Common Questions About Texas Personal Injury Cases
If you are experiencing pain from an accident, you could potentially recover damages through either a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. In any case, you’ll need the guidance and expertise of a personal injury lawyer.
What qualifies as a personal injury?
Basically, any accident or negligence causing a change in behavior or a physical hindrance affecting your normal daily life can warrant recovery of damages through a personal injury claim. A personal injury doesn’t have to be physical. It could be psychological – for example, suffering from anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic auto accident.
What are the chances that a personal injury lawyer near me takes my case?
Law firms are just like any business in the sense that their attorneys will not take on any work unless they are confident that the work will make them money. This is especially true in personal injury cases, from which lawyers don’t make money unless they get compensation for their clients.
Prior to deciding on the case, a lawyer will weigh the seriousness of the potential client’s injuries along with potential out-of-pocket expenses on the case. They will also consider the biggest factor in a personal injury case: fault. A car accident in which your actions were the primary cause will not bode well in a case. On the other hand, a car accident caused by someone else will. If the lawyer feels confident that another party’s negligence was the primary contributing factor to your injuries, they are more likely to take your case.
Can I get compensation if I was 100% at fault?
If you know you were completely at fault for an accident, then you’re probably not going to get off the starting blocks with a lawyer. For instance, you rear-end the vehicle in front of you that is stopped in traffic on the highway. Regardless of your injuries, you are not going to have anything to recover from the driver or passengers of the vehicle with which you collided. Actually, the driver or passengers of that car could try to recover from you. Accidents that are your fault but still result in injuries can be pursued through your insurance company.
What if I’m partially at fault?
It depends on how much your fault contributed to the accident or injury. The state of Texas determines liability in an auto accident through a comparative negligence threshold of 51%. A party deemed less than 51% at fault does not owe damages (that is, compensation) to a party or parties that are 51% or more at fault.
Who determines which party is at fault?
In car accident cases, insurance companies initially determine fault as part of their claims process. However, lawyers are in constant communication with the defendants’ insurance companies to gauge and negotiate liability. Your lawyer will conduct their own liability investigation as well. If your lawyer concurs with the insurance company’s liability decision, then the claim can be settled. If your lawyer disagrees, then they can file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover what they feel you deserve via that route. In a lawsuit, the judge or jury will determine fault and assign a percentage to each party.
Are my injuries serious enough to get a lawyer involved?
It is not uncommon for drivers or passengers to experience whiplash or general soreness from a car accident. Sometimes these annoying pains will simply go away in the coming days or weeks, or sometimes they will require prescriptions or minor treatment. Minor injuries typically won’t get a lawyer on board. Actually, minor injuries are best handled by either your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company. It never hurts to contact a lawyer, but don’t get your hopes up if you are dealing with minor injuries that are likely to resolve with no or minimal treatment.
Can I afford a personal injury lawyer near me?
Almost all personal injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay anything unless and until you obtain compensation. At that point, you’ll pay your lawyer a percentage of the damages recovered (generally 33%).
Make sure you understand the lawyer’s fee policy before you retain them. You might not necessarily be off the hook for payment if the case is lost. More often than not, clients are still held responsible for reimbursing the law firm’s expenditures for setting up the case and completing an investigation into the cause of injury.
What kinds of compensation can I get?
In personal injury cases, damages may involve compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Wage recovery for loss of work
- Lessened earning capabilities for your job due to restrictions resulting from the accident
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
The latter two – diminished quality of life and pain and suffering – are the toughest ones to prove since there is not a monetary value that can be readily pinned to them. Your personal injury lawyer may need to involve experts to build a strong case for those types of damages.
How do I find a good personal injury lawyer near me?
There are all sorts of online resources available to locate worthy candidates within your region. You’ll find client testimonials, lawyer-to-lawyer critique and detailed bios highlighting a lawyer’s achievements and credibility. In addition, it’s always a good idea to research the law firm as a whole.
Another option is to ask around among friends and family members. Chances are that someone you know has had to use a lawyer in the Dallas metroplex area at some point in their life. Get that person’s opinion, and if you like what you hear, ask for the lawyer’s name and phone number. Referrals can go a long way, and lawyers actually depend on them to lead to a good chunk of their business.
Questions To Ask A Potential Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a big decision. Here are some questions to ask that will help you make an informed choice.
Does the lawyer routinely handle personal injury cases?
If you are wanting to sell your home, would you rather hire a realtor who has been in the real estate business for 20 years and sold hundreds of homes or a rookie realtor who is in the process of selling his/her third home? You probably know the answer.
The same thought process applies when searching for a personal injury lawyer. There are general practitioners who take on a wide range of cases and only dabble with personal injury. In this instance, you would want the help of an attorney who has a history of handling personal injury cases. Experienced personal injury lawyers will of course be more familiar with and insightful of the process, and, therefore, they probably have a better chance at getting you a worthy recovery through the process.
You can always ask to see a lawyer’s résumé and ask about prior cases. While detailed case information may be confidential, the lawyer can certainly give you a general idea of their body of work in the personal injury arena.
Does the lawyer take cases to trial or just settle?
What is the purpose of obtaining a lawyer? It’s to have a qualified representative on your side to fight for you and your recovery. That’s priority number one. This means you’ll want a lawyer who is willing to take a case to court if the opposing party won’t agree to a fair settlement. Some lawyers will do whatever they can to settle with an insurance company in order to avoid taking a case to court. You don’t necessarily want that.
So, when you consult with a lawyer, ask about their track record in taking cases to trial. Ask what expectations they have for your particular case. However, be cautious if the lawyer stresses a particular amount they expect to recover. If you are in the consultation stage, the lawyer won’t yet have nearly enough information to confidently express a specific amount of recovery.
Do they offer a consultation and contingency fees?
Almost all personal injury lawyers offer consultations, so you shouldn’t have to pay to get an initial opinion. Likewise, almost all offer contingency fee representation. The general contingency fee is 33% of the recovery. As mentioned above, make sure that you understand whether you will still be responsible for any expenses if they aren’t successful in securing compensation for you.
Don’t feel like you have to commit to the first lawyer who offers you a consultation or retainer agreement. You can and should still play the field in finding the right lawyer for the job.
Why Consider Kafor Law Firm, PLLC?
For trustworthy and determined legal representation in any type of personal injury case, you can rely on Kafor Law Firm, PLLC. The firm’s founding attorney, Yvonne Kafor, is committed to seeking justice on your behalf, working diligently and tenaciously to recover what’s rightfully yours and providing exceptional client service each step of the way.
Ms. Kafor and her staff have extensive experience with Texas personal injury law. They won’t hesitate to take your case to court if warranted.
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