At Parker Law Firm, clients often come to us during a stressful time in their lives. Most victims have little experience with the law, and they are unsure of their rights. They are looking for answers about how personal injury cases work.
We’ve pulled together a list of the most common questions we are asked after our clients have experienced an accident.
1. What if the driver who hit me was uninsured?
If you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it’s much more difficult to get money for damages. Even if you sue the driver in court, if he doesn’t have insurance, he’s not likely to have other assets that could compensate you for your injuries. That’s why it’s important to hire a personal injury attorney to help.
2. Will I have to go to trial?
Most personal injury cases are settled before ever going to trial, however sometimes settling out of court is not the best option. A few instances where that might be the case is: the defendant does not offer a settlement; the plaintiff wants to go to trial; damages or liability are disputed; or the defendant’s settlement offer is unreasonable.
3. How long do I have to file a claim?
In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim following the date of the accident.
4. Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
You may be required to notify your own insurer when you are in an accident. If so, or if you aren’t sure what your policy says, you should inform your insurer about the accident within 72 hours. You don’t have to provide details, and you should never admit fault. You will more than likely be contacted by the other driver’s insurance adjuster soon after your accident. You are also under no obligation to talk to them, no matter who was at fault. We discourage our clients from giving any statements to the insurance adjuster.
5. Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement?
Brad says, “Typically no. Many times the insurance company will swoop in immediately following an accident and offer pennies on the dollar before the client knows the extent of their injuries. Wait and make sure you are well and not going to need ongoing treatment.”
An insurance company’s main goal is to minimize the payout so they can maximize their profits. That means that they do not have your best interest in mind. Accepting a settlement from an insurance company may be the quickest solution, however the settlement will be incredibly low as compared to what you rightfully deserve.
6. What if I was partially at fault for my car accident?
Car accidents are not always the fault of a single driver. In fact, in many crashes, both drivers are determined to have played a role in causing the crash. When this happens, neither driver will be awarded full compensation for their losses. How eligibility is determined will depend on the state where the accident took place.
“In these cases, the total amount of recovery will be reduced to a certain percentage depending on the degree to which each driver is at fault,” Brad says.
7. Who can be held liable in a dog bite claim?
Typically in a dog bite claim, the owner will be held liable. However, there can be occasions where a son or a daughter may own a dog and they are living with their parents. While the parents may not be the actual owner of the dog, the fact that they allow the dog to be at their home may create liability on behalf of the homeowner when they don’t actually own the dog.
8. What factors determine how much my personal injury case is worth?
The factors that determine how much a personal injury case is worth vary drastically. They can include the amount of injuries you suffered to the degree of negligence by the person who has injured you. It's difficult for any personal injury lawyer to tell before they start to investigate a claim how much the case is worth. A general baseline of how much a case is worth can be the amount of medical bills that you have accrued.
9. How long will it take to settle my personal injury case?
Every accident and injury is different. There is no specific answer as to exactly how long it will take for a personal injury case to finally come to an end.
Brad says, “A settlement for your personal injury case could be reached in as little as a couple of weeks if there is an insurance company or individual willing to settle quickly and move on. The case won’t get resolved typically until the client has finished treatment. A settlement could take up to a few years, especially if your case requires lengthy negotiations or litigation.”
10. Why do I need a lawyer?
Filing a claim without an attorney or accepting the first offer will diminish your chances of receiving a fair settlement. While some claims are small enough to be handled without counsel, the majority of them should involve an experienced attorney to make sure you receive reasonable compensation.
“You can turn everything over to the lawyer to process for you while you concentrate on getting well. We are going to be able to get you a better settlement. The legal process is complicated and can be overwhelming for those that do not deal with it on a daily basis. An experienced attorney has the knowledge and experience to help you through the process,” Brad says.
Parker Law Firm offers a free initial consultation, which means you have nothing to lose when consulting with us about your case. Call us at 817-440-3888 or visit parkerlawfirm.com for more information.