The Patel Firm is a Corpus Christi-based personal injury law firm that represents South Texans harmed by other people’s careless, reckless, or intentional conduct. Personal injury law is the sole focus of our law practice. We believe that anyone injured because of another person’s or company’s wrongful actions deserves quality legal representation in seeking compensation for their injuries.
Our founder, Attorney Minesh J. Patel, has committed his legal career to the mission of providing an unmatched level of legal service to his clients across a wide range of personal injury matters. Our team is equally at ease representing clients injured in motor vehicle crashes, accidental falls, dog bites, and oil rig accidents, to name just a few. We have a track record of success to show for our deep commitment to serving our clients’ interests.
Not only has our team secured millions of dollars in recoveries for our clients, we have also earned our clients’ trust and praise time-and-again. Of course, no personal injury matter has a guaranteed outcome. However, clients of The Patel Firm can always rest assured that their lawyer has their back, and works tirelessly in their best interests.
A jolt, blow, or penetrating injury to the head, and accidents and incidents that deprive the brain of oxygen, can result in significant brain injuries that impair a person’s ability to speak, move, think, and feel. Brain injuries involve a complex and uncertain area of medicine. Recovering from a brain injury is not a straightforward or predictable process. Victims need strong support. Our team helps them obtain the compensation they need to afford the help they need.
Any kind of injury can devastate an innocent person’s life; burns, however, are especially horrific. Whether caused by fire, chemicals, or electricity, a burn inflicts intense, long-lasting pain. Treating a severe burn frequently requires multiple agonizing surgeries and months of recovery time. Victims commonly suffer permanent physical limitations and disfigurement. The team at The Patel Firm understands the excruciating process, and massive costs, associated with recovering from severe burns, and works tirelessly to obtain compensation for burn victim clients.
Spinal cord injuries devastate lives. Victims of these injuries, which are frequently the result of motor vehicle accidents and falls, often face life transformed. Spinal cord injuries can leave a person partially or totally paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair and in need of around-the-clock assistance with basic day-to-day activities, at least in the near-term. The medical care and life assistance spinal cord injury victims need can cost millions of dollars over a lifetime. The Patel Firm works hard to make sure those victims receive that money from the parties at fault.
Motor vehicle and industrial accidents often cause catastrophic injuries when a victim’s limb gets pinned or crushed under or between heavy objects. Oftentimes, doctors have no choice but to amputate the limb to save the victim’s life. Living with an amputated or non-functioning limb entails significant adjustments to one’s environment and daily activities, and requires long-term medical care, all of which cost time and money. The Patel Term aims to make sure victims of these injuries have the financial resources they need to adjust to the new normal.
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries happen every day. Accidents typically happen when you least expect them—spending time with family and friends, on your way to work, or during recreational activities. When accidents cause injury to those involved, the consequences can quickly become overwhelming. Victims often must focus on their physical recovery and emotional wellbeing, while handling the financial challenges of medical expenses and missed time from work.
In Texas, personal injury law provides injured victims with legal rights and protections. Accident victims who are injured due to another’s negligence may be entitled to compensation from responsible parties. Personal injury law intends to compensate individuals for damages related to an accident that was no fault of their own. The fundamental concept of personal injury law is that if someone has harmed you, he or she owes you compensation. The goal is to hold the at-fault party accountable and, as much as possible, make the injured party “whole” again.
Not every injured victim will necessarily be entitled to financial compensation from another. To recover damages in a personal injury claim, the other party must be legally liable for your injuries. Oftentimes, parties will be responsible for the injuries they cause when they are behaving negligently. To show negligence, you must prove an individual had a duty to act reasonably, they failed to act reasonably, and as a result, you suffered damages.
Formally, the elements of negligence are:
Statistically, some groups of people have a higher risk of death resulting from accident-injuries than others. For example:
Accidents cause a wide variety of serious and disabling injuries every day. Many factors may affect the nature and extent of a victim’s injuries. However, common injuries include:
Texas has adopted an “at-fault” system regarding car insurance. An at-fault driver can be held liable for any damages and injuries he or she causes in a car accident. Most drivers purchase liability insurance with the required minimum limits, which will cover their injuries, even when they weren’t at fault. However, the injured person can sue the at-fault driver for expenses beyond the minimums provided by their liability insurance coverage.
When appropriate, attorneys may utilize accident reconstruction specialists, highly qualified experts, doctors, and other professionals to analyze the accident. It is important to accurately determine what happened, who was at fault, and the extent of the resulting injuries. The claims process begins when an injured party and their attorney file a summons and complaint in civil court. Both documents must be properly served on the defendant, to give him or her notice of the lawsuit. Before proceeding to trial, parties typically engage in the discovery phase. During discovery, each party has an opportunity to discover evidence related to the other party’s legal claims and defenses.
During this process, the attorneys may request answers to interrogatories (formal questions), documents pertaining to the case, or depositions under oath of the parties and witnesses. When necessary, attorneys may bring preliminary issues before the court to be decided in advance of trial. The processes of discovery and preliminary motions can require a significant amount of time. Parties may consistently engage in negotiation discussions intended to resolve the claim before proceeding to trial.
