What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have suffered an injury in a car accident or other type of accident it can have a tremendous impact on your life. With mounting medical bills, lost wages, and often property damage, you may feel extremely overwhelmed, not knowing what to do next. It may be in your best interest to hold the other party accountable for his or her actions. Luckily, a personal injury lawyer can help you to recover monetary compensation from them for your injuries.

This compensation can help you to pay for:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Property damage;
  • Reduced future earning power;
  • Loss of consortium (Loss of companionship); and
  • Pain and suffering.

Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney If You’ve Been Injured by Someone Else’s Negligence

If you have been injured or suffered a loss due to someone else’s actions or inactions, it can be devastating. While nothing can change what has happened, monetary compensation can pay for your expenses and help you to move forward with your life. To speak directly with a personal injury lawyer near you, contact us directly by calling (832) 690-7000.

 

Woman clutching back of her neck after a car accident

 

What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When you have been harmed in an accident, you may have heard of the importance of speaking with a personal injury lawyer. But what exactly is a personal injury lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer is someone who helps individuals who have been harmed either physically or psychologically as a result of another person’s actions or inactions (negligence). 

These lawyers bring a civil legal action to recover money from a person or entity on behalf of their client. This monetary compensation is intended to repay the injured person for his or her injuries.

The job of a personal injury lawyer often includes trying to negotiate what is called a “settlement” of the case. This means that the attorney tries to get the at-fault person or entity (the defendant) to settle the case with the injured person (the plaintiff) without having to go to court. If the defendant refuses to settle the case, it will continue on to court. 

There are many different types of cases that personal injury lawyers will handle. Some of these types of cases include:

Personal injury law covers many different types of cases and is a pretty broad area of law. However, not all personal injury lawyers have experience with all of these types of cases. That’s why it’s so important that you seek out a personal injury lawyer who predominantly practices in the type of case that you have. For instance, if you have been injured in a car accident, it’s important to find a personal injury lawyer who has specific experience with car accident cases. 

What is Negligence?

Personal injury law is intended to hold at-fault individuals responsible for their negligence. But what does it mean to be “negligent?” 

Negligence is the term used to describe when someone fails to use reasonable care in order to avoid causing injury or loss to someone else. 

“Reasonable care” is what another person in the same or similar situation would do. However, if the case involves the conduct of someone who is held to a higher standard, such as a doctor, reasonable care would be what another person held to that same higher standard would do. For example, if a cardiologist were accused of negligence, reasonable care would be what another cardiologist would do in the same or similar situation. 

Here are some additional examples:

  • Suppose a customer notifies the grocery store manager of a spill, but he or she fails to clean it up in a reasonable amount of time. If the spill causes another customer to slip and fall on it, injuring him or herself, this could be an example of negligence. (A reasonable grocery store manager would have cleaned it up in a reasonable amount of time.)
  • If a doctor performs an operation on a patient but fails to sterilize their tools beforehand, causing an infection, this would also be a case of negligence. (A reasonable doctor performing the same or similar operation would have sterilized their tools.)

Other Types of Personal Injury Cases 

There are other bases for filing a personal injury claim.

Sometimes the fact that something happens at all is enough to prove negligence. For example, when a manufacturer produces a defective product that makes its way into a consumer’s hands and it causes them harm, the manufacturer could be considered negligent for the fact that it happened – regardless of why it happened. This is called strict liability and is based upon the right that consumers have to be free from unsafe products. 

Another less common type of case that personal injury lawyers take care of is an intentional wrong. In the above instances the injury that occurred was an accident. But in an intentional tort case a person intends to commit an action, such as detaining a customer whom a store detective wrongfully believes has shoplifted.

 

Man with cast signing a legal document

 

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Some things are better left to the experts. While anyone can bring a lawsuit for a personal injury, it’s in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney. This is because there are many things that a lawyer knows that the average person does not. You wouldn’t perform a surgery on your own if you’ve never been to medical school, so why would you bring a claim on your own if you haven’t gone to law school?

