A serious personal injury (an injury to the body, as opposed to reputation or property) can change life dramatically and permanently in the blink of an eye. In legal terms, personal injury is defined as the mental or physical harm of an individual by the carelessness, negligence, or wrongdoing of another party. Our legal system gives those who suffer this type of trauma a way to obtain restitution for the negligence of the other party. For those who suffer catastrophic bodily harm due to another person or entity’s negligence or error, finding a trusted, experienced Austin personal injury attorney is a critical first step in this process.

Personal Injury Law in Texas

If you are hurt by someone’s negligence, it is important to take action quickly.  Personal injury law in Texas has a statute of limitations of two years. This means if your personal injury lawsuit isn’t filed in civil court within two years from the date of the incident, your opportunity to be compensated for damages is forfeited unless special circumstances exist.

It’s important to note that there are some cases in which you must act even more quickly. For example, if you are hurt by the negligence of the State of Texas, another governmental entity, or a government employee, you must act within six months of the date of injury. The Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) specifies that those with a personal injury claim against the State of Texas or any other governmental entity must first file a “Notice of Claim” with the appropriate entity within six months of the negligence before you may bring a lawsuit. Once the Notice of Claim requirement is satisfied, the two-year statute of limitations for filing a civil suit in court still applies. It is not always easy to tell when a negligent actor is a government employee, so it is always best to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury occurs. When filing suit against the State of Texas or another governmental entity, it’s a good idea to have one of our Austin personal injury lawyers on your side.

If you are injured by an entity, agent, or employee of the United States Government, an entirely different procedure is required.  For information on how to obtain compensation for injuries caused by an employee, entity, or agent of the federal government, consult our information on the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and contact our Austin, Texas office for a free consultation by phone. We handle cases against the United States Government nationwide.

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Damages & Settlements

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the objective is to obtain financial compensation for the damages — financial and otherwise — resulting from the error or negligence of the defendant.  Often when a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the defendant offers to settle the case without a trial in order to resolve the matter and reduce the cost of litigation.  Depending on the offer, accepting a settlement may be in your best interest because you will probably receive compensation much more quickly.  We have successfully negotiated settlements for many clients, including the family of a man who was killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler.  Upon investigation of the incident, we learned that the truck driver was using drugs at the time of the accident.  We negotiated a pre-trial settlement with the driver’s employer for a total recovery of $2 million.

The compensation you may seek in a personal injury case is divided into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.  Economic damages include monetary losses for medical bills (those already incurred and the cost of future medical care), lost wages (both past and potential future earnings), and costs to replace damaged property.  Non-economic damages include compensation for the pain, mental anguish, physical or mental impairment, disfigurement, and other similar damages that are more difficult to quantify.  Punitive damages are (rarely) awarded at trial to punish the wrongdoer in particularly flagrant personal injury cases where the defendant is shown to be especially malicious.

It is important to note that many states, including Texas, have passed laws to limit the dollar amount of damages in some types of cases.  For example, non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are limited as follows:

  • $250,000 for all doctors or health care providers other than a health care institution (such as a hospital);
  • $250,000 against a single health care institution;
  • $250,000 for each additional health care institution.

Cases very rarely involve more than one health care institution. Usually, the non-economic damage cap in a given medical malpractice case is either $250,000 or $500,000 total.

Punitive damages are limited to an amount equal to 2x the amount of economic damages awarded plus the dollar value of non-economic damages awarded, up to $750,000. In cases where economic damages are not awarded, punitive damages are capped at $200,000.

There is also a limit of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per event on personal injury damages in cases against state and city governments and local emergency services entities. Damages from other non-federal governmental entities that do not fall into the above categories are capped at $100,000 per person and $300,000 per event.

