Below are some common questions clients want to have answered when they are considering whether or not to retain an attorney after being injured in an accident.
If I’ve just been in an accident, what should I do?
The first thing you must do is see a doctor, either your personal physician or one in an ER or urgent care center, and have your injuries treated.
Even if I don’t feel like I was hurt?
It’s common for a person to not “feel” an injury for hours or even days after an accident, especially if they’ve experienced soft tissue injuries to the neck or back. So even if you think you weren’t hurt, go get checked out. One reason to do so is, if you end up filing an injury claim and cannot document seeing a doctor immediately after your accident, the cause of your injuries can be called into question.
What should I do in the event of an automobile accident or car wreck?
After you know everyone is OK, start collecting information to help prove your claim later. For a good checklist of all you should do (and not do) at the scene, here’s a list of tips.
My accident happened a few days ago, and the insurance adjuster is already offering a settlement. I haven’t even filed my claim yet. Should I accept it?
Insurance adjusters typically try to get you to settle your claim as quickly as possible. They’ll say they want to help you get the money you need more quickly, or they don’t want you to “have” to fight for your insurance claim. Nice guys, huh?
But what you’re NOT told is how costly it is to settle early. At that point, you don’t know the full extent of your injuries or the full amount of damage to your property. The insurance company is trying to convince you to accept less than you deserve. Although any money may be tempting, your answer to a quick settlement should always be “no.” And then you need to find a lawyer, because it’s not the last attempt the insurance company will make.
How much is my personal injury claim worth?
It’s natural to wonder if it’s worth the time and trouble to pursue legal action instead of just accepting what the insurance company offers you. It’s sad to say that a number of victims hesitate because they don’t know how much their claim might be worth. If you accept the insurance company’s offer and sign a release, you surrender your right to claim additional damages. Since this is your only chance at complete compensation, you should discuss your case with at least one lawyer experienced in personal injury law. The value of your claim depends on several factors, including:
- How badly you were injured
- Your total medical expenses (not just what you’ve accumulated up to now)
- How long it takes to fully recover (of whether you’ll be permanently disabled and/or disfigured, and how severely)
- How much income you have lost and will continue to lose because of your injury
- The severity of your pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Whether your case allows for potential punitive damages.
How long could it take to resolve my case?
This depends on several variables, and no one can say for certain how long it could take. If a fair settlement can be negotiated out of court, your case could be resolved in as little as a few months. If negotiations fail and your case ends up in court, it could take a few years. Only about one in 20 personal injury claims end ups in court. Your attorney can explain this in greater detail and help to manage your expectations – therefore preventing potential frustration and stress..
How much will it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
The Terry Bryant law firm only takes cases for a contingency fee, paid only after a successful recovery. You never pay a dime for our legal services out-of-pocket. And it’s only a percentage of what you win once we secure a favorable resolution on your behalf that YOU approve. It’s very simple: if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas?
All Texas civil lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. This means you have a limited amount of time to pursue legal action after you’ve been wrongfully injured. That statute of limitations for general personal injury may not apply to your claim — there can be many exceptions depending on the specific civil action you pursue and other circumstances. You should not wait long to get started, especially since the insurance company that defends those who injured you is already hard at work to head off your claim. And if you don’t take action before the statute of limitations expires, you permanently forfeit your right to any compensation.
When I talk to an injury lawyer, what should I look for?
There are several questions you can ask when vetting an attorney’s experience and credentials, such as:
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law?
- What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
- Have you handled cases in the courtroom?
- What percentage of your cases had a successful outcome?
You should also ask questions about the law firm:
- What are the firm’s core values?
- How accessible is my lawyer when I need something?
- Who else is part of the team handling my case?
- What is the law firm’s approach to handling cases?
- What are my responsibilities in the legal process?
It’s important to listen to every answer and take notes. Then, you can compare lawyers and law firms you interview to make a well-informed choice. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when you don’t understand something, and if you think of other questions, speak up.
If you have any questions about filing a personal injury claim, we welcome them at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Call us at (800) 444-5000 or send us a note using this contact form.