Research, Requests, Evidence, and Strategy

A qualified personal injury lawyer is extremely familiar with all of the laws surrounding personal injury and is capable of conducting additional research and interpreting these laws. They know when and how to file motions and formal requests, and gather the proper evidence to bolster your claim, such as depositions, document production requests, and interrogatories. Also important is that they can help you to establish the best strategy for proving your case. 

A personal injury attorney also has deep experience communicating with and filing claims with insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance companies will often pay you less than what you deserve. Personal injury lawyers can negotiate on your behalf to help you to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of. 

Insurance Claims 

Insurance claims are common when it comes to personal injury cases. In most of these cases, you will file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault party. For example, if another driver injures you in a car accident, you will typically bring a claim against the other driver’s insurance company and not the driver directly. A lawyer has experience negotiating with insurance companies and will work to reach a higher settlement on your behalf.

Lawsuits

If you are unable to reach a settlement with the defendant’s insurance company, your attorney can then bring a lawsuit by filing a complaint. The complaint includes all of the details of your injuries, how you were injured, the laws that the defendant has violated, and the damages you have suffered as a result. 

After filing the complaint, your personal injury lawyer will serve a copy of the complaint to the defendant to put them on notice. 

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you should hire a lawyer or pursue a claim on your own. The answer to this question is almost always “yes.” The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the more quickly they can help to resolve your case.

If you’re still wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are your injuries serious?

While an attorney can help with just about any case in which you’ve been injured, you are more equipped to handle very minor incidents on your own. But when you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, there is much more at stake. Your focus should be on getting better. Plus, a lawyer will know how much money you should be entitled to.

2. Who is responsible for causing your accident?

A personal injury claim requires that it was someone else who caused your injuries. If another party or multiple parties were fully or partially responsible for the accident, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer. 

3. Have you already spoken to and settled with the other party’s insurance company?

If you’ve already signed off on a settlement agreement, it’s more than likely that you won’t be able to receive any more money – even if your injuries worsen. This is why it’s so important to speak with a personal injury lawyer first. 

4. How long ago was the accident?

In Texas, an individual has just two years from the date of the injury to file a claim. This is called the statute of limitations. After this time period has passed you are no longer entitled to bring a claim against the other party – even if they were to blame. 

When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

After you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This allows them to get started on collecting evidence to prove your case. Since the statute of limitations is only two years, the sooner you contact a qualified attorney, the sooner he or she can start to build your case. 

An attorney will review your claim and if they believe  in its legitimacy, they will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay him or her unless you receive money. 

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

As of 2020 there were 1.33 million attorneys in the U.S. In a sea of websites and ads, it can be difficult to figure out who would be the best attorney for the job of handling your claim. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to adequately search:

  1. Ask friends and family for referrals
  2. Discuss fees before signing – and get it in writing (most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay them if you win!)
  3. Research attorneys online to ensure they don’t have a past of misconduct
  4. Trust your gut
  5. Ensure that they will be the attorney to handle your case personally
  6. Ask questions

Helpful questions to consider asking include:

  • What is your training and legal experience?
  • What evidence do I need?
  • Is it worth it to take legal action for this claim?
  • If successful how will I receive compensation?
  • What are my options for settling out of court?
  • What should I do while I await settlement?
  • How can I save money?
  • How long do you foresee my case taking?
  • If this goes to litigation what happens next?
  • How and with what frequency will I speak with you?
  • Can I have some references of yours that I can reach out to?

Contact the Experienced TX Personal Injury Lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek

Accidents often lead to serious physical or psychological injuries from which you may or may not recover. An experienced personal injury attorney is needed when dealing with the many complicated issues surrounding personal injury cases. 

The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek possess the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to ensure our clients are properly represented and get the justice they deserve. 

For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case, please contact us at (832) 690-7000. Our attorneys provide compassionate guidance at every step of the way, and will examine the facts of your case as well as applicable statutes and laws. All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we obtain recovery on your behalf. 

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