Personal Injury FAQ
When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
You should contact a Houston personal injury attorney as soon after an accident as possible if you believe another party may be at fault for the accident. The sooner you get an experienced injury lawyer, the better!
The Statute of Limitation in Texas varies for certain types of accidents. For instance, in Texas, an auto accident involving a third party is generally governed by the 2-year Statute of Limitation. This means a lawsuit must be on file and the offending party served with the lawsuit no later than two years from the date of your accident or the case must have been completely resolved by that date.
There are certain exceptions to this general rule that may shorten or lengthen the period depending on the facts. If you miss that 2-year deadline, your right to compensation may be forever lost. In some cases and in some states, the Statute of Limitation or Statute of Repose may be shorter, and in some cases, it is longer. Certain Statutes of Repose may also affect some claims, such as injuries caused by older products.
How much is my injury case worth?
This is a very difficult question for a personal injury lawyer to answer without having all of the information available. Determining the worth of a personal injury claim depends upon how seriously you are injured, the liability facts of the case, and the insurance limits that may be available. Every case has three elements that an experienced personal injury attorney analyzes to determine what they feel the true value of a claim may be.
Those areas are 1. Liability 2. Damages 3. Insurance.
Determining the case’s value is something that is learned over many years of practice as an attorney handling personal injury claims. There is no set formula to determine the value of any injury claim. Based on our many years of experience with Texas personal injury cases, we may be able to estimate the range of the value of your case after we have reviewed all medical records and important evidence that may be admitted into the trial of the case.
Generally, some important factors include:
- Your doctor’s testimony regarding your injuries;
- The facts surrounding the accident- responsibility for the accident;
- Disability or inability to work;
- Whether or not punitive damages may be appropriate; and
- The type of case.
Other factors that may be relevant in determining the range of the value of a case include the number of your medical expenses, the testimony from your doctors, and the claims history of the plaintiff.
To speak with a leading accident and injury attorney call (281) 587-1111 for a no-obligation consultation.
Can I handle the personal injury claim by myself?
The answer is possibly, but why would you want to? In general, the more serious the accident the more likely it is that you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you.
For real serious injuries, it is almost a necessity that an attorney helps you in order to get the highest net amount of compensation possible. For cases that involve very minor injury, it is possible that you may be able to handle the claim yourself.
There is a reason why the insurance company does not want you to hire an attorney and it is not because they’re looking out for your interests. Insurance companies do not want you to retain an attorney, especially in very serious injury cases and cases with substantial liability insurance because they don’t want to pay would be fair justice in the case. Your first clue that you need a personal injury attorney is when you hear the words you don’t need an attorney for this or we accept responsibility.
Do I have a case?
This is the first question that many people ask after being injured in an accident. Getting hurt is not enough to have a case. The personal injury case is much like a stool, it must have three strong legs to stand. In a personal injury context, those legs are liability, damages, and ability to pay. All three are necessary for a satisfactory civil result from an accident.
For liability, an easy approach is to ask “what did they do wrong“. If you can’t answer that question, you may not have a case.
For damages, ask “what are my injuries“. It is not enough that something bad might have happened.
On the ability to pay ask “what insurance coverage is available for this accident“?
Finally, each situation will be evaluated by an injury lawyer to determine if the law firm thinks the case is a viable one. Some cases such as product liability are very expensive and risky for a lawyer to accept. In that event, the damages (and potential payday for the law firm) must justify the time and money commitment to take the case.
How long will my case last?
A claim may be settled in a matter of months or a lawsuit may last years.
Every case is different and involves different issues. As such, some cases are resolved in very little time depending on the parties, the events surrounding the accident, and the adjusters and/or attorneys involved. An exact timeframe cannot be given although once you contact a car accident attorney, they will be able to tell you the process and procedures involved in making a claim against another party and the approximate amount of time it would take to litigate such a claim.
What kind of expenses are involved?
