What Is A Personal Injury Claim?
What Is A Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury is an area of civil law that involves injury to a person’s physical and emotional well-being. The purpose of personal injury law is to give an injured person legal rights to hold a person or company accountable for doing something that causes them physical, mental, emotional, and financial injury and loss.
Holding someone accountable for injuries typically involves awarding monetary damages for past and future expenses and losses such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and disfigurement. In other instances, personal injury law also allows the injured person to find answers as to why the person or company acted in the manner they did to cause the injury and prevent similar future conduct from harming others.
Personal injury law has helped make our workplaces a safer place, products less dangerous and our communities safer by making people and companies think twice about the potential financial consequences of their careless acts and behavior.
How Do I Pursue A Personal Injury Claim?
To recover under the personal injury laws in Texas, the injured person must file a claim against the responsible party. This typically involves direct communication with the responsible party and/or their insurance company. Claiming an injury is simply not enough. The injured party will have to show the responsible party had a legal duty, they breached that legal duty and the breach actually caused the injuries. Knowing the legal duty imposed upon the person or company that caused the injury requires having a clear understanding of personal injury law. Without this clear understanding of the law, an injured person’s claim can be compromised or entirely dismissed.
If the claim is presented correctly, most personal injury claims will be settled without having to go to court. But, was the claim settled for the full value of the damages and losses? It’s critically important to seek the advice and counsel of not just any lawyer, but an experienced personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers know the ins and outs of the law and can ensure the personal injury claim is properly protected. Even more, personal injury lawyers can present a compelling story of the accident and damages to maximize any financial compensation.
In some instances, a personal injury claim won’t settle outside of court because the responsible party simply won’t admit wrongdoing, is unwilling to pay full value for the damages, or any other number of reasons. Whatever the reason, an injured party will have to be prepared to take the responsible party to court by filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. It’ll require knowledge of the applicable laws, rules, and specific court procedures to keep a lawsuit alive. A simple misstep can end a lawsuit before it begins. Further, it’ll require money for filing fees, court expenses, and expert witnesses to prove the case. Preserving and pursuing a lawsuit can be difficult if you lack the knowledge, experience, and resources of a personal injury lawyer.
Call The Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP
Our lawyers have decades of personal injury experience. We handle personal injuries sustained from car accidents, workplace accidents, slip & falls, trucking accidents, and other accidents. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s actions, call 713.981.4100 for a free consultation. We advance all case expenses to file and pursue your personal injury claim. You won’t pay us unless we win money for you.
What Does It Mean If A Lawyer Is "Board Certified"?
Texas Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt or are dealing with the death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, consider hiring a lawyer who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law.
What Does “Board Certified” Mean?
In Texas, an attorney is able to apply for and obtain board certification in certain areas of the law. This process is strictly monitored and governed by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (“TBLS”). TBLS has established the requirements needed for an attorney to gain board certification in each practice area. As of 2019, there are 75,104 attorneys in the State of Texas. Of those, only 1,428 are board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. This means only 2% of all the attorneys licensed in Texas are board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law.
What Does A Lawyer Need To Do To Become Board Certified In Personal Injury Trial Law In Texas?
To become Board Certified, an attorney must:
- Practice law full-time for at least 5 years as an active member of the State Bar of Texas;
- At least 3 years of Personal Injury Trial Law experience with a yearly minimum 25% substantial involvement with Personal Injury Trial Law matters;
- Tried at least 10 Personal Injury Trial Law cases that met substantive requirements;
- Qualified vetted references from judges and lawyers in the area of law;
- Complete 60 hours of TBLS-approved continuing legal education in Personal Injury Trial Law;
- Meet all of the TBLS Standards for Attorney Certification; and
- Pass a comprehensive 6-hour examination of Personal Injury Trial Law.
Do I Have To Have A Board-Certified Lawyer For My Personal Injury Case?
No. However, if you hire a lawyer who is board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law, then you know they have fulfilled the requirements set forth by TBLS, and the attorney has the experience to handle your case.
For more information, you can visit the Texas Board of Legal Specialization’s website.
Can I Speak To A Board Certified Lawyer At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP?
Yes. Attorney Ian Hernandez is an experienced trial lawyer and is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. He obtained his board certification in 2010. He’s ready to speak to you if you’ve been injured and need help.
Why Is It Important To Seek Medical Treatment After An Accident?
