This is the next post in our series on the handling of injury cases in which a Fort Worth area resident has been paralyzed. Our last article discussed establishing the amount of compensation in a paralysis case. It is important to understand that one must be compensated for future medical and economic needs as well as for the harm which has already occurred. In this post we will discuss another important topic – going to trial in such a case. We cannot stress enough that an attorney should be contacted immediately if you or a loved one have been injured by another’s negligence.
Paralysis cases will be decided by a jury. The jurors will determine a) whether the defendant is liable for the injury (meaning that the defendant is responsible) and b) the amount of compensation which the Plaintiff will receive. Liability can often be disputed as defendants may claim that the Plaintiff was the one actually responsible for the accident or that the Plaintiff was at least potentially responsible. If the Plaintiff is found to have been partially responsible then Texas’ comparative fault laws will apply. In our state, a victim can be up to fifty percent (50%) responsible for the accident and still recover money. Damages will be reduced by the percentage of the accident for which the victim is to blame. In other words, if a Plaintiff is found to have been twenty percent at fault, and damages are $100,000, then the Plaintiff will be awarded $80,000 ($100,000 of damages – $20,000 for the twenty percent). Liability and damages tend to be two separate issues – it is crucial that you hire counsel who is skilled at arguing each of these issues.
Trial will begin with the selection of the jurors. After the jury has been selected the Plaintiff will present his or her case. The defendant will then present their witnesses, evidence, and arguments. The Plaintiff will be able to respond to the defense’s arguments through rebuttal. At the conclusion of evidence the attorneys will make a closing argument to the jury. The jurors will deliberate and then return a verdict. This is a complicated process and requires that one’s attorney have an understanding of the rules of evidence. Hiring counsel, not experienced in such cases may be detrimental to the case.
When selecting an injury attorney it is important to choose a firm which primarily handles serious injury cases and in which the lawyers have substantial experience. We suggest retaining a firm in which the attorneys are board certified and where a full time investigator is employed. Finally, we suggest retaining a firm that is capable of advancing court costs and assigning multiple attorneys to your case. This is true whether you were injured in counties including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise as well as Fort Worth, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.