A personal injury can be a traumatic experience, leaving you with physical pain and financial and emotional burdens. Fortunately, the legal system allows you to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Getting a Houston personal injury lawyer is a good start.
However, filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming and confusing. This guide aims to simplify the process for you by providing a step-by-step guide to filing a personal injury claim in Houston, TX.
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
The first and most crucial step after suffering a personal injury is to get needed medical care. Your health must always be your top priority, so ensure you receive proper medical treatment as soon as possible. Additionally, obtaining medical records and reports can be vital evidence in your personal injury claim.
Step 2: Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
While you can handle a personal injury claim on your own, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is recommended to take you through the legal process. A skilled attorney can help you gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
Tips For Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
Look for a lawyer specializing in personal injury law and with experience in cases like yours. Researching their reputation and track record, including their success rate and any disciplinary actions, is also essential. Additionally, consider their communication style and whether they make you feel comfortable and supported.
Finally, discuss their fee structure and any potential costs upfront to ensure you’re comfortable with the financial arrangements. Following these tips, you can find a qualified and reliable personal injury lawyer to represent your case.
Step 3: Collect the Evidence
To build a solid personal injury claim, you must gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. Which can include:
Medical records and bills
Photographs of the crash scene, vehicles, and your injuries
Dash cams or video
Any other relevant documents or information related to your injury or the accident.
Step 4: File a Claim with the Insurance Company
After collecting all the necessary evidence, your injury attorney will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This claim will include a demand for compensation for your damages, like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Step 5: Negotiate a Settlement
The insurance company may offer a settlement to avoid going to court. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company so you receive fair compensation for your losses.
Step 6: File a Lawsuit
Your attorney may file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Your attorney will represent you in court and fight for your right to receive compensation for your losses.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Houston
Here are some common mistakes people make when handling a claim without an injury attorney.
Do Not Wait Too Long to Get Medical Care.
Delay in obtaining treatment is a big part of insurance companies discounting or denying the injury claim. Also, significant gaps in treatment are a leverage point for insurers.
Taking the First Settlement Offer
Settling Your Case While You Are Still Treating
Never settle your case when the extent of your treatment is unknown or while you are still getting medical care. Early settlement shifts the loss potential to you.
Giving a Recorded Statement including Your Injuries Shortly After the Accident
Often, symptoms do not surface for several days after an accident. Do not give a recorded telephone interview before you know the extent of your injuries; we suggest not giving a recorded interview.
Be Aware of The Statute of Limitations in Texas
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years from the date of the injury or accident. This means that individuals who have suffered personal injuries must file their lawsuit within two years of the incident or risk losing their right to seek compensation. Personal Injury cases can take longer than many expect.
However, this rule has some exceptions, such as cases involving minors or those with mental disabilities. It’s essential to understand the statute of limitations in Texas to ensure that you act timely to protect your legal rights and receive the compensation you deserve.
Some Examples of Houston Personal Injury Claims
A lady is injured in a car accident in Houston. She is rear-ended when traffic slows on the highway. The at-fault driver is ticketed for the crash. Believing the claim is straightforward, she makes a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That insurer “accepts” liability.
Little did she know that the adjuster never intended to pay fair compensation.
The adjuster offers a lowball settlement and refuses to budge. Later, she hires a personal injury lawyer who files suit, and the case is settled for more than triple the lowball offer. Putting more money in her pocket.
About Texas Comparative Fault
Texas uses a comparative fault system that allocates between the parties to calculate the damages available to the victim. In Texas, a personal injury victim can collect damages if they are less than 51% responsible for the accident or injuries. Whatever percentage of fault is placed upon the victim under 51% reduces their compensation accordingly.
Shared Fault Example
For example, in a car accident case, a jury determines one driver to be 10% responsible and the other 90% responsible for a car accident. Damages were assessed at $100,000 for the victim. In this example, the victim would be entitled to $90,000 compensation or $100,000 awarded less a 10% reduction for contributory fault.
Filing a personal injury claim can be an intimidating process. Still, you can receive the compensation you deserve with representation and support. Remember to prioritize your health, hire an experienced attorney, and collect as much evidence as possible to build a strong case.
By following these steps, you can increase your odds of a successful personal injury claim.
Get Help From Baumgartner Law Firm in Houston
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069