The Baumgartner Law Firm operates on a contingency fee basis which means there is never an upfront fee. Once the firm evaluates and accepts the case, the client is asked to sign a retainer agreement. In that document, the injured party agrees to pay the attorney a percentage of whatever recovery is made. Also, the injured party agrees to reimburse, from the settlement, any expenses the attorney may have incurred for things such as court filing fees, investigator costs, medical records, expert fees, deposition costs, etc.
At no time is a client asked to pay these case expenses upfront. Also, if the case does not result in a settlement or verdict, no fee or reimbursement of expenses is required by Baumgartner Law Firm.
Call (281) 587-1111 to schedule a no-obligation consultation on your case with a top-rated truck accident lawyer.
What do injury victims need to know?
Call an experienced personal injury law firm as soon as possible after an accident. Do not delay as the longer you wait the harder you make it on the attorney.
Cooperate and be completely honest with your attorney and his staff. All conversations are subject to the attorney-client privilege and cannot be divulged to any outside party.
Do not speak with insurance adjusters or anyone else who might contact you without your attorney’s permission.
Follow your doctor’s instructions to help ensure a complete recovery and proper healing of your injuries.
Do not sign any documents without reading and understanding them. When in doubt, consult an attorney.
To speak with preeminent rated attorney Greg Baumgartner call (281) 587-1111.
Why is it important to hire an attorney early?
The sooner you hire a reputable and experienced lawyer, the easier it is for them to protect your best interests.
The more serious the damages, the more important it is to hire an attorney as early as possible after an accident. For very serious injury claims or wrongful death cases, an early investigation can be very beneficial to document the facts of the accident.
Additionally, retaining an attorney will keep you from making the mistake of giving a written or recorded statement to an adverse insurance adjuster or making a mistake in handling your claim.
The insurance adjuster contacting you has gone to lengthy training to learn how to handle a claim to pay the least amount possible for his or her employer – the insurance company.
Unless you are an attorney or experienced in claims handling processes, you are at a big disadvantage with the insurance adjuster.
What do I need to do to get a lawsuit started?
Retaining the appropriate attorney for your case starts the process.
You should contact the Baumgartner Law Firm as soon after an accident as possible to determine whether the case can be settled for full compensation before filing a lawsuit. If this is not possible, on cases we accept, the attorney will file the lawsuit on your behalf.
Can I get a lawsuit started for an injured family member?
Can you help me get medical care if I have no insurance?
Yes, if we take your case, we can assist in getting you the needed medical treatment for your injuries. Often with no out-of-pocket expenses to you at the time. Many doctors will agree to treat you and get paid out of your settlement.
How is a accident claim valued?
All claims are different. However, the issues and injuries in some claims may be similar to prior cases, and such a claim may be compared to previous claims that involve the same issues and the same type of injuries and losses. Experienced personal injury attorneys learn the value range of cases by experience. See “How much is my case worth?” above for a more detailed answer. Call the top-ranked lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm at (281) 587-1111 to discuss your case.
Why should I hire an accident attorney?
To protect your rights and the rights of your family. Making a wrongful death or personal injury claim is complicated and requires knowledge of the law from an experienced personal injury attorney. The more serious your case, the more important your choice of attorney.
Studies have shown people with the best lawyers net more money in their pock than those who decided they could represent themselves with an injury claim.
Should I try to settle an injury case myself?
Some cases can be handled without an attorney, which usually involves a minor injury and a complete and speedy recovery. If your injuries are severe, trying to settle the case yourself often hurts your case.
With serious injuries, the insurance company may say things early on like “we accept responsibility” and lead you to feel like they will be fair, but once the subject of money comes up, people quickly realize they need an attorney.
Unfortunately, sometimes a long delay in getting an attorney on your side can do damage to your case.
Can I afford the best personal injury attorney?
Yes. The top-rated personal injury lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm will handle your case based on a contingency fee arrangement which means we will pay all expenses in prosecuting your case and will be reimbursed out of any settlement or verdict collected. At that time, you will also pay out of the settlement a legal fee which will be an agreed-upon percentage when you first retain the law firm to handle your case. Contact us today at (281) 587-1111 to discuss your case.