If you were injured in an accident, it’s a mistake to avoid or delay medical treatment hoping the pain and injury will resolve on its own. It’s critically important to immediately seek medical treatment, particularly if you plan on pursuing a personal injury case. You’re not only risking your health but also the value of your legal claim.
Seeing a Doctor After An Accident Protects Your Health
Even though you may not feel any symptoms immediately after an accident, that doesn’t always mean you weren’t hurt. Right after an accident, the human body starts producing chemicals, endorphins, and adrenaline to help cope with any injuries. This is the body’s common response to trauma and often masks underlying injuries. As time passes, injuries may show up and begin causing pain and potentially other medical issues. Concussions and internal injuries left alone can potentially lead to other serious and dangerous complications.
By seeking medical treatment immediately, you can potentially avoid:
- A longer recovery time
- The injury getting worse
- More chance of re-injury
- Delay in finding medical specialists to help
- More serious medical complications
Following an accident, don’t avoid or delay medical treatment. Even if you’re experiencing little or no pain, you may have suffered a more serious injury. Go to an emergency room or urgent care immediately and report all your symptoms, no matter how minor. A healthcare professional will evaluate the extent of your injuries.
Should I Go To My Follow-Up Appointments?
Once you’ve been evaluated by a doctor and your injuries have been identified, it’s just as important to follow the prescribed treatment plan. Your treating doctor wants you to recover from your injuries. As such, you should fill any prescriptions, participate in physical therapy sessions and take the necessary time off from work or school as directed. You may start to feel better after some initial treatment, but follow all your doctor’s orders and treatment recommendations until you’ve been released. This will ensure your best chance for a full recovery.
Seeing a Doctor After An Accident Protects The Value Of Your Legal Claim
Should you decide to seek compensation for your injuries following an accident, avoiding or delaying initial medical treatment, and failing to continue with the prescribed treatment plan, can substantially impact the value of your legal claim. At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, our ex-insurance defense lawyers have handled thousands of personal injury claims and know a common defense tactic used by insurance companies is to argue the victim was not injured to the extent they claimed to be. Many people are unaware but medical records are actually evidence in a personal injury claim.
Medical records establish:
- A contemporaneous record
- Nature and scope of your injury
- Duration of your medical treatment
- A connection between your injuries and the accident
- Your future medical treatment needs as a result of the accident
- Documentation of your pain and suffering
- Amount of your medical bills
As such, the primary ammunition used by insurance companies against the injured victim was their own medical records. Arguments such as lack of injury complaints, delay in treatment, and time gaps in treatment were often used to justify underpaying a personal injury claim. Since medical records can be used against you, it’s important to seek, receive, and continue to receive medical treatment following an accident.
What Should I Do To Protect My Personal Injury Claim After An Accident?
Seek immediate medical treatment – In addition to protecting your health by identifying any potential delayed injuries early, seeking immediate medical treatment after an accident establishes a clear record of your injury and the necessary treatment plan. It’ll make your personal injury claim much stronger.
Report how you were injured – It’s important to report to the healthcare provider that you were involved in an accident. For example, if it was a slip and fall accident, provide specifics, such as “I stepped in a pothole at the grocery store parking lot today.” Your healthcare provider will need to understand how you were injured and document it in the medical records accordingly. The medical records will be an important piece of evidence in your personal injury claim.
Report all your injury complaints – When reporting your injuries, be specific and comprehensive. Don’t minimize your pain complaints or location of injury. This isn’t the time to be tough and believe the pain will resolve on its own. If you feel any symptoms, no matter how minor, report them to your doctor. Remember, your objective is to receive the necessary medical treatment to get better. Also, since your medical records will be used against you in a personal injury claim, you want a contemporaneous record of your injury complaints.
Complete the prescribed treatment plan – Failing to follow the treatment plan as prescribed can adversely affect your personal injury claim. For example, if your doctor prescribed physical therapy 3 times a week for 4 weeks and you fail to follow the treatment plan by not showing up to appointments or stopping the treatment plan two weeks early, the insurance company may argue you aren’t as hurt as you claim to be. Also, they may argue you failed to lessen your damages by not following your doctor’s recommendations.
Avoid any time gaps in your treatment – If your doctor recommends a treatment plan, follow it exactly. Any delays or time gaps in medical treatment can give an insurance company the opportunity to argue the injury was related to something other than your accident. Don’t give them the ammunition.
