Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC provides high-quality legal representation for plaintiffs across Texas and New Mexico in personal injury cases. Because we understand how much you and your family depend on the compensation we can obtain for you, we focus all of our legal resources on a single goal: to maximize the amount we recover for you.
Our skilled El Paso personal injury lawyers are ready to fight for your rights in cases arising from:
- Auto accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- All types of catastrophic injuries
If you’ve been injured, call (915) 206-5154 for a free consultation. You can trust our firm to vigorously pursue the best possible result in your case.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Accident Claim
Whether you are filing a claim for a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident, you’re going to have to deal with the defendant’s insurance company. The insurance company is not only obligated to indemnify the defendant for losses, but to defend against lawsuits. So, you’ll be dealing with highly trained insurance defense lawyers whose sole job is to settle your case for as little as possible.
Their tactics include low-ball offers, long delays to wear down your resolve, and even counter-claims accusing you of negligence. The last trick is especially problematic for your case, because a defendant can reduce your compensation in proportion to your liability and can get out of paying you anything by showing you bear 51% of the blame for the accident.
Don’t be fooled if the insurance company initially appears to be concerned with doing right by you. When push comes to shove, they will do what is necessary to lower their obligations to you, and you’ll need a determined personal injury attorney to get the full, fair compensation you deserve.
Damages Available for Personal Injury Claims
The point of personal injury law is to “make the victim whole again” by restoring the victim to his or her pre-accident standing. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to rewind time and undo the damage, so our legal system imposes a duty to pay compensation in some amount equal to the losses the victim suffered.
These losses include:
- Medical Expenses: The at-fault party is responsible for reimbursing the victim for all costs related to the accident. These include expenses for care already received, which is easy to calculate based on medical bills, and future expenses, which can be more difficult to estimate.
- Lost Income: If a victim is unable to work because of the injury, lost income becomes part of the damage award. As with medical expenses, these losses include easily tabulated amounts of past income lost as well as an estimate of future losses due to the injuries. Lost income for hourly or salaried workers is generally easier to estimate than losses for commission-based professionals or self-employed persons whose income is based on establishing relationships with clients and billing for services rendered.
- Property Damage: Insurance companies are generally good about settling property damage, such as automobiles, clothing, and personal items. However, disputes can arise when liability for the accident or the value of certain items is unclear.
- Non-Economic Losses: This is the most difficult category of damages to estimate. Known generally as “pain and suffering,” these damages are designed to compensate a victim for consequences of the accident such as physical pain, mental anguish, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages: Rarely ordered in personal injury cases, these damages are meant to punish an at-fault party for particularly egregious behavior.
Although there are caps on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice cases, there is no cap for any category of damages in other types of personal injury cases, such as auto accidents, commercial truck accidents, or slip and fall accidents.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Generally speaking, an accident victim in Texas has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is three years. If that date passes and the victim has not taken action, the victim losses his right to demand compensation.
There are certain circumstances that could extend the statutory period:
- Discovery Rule: If an injury is not readily apparent at the time of the accident, the statutory period might not begin to run until the victim discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) the injury that the accident caused. Discovery is more often an issue in medical malpractice and dangerous drug cases, but latent injuries from a motor vehicle accident or a fall are certainly possible.
- Injury to a Child: If the victim is a minor, the statutory period is tolled (stopped) until the victim reaches 18 years of age.
- Defendant Cannot Be Sued: If circumstances make it impossible for the victim to file a lawsuit against the responsible party, the statute is tolled. Such circumstances include the defendant filing bankruptcy, leaving the state, or being imprisoned.
- Plaintiff Incapacity: The statutory period can be extended if the victim is not mentally competent to file a lawsuit.
You can eliminate all worries about the statute of limitations by consulting a capable El Paso personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. Call (915) 206-5154 today!