Do I have a case if I was partly to blame?
You may very well have a case even if the accident was caused in part, by your actions. Texas is a comparative responsibility, also called a proportionate responsibility state. This means that as long as your fault is not found to be more than fifty percent, you can still collect damages.
Please feel free to contact our law firm to evaluate the circumstances involved and make that determination. We handle many types of accident cases, including motorcycle accidents, and other cases.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Texas for personal injury?
Texas has a general statute of limitation for personal injury claims that can bar a claim not timely brought. The general statute of limitations is two years from the accident date.
There are other issues that personal injury claimants should be aware of, such as short notice provisions that must be met for certain governmental entities and the Statute of Repose that also may affect cases involving dangerous drugs or dangerous products.
Personal injury victims should not delay in contacting an attorney to help them and should never wait until the last minute to contact an attorney. Many law firms will not accept a case that is close to the statute of limitations.
If you have questions about the statute of limitations or another personal injury question- call us at (281) 587-1111.
What is the difference between personal injury damages and punitive damages?
Almost everyone has heard about “punitive damages”, they are also called “exemplary damages” and are sparingly available in some personal injury cases in Texas.
In Texas, personal injury damages, also known as “actual damages”, can include the following items:
- Medical expenses that were paid or incurred as a result of the accident.
- Physical pain and mental anguish.
- Lost income
And in a typical personal injury trial, such as an automobile accident, the judge or the jury is usually asked to come up with a number for each of the areas of damages sustained that would reasonably compensate the innocent personal injury victim.
Recent changes to Texas law such as “tort reform” have dramatically affected the justice available to many personal injury victims. And in fact, a drunk driver can receive the benefit of a personal injury victim’s personal health insurance without having to compensate the person they hurt for the insurance premiums that the victim has paid.
That aside, punitive damages or exemplary damages are punishment damages designed to curtail similar conduct to protect our community.
Punitive damages are not available in every case and require a situation where the defendant has knowingly acted with an extreme disregard for the health and safety of the community when injuring the victim.
An example would be a situation where a driver knew he or she was intoxicated and chose to drive home, knowing drunken driving accidents could lead to serious injury or death. There are other examples, such as companies ignoring safety warnings and other actions or inactions where a person or company acted maliciously.
Punitive damages are covered by statute in the state of Texas, and the statute can be found in Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 41.
If you have questions regarding exemplary or punitive damages and would like to speak to an experienced punitive damage attorney, call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation – at (281) 587-1111.
I was hit by a person without insurance coverage, what can I do?
Generally, if you’re in an accident with someone who did not have insurance the first thing you do is look at your insurance coverage to help you pay your medical bills and also for your damages.
If you have coverage under your own automobile policy for underinsured or uninsured motorists, you may be able to look to that policy for help.
Often people are covered by insurance policies of which they are not aware. If you’re a passenger in someone else’s car, you may be covered under their automobile policy for underinsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection. Find out more on our Houston car accident lawyer page.
Truck Accident FAQ
Are truck accidents valued differently than a car-to-car wreck?
Truck accident claims are valued differently from passenger car accidents for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that 18-wheelers are required to carry commercial insurance policies with large liability limits.
Another reason is that Texas juries have not been very understanding when a professional trucker breaks the rules and endangers our community. At the Baumgartner Law Firm, we are proud of our truck accident lawyer’s undefeated record in truck wreck cases.
We have won numerous multi-million dollar cases. Please see our results page for some of our recent truck accident cases. Call (281) 587-1111 to speak with a nationally recognized law firm with a track record of success!
How are truck accidents different?
Truck accidents usually involve much more serious injury and often wrongful death claims. Additionally, trucking companies and professional truck drivers are subject to specific rules that establish a standard of care that is different from that of a typical automobile driver.
It is imperative that the attorney for a truck accident has experience in truck accident litigation.
Can all personal injury attorneys handle truck accident cases?
Yes, but that does not mean that you want to hire just any personal injury attorney to prosecute a truck accident claim. This is particularly true with a very serious injury or wrongful death.