However, should negotiations prove to be unfair, injured victims may decide to continue to trial. Just as nobody can predict the length of a settlement negotiation, the length of a trial is also difficult to forecast. During the trial, both sides present evidence. The judge or jury will determine if the defendant is liable and, if so, how much the defendant is required to pay in damages to the injured party.
Unfortunately, personal injury victims frequently suffer catastrophic injuries and financial losses. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they may have to adapt to lifelong limitations. Determining the amount of compensation a victim may receive depends on several factors, including:
The nature and extent of the injuries,
Whether the individual suffered any long term impacts or symptoms,
How the injuries and symptoms affected the individual, and
Whether the injuries resulted in death.
In Texas, damages generally fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easy to quantify, or put a price on, such as medical bills, costs of rehabilitation and future care, or lost wages. Non-economic damages are typically intangible and more difficult to quantify. For example, pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, disability, or disfigurement may be included as non-economic damages. In some especially egregious cases, the court may award exemplary damages to punish unethical or malicious behavior. When another is responsible for a victim’s injuries, they may be entitled to seek damages for:
Personal injury claims are commonly associated with car accidents. While car accidents are a major cause of injuries across the United States, are many other accidents cause injuries. Injuries frequently result from unsafe premises, defective or dangerous products, slips and falls, and medical malpractice, among others.
Vehicle accident injuries. Car accidents are a common cause of injuries everywhere. According to statewide statistics, a crash occurs every 58 seconds in Texas. If you suffered injuries from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting losses.
Slip and fall injuries. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, and oftentimes cause serious injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for more than eight million hospital emergency room visits each year.
Medical malpractice injuries. Medical professionals are required to provide patients with the standard of care that is universally accepted across the medical industry. Sometimes medical care professionals injure patients by failing to provide proper health care treatment. For example, surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, or incorrect medications can cause patients serious injuries. Medical care providers may be liable for malpractice if they acted negligently in providing medical care, in violation of the professional standard of care.
Product liability injuries. Americans use a wide variety of products to make their lives safer or easier, including child safety seats, power tools, or medical devices. Unfortunately, due to improper production or manufacturing, unsafe products may cause consumer injuries. Product liability claims pertain to personal injuries sustained when using a dangerous or defective product.
Dog bite or attack injuries. Generally, if a dog attacks someone, the owner is legally responsible for the resulting damages. Under Texas law, the one bite rule requires injured parties to show the following to recover damages for a dog bite:
The dog’s owner knew the dog had bitten someone before or acted aggressively towards a person in the past; and
The owner of the dog failed to control it, or prevent it from biting someone, and that negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Workplace injuries. Workplace injuries are quite common. The law associated with workplace injuries is often complicated. If you suffer a workplace injury, due to another’s negligence, and you do not have access to Workers’ Compensation benefits, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Assault, abuse, or neglect. Personal injury lawsuits are usually the result of negligence, but that is not always the case. Injured parties may also be entitled to compensation if they were harmed as the result of someone’s intentional behavior. In addition to any criminal court proceedings, injured parties may sue the wrongdoer in civil court for financial compensation.
Wrongful death. If another’s negligence or intentional act resulted in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may be entitled to file a “wrongful death” claim against the responsible party. Wrongful death claims intended to compensate families for losses suffered due to the death of their loved one.
If you have suffered a personal injury, the first thing you should do is seek medical care. Even if you do not think you have been injured, or believe your injuries are minor, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Many injuries may exhibit delayed symptoms that are not immediately apparent. For some injuries, such as brain injuries, victims may not experience symptoms for days or weeks after the injury. Delaying treatment doesn’t mean you cannot recover damages.
However, it may allow the opposing side to argue that the accident did not cause your injuries. After an accident, insurance representatives may try to arrange a quick settlement or urge you to sign away your rights. At first, you may be attracted to a settlement, thinking the compensation will allow you to move on with your life. Quick settlement offers may be an attempt for the insurance company to avoid paying the full value of your claim.
Don’t let anyone intimidate, threaten, or pressure you into signing a settlement agreement without discussing the offer with an experienced attorney. You should begin gathering and preserving evidence as soon as possible. Evidence may become more difficult to collect as time passes.
Injured victims should try to:
We tend to hear about personal injury cases that go to trial, but there are ways to settle a case outside of the courtroom. In reality, only about 2 percent of personal injury cases go to trial. Most cases are settled out of court or even before the injured person files a lawsuit. A victim’s attorney may negotiate with the opposing party to try to agree on an acceptable settlement.
If the parties agree on a settlement out of court, a judge or jury is not required to determine the amount of compensation awarded. Mediation and arbitration are other methods of alternative dispute resolution.
Such alternatives are usually quicker and less expensive ways of resolving the case than proceeding to trial. In these situations, the lawyers and clients meet and present the facts and arguments before an impartial legal representative.
Personal injury cases are complex, with many rules and procedural deadlines. The statute of limitations provides a window of time within which an injured victim may file a personal injury claim.
In Texas, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so you should consult an attorney to advise you on the appropriate time limits. Injuries can be physically, emotionally, and financially life-altering.
Experienced personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. For more information or to schedule a free evaluation, contact an experienced, dedicated attorney at The Patel Firm.
Contact us today to discuss your legal options.