How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?
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Texas Personal Injury Cases Explained in Detail
San Antonio Lawsuit Attorney
Everybody thinks they know how personal injury cases work, but there are a lot of misconceptions and this article is going to explain specifically how they work without delving too far into complicated legalese.
Understanding Where the Laws Come From
While personal injury cases are in fact based on law, certain elements of these types of cases are based on what we call common law. Common law is basically judicial law or case law. It is derived from legel precedent, established by judges through court decisions, which is different than statutory law. Statutes are codified law written by legislators and it can also used in personal injury lawsuits.
Lastly, the basic laws that will also interact with your lawsuit are outlined in the civil practices and remedies code. But certain types of cases draw from other bodies of law as well. For instance, dram shop cases are based on the alcohol and beverage code, workers compensation cases are based on the labor code and a theory of liability on a truck accident case may be based off of transportation code. As such, to know what you are doing in a personal injury case you have to know all of the laws that apply.
Understanding the Basics:
Injury cases are based on holding someone accountable for their negligence.
The principle at work is called equity. Equity basically states that you, as the injured party, should be reimbursed for your losses and put whole again when someone’s wrongdoing causes you to suffer harm, or damages.
Not every act that someone commits considered actionable. That is to say that not everything someone does to harm you will result in a personal injury lawsuit. However when someone commits an act that we consider to be negligent in nature, that will usually be the genesis of your right to bring a claim against him or her. This right to bring a claim or mechanism by which you bring a claim is what is called a cause of action.
Legally speaking, a cause of action is defined as a set of facts and circumstances that allow you, as the plaintiff, to file a lawsuit against another party, the defendant. In order to pursue a cause of action, you have to allege facts in something called a complaint, which is what will start your lawsuit. Your cause of action is basically the legal theory of recovery you are basing your lawsuit on and the remedies or relief you want the court to grant you against the defendant.
Who are Plaintiffs and Defendants?
You, as the party who is filing the lawsuit in a civil cause of action will be called the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the complainant and is responsible for initiating the lawsuit. As the plaintiff, you are seeking a legal remedy, which is typically the court issuing some type of order or judgment that is favorable to your circumstances.
The defendant will be the person or entity that you are filing your lawsuit against. In a civil lawsuit, they are the party that has to respond to your complaint. If your claim is successful, the defendant will have to pay some financial sum or do some action that the court orders them to do.
Burdens of the Plaintiff
The plaintiff has the obligation to prove to the court that the defendant acted negligently and that their negligent acts were the proximate cause of your injury. Depending on the type of injury that you have suffered and your theory of recovery, you may have different burdens of proof as the plaintiff. Personal injury lawsuits encompass a huge body of law; therefore your burden could be drastically different in a product liability lawsuit as compared to a medical malpractice or car accident case. This is one of the many reasons why you absolutely must have an attorney experienced in personal injury law.
The goal of any personal injury case is to recover compensation for the losses that you have sustained. The various forms of compensation are referred to as damages. Damages commonly sought in personal injury claims include pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of companionship or household services.