Most motor carriers are covered by a small number of insurance companies that keep records on the attorneys they deal with and those who know how to handle a truck accident claim from start to finish.
Who you hire can have a big impact on your bottom line in the case. Get a preeminent-rated lawyer for your case if your injuries are substantial or you have lost a family member.
What is a quick response team for commercial vehicle wrecks?
Our nationally recognized law firm maintains a quick response team, which is a team that is put together to investigate a severe truck accident quickly.
The team includes accident reconstruction experts, attorneys, and investigators. The trucking company and truck driver will have their own quick response team, and victims of truck wrecks should not be put at a disadvantage by hiring just anyone.
Are 18-wheeler accident cases valued differently from other cases?
While the elements of damages that are submitted to a jury for an 18-wheeler accident are the same for another type of personal injury case, the liability factors for an 18-wheeler wreck can enhance recovery for a personal injury victim.
The fact that the trucking company and the professional truck driver have to comply with safety regulations can make a big difference in the outcome of the case. 18- wheeler accident attorneys and insurance companies generally value commercial vehicle accidents differently than automobile accidents Learn more about representation for 18-wheeler accident cases and see our recent truck crash results.
Car Wreck and DUI Accident FAQ
What are some DOs and DON’Ts after a car accident?
DO seek prompt medical care for your injuries.
DO call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
DO NOT admit fault or liability for causing the accident, even if you are not sure who caused the accident.
DO NOT speak with insurance adjustors from any company before contacting an experienced lawyer to learn of your rights.
DO take photographs of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved, particularly when the damage to the vehicles is significant.
DO hire an experienced car accident lawyer asap after the accident.
Visit our Houston car accident injury page to learn more.
The driver who hit me didn’t have insurance – what should I do?
If you are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you may have a claim under your own auto insurance policy if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If so, your own insurance company stands in the place of the uninsured driver, and that makes you adverse to your own insurance company.
The best approach is to contact a personal injury attorney to represent you in your underinsured or uninsured motorist claim.
Call the Baumgartner Law Firm (281) 587-1111 for a free consultation or send us an email.
Should I give the insurance company a tape-recorded statement?
No- if you were injured due to the other driver’s fault, we suggest you do not give any statements without talking with a lawyer first.
Cooperation with your insurance company is encouraged, but we suggest you do not give any type of statement to an adverse insurance adjuster and never discuss your injuries or how the accident happened without first contacting an attorney. Call (281) 587-1111 for a no-obligation consultation.
Visit our car accident page to learn more about what to do after an accident.
What should I know before hiring an attorney?
You should know that the Baumgartner Law Firm has a track record of success in fighting for maximum compensation for serious injury and wrongful death cases. You will also want to know which attorney will actually handle the day-to-day activity of your case. Many law firms hand you off to an associate with little experience to work your case.
The attorney you choose for your accident lawyer does matter!
What does Personal Injury Protection Insurance cover?
Texas personal injury protection (PIP) is coverage that your automobile liability insurance company must offer. Consumers can reject the coverage, but they must do so in writing.
We advise families to purchase personal injury protection if they can afford it because it provides extra protection in the way of medical bills, 80% of lost income, and the value of household duties if you cannot perform them – all up to the limits of your personal injury protection coverage.
Usually, personal injury protection comes in the amount of $2500 but can be written for much higher limits. Importantly, personal injury protection is payable regardless of who is at fault and should cover those who are in your vehicle as well.
There can easily be more than one personal injury protection policy that may apply in a given accident if you have questions regarding a car accident or personal injury protection claim contact the Baumgartner Law Firm.
What should I look for when choosing an attorney?
Experience and success in handling serious injuries and wrongful death and the ability to obtain the highest compensation possible in personal injury and fatal accident cases. You will also want to make sure the attorney you choose has substantial experience with the exact type of case you have.
Look to the results page for good evidence of the type of cases the firm usually handles.
Do you have any advice on handling property damage claims?
