Got Questions After An Accident, Our Attorneys Can Help

The attorneys at our Personal Injury Law Firm are pleased to provide the following answers to questions our lawyers frequently encounter as they help people recover compensation when they have been involved in a car or truck accident or other harm as a result of another’s negligence. At our Personal Injury Law Firm, you can Trust us for Justice. If you have other questions or need legal advice and representation in a particular personal injury or wrongful death matter, please contact our office for a free accident lawyers

What should I do if I have been in an accident?

First, attend to the medical needs of yourself and others, including calling 9-1-1 and performing first aid if you are qualified. While waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license and insurance information. If there are any witnesses present, try to get their names and contact information, and record a brief statement of what they say they saw. If possible, take photographs of the scene, including the damage to vehicles and property and your own physical injuries.

In the case of a motorcycle accident or other serious collision, the driver of one car or truck may walk away, but the motorcycle rider or other driver may not be conscious when the police come to survey the scene and make a report. If this was the case with you, be sure, and obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible. If the other driver provided a statement to the police and you didn’t, the report may contain biases or inaccuracies that you will want to correct. Your attorney can help you obtain a copy of the report and proceed accordingly.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Some lawyers will meet you in the hospital or visit you at home if you are not well enough to travel. It is important to bring in a lawyer early so that he or she can begin the process of gathering evidence from the scene before it disappears and witness statements before memories fade. Having legal representation will also help make sure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company before you have had a chance to realize what your costs and damages are from the accident.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

In most cases of personal injury, including wrongful death, you have up to two years from the date of the occurrence to file a suit. In the case of medical malpractice, you have up to two years from the date the injury was discovered, such as when a foreign object like a clamp or sponge was left inside the body following an operation.

If you fail to file within the statute of limitations period, you risk being barred forever from filing a suit and recovering damages for your injuries. While two years may sound like a long time, it can actually pass by very quickly. Initially, you will be very absorbed with your own physical recovery, and then you will find yourself dealing with mountains of paperwork and trying to get your house and your life back in order, and perhaps returning to work. If you are dealing with an insurance company, they may seem like they are going to settle but allow negotiations to drag on in hopes that the limitations period passes without any legal action being taken by you.

Your lawyer will not immediately file a lawsuit in most instances. Usually, it is best to wait until your doctor declares you are medically stable so that we have a good idea about what your current and future medical costs and other damages are. Still, it is important to have an attorney on board who can begin preparing a case right away for trial or eventual settlement and to make sure that the statute of limitations or any other important deadlines is not missed.

Do I need a lawyer if the insurance company is offering to settle?

Absolutely. Insurance companies often offer a settlement very quickly after the accident. If you are unrepresented, they will make an offer that may sound good but is actually far less than your case is actually worth. If, on the other hand, you are represented by an attorney who is experienced in personal injury cases and has a track record of successful results, the insurance company is much more likely to make a serious offer and not try to take advantage of you.

Hiring an attorney does not mean that you will have to take your case to court. In fact, the vast majority of cases do settle without a trial. However, experience has shown time and again that hiring an attorney and preparing a case for trial is the best way to achieve a maximum settlement from the insurance company, regardless of whether this settlement comes without having to file a lawsuit or on the eve of trial.

How long will my case take?

As mentioned earlier, a lawsuit will likely not be filed or any settlement talks finalized until you have reached a stage where the doctor says you are medically stable, meaning that you have improved pretty well as much as you are likely to. This is likely to be several months, but it of course differs from case to case. Once a lawsuit is filed, there is a discovery process where depositions are taken and evidence is gathered from the other side, and motions are made in court before the actual trial. If your case goes to trial, it may be a year or more from when the accident happened, but the trial itself will probably only take a few days. Your lawyer can advise you in the meantime on how to take care of your medical bills and other expenses while your case is pending. Handling your case the right way often takes time, but this is the best way to maximize your recovery.

How much is my claim worth?

The answer to this question depends upon factors unique to your case, including the nature and extent of your injuries and damages, and the level of culpability of the negligent party. You are generally entitled to recover for your property damage, your present, and future medical expenses, lost wages from time missed from work or a future diminished earning capacity, and damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress. Contact our office for a free consultation with one of our attorneys, and we will try to give you an estimate of how much your case may be worth.

This blog was posted by Ford and Laurel Attorneys Laredo, Texas

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