Hernandez Sunosky, LLP Fights For Injury Victims
If you’re worried about the cost of seeing a doctor, contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP and our Houston, TX Personal Injury lawyers can find you a doctor who will agree to see you for no up-front out-of-pocket costs.
How Do Insurance Companies Value a Bodily Injury Claim?
Top-Rated Houston, TX Personal Injury Lawyers
Liability insurance policies are intended to provide individuals and companies with financial protection when an accident occurs. Ideally, the insurance company would use the premiums it collects to fully compensate a victim for all injuries and damages their policyholders caused. However, that isn’t always the case. Plain and simple – insurance companies are in the business of making money. They simply couldn’t survive if they fully paid out every claim. Their goal is to limit, or even eliminate, legitimate bodily injury claims caused by their policyholders. To accomplish this goal, the insurance companies employ a wide network of well-trained claims adjusters, investigators, experts, and seasoned lawyers who work together to limit your claim.
Valuing a bodily injury claim is complex and varies depending on specific circumstances. However, knowing the factors an insurance company uses to value a bodily injury claim can make a difference in how much you receive in financial compensation.
The personal injury lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP include former insurance company lawyers who fight insurance companies on behalf of injury victims. We use 40+ years of collective knowledge learned from insurance companies to maximize your financial compensation.
What Is A Claims Adjuster?
Before understanding the major factors involved in valuing your bodily injury claim, it’s important to understand the role and objective of a claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is either directly employed or contracted to work for a particular insurance company. However, in some instances where a company may be self-insured, the claims adjuster may be employed by the company. In each capacity, the claims adjuster represents the company and will evaluate and value the claim with their financial interests in mind, not yours.
A claims adjuster will investigate the claim with the objective of “adjusting” it to what the insurance company deems, in their assessment, to be an appropriate amount. They assess the financial risk to the policyholder and work hard to pay out below the number they have determined to be the potential “risk.” As such, oftentimes the “adjustment” is a lower amount than the particular insurance policy limits covering the accident.
Claims adjusters typically conduct their own investigations, including, but not limited to:
- Speaking to the policyholder
- Inspecting property damage
- Reviewing photographs
- Speaking with witnesses
- Reviewing accident reports
- Reviewing medical records
However, claims adjusters will also rely upon their network of investigators, experts, and panel lawyers to provide information to them so they can adjust the claim.
The claim assessment is complex and includes consideration of a multitude of factors. To get this information, insurance companies require extensive, in-depth, analyses that consider the following major factors, among others:
Who Is At Fault:
One of the most important factors in evaluating the value of a bodily injury claim is the extent each person is at fault for the accident. Under Texas law, if you’re found by a judge or jury to be more than 50% responsible for an accident, you recover nothing because you’re deemed to have been a substantial factor in causing the accident. Anything below 50%, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For example, if you are determined to be 10% at fault, your total financial recovery will be reduced by 10%.
A claims adjuster will attempt to argue you were the primary cause of the accident or will likely be determined to be in part responsible. This is the insurance company’s effort to adjust your claim. Any potential settlement by the insurance company will take this arbitrary percentage of fault into account. This is why you need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to educate the claims adjuster on why the arbitrary percentage won’t fly at the time of trial.
Injuries and Medical Treatment:
A major factor considered in valuing your bodily injury claim is the scope of your injuries and medical treatment. Insurance companies will evaluate the severity of your injuries and critique the extent, frequency, and duration of medical treatment you have received and what will be needed in the future. Whether you timely received medical treatment after the accident (e.g., went to the emergency room or urgent care), made all your doctor’s appointments, or will require surgery are just a few factors insurance companies consider. Insurance companies will use the absence or limited and delayed medical treatment against you to “adjust” the value of the bodily injury claim down. That is why it’s critically important to not only seek an immediate medical evaluation but also follow and complete the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Doing this will protect your health and help preserve the value of your claim.
If you’re worried about the cost of seeing a doctor, give us a call at (713) 981-4100 and our lawyers will do our best to find you a doctor who will agree to see you for no out-of-pocket cost.
Even if you have health insurance, your medical bills are considered in valuing your bodily injury claim. However, it’s not as simple as adding up the medical bills that were incurred as a result of the accident. Factors such as health care liens or certain medical care received may not be deemed “reasonable and necessary” by the insurance company and their doctors. Also, there may be an additional calculation of future medical bills that need to be considered. That s why it is important to have the experienced lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP on your side to present the correct calculations to the insurance company for consideration.