Case Results

$44,717,681 Trial Judgment

Air Force Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $20,000,000 judgment after appeal $15,752,732 received by clients with lifetime benefits $5,311,982 attorneys’ fees $232,364 litigation expenses Dickerson v. United States Sheppard Air Force Base Hospital Infant injured at birth as a result of pregnancy induced hypertension. Air Force providers failed to perform a…

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$32,676,410 Trial Judgment

Army Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $23,250,000 awarded on appeal $18,967,710 received by clients with lifetime benefits $6,347,611 attorneys’ fees $203,577 litigation expenses Lebron v. United States Fort Hood, Texas At Darnall Army Community Hospital, a doctor’s improper use of forceps crushed a baby’s skull, leading to massive brain damage, requiring…

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$21,592,643 Trial Judgment

Veterans Affairs Stroke Misdiagnosis $21,592,643.03 trial judgment $15,884,511.98 in trust for clients with lifetime benefits $5,398,160.76 attorneys’ fees $309,970.29 litigation expenses Farley v. United States VAMC Manchester, N.H. Our client went to the Manchester Veterans Affairs with a minor stroke. The providers failed to diagnose the cause of his stroke…

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$18,708,734 Trial Judgment

Army Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $12,000,000 post-trial settlement $8,704,761 received by clients with lifetime benefits $3,000,000 attorneys’ fees $295,238 litigation expenses Dominguez v. United States Darnall Army Community Hospital At Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas, providers failed to properly respond to a fetal heart rate monitor, causing the…

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$13,690,648 Trial Judgment

Navy Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $12,500,000 settlement $9,183,752 received by clients with lifetime benefits $3,125,000 attorneys’ fees $191,248 litigation expenses Brown v. United States Naval Branch Health Clinic, Millington, TN Navy doctors failed to properly prescribe prenatal vitamins containing folic acid which resulted in our client suffering a devastating spinal…

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$10,000,000 Settlement

Army Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $7,384,854 received by clients with lifetime benefits $2,500,000 attorneys’ fees $115,143.23 litigation expenses Guill v. United States General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (ACH) Failure to properly interpret fetal monitoring and failure to properly resuscitate at birth caused global brain damage. During delivery, our client’s…

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$6,500,000 Settlement

Air Force Medical Malpractice Brain Injury $4,581,969.98 to clients $1,625,000.00 attorneys fees $285,061.14 litigation expenses Timmons v. United States Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Air Force settled this case after its doctors and nurses provided too much oxytocin to our client and failed to monitor her labor and delivery, causing…

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$5,800,000 Settlement

Army Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $4,106,711.68 received by clients with lifetime benefits $1,450,000 attorneys’ fees $33,666.12 litigation expenses Humble v. United States Darnall Army Community Hospital During labor and delivery, the Army doctors and healthcare providers failed to timely and properly respond to the baby’s heart rate monitor causing the…

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$5,117,473.50 Trial Judgment

Air Force Medical Malpractice $3,475,648.35 received by clients with lifetime benefits $1,279,368.37 attorneys’ fees $412,914.78 litigation expenses Lee v. United States Randolph Air Force Base Clinic Military providers failed to provide our client, a child, the Prevnar vaccinations against pneumococcal pneumonia. When our client contracted pneumonia, the Air Force clinic…

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$5,000,000 Settlement

Army Medical Malpractice Failure to Diagnose $3,649,997.32 received by clients with lifetime benefits $1,250,000 attorneys’ fees $100,002.68 litigation expenses Spratling v. United States Martin Army Community Hospital The Army failed to diagnose aortic dissection, which resulted in the death of a mother and a permanent brain injury to her child.

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$5,000,000 Settlement

Army Malpractice Lawyers obtained a $5 million birth injury settlement for a Texas family. Towards the end of a healthy pregnancy, Gwendolyn Spratling presented to Martin Army Community Hospital in Georgia at the end of her third trimester complaining of sharp chest pain, radiating to her neck and jaw. She…

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$4,500,000 Settlement

Army Medical Malpractice Birth Injury $3,172,468 received by clients lifetime benefits $1,125,000 attorneys’ fees $202,531 litigation expenses K. White v. United States Winn Army Community Hospital Ft. Stewart, Georgia healthcare providers misdiagnosed a miscarriage and performed a D&C on a viable pregnancy. The baby survived the procedure, but had serious…

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury case is a lawsuit to obtain compensation for injuries suffered as the result of the negligence or error of another person or entity. They might be the result of medical malpractice, failure to maintain safe conditions at a public place, negligent or reckless driving, inadequate product safety testing, or any of a number of other negligent acts or omissions.

What can I expect from a Personal Injury Settlement?

The defendant or their insurance company in your case may offer a settlement in lieu of going to trial. If you accept a personal injury settlement, you will receive the agreed-upon amount after attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted and any liens have been paid, and sign a document that releases the defendant from any further liability.

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