If you were injured due to the negligence of another, the Texas Personal Injury Guide was created by Austin injury attorney Daniel R. Smith to help people like you earn full compensation from the insurance companies.
Getting hurt can really shake up your whole life. When it is an accident, you can have a lot of unexpected expenses including mounting medical bills. You may be having a hard time paying these bills if you are missing time at work. Personal injury is a term that covers a lot of ground. There are many types of accidents that we can represent you for. The types of personal injury cases we handle include:
- Bike accidents
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bite cases
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall cases
All of these incidents can cause life-changing injuries and can leave you feeling really downtrodden. We will help you through every step of your personal injury claim and make sure you are going to be getting every bit of compensation that you deserve.
Types of Injuries and Seeking Medical Attention
Your health is the most important thing following your accident. You need to treat your body as a priority. You have to get to a medical professional as soon as possible. You cannot risk making your injuries worse by avoiding seeking a doctor. You shouldn’t just brush it off as a little pain. Get to a doctor right away and have them assess you. Here are the most common injuries from personal injury cases:
- Traumatic brain injury or concussion
- Nerve damage
- Tendon damage
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
As you can see, these injuries are severe and many of them have the potential to cause life-long effects and be permanent in nature. In the worst cases, these injuries lead to death. If you’ve lost someone you love in an accident, please call us to discuss a wrongful death claim. We can help you find justice in this most difficult time.
General Statute of Limitations
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations is the same for every accident in Texas unless it is involving a government entity, then it may be shorter. Your statute of limitations is the amount of time in which you can bring your personal injury claim or settle it in civil court. For everything that does not involve a government entity, you have two years from the date of the accident. Waiting longer than two years is not an option if you want to receive the compensation you deserve. You will be barred from receiving any compensation if you are past the allotted time. It is so important to get to an attorney right away to make sure that you are on track to have a good result. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the better off you are.
Avoiding Talking to Insurance Companies
Your attorney’s job is to protect your rights to full and fair compensation. The job of the liable party’s insurance company is to make sure that you don’t cost them a lot of money. They want to reduce your compensation or throw out your case entirely so that you don’t get to cost them a dime. We will work hard against their bullying tactics and make sure they are not taking advantage of you. It’s likely that they will call you and ask for a statement. They are going to come off as polite and helpful, but that is a way for them to get you to trust them. They are trained to ask you questions that are framed in a way to put the blame on you. If they can blame you, they will be able to reduce or eliminate your claim. Our advice is to avoid talking to them. When they call you, you have no legal obligation to give them any information. What you can tell them is that any communication can go through your attorney. They will make sure you are protect from the insurance company.
Texas Personal Injury Compensation
Texas follows the rules of modified comparative negligence. This means that you have the potential to get your compensation barred and reduced if the insurance company gets their way. As mentioned, they want to owe you less or no money. If you are blamed for 50% or more of the accident, then you will be barred from getting any compensation whatsoever. If you are found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident, then you can have your compensation reduced. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for an accident, and you are awarded $10,000 then you will be allowed to collect $9,000 of that award.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Personal Injury Guide
What Do I Do After I’m Hurt?
The first thing you should do if you have been hurt is seek medical treatment immediately and follow the doctor’s orders. That’s so you have the best chance at a full recovery, and if you don’t have a full recovery, at least recover the most that you can.
The next thing you need to do is seek legal representation immediately. Evidence gets lost and witnesses forget things. It’s important to hire an attorney so that attorney can investigate as quickly as possible.
Lastly, you need to hire the right attorney who is experienced in personal injury law and is a trial attorney. Insurance companies know who the trial attorneys are, and they treat trial attorneys differently. Consequently, they also treat their clients differently.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
The first thing with finding the right attorney is you have to find an attorney that you’re comfortable with and that you trust, and you should be able to establish that in the first meeting.
Next, you need to hire someone who has experience in personal injury law. Every car wreck is different. Every workplace incident is different. If you hire someone who just dabbles in that area, they’re not going to appreciate those differences and they’re much more likely to make a mistake.