Assessment Of Witnesses:
As part of its investigation, insurance companies and their lawyers will identify and speak to any witnesses. An assessment will be made as to how the individual will present as a witness should your claim proceed to trial. Questions such as: Did the individual actually witness the accident? Is the witness account consistent with your version of the accident? Is the witness an unbiased, third-party witness or a family member? are just a few that are considered in assessing your claim. In some instances, a case will require expert witnesses to be hired. It’s critically important they are highly educated, skilled, and present well as a witness on your behalf. Failing to identify supportive witnesses or those who make poor witnesses can impact the value of your case. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer to identify the right witnesses or challenge others through cross-examination can help preserve the value of your claim.
Venue is the location where your injury claim will go to trial if you file a lawsuit. Claims adjusters take this into account when assessing the value of your claim because some places are more favorable than others. Some claims adjusters may factor this component higher than other evaluation components in valuing a claim. Texas law is typically stringent on where a suit may be filed, but certain choices exist depending on the circumstances. An experienced personal injury lawyer can identify the best venue that is allowed by law and which will maximize the value of your claim.
The personal injury lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP have handled cases throughout Texas. We are intimately familiar with the counties and can identify the best venue that will help maximize your financial compensation.
Assessment Of Your Lawyer:
Claims adjusters know an experienced personal injury lawyer can help an injury victim navigate through the complexities of personal injury law and expose the true motive of the claims adjuster – to save money for the insurance company. Claims adjusters also know that an experienced personal injury lawyer who has tried cases and is willing to take your case to trial will add more value to your claim. Questions such as: Who is the claimant’s lawyer? Is he/she experienced in personal injury law? Has he/she tried cases? are often asked and evaluated. Claims adjusters want to know if your lawyer knows personal injury law or not, and if they are willing to take the case to trial, thereby potentially increasing their risk of an adverse judgment.
The personal injury lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, including Board Certified Lawyer Ian Hernandez, have tried many cases to verdict and handle each case as if it will go to trial. We know that’s the only way to maximize your financial compensation.
The factors discussed above are intended only to highlight some of the major factors claims adjusters use to “adjust” your bodily injury claim. Additional factors such as the impact of certain legal codes, statutes, and other laws on the claim as well as legal theories and potential defenses are also assessed. Insurance companies try to twist information in their favor. Our ex-insurance company lawyers are well-versed in defense tactics and strategies and can anticipate how the insurance company will react. We know what information they’ll need and know how to present it to maximize your financial recovery.
Contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP For Help. Free Consultation.
What Types of Cases Can Be Settled By Mediation?
What Types Of Cases Can Be Settled By Mediation?
Unlike on television, lawsuits don’t typically resolve in weeks. Lawsuits generally take months, or even years, to resolve. Factors such as the amount of evidence, number of witnesses, and the volume of cases filed in a particular court determine when a lawsuit will reach trial and ultimately to a resolution. Even then, there’s no guarantee the case will be over. A losing party may decide to appeal the verdict and continue the lawsuit to a higher court. An appeal can add years to a lawsuit.
Lawsuits can be very expensive. Filing fees, costs to obtain records, costs for depositions, and hiring expert witnesses can easily reach thousands of dollars or even exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. Often these are necessary expenses, but the longer a lawsuit takes to resolve, the more expensive it likely becomes.
Mediation is an alternative forum to help resolve legal disputes and minimize or avoid expenses. The objective is to bring all parties together and work out an agreeable settlement. Mediation is often favored by litigants because it can bring an early closure to a lawsuit and avoid ongoing costs. Many judges actually require parties to mediate before bringing the lawsuit to trial.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal, confidential legal process where the parties come together (in an office, by telephone, or via video conference) and present their legal positions to a neutral, third-party mediator. A typical mediation will generally last a half or full day, but sometimes the parties will agree to a multi-day mediation depending on the nature of the case and the number of parties.
The mediator is often a retired judge with years of experience handling various legal issues. In some instances, the mediator will be a practicing lawyer knowledgeable and experienced in a particular area of law that’s in dispute.
During mediation, the mediator will confer separately with the parties to discuss the pros and cons of the legal dispute from the parties’ perspective until an agreement is reached. This process often helps each party understand the other side’s position from an evidentiary, procedural, economic, and risk perspective.
