provides advisory, negotiatory, representative services to victims of personal injuries. Typically, personal injury lawyers help clients receive compensation from the individual, business, or government at fault by doing the following:

  • Use available resources to investigate claims and gather proof in the form of official documents, witness statements, and expert opinions
  • Calculate damages and counsel clients on available options and the claims process
  • Help clients review and interpret documents from insurance companies or the defendant’s lawyer
  • Use experience, negotiation skills, and understanding of the legal system to get the best outcome for clients
  • Sending demand letters to insurance agencies and preparing pleadings or complaints against the defendant if out-of-court settlement does not work
  • Help client file a lawsuit.
  • Represent clients through the court process and help receive full settlement
  • Defend clients and discover holes in the defendant’s defense or evidence.

Overall, personal injury lawyers use all the skills, knowledge, experience, resources, and home advantages available to obtain the highest compensation plausible, as fast as possible.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Usually, personal injury cases that do not require lawyers are those with minimal injuries where damages are already covered by insurance or where fair compensations are provided without dispute. This can also help persons avoid attorney fees. However, personal injury cases with significant damages require personal injury lawyers to help victims understand the terms of the insurance settlement and negotiate for better compensation. Moreover, if there is a dispute between both parties, personal injury lawyers can help gather evidence and efficiently represent victims both in court and out of court. Different types of personal injuries that may require a lawyer include:

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Wrongful Death
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents.

How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement in Plano?

Personal injury settlements in Plano vary on a case-by-case basis. According to the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, persons may seek recovery of:

  • Economic damages: Compensation for actual financial losses suffered
  • Non-economic damages: Compensation for physical pain, injury to reputation, mental anguish, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary losses
  • Exemplary damages: Any money awarded as a punishment or penalty for injuries resulting from fraud, malice, or gross negligence. This is different from compensation.

However, there are some limitations on the settlement claimants may receive as damages in some cases, such as:

  • Personal injury cases against a state or local government cannot award more than $250,000 damages per claimant or $500,000 among all claimants in a single event
  • Non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case against a doctor, multiple doctors, or healthcare providers shall not exceed $250,000
  • Non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case against one healthcare facility shall not exceed $250,000 per claimant and $500,000 for all claimants in a lawsuit against multiple healthcare facilities.
  • All claims in a medical malpractice case resulting in wrongful death shall not exceed $500,000
  • Punitive damages awarded in rare intentional tort cases shall not exceed two times the economic damages plus an amount equal to the non-economic damages, up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is larger.

How Long does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

From filing the case to receiving the verdict, a personal injury lawsuit can last from a few months to three years depending on various factors like:

  • Case complexity: Details like jurisdiction, the number of people affected by a single event, if the defendant is a private or government entity, and if there is an ongoing criminal case on the same event can affect how long a personal injury lawsuit will take. For instance, if dozens of people are affected by an event and decide to file a mass tort case, it will take more time to prove and usually involves different jurisdictions. The same can be said about a claimant being a medical malpractice suits against multiple doctors or healthcare facilities.
  • The extent of injuries: Personal injury cases with less severe injuries and a few thousand in damages will most likely take less time than cases involving severe injuries or death and millions in damages. Furthermore, there may be a delay if the claimant is awaiting a prognosis or maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • Settlement: Parties can continue negotiations while the case is in court and may agree before the court reaches a verdict. The plaintiff can then terminate the lawsuit and sign a liability waiver or release of all claims forms provided by the insurance agency. This form makes claimants unable to make additional claims arising from the event or accident.
  • Court motions: Some pre-trial motions, like a motion for summary judgment, last longer than others.
  • Caseload: Court dates depend on how many cases the court is handling. Therefore, a court with a vast caseload can lead to a delay in a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Appeals: A defendant or the plaintiff can appeal a personal injury case and bring about a delay in the final settlement.