If you are involved in a car accident in Houston, TX, finding an experienced car accident lawyer should be your top priority. The laws and regulations of the state are complex, and you’ll need the guidance and representation of a skilled lawyer to navigate the aftermath of your accident. In addition, drivers who do not work with lawyers often have difficulty receiving the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
What Happens After I Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX?
If you’ve never worked with a lawyer before, you may feel nervous about the thought of seeking legal representation. However, it’s essential to remember that your lawyer is here to help you and look out for your best interests.
You Have a Complimentary Consultation
Once you’ve contacted a lawyer, you will have a free consultation with them. You will sit down with them, either virtually or in person, and discuss the details of your case. This review allows them to learn all the information regarding your case, ask you questions, and determine if they think you have a claim worth pursuing. Discussing your situation with a legal professional will help you have confidence in your decision regarding whether or not to pursue a claim.
Your lawyer will ask you questions about the accident, including specifics such as how it occurred, where it occurred, whether the police determined anyone to be at fault, and if you have any witness statements or security footage from the accident. It’s vital to be completely honest with your lawyer, as any information you withhold can negatively impact your claim.
Monetary and Property Loss
They will ask about your ability to work, the effects on your personal life, and any medical issues following the accident. Your property loss and damage will be discussed as well. Remember that your vehicle isn’t the only property loss you may have experienced. Items such as mobile phones, speakers, laptops, and other valuables broken in the crash can be counted as property damages in your claim.
Some car accidents in Houston, TX, involve unusual circumstances. Whether the other driver was a state worker on the clock during the accident or if the driver suffered a medical condition that caused the accident are important details to tell your lawyer. Alternatively, if the collision was caused by extreme weather or another unusual situation, it could impact the filing of your claim.
These factors will contribute to the outcome of your claim and help determine how much compensation you receive. While your lawyer can’t promise you will receive a specific settlement amount, they can advise you on how likely you are to win your claim.
Your Lawyer Will Create a Letter of Representation
After your consultation, your car accident lawyer will draft a representation letter. This letter informs the other driver’s insurance company that you have legal representation and that all questions should be directed to your lawyer. By allowing your lawyer to handle the questions and statements from the opposing side’s insurance company, you eliminate the chance that you might say something that could be used against you.
Although the insurance company has no malicious intent, they are still looking out for their bottom line. That means they will take advantage of an opportunity to discredit your story and prove you are actually at fault. If they can prove that you are at fault, their client will be relieved of their responsibility to compensate you.
They Will Collect Information
Even though you have already given your lawyer an overview of your situation, they will collect every piece of information possible regarding your claim once you begin working together. For example, medical reports, security footage, and witness statements are all valuable for proving the validity of your claim. In addition, they may ask your doctors to provide testimonies about your health or be witnesses if your claim goes to court.
This step will be straightforward if you have been collecting evidence throughout the process. However, it is not unusual for documents to be misplaced in the stressful weeks following the accident. Be forthcoming with your lawyer regarding what documents you have and what you are missing so that they can begin collecting the necessary materials immediately.
They Will Draft a Demand Letter
A demand letter is a letter with a statement describing the accident and how the other driver is at fault. It will also contain an overview of the medical and property damages that have occurred due to the accident. Your medical records and bills will be presented with this letter, and the letter will request compensation in an amount you and your lawyer have determined fair.
They Will Handle Settlement Negotiation
After the at-fault driver’s representation has received your letter, they usually react with an offer to settle. If you accept the settlement offer, you agree not to take your claim to court. Your lawyer can help you determine if the offer you received is fair. Insurance companies low-ball claimants to see if they will take a low settlement to bring the process to a close more quickly.
When you work with a lawyer, they can inform you if an offer is fair or not and if you have a chance of reaching a higher settlement by holding out or going to court. It is common for negotiations to go back and forth several times before both sides agree on terms. If you cannot reach an agreement, your claim will have to be decided by the court.
Your Lawyer Will Handle the Litigation Process
Filing a Complaint
The litigation process begins with your lawyer filing a complaint. The complaint contains all the accident details, lists your expenses and suffering, and states your desired compensation. Next, your complaint will be filed and served to the opposing party, and they will be allowed to file a response.
The Discovery Phase
Both sides will share information that can serve as evidence for either party during the trial in the discovery phase. Sometimes this phase lasts for months, depending on how much information both parties need to analyze.
The deposition will take place during the discovery phase. Both sides will be able to ask questions in a verbal meeting. This event allows both parties to collect evidence to help them build their case.
The faulty party can stop the proceedings and offer a more reasonable settlement at any point throughout the trial. If the settlement offer is fair, you will be able to avoid going to trial, but if it is still sub-par, you will continue. If your claim makes it to court, you will be thankful to have a professional car accident lawyer defending your case in Houston, TX.
Things to Remember
Keep Your Case Quiet
While you may want to discuss your case with others, take care in choosing who you provide with information. You may receive phone calls from friendly-sounding individuals who introduce themselves as mediators or insurance adjustors. Remember, they are not looking out for your best interest; they serve their client. Redirect their questions to your lawyer, and let your lawyer know they have contacted you.
Keep Your Lawyer Informed
Let your lawyer know if anything changes your financial situation, health, or personal life. The opposing party may bring details of your work or home life up in the courtroom, and your lawyer needs to be aware of your circumstances to represent you effectively.
Sorting through the fallout from a car accident is a tiring process, but you can ease your burden by hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your claim. Having someone in your corner is critical to receiving your deserved compensation. Call Houston Injury Lawyers today, and schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your case.