At The Begum Law Group, we concentrate our practice on helping injured people and their families. If you or a loved one experienced a serious injury, you may have many questions that need answers. Contact us for help with your injury case.
Questions People Ask
This page is not meant to provide legal advice. Rather, it provides a list of frequently asked questions and general answers about personal injury:
How do I know if I need a lawyer? If you have been injured and negligence may have caused the injury, you should promptly talk to an attorney with experience in personal injury and negligence cases. Your lawyer will know what your rights are under the law. You may be entitled to compensation. Only an experienced attorney can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.
What is a personal injury lawyer? Personal injury claims arise when one person is injured due to the negligence of another. A personal injury lawyer is an expert and has extensive experience in personal injury claims and negligence issues. Unfortunately, personal injury can lead to death, so a personal injury lawyer will also be experienced in wrongful death claims. Each case is different and the laws complex, varying from state to state. It is very important to speak with a Texas personal injury lawyer with successful experience in personal injury claims.
If I get hurt, what should I do? First and foremost, you should seek immediate medical attention. Only a medical professional can assess and treat your injuries. If you are able, you should get the names of witnesses without making any statements of fault, take pictures of the accident area and contact your insurance company if you have one. Then, it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The first days after an accident can change the course of the outcome. It is very important that you have an advocate before the other side's attorney or insurance company contacts you or your family.
Do I have a claim? Only a seasoned personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim. Many factors have to be considered. Was the other party negligent? How severely were you hurt? Will you have lost wages or reduced earning capacity? In addition, Texas state statutes govern many aspects of the claim. Your lawyer will be knowledgeable in all aspects of personal injury, will assess your claim and help guide you through the process.
How do I know how much my claim is worth? There is no way to determine a specific amount you might receive. You may be entitled to compensation for short- and long-term medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish. You may be awarded punitive damages as well. All factors surrounding the incident have to be evaluated and considered. A personal injury attorney can evaluate your claim and determine what compensation you might be entitled to.
If the insurance company offers a settlement, why do I need a lawyer? Any entity that works for the other side is never looking out for your best interests. The words may sound nice and the tone soft and kind, but make no mistake: Its only interest is in protecting its client. The insurance company makes money by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible. If it can convince you to agree to a settlement, you may be giving up your rights to fair compensation. You should have an expert personal injury attorney. Only your attorney should speak with anyone representing the defendant.
What should I tell the insurance company if a representative calls me? Do not speak with him or her. If you have counsel (legal representation), an insurance company should never call you directly. If you do not have a lawyer, tell the rep that you are in the process of hiring an attorney and will have that lawyer return the call. Do not under any circumstances discuss the accident. Do not be pressured into continuing the conversation. If you have not done so, contact a personal injury attorney. Only a knowledgeable, experienced personal injury attorney can truly protect your rights.
If the other side's lawyer calls, what do I do? Do not engage in any conversation with a lawyer other than your own. They are experts with the intention of paying you nothing or as little as possible. Do not discuss the accident. If you do not have an attorney, explain that you are hiring an attorney and will have that attorney return the call. At this point, you should politely end the call. If you have an attorney, provide his or her name and number, then end the call regardless of any pressure to not do so. If the other side's attorney knows that you have a lawyer, he/she is prohibited from calling you.
If I call a lawyer, what happens next? Initially, you will meet with the lawyer for a free consultation and evaluation. During your consultation, you will be asked questions about the accident, such as where and how it happened and what you did after the accident. During the consultation, the lawyer will evaluate the case and advise you if you have a legitimate claim. Once you have hired an attorney, he or she will contact the other side to share that you now have legal representation. All future contact with the defendant will now be handled by your lawyer. Your personal injury attorney will fully investigate all aspects of the incident, including gathering any information you have such as names of witnesses and pictures. Your attorney will become your advocate and ensure that your rights are protected. You may be asked additional questions, but remember, your attorney is on your side. If necessary, a lawsuit will be filed on your behalf.
Do I have to go to court? Most cases are settled out of court. Only about 25 percent of all personal injury cases end in trial.
How long does all of this take? Every situation is different. Some settle quickly, while others take much longer. In some cases, it may take a year or more to achieve an outcome. Many factors come into play such as the severity of your injuries, the specifics of the incident and even the particular defendant. Your attorney will keep you informed and be able to advise you as your case progresses.
I have a pre-existing condition. Do I still have a claim? Your pre-existing condition may be a mitigating factor. However, your pre-existing condition does not permit another to be negligent. If the accident was the result of negligence, and your current injuries can be attributed to that incident, you may have a claim. If you have been injured in an incident caused by the negligence of another, it is important to discuss this with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to advise you.
What does contingency mean? The definition of contingency is something that is based on unforeseen events. In this type of situation, it is referring to the payment arrangements between you and your lawyer. Generally, Texas personal injury lawyers work on contingency. A contingent fee agreement means your attorney will be paid a percentage of what you receive. The specifics of the agreement state what percentage of those funds your lawyer receives. In addition, the attorney may provide the financial resources for court costs and other fees, and will recover those fees from your funds as well. Your lawyer may work with medical professionals who will provide medical care on contingency. If you do not win, contingent fee agreements may require you to pay all of the costs that have accrued. This is apart from paying the attorney, whose fee is based solely on percentage. The attorney does not get paid if you do not win. It is important to know the terms of your agreement.
How is negligence determined? Several factors can determine negligence. Did the other party exercise reasonable caution? If a dangerous condition existed, did the other party cause it to exist or know it existed? Was the other party behaving in a risky or illegal manner? Texas state statutes apply as well. Do not try to make that determination on your own. Do not assume negligence does not exist. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you.
What is loss of consortium? Loss of consortium refers to the loss of spousal companionship and normal marital relations due to the injury.
What are punitive damages? Punitive refers to punishment. Whereas compensatory damages refer to actual losses, punitive damages may be awarded above and beyond the actual losses suffered. Reasons that punitive damages might be awarded include malicious or unusually reckless behavior.
I was in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist. What happens now? Some auto policies include uninsured motorist coverage. If you purchased that type of coverage, you may be entitled to payment for your damages within the limits of the policy. You should discuss this and other options with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and make the appropriate recommendations.
Should I talk to witnesses? It is important to gather the names and contact information of witnesses, but do not discuss the accident with them. It is imperative that you make no statements of fault. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. He or she will investigate your accident, including questioning any potential witnesses without jeopardizing your claim.
Should I talk to friends and family? Do not make any statements of fault to anyone, including friends, family or the police. While it is important to access your support system for comfort and assistance, it is advisable that you refrain from discussing the accident with anyone, particularly if that person is a potential witness. It is the job of your personal injury attorney to speak on your behalf to all parties involved. He or she is familiar with applicable statutes and will protect your rights under the law.
I was hurt six months ago, but am not better. Can I still file a claim? It is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may still be able to file a claim legally, but depending on the actions you have taken since the accident, your claim may have been weakened. Texas has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit as well as a wrongful death suit. An attorney will be able to evaluate your claim as well as advise you on the statute of limitations that applies in your case.
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At The Begum Law Group, based in San Antonio and Brownsville, we can answer your specific questions. Contact us for a free consultation.