Following an accident where you have suffered an injury through no fault of your own, you might feel angry, distressed, and unsure of your best course of action. You may have to take time off work to recover, and this could lead to a loss of income, and medical bills may be mounting up.
Many people will consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to pursue their claim but dismiss the idea as they are under the misconception that they could be left out of pocket if they lose their case. This isn’t the case.
Here at Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, PLLC, we don’t want any victim of an accident to be left without the option of pursuing compensation. Our goal is to provide reliable representation to every victim who needs our help, and to do that, we do two things.
First, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation to all new clients. This gives victims the space to ask any questions they need to ask, receive a free case evaluation and some legal advice, and hear how our fee structure works. Even if you decide you don’t wish to pursue your case, you will often walk away a lot more informed than you began.
Second, we work on a contingency fee basis, a fee structure that requires no up-front payment or payment if your case is unsuccessful. This removes any worry that you may be left finding fees to pay your attorney if you lose. On this fee structure, we simply take a percentage of your settlement if we win it for you.
Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC – The Team You Want in Your Corner
When you hire a Clear Lake, TX, personal injury lawyer, you give yourself the space and time to recover. Often, victims of personal injury aggravate their injuries further due to the stress and energy they expend in dealing with their own cases.
With a personal injury law firm like Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, behind you, you will have an advocate who fights tirelessly on your behalf. They will take over the paperwork, the investigation, the negotiation, and the litigation of your personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages May Be Recoverable in a Personal Injury Claim in Clear Lake, Texas?
In order to calculate what your compensation should look like, your attorney will need to value all of the damages you have suffered. This includes straightforward economic damages, such as your property damage, and less straightforward, non-economic damages, like your pain and suffering.
The skill and experience of your attorney will be invaluable here. The more cases they have dealt with and won favorable outcomes in that are similar to yours, the better. This is why law firms like Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, with our long history of successful cases, should be your first port of call following an accident.
Potential damages that make up your settlement figure include:
In any serious Clear Lake personal injury case, there will usually be a period of time taken off work for treatment and recovery. In Texas, this will usually result in a loss of wages and income to some degree.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for all the wages you have lost, both in the past and in the future. For a serious injury, you may never be able to return to work in the same capacity, and in these cases, your personal injury attorneys may pursue a lifetime of lost wages.
One of the major concerns most victims have following any accident resulting in personal injuries is the cost of medical bills and expenses. Even with a strong level of medical insurance, your level of coverage can be exceeded surprisingly quickly, leaving you to find the costs yourself.
You should never be left out of pocket for medical expenses for an accident caused by the negligence of somebody else. Your attorney can help you seek the recovery of all medical bills, both past and future. This can include all expenses, from treatment to transport or childcare.
For serious injuries, you may need treatment for a long time, potentially for life, and it is important your attorney knows how to calculate this. They should have access to a panel of medical experts to advise them on what this long-term treatment might look like cost-wise.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages encompass a wide variety of different things, such as the physical pain you have been through, the mental trauma and emotional distress, and any effect on the quality of the life you live following the accident.
This is perhaps the most difficult of all the damage to calculate, and your attorney will need to draw upon their past experience and knowledge in order to calculate them in the fairest and most reasonable way.
The worst possible outcome following an accident caused by someone else is the wrongful death of the victim. If a loved one has been killed in this manner, you could be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Whilst this will never bring the loved one back or ease your grief, it does provide financial security and compensation for the loss of consortium.
Punitive damages are a unique form of damage. Instead of being based solely on compensation, they are instead used as a punishment when someone has acted in a way that is malicious or grossly negligent. A judge may award punitive damages if they want to make an example of bad behavior.
Steps To Take At The Scene of a Personal Injury Accident
In most personal injury cases, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you prioritize your safety and protect your chances of making a successful claim later on down the line.
You should remember that anything that happens after the instant of the accident may be considered later on down the line in a personal injury case. The other party and their insurance company may use anything you have done or said as a way to reduce their liability and, ultimately, their payout for the accident.
If you are dealing with the immediate aftermath of an accident, then here is some initial advice:
Step One: Prioritize Safety
While it is important to protect your chances of a claim later on down the line, the first and most important thing to remember is that your safety is the number one priority.
For example, if you feel pain in your back, neck, or spine, do not get up and attempt to collect evidence. Make sure no one moves you until the ambulance arrives and the paramedics can examine your injuries.
If your injuries allow you to move confidently and you are in further danger of injury, make sure you move away from the danger.
Step Two: Call Emergency Services
If there are any injuries whatsoever, either your own or another victim, you need to call an ambulance. Even if the injuries seem minor, remember that shock and adrenaline can mask serious injuries, meaning you could miss a serious injury.
