Personal Injury FAQ
Accidents can happen anywhere anytime, but the most frequent are no doubt those that occur out on the highways and byways of our country. There are, of course, other situations that can lead to accidents. You can be shopping for