Personal Injury Law
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers & Attorneys
When a person suffers injuries or loses a family member due to the neglect of another, the law of torts is involved. A “tort” is the violation of the rights of another person; a common example of a tort is an automobile collision case. A driver has the right to use the roadway and expect not to be injured as a result of doing so. If that driver is injured or killed by the negligence of another driver, then the injured driver or his family members have a cause of action against the negligent party. Typically, many drivers in Texas have insurance; the current state mandated liability insurance requirement is $30,000.00 per person and $60,000.00 per occurrence. This means that the most any one person can recover for his or her injuries is $30,000.00 and the maximum amount of coverage available for everyone in the car is $60,000.00. Most automobile insurance policies also provide coverage for Personal Injury Protection which provides $2,500.00 in no-fault benefits for medical expenses and lost wages for the insured and members of the insured’s household. Additionally, Uninsured-Underinsured coverage typically provides coverage for an additional $30,000.00 per person and $60,000.00 per occurrence. The insured can choose to increase protection with as much coverage as desired; amazingly, the cost for obtaining substantial Uninsured-Underinsured coverage, for example, $250,000.00 per person and $500,000.00 per occurrence is only a few hundred dollars per year than buying the minimum limits. In light of the fact that approximately 25% of the drivers in Houston do not have insurance, the Uninsured-Underinsured coverage is the best way for a driver to obtain the appropriate amount of protection.
Less common than automobile cases are injuries and deaths caused by defective products, which is governed by the law of products liability. Essentially, in order to prove a defective product case, the consumer must prove that the product was in essentially the same condition at the time of the injury as it was when it left the manufacturer’s factory. Products can be defective because of manufacturing defects, design defects and marketing defects, which include the failure to warn of a product’s dangerous propensities. Cases involving bad drugs, like phen-fen, are products liability cases.
Rarer still are injuries and deaths caused by medical malpractice. This type of case is the most difficult tort to prove, and these cases are extremely expensive to handle because of the necessity to hire experts, most of which have to come from out of state because local doctors are loath to testify against their brothers in medicine. The Texas Legislature has imposed a maximum recovery of $250,000.00 for conscious pain and physical suffering, and other non-economic types of damage which severely limits the potential recovery for any person who is not gainfully employed, such as a retired person, housewife or child. The limitation on the amount of the recovery prevents many meritorious cases from being pursued because of the costs involved in handling this type of case.
The examples given above are not exhaustive, but illustrative. Be sure to call your trusted legal adviser to find out more about any specific potential cause of action.
To inquire about attorneys specializing in Harris County and Houston Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law, please contact the HCBA at (713) 236-8000.