If the incident happened on the roads or involved a criminal act, you should call the police. They will make any traffic incident safe and will deal with the other party if they have committed a crime. This is especially important if they were drunk or under the influence of drugs whilst driving.
Step Three: Collect Evidence
If you are confident that moving is not going to further aggravate your injuries, the best time to collect evidence is at the scene of the accident. The best way to do this is to record a video of the scene and, over the top, record yourself, leaving a voice statement of what happened in your own words. This way, even if your memory becomes hazy, you will have a clear statement.
If there are any eyewitnesses that are willing to give a statement, collect it and take their details down as well.
Step Four: Contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC
The sooner after your accident you involve your legal representation, the better. In personal injury matters, time is always of the essence, and the sooner you get in touch, the better their chances of building the most air-tight case on your behalf.
They will also be able to advise you on what to do and what to say to protect yourself.
Determining Negligence in Texas
When it comes to any personal injury case, there are four important elements regarding the negligence that occurred. These will need to be proven by your attorney and supported by evidence in order for your claim to be valid.
Element One: You Were Owed a Duty of Care
First, for someone to act negligently towards you, they must first have owed you a duty of care. There are numerous reasons why a duty of care is assumed, such as the duty of care doctors owe to their patients or the duty of care you assume as soon as you get behind the wheel of a car to all other road users.
Element Two: The Duty of Care Was Breached
Next, you will need to prove the actions of the at-fault party breached that the duty of care. To breach the duty of care, they must act unreasonably. Unreasonable behavior is any behavior that is seen as different from how a reasonable individual would act under the same circumstances.
An example of negligence is a store owner who fails to put up a wet floor sign when they have mopped the floors. Any reasonable store owner would warn their customers the floor was wet. This means the failure to do so is negligence.
Another example would be running a stop sign and causing an accident. Any reasonable driver would listen to the rules of the road, stopping at the stop sign.
Element Three: The Breach of Duty Caused Your Injuries
Causation is the third element. You must prove that the negligent behavior directly caused your injury. In the case of a driver running a stop sign and crashing into your car, causation may be easy to prove.
Element Four: Your Injuries Led to Damages
Finally, the fourth element to prove is that the breach in the duty of care directly led to injuries that have caused you the damages you are seeking compensation for.
Common Accidents in Texas
As a Clear Lake personal injury lawyer, your attorney will most likely have experience in dealing with a wide variety of accident types. The more experience they have in previous cases similar to yours, the better, as it will give them an advantage when it comes to tailoring a bespoke strategy and approach to your specific case.
Some of the most reasons our clients seek our help include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Across Texas, the most common form of personal injury cases, are those involving car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
When fighting a motor vehicle accident case, you will often be up against large insurance companies that employ the most skilled and capable legal teams possible. These legal teams have one job, to reduce the payout of the insurance companies. To do this, they will try to devalue your claim, and this is one of the most important reasons to obtain legal representation from a skilled personal injury lawyer.
In Texas, drunk driving is a serious problem, with over 72 accidents occurring every single day involving drivers who are drunk or under the influence. As soon as a driver gets behind the wheel of their car while under the influence, they are acting negligently. This means that if you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence, you have a strong claim for compensation.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents are another common accident that occurs in the state of Texas. This term includes a wide range of situations, from falls at work on a construction site to a slip in a grocery store on a wet floor that has not been signposted. If the accident was preventable, you have the right to make a claim.
Property owners assume a duty of care to anyone that is on their property, meaning they should do everything possible to signpost any hazards or dangers.
Medical Malpractice Injuries
In the United States, we have the most expensive medical care in the entire world. In theory, this means we should have the highest level of care in the world too. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and when our medical providers act in a negligent manner, they can cause serious injuries. This is called medical malpractice.
These cases can involve some of the most serious injuries and will involve fighting against the strongest possible insurance companies. There are also a lot of complex rules and regulations that surround medical malpractice cases that do not apply to normal personal injury cases. This makes them a lot more difficult to navigate.
Some common examples of medical malpractice are:
Surgical Error – We place a lot of trust in our surgeons, as the smallest mistake in surgery can lead to serious injuries, complications, and even fatalities. Sometimes surgeons act negligently, without due care and attention, or deviate from the standard medical practices they should be trained to adhere to. Examples of this are performing the wrong surgery, or on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical tools inside of a victim.
Incorrect or Delayed Diagnosis – Your medical providers should be trained to diagnose your conditions accurately and quickly when presented with the symptoms. If they fail to diagnose or take longer than they should, you could suffer further injury.
Prenatal Care and Childbirth Negligence – With the United States being one of the few developed countries where preventable birth injuries are actually on the rise, we see a lot of women and children suffering from injuries that should not have happened.
