Personal Injury Questions
Personal Injury FAQ
When you or someone you love is hurt in an accident, it is normal to be confused and have many questions about what your next step should be. You may be overwhelmed with medical bills and still suffering from physical and emotional pain, but a personal injury lawyer can provide you with the support and counsel you need to get on your feet again. Below, we have provided answers to some of the questions that frequently come our way. Read on, some of your questions may be answered before you even speak to an associate our firm personally.
What is a personal injury claim?
When someone is injured because of the negligent behavior or wrongful acts of another, they can file a personal injury claim. This claim seeks to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions through monetary compensation for damages caused.
Am I entitled to compensation if I think I’m at fault?
Even if you think you broke a bone or injured your neck or back because you tripped and fell, but it may be that your injury was the result of a premise owner’s negligence. If you fell because the pathway was in disrepair, or slipped because there was a spill unattended to on the floor, you may be able to hold the owner of the property liable for your injuries. Likewise, you may think that you cannot file a claim for your child’s dog bites because your child approached the animal and tried to pet it. In reality, the dog’s owner may be at fault for failing to protect the public and your curious child from his pet.
How is fault determined?
Fault for an accident, also known as liability, belongs to the person who caused the actions either by negligent failure to prevent injury to others or willful wrong actions that led to the harm of another person. For instance, if a young child drowns in a local pool that was left uncovered or did not have a fence or other barrier surrounding it, the pool’s owners could be held liable for the death because their careless actions and failure to protect against potential harm led to the tragic accident.
Do I have legal options if my loved one was killed?
Losing a loved one is a terrible and traumatic event, and you may be able to take legal action if the death was caused by reckless choices or negligent behavior. The families of accident victims are often able to receive justice and hold the responsible parties accountable through wrongful death lawsuits.
How much will it cost to file a claim for personal injury or wrongful death?
At most law firms, you will need to spend thousands of dollars in your fight for justice, and losing the case means that your countless bills will now be enhanced with charges from your lawyer’s office. At the Loewy Law Firm, however, we take every case on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients do not pay us unless we are successful in winning their settlement.
How much money will I get for my claim?
It is impossible to give you a specific answer to how much your personal injury case will be over the Internet. The truth is that every case will be different and there will be very specific factors that will determine how much your case is valued at. This will include the extent of your injuries, how much your medical bills total out to and whether or not you had lost any wages. These can all determine the foundation for which negotiations will start on. After that, your lawyer will be able to fight for the correct number.
If the insurance company is offering a settlement, should I accept?
Not without talking to your lawyer! Insurance companies are almost never going to live up to the lofty promises they make in advertisements. They are a business and, as such, they are only interested in the bottom dollar. They are therefore notorious for offering settlements right off the bat that are far below the actual value. This will allow them to pay as low an amount as possible, all while getting to avoid the possibility of litigation should the plaintiff accept. Don’t let yourself get bullied into less than you deserve!
What are the things that I can receive compensation for?
Personal injury claims should take a comprehensive approach to compensation. With the right lawyer, you will be able to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit in a manner that will provide compensation for expenses such as those accumulated from medical bills, lost wages, property damage, as well as non-tangible expenses for mental anguish, as well as non-emotional pain and suffering. Wrongful death claims can cover expenses, such as loss of companionship, loss of instruction and funeral expenses.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Statutes of limitations (SOL) give a very specific timeline as to how long you will have to file a claim. In the state of Texas, personal injury claims, wrongful death, medical malpractice and product liability claims all have two years for the SOL with the Discovery Rule. Intentional torts only have one year.
What is the Discovery Rule?
SOL often will include what is known as the Discovery Rule. This just means that the timeframe starts when an injury or illnesses is discovered or should have reasonably discovered. This is vital in claims where symptoms do not manifest immediately. For example, wrongful exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma; however, the defendant may not know about this for years.
What does comparative negligence?
In Texas personal injury claims, comparative negligence is abided by. This means that if a plaintiff is proven to have contributed to the accident, injuries or illness more than 50 percent, they will no longer be able to recover damages. If less than 50 percent, the plaintiff’s right to compensation will be reduced in proportion to the amount they contributed. For example, if a plaintiff was found to be 30 percent at fault for their injuries, they can only recover 70 percent of what the compensation is valued at.
What are punitive damages?
In personal injury claims, the goal is to provide plaintiffs with the compensation that they need to put their life back on track once more. In some cases, however, the court will also award what is known as punitive damages. These are ordered in an effort to punish the defendant. In the state of Texas, the cap for punitive damages is at two times the amount awarded for economic damages, plus any amount awarded for non-economic damages. It must not, however, exceed $750,000.
What are my options if I don’t want to go to trial?
Many cases can be resolved by the attorneys before the case goes to trial. While this is not always possible, agreeing to a settlement outside of trial, or resolving issues through mediation or arbitration, can result in a more ideal resolution for all parties involved. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate conflict resolution. Arbitration involves a third party or panel which makes a final decision in the case based upon hearings from each party.