Even when mediation is ordered by the judge in a lawsuit, there’s no legal requirement for the parties to reach an agreement. The only legal requirement in Texas is the parties who do appear at mediation must do so in “good faith”; that is, the parties must genuinely and sincerely intend to try to resolve their legal dispute during mediation. Thus, if the settlement proposed at mediation is not acceptable, the parties are not required to agree to its terms and the lawsuit will proceed in court. If a mediation settlement agreement is reached, the parties will memorialize their agreement in writing and conclude the matter. Further expense and time expended will be avoided with a mediated settlement.
What Types Of Cases Go To Mediation?
Essentially every civil matter can go to mediation, including:
- Personal injury lawsuits, such as car wrecks, slip & falls, and workplace injury claims
- Family law matters, such as divorces, child custody issues, and modifications
- Breach of contract lawsuits
- Probate cases
- Landlord-Tennant lawsuits
If there’s a legal dispute, mediation can be an economical and faster forum for resolving the matter.
What Are The Advantages Of Mediation?
The objective of mediation is to help parties who are involved in a legal dispute resolve their differences and find an agreeable solution to move forward. Advantages include:
- Quicker resolution of lawsuit – Parties can mediate at any time during a lawsuit. Thus, parties can decide to mediate early instead of waiting months or years for a trial date;
- Cost-effective – Mediation costs money, but the minimal costs can potentially save the parties from having to spend more time and money on pursuing a lawsuit through trial;
- Confidential – Unlike in court where everything is open to the public, mediation is confidential. What is said during mediation cannot be heard by others not involved in the case and can’t be used in court;
- Control – The parties are the decision-makers, unlike a judge or jury who’ll determine the outcome. The parties can agree to accept or reject the proposed offers at mediation.
- Guaranteed conclusion – Unlike a trial verdict that can be appealed and continue on for years, a successful mediation ensures the case will finally be resolved with a certain, guaranteed amount of money. Nothing is guaranteed with a jury trial.
Contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP At 713.981.4100 For Help.
The lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP are trial lawyers. We work every case as if it’ll go to trial. Our experience has taught us that if we prepare for trial, we can maximize our client’s recovery even at mediation. If the other side knows we are ready to take the lawsuit all the way through to trial, the chances of a full and final recovery through a mediated settlement are greater.
Should I Settle My Personal Injury Claim Out of Court?
Houston, TX Personal Injury Lawyer
When you’re seeking monetary compensation for a personal injury, the other party may try to settle with you to avoid having to go to trial. Sometimes the offered settlement amount is enough. But what if it isn’t? Should you take the settlement offer or take the case to trial? Deciding what to do can be tricky. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you make the right decisions. Your lawyer will explain the pros and cons of both options.
Reasons To Settle Out Of Court
A legal dispute involving injuries often settle out of court. There are many benefits for both parties to settle out of court, including:
- Guaranteed compensation. Settling your case before trial let’s you know exactly the amount of money you’ll receive. You don’t have to rely on a jury to side with you and give you the money you want. The terms of a settlement will be written out with all the terms. An experienced personal injury attorney can look over this paperwork before you sign to make sure your interests are protected.
- Saves time. Personal injury lawsuits can drag out for long periods of time. Your personal injury case is one of thousands of cases filed each year. The courts simply do not have the resources to hear civil trials immediately. Also, the court rules are designed to give each side time to adequately prepare for trial. Scheduling conflicts, witness unavailability, and other unexpected events can occur to further delay a personal injury trial. If you decide to take your case to trial, you delay receiving compensation. Sometimes even if you win, appeals prevent you from receiving your money right away. In contrast, when you settle, you receive the agreed-upon payment from the other party much sooner.
- Maintain your privacy. When you take a case to trial, details of the case become public record. Anyone can request to see these documents. Details of cases settled out of court typically remain private between the parties and their lawyers. Some settlements even contain confidentiality agreements to protect the case from being discussed with anyone else.
- Avoid appeals. Out-of-court settlements are final. Once you agree to a settlement and sign the settlement agreement, the case is over. If you take the case to trial, even if you win, the other party can appeal the case to higher courts. These appeals can take years and potentially decrease the amount of money you receive. An appeal may even overturn the result entirely.
- Avoids stress. Taking a case to trial can be stressful. People may worry about being put on the witness stand to describe the details of the case and face cross-examination. Often settling out of court eliminates these worries.