Commercial Truck Driving Accidents
Trucking companies have a right to ensure that their trucks, which can weigh 20x that of a normal passenger car when loaded, are maintained to the highest possible standard. They should also ensure their drivers are trained to the highest possible standard and monitored so that they do not drive longer hours than they should.
In a commercial trucking accident, this means that liability can lie with a number of parties, from the driver to the mechanic to the trucking company and even with the manufacturer of the parts used to maintain the truck.
Commercial trucking accidents have notoriously led to dramatic and sizable payouts over the past decade. This means that trucking companies and their insurance companies now employ the most aggressive possible legal teams to help fight against claims. This makes it important to fight them with the most capable and experienced personal injury lawyer that you can find.
Which Clear Lake Personal Injury Lawyer To Retain
It is always important to do as much due diligence and research when it comes to choosing your potential Clear Lake personal injury lawyer. This can be a really difficult choice to make, especially for those with no experience in dealing with an attorney before.
We recommend that you avoid making decisions based solely on large billboard ads or tv ads. They may be a good place to start, but you should look more at the law firm’s history of success. A good place to start is AVVO, which is an independent review site for attorneys that ranks them on their client reviews, accreditation, years of service, and awards.
Once you have a shortlist of potential attorneys, you will want to arrange some free initial consultations and prepare a list of questions you wish to ask them.
Some things to consider are:
- Past Victories in Similar Cases – The most important thing to ask for is your potential attorney’s past victories in similar cases. If they are hesitant to show you, they should be avoided.
- Trial Experience – Law firms that employ national trial lawyers are a good place to start because if your case goes to trial, you need to know your attorney is competent and capable of fighting your case. If the other party knows that you have a reputable national trial lawyer as your advocate, they will be more likely to settle and more likely to treat you seriously.
- Personable – Your personal injury case could easily take several years to complete from beginning to end, and during this time, you will be spending a lot of hours speaking to your attorney. Make sure that you get along with them on a personal level. If you are not comfortable in their presence, you may find it hard to speak openly with them about your case.
- Time Management – An experienced and skilled personal injury attorney will have a caseload full of clients and cases. This means that they might not be around 24/7 to answer your queries. However, you should find they make adequate time to respond to you, and they should keep you well informed regarding your case.
Clear Lake, TX Personal Injury Claim Timeline
Once you have agreed to your attorney’s terms and obtained representation, they will help guide you through all the stages of your personal injury claim. Usually, these are the steps your claim will take:
- Investigation – First will be the investigation of your case. This will involve collecting evidence, such as police reports, CCTV, witness statements, and medical records.
- Determining Liability – Next, your attorney will want to assign liability for the accident by using the evidence they have collected.
- Calculating Damages – Next, your attorney will usually calculate your damages to assess how much your case is worth so that they can ask for a fair settlement.
- Negotiating a Settlement – Now, your attorney will often negotiate with the other party. If they accept the settlement figure, the other party will pay your compensation. If not, your attorney will fight for a fair settlement.
- Litigate in Court if Necessary – If the at-fault party does not accept your offer for settlement, your case will need to be escalated. If this happens, your attorney may litigate your case in front of a judge.
Clear Lake, TX Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ
It is always the smartest idea to seek representation when fighting for compensation in a personal injury claim. You may be fighting against an insurance company, and doing so alone, while you are already distressed and injured, puts you at a massive disadvantage.
The sole job of these legal teams is to devalue the claims of victims like you. Your best way to fight this is to employ a reliable, aggressive attorney.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, we don’t want any victims of an accident to forgo representation because they are scared of financial problems if they lose. We fight for justice, and to make our representation accessible to all, we work on a contingency fee basis.
This means you pay nothing up-front for our assistance and nothing if we cannot win your case. If we do win your case, we take our fees as a flat percentage from your settlement.
It is in neither party’s best interests for the case to end up in the courtroom. When this happens, the case becomes a lot more drawn out and costs a lot more in legal fees. This means that if the liability is clear and you have reliable representation, there is a good chance your case will settle out of court.
However, you should be prepared for the worst. If the other insurance company thinks they can disprove your case or the liability is complicated, there is a good chance they will opt for the lengthy court battle. Therefore it is really important to obtain legal representation from an attorney equally skilled in negotiation as they are in litigation.
This will always depend upon the complexity of your case. For cases involving serious injuries, cases will always take longer because the scope of the injuries will need to be determined for damages to be calculated.
Equally, if there are multiple victims or unclear liability, the case will likely take a lot longer to complete compared to a simple case with one victim and clear liability.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney Today
Here at Houston Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC, we are proud of our reputation for providing the strongest possible representation and advocacy to our clients. We prioritize building a strong attorney-client relationship, keeping our clients involved, educated, and informed throughout the entire process.