One of the most frustrating things for most personal injury victims is dealing with the adverse adjuster. Crash victims are unaccustomed to the procedures and often are mistreated by the adverse adjuster.
There are a few tips for handling your own property damage claim after a car accident.
*If the accident is clear as far as who is responsible for the crash, take your vehicle to the repair shop of your choice and let them deal directly with the adverse insurance company on necessary repairs.
* Always inspect the repairs carefully before you accept your vehicle, and don’t be afraid to take the vehicle back if it is not repaired to your satisfaction after being driven off from the repair shop.
* On newer vehicles, you may want to consider claiming diminished value as trying to sell a wrecked car will not bring the same amount as a car that has never been wrecked. You can get an estimate from the dealer that sold you the vehicle to provide to the insurance company.
Expect a major fight on this issue. If the adverse insurance company is not prepared to accept responsibility for repairs to your vehicle or is trying to stick you with the portion of the repairs, consider making a claim with your own automobile insurance company under the collision coverage and ask that your insurance company collector deductible from the adverse party. While most people don’t want to go this route, it is the preferred method to get your car repaired or replaced quickly.
*On total loss claims, be ready to state your belief in the value of your vehicle. You should have gone online and found comparable statistics for the fair market value of a vehicle like yours. Of course, expect the insurance company to lowball their offer based upon some criteria that may not make sense to you.
If you have the backup data provided to the adjuster so you can provide a reasonable basis for the amount that you feel your car is valued out at the time of the wreck. Additionally, you should be entitled to tax, title, and license fees for the value of your vehicle.
Most lawyers do not handle property damage cases after a car accident because there is no way for the lawyer to be paid for their time.
Why documenting the accident scene is so important
With drunk driving accidents and other car accidents, documenting the scene while at the scene of the accident can help the story from changing later on by the defendant. Photographs or even videos of the final resting positions of the vehicles, skid marks, and damage to the vehicles can be extremely powerful evidence in explaining to the jury exactly what happened.
Many defendants end up changing their stories after the accident. Documenting the scene can help prevent that.
What other information is important in a drunk driving accident case?
Depending on the severity of the injuries, where the defendant got drunk can be important evidence. The potential dram shop case might be available if a commercial provider of alcohol continued to serve the defendant once he or she was obviously intoxicated. Witnesses at the bar can also be critical help.
Will exemplary damages be available in a DWI case?
Possibly – many drunk driving car accident cases are ripe for submission of a punitive damage claim. Whether or not punitive damages are covered by insurance is another question. Call our experienced DWI accident lawyers for a free consultation.
Do I sue the other driver or their insurance company?
It is a common misconception in Texas that people injured in a car wreck would sue the other person’s insurance company to obtain personal injury damages. That’s not how it works in the state of Texas.
Here, a lawsuit over a car accident is filed against the individual driver (and perhaps his company if on the job), and not against the person’s insurance company.
If your damages may exceed the liability limits of the individual driver, you may, in fact, want to add your own insurance company as a defendant if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to pursue.
Wrongful Death FAQ
Which relatives are allowed to sue for wrongful death?
In Texas, that is generally the deceased’s spouse, parents, and children. Call our Houston wrongful death lawyers at (281) 587-1111 to discuss a wrongful death claim on your behalf.
The law establishes which persons may be entitled to compensation for loss or injury. It is always wise for any family member of a person who has been severely injured or killed in an accident to contact a wrongful death lawyer immediately after the accident to evaluate the matter and determine which family members may be entitled to compensation.
How is the value of a wrongful death case determined?
It is impossible to place a monetary value on the life of a loved one. Nothing can be done to bring them back. The law allows for certain damages for the loss of a loved one in some cases. For a free consultation with a Houston wrongful death lawyer, call or contact us today, and we will explain the legal process in detail. (281) 587-1111.
What is loss of companionship and society?
The biggest element of damages in a wrongful death case is “loss of companionship and society,” which means the human loss of your loved one.