Next, you need to hire someone who is a trial attorney. Insurance companies treat trial attorneys differently, which means they’ll treat you differently. That means they’re more likely to give you a fair settlement offer. At the same time, if they still don’t give you a settlement offer, we’re ready to go to trial because we have been working your case the whole time as if we are going to trial.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
You may be wondering, “What are the most common mistakes that people make when dealing with insurance companies?” The first most common mistake is giving a recorded statement. Insurance companies are there not to give you just and fair compensation for your claim, but to limit their exposure. The adjusters are specifically trained to try to trap you into answers that are misleading and trick you.
The next mistake that people make is they take the first offer. Insurance companies generally start by lowballing people in the value of their claims. They just want to get it done as quickly as possible and pay as little as possible.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
The first mistake people usually make is they don’t seek medical attention right away. If you’re injured, you need to go see a doctor. A doctor can tell you what you need to do to heal. People also make the mistake of not following the doctor’s orders. You need to follow what the doctor says so you can recover the most that you can.
Next, a common mistake that people make is they give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are not in the business of fairly compensating people for their injuries. They’re in the business of limiting the exposure to their insurance companies as they want to pay as little as possible. They’ve been trained to try and get you to say misleading things to limit their exposure.
After that, the next mistake that people make is they delay in seeking legal representation. You need to hire an attorney as soon as possible so they can investigate what happened. Lastly, people make the mistake of hiring the wrong attorney. You need to hire an attorney who has a large part of their practice devoted to personal injury law. If it’s not devoted to personal injury law, then they might not know the value of your case, which, in turn, will mean that you might not receive fair and just compensation for your claims.
How Long Will This Case Take?
Unfortunately, there’s no fixed answer to how long a case will take. A lot of it depends on the other side. The first thing that we have to know is if you are going to completely recover and, in the unfortunate case that you won’t completely recover, to what extent you will recover from your injuries. Before we can even ask an insurance company for any money, we have to know the extent of your injuries, which means that you have to finish your medical treatment or get to a stage in your medical treatment where we know how much you are going to recover.
After that, it really depends on the insurance company on the other side. Some insurance companies, some adjusters, are great and they’ll get a case resolved quickly. Normally we have to work a case up. What that means is that after we send them a demand, they have a few weeks to respond. If we get a fair offer or a number that’s close to a fair offer, we’ll continue negotiating. If we don’t, we file a lawsuit.
After we file a lawsuit, we have to serve the defendant. Sometimes that takes a couple of months, other times it happens very quickly. Occasionally, some people run away and try to avoid being served. After the defendant is served and an attorney on the other side files an answer, which is due 30 days after their served, the first thing that we do is we reach out to opposing counsel and try to get a trial date, and that way there’s an end in sight. Normally we try to get that trial date within a year. If a case is more complicated, it might need to be a year and a half or two years out.
What If I Have Preexisting Conditions?
Recently I was asked by a client if their preexisting condition was going to negatively impact their personal injury case. The answer to that is complicated. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis. However, legally, the other party is responsible for any change in your condition. For example, if your condition had stabilized and then you were in a car accident afterwards and was no longer stable, then they are responsible for that change.If your pain in your back from a previous back injury was generally between a four and a six, and then you were in a car wreck and now it’s between a six and an eight, they’re responsible for that change. They’re not responsible for all your pain, but they are responsible for the change in your pain and you should be fairly compensated for it.
Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
One question I get time and time again about people’s personal injury cases is if it’s going to go to trial. Most cases don’t go to trial, but some cases do. What we can assure you of is if your case goes to trial, it’s because you have not received an offer that you find acceptable. If the insurance company on the other side puts an offer on the table that you think is worth it, then you get to accept it.
Beyond that, if we do go to trial, you are going to be prepared. You’ll be prepared to give us the best chance of getting the best verdict possible.
Contact Our Office Today
If you were seriously injured because someone else was being careless or reckless, do not hesitate to reach out to us to set up a free consultation with our experienced Austin personal injury attorney. We will make sure that everything is in its proper order and that you are on track to have a successful claim.