Reasons To Consider Going To Trial
Every case is different and unique. As such, there may be some circumstances which going to trial is a better option:
- Settlement negotiations break down. Parties involved in a personal injury claim rarely agree to the first settlement offer. Instead, they negotiate until they reach an agreement approved by both sides. Sometimes these negotiations fail to produce an acceptable settlement. If you feel the other party isn’t negotiating fairly or compromising enough, taking your case to trial may give you a better chance for a fair and full financial recovery.
- Maximizing your damages. During settlement negotiations, the other party may give you multiple settlement offers that don’t match what you think is fair. If this happens, you can choose to take the case to trial, hoping a jury will agree with your position and force them to pay a higher amount. Be careful using this tactic. Going to court removes your guarantee of receiving some compensation. It’s possible the other party could win the case, leaving you with nothing or causing you to spend time and money appealing the verdict. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether settling or taking your case to trial is the best option for you.
Protect Your Rights! Hire Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers To Help You.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP at 713.981.4100 for a 100% free, no-obligation consultation with our Houston TX Personal Injury Lawyers. We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees for our services. You only have to pay us if we recover money for you.
Can I File A Lawsuit For Injuries In An Accident?
No one expects to be involved in an accident. But when it happens, it can lead to serious injuries and sometimes death. Any losses—physical, mental, emotional, or financial—can become a huge burden on the injury victim and their family.
After an accident, many people don’t know what to do or know their rights. Many people don’t want to sue someone else because they aren’t the “suing type” or believe they were at fault for the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate and evaluate the circumstances of the accident and advise you of your rights. Many times, a third party can be identified as the responsible party and be held accountable for your injuries. You shouldn’t have to endure a second of pain or pay a dime out of your own pocket because of someone else’s fault.
What Type Of Injuries Can I Sue For After An Accident?
If you’ve been in an accident, Texas law gives you the right to sue for your injuries. Some common types of injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Scars and other disfigurement
- Sprains and strains
- Muscle tears
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash
Non-physical injuries you’re entitled to sue for include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium (loss of spousal relationships)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earnings capacity in the future
- Loss of household services
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
What Evidence Do I Need To Prove My Injuries And Damages?
Just because you were involved in an accident and suffered an injury doesn’t mean you automatically win your case. You’ll have to prove the extent of your injuries and your injuries were actually caused by the accident. Insurance companies routinely argue your injuries were already there when the accident happened and thus are not legally responsible for them. Common evidence used to prove your injuries after an accident include:
- EMS records
- Hospital records
- Doctor visit records
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Testimony from a doctor
- Testimony from family and friends
Trying to gather this information alone can be complicated and confusing. It can also get very expensive. An experienced personal injury attorney not only advances the costs and gathers the needed evidence from the right places, but also knows how to present the evidence to convince the insurance company to pay. Doing it alone can cause unneeded delays and potentially impair your lawsuit if not done right.
What Type Of Accident Cases Result In Lawsuits?
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, it’s likely you can file a lawsuit to hold others accountable. There are strict deadlines you have to follow and sometimes laws limit your right to sue, such as suing a governmental body. You can typically file a lawsuit after the following types of accidents:
- Auto and traffic accident
- Slip and Fall accident
- Workplace accident
- 18-Wheeler accident
- Burn Injuries
- Product Liability
- Wrongful death
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, TX
The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. Dealing with the insurance company and responsible party who caused your injuries can be difficult, especially if you’re dealing with injuries. Don’t do it alone. Contact the top-rated personal injury lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP at (713) 981-4100 for a free legal consultation. It costs you nothing to talk with us.
Auto Accident FAQ
Houston Auto Accident Lawyer
Have you or a loved one been involved in an auto accident? Many injury victims have no idea what to do after a motor vehicle accident. Here are the most common questions we receive from clients about auto accidents.
To get more specific information about your auto accident in Houston, TX, contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP to schedule a Free Consultation. Call (713) 981-4100 24/7.
What Types Of Auto Accidents Are There In Houston?
The types of auto accidents are the same pretty much anywhere, and they include single car accidents or collisions between other vehicles, people, property, or animals.
- Single auto accident
- Multi-car accident
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Public transit accidents
- Rideshare accidents (Uber and Lyft)
- Car accidents involving children
How Do I Get Compensation For An Auto Accident In Houston, TX?
One of the main things that accident victims have to worry about is being fairly compensated for their injuries. There are two main ways that this will generally happen, and each has its own pros and cons.