The jury question indicates that this loss means the positive benefits flowing from the love, comfort, companionship, and society that the plaintiff would have received from the decedent. For a spouse, it is easy to see the damages suffered through the loss of his or her husband or wife. For a child, the love and affection of a parent for the child are unquestionable.
Economic damages or pecuniary loss is covered in a separate question in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit.
Are punitive damages are available in my wrongful death lawsuit?
Possibly, although through “tort reform,” the ability to obtain exemplary damages also known as punitive damages, has been limited by law. The types of cases where punitive damages are available usually involve very egregious conduct on the part of the defendants.
Baumgartner Law Firm has extensive experience in bringing punitive damages claims. We have been successful in many 18-wheeler accident cases in seeking exemplary damages. See our practice area page to see the cases we may accept.
How are products liability case is different?
Product liability cases involve making a claim or filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer for making an unreasonably dangerous product or failing to warn of known dangers.
Product liability cases are also extremely expensive because of the legal requirements and necessity for expert testimony. Most attorneys require very large damages to consider a product liability case.
I’ve been injured by a defective product what should I do?
Can I handle a product liability case without a lawyer?
Possibly – but highly unlikely, most product manufacturers are extremely defensive of their product in that they are not defending one case but thousands or even millions of potential cases in dealing with one specific case. Most product manufacturers fight tooth and nail to deny everything regardless of the evidence.
Often, people will notify the manufacturer of a defect in the product that caused an injury, and the manufacturer will want to take a statement from the victim. That statement is designed to make the victim look greedy and bad should a case later be brought by an attorney. Learn more about these kinds of cases on our product liability page.
What are some products that may be defective?
Almost any product can end up being unreasonably dangerous and defective. Some of the more common types of product liability claims involve products like:
- Cars and pickup trucks involve fuel-fed fires from the gas tank.
- Construction Equipment
- Rollover accidents
- Certain playground equipment
- Industrial and workplace machines
- Some safety equipment
How do I file a complaint against an insurance company in Texas?
To file a complaint against an insurance company in the state of Texas, go to: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/index.html.
Baumgartner Law Firm FAQ
Do you make house calls or hospital visits?
Yes. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may contact us at (281) 587-1111 or toll-free at 1-866-758-4LAW(4529), and we will meet with you at whichever location is most convenient for you.
What kind of cases do you accept?
We are very selective in the cases that we agree to handle to provide the best possible service to our clients. By limiting the number of cases that we accept, we can provide the time, attention, and resources required to maximize compensation for our clients.
Accordingly, our practice is limited to cases involving substantial injury or a family who has lost a loved one. We have gained a reputation for handling 18-wheeler truck accidents, car and drunk driving crashes, daycare injury cases, and other serious injury and wrongful death matters. To learn more about the cases we cover, visit our practice areas page.
Do I have to pay money out of my pocket to hire you?
No, all of the cases that we accept are upon a contingency fee arrangement. You do not have to pay us money upfront. If and only if we recover money for you in settlement or trial, will we charge a fee, and that fee comes out of the case? Necessary out-of-pocket expenses are paid by the law firm and reimbursed out of the client’s share of settlement proceeds.
Do you handle all types of personal injury cases?
No, we are very selective in the cases that we agree to accept. We intentionally limit the number of cases that we handle and the practice areas for the cases we take to provide the best possible personal service for our clients. To learn more about the cases we cover, visit our practice areas page, or you can contact us for individual consultation about your case. (281) 587-1111.
What is the best way to contact you?
We prefer to be contacted by telephone and also respond to our online consultation requests. You can call us 24/7 at (281) 587-1111. We offer Zoom consultations as well.
How successful have you been with your cases?
We are a personal injury law firm with over three decades of experience and are extremely proud of our winning track record of success. Our founder is nationally recognized as among the best personal injury lawyers in the USA. We are undefeated in truck accident cases, wrongful death cases, and daycare negligence, and we invite you to check out our results page for recent results in cases we won.
For 35 years, we have concentrated on maximizing our client’s compensation in serious injury and wrongful death cases. If you are looking for the best personal injury lawyers in Houston – Call us! (281) 587-1111.