Personal injury attorneys handle cases where someone was injured due to another person’s negligence. They usually offer potential clients a no-cost case evaluation and may represent you on contingency, which means they are not paid unless you receive a settlement or court-ordered compensation for your injuries.
Let’s discuss the responsibilities of a personal injury lawyer, what types of cases they handle, and how they help clients receive the full compensation they deserve.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury lawyers specialize in what is called “Tort Law.” These types of cases are private or civil, not criminal cases. When one individual or company causes damage or losses to another individual or company, this falls under Tort Law. A crime may or may not have been committed. If it was, it may be tried separately in a criminal court.
Examples of common personal injury cases include:1
- Car or motorcycle accidents
- Animal bites
- Aviation accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Bicycle or boating accidents
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
- Bad faith or breach of contract
- Pedestrian accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Slip and fall accidents
- Wrongful death
Going It Alone After an Accident
Of course, the party that caused your injuries or losses would rather you did not hire an attorney to represent you. Calls from insurance companies, doctors, law enforcement, and even the person who was involved in your accident will start coming in while you are still trying to recover. Bills will start piling up, and you might be tempted to take the first low-figure settlement offer you receive.
There is no need to handle all of this additional stress on your own, when an experienced Texas personal injury law firm will usually review your case for free. If they take your case, they will handle all of these headaches for you, and you can rest assured that you will receive as much compensation as possible while you focus on healing and restoring your life.
What Types of Compensation Are Available in a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury lawyers will represent your interests and help you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Some possible types of compensation are:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses and treatment costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional distress or pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or support
- Legal costs and attorney fees
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
Your attorney will provide legal advice and legal representation at every point along the way. They will start by gathering as much information as possible and will need all the relevant documentation you can provide.
What Should You Bring to the Initial Consultation?
- Police statements or reports
- Medical bills
- Medical treatment history
- Witness statements
- Surveillance footage
- Video or photographs of the scene of the accident or injury
- Any other concrete evidence or documents relating to your injury or accident
What Will Your Attorney Do in a Personal Injury Case?
- Explain your legal rights regarding your injuries. If you are injured in an accident that was caused by another, you have certain legal rights like being able to file a lawsuit against their insurance for your injuries. Your lawyer will help you understand what rights and options you have in your specific situation.
- Gather evidence and investigate claims. Your attorney will put together a strong case and track down the facts that will help prove if the other party was liable or legally responsible for your losses.
- Establish a monetary value for your claim. Your lawyer will determine what types of damages you can sue for and for how much. This will give you an idea of the potential amount you could receive through a settlement or trial.
- Discuss how claims against Texas government agencies work. Filing a personal injury claim against a government agency is different from a civil suit against another person. To begin with, you only have six months from the date of injury to file a formal claim.
- Explain how comparative negligence works. Texas allows for percentages to be assigned to the plaintiff and defendant in a personal injury case. If plaintiffs are less than 50% responsible, the amounts of their settlements are reduced.
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. When an insurance company is involved, having an expert negotiator on your side of the table will help you avoid the standard techniques that insurance claims adjusters use to confuse or intimidate people into admitting fault or accepting less compensation than they deserve.
- Send demand letters. Your attorney might draft a formal letter to the other party or their insurance company, summarizing the facts and demanding a specific amount in damages.
- Prepare pleadings. If a settlement cannot be reached, your personal injury lawyer will prepare a formal complaint or legal argument with the court, to which the other party will have 30 days to respond.
- Conduct formal discovery. This step may include taking depositions, interviewing witnesses, and taking statements from expert witnesses to support your case in court.
- Represent you at trial. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will be there to manage all of the legal aspects and argue your case in front of the judge.
- Help you collect your compensation. Because your lawyer is also waiting to be paid, you can expect the most timely settlement payments or court-ordered compensation. They can even file more legal actions if compensation is not received as agreed or ordered.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
While some people might think they do not need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to resolve their claim, they often receive far less in compensation than if they had retained their own lawyer. One important thing to remember is the other party’s insurance company has its own team of lawyers who are experts at personal injury law.
The goal of the insurance company lawyers is to try to shift the blame to make it appear you were partially or more than 50% at fault. If they are successful, then the other party will not have to pay as much in damages. Even when comparative negligence is not an issue and the other party was 100% at fault, the other lawyers will still try to get you to agree to a lower settlement.
Most people are surprised by how much they are entitled to receive after speaking to their own lawyer. If you were injured in an accident caused by another, it is time to contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P to determine your legal rights and how much you could receive in compensation.
If you have a case under personal injury law, we will handle your lawsuit on a contingency fee basis. Call our personal injury law firm in Houston at 713-364-0723 for a free, no-obligation consultation today!