In an auto accident, resolving a case in a settlement means accepting the amount of money that an insurance company offers. One of the main benefits of handling a case this way is that it will typically end a case much quicker than going through the court system. In addition, a client and their attorney have a good deal of power during this process–they can negotiate until they get the amount they want and reject any settlement that isn’t acceptable.
Going To Court
If a victim doesn’t receive a fair settlement offer, filing a lawsuit is the only way to receive maximum compensation. Lawsuits typically result in a higher payout, but take much longer, and there is no guarantee that a court will side with you. Who you hire matters. Don’t hire any lawyer; hire a lawyer experienced in handling personal injury cases. Even more, hire a lawyer who’s not afraid to go to court.
After A Car Collision In Houston, TX, Who Do I Sue?
There are many parties who might be liable for your injuries, and ultimately it will depend on the facts of your specific case. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help determine who the best person or people are to seek compensation from.
If the other driver was driving under the influence or failing to obey the rules of the road, they could potentially be held liable. Additionally, a car manufacturer could be held liable if their car malfunctioned, and in some cases, a government entity could even be held liable if the conditions on the road are what causes a crash.
Should I Release Medical Records To Another Driver’s Insurance Adjuster?
Generally, it is important to remember that the other insurance adjuster involved in the case wants to pay you as little as possible. While they may ultimately need to see your records, they only need to see specific records pertaining to your accident. If records are not necessary, but the insurance company receives them, they could use any health information against you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help edit this request to ensure that only records needed are released.
Further, it is always important to have an attorney with you when you speak to your own insurance company. You want to give only the facts. Your own insurer has its own company as its priority, too, and so it also wants to prevent a payout. This is especially true when you need to file a first-party claim with your own insurance.
If I Don’t Feel Hurt After An Auto Accident, Do I Have To See A Doctor?
Certain injuries might not present symptoms immediately after an accident, and getting to a medical professional can catch those injuries. In addition, an opposing attorney or insurance adjuster might try to argue that a delay in seeking medical treatment means that a victim’s injuries were not actually from the accident. Going to the doctor after an accident can cut against these kinds of arguments.
What Should I Do After An Auto Accident In Houston?
First and foremost, you should contact emergency services and seek medical attention. But you also want to:
- Exchange information with the other parties to the accident, which includes names, insurance, driver’s license, phone numbers.
- Gather evidence, like pictures and video of the scene, the surrounding location, the vehicles, property damage, and injuries.
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses as well as a brief recorded statement, if you are able to do so because their recollection will be best on the scene and preservation of it will be best if recorded either in writing or by video.
- Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney so that you can obtain a good understanding of whether you have a compensable case and how to go about pursuing what you are legally owed.
What Should I Not Do After An Auto Accident In Houston, TX?
Here is what you should not do after an automobile accident:
- You should never leave the scene of an accident. If you leave a scene, especially when someone is injured, it is a hit-and-run, a criminal offense. You must stay with your vehicle and contact emergency personnel if someone is injured.
- You should not leave your vehicle where it can pose a risk to others. If you can, move the vehicle to a safe location. If you cannot move it on your own, contact someone who can.
- You should not ignore calling 911. Even when no one is injured, you should still contact 911. The police will investigate and write a report that can later be used to help identify liability.
- Do not forget to exchange information. Try not to let fear or anxiety get the best of you. You really need to obtain contact and insurance information from the other party involved in the collision. Insurance will be critical to the recovery of compensation.
- Do not underestimate your injuries. Some injuries are delayed (like whiplash) while other injuries may not seem serious (like bruising as there may be internal bleeding). You should get checked out by a doctor.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you think or know you are at fault, do not admit it. The other party may have contributed in some way, too. In comparative negligence states, you can still recover in most situations if both parties contributed to the accident.
- Do not contact or give a statement or documents to the other party’s insurance company. You must speak to your own insurance company, but you are not obligated to do the same with any other insurance company. To do so could jeopardize your case. Either your attorney or your own insurance company can communicate with the other party’s auto insurer.
Contact An Auto Accident Lawyer In Texas Today
If you’ve been in an auto accident, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP today for a Free Consultation. We can answer your questions, put together a strong case, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call (713) 981-4100 today or fill out our online form today.
Do You Have Personal Injury Questions?
Have you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an accident? Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be stressful and overwhelming. If you are dealing with a legal issue or have questions regarding the personal injury laws of Texas, let the top-rated personal injury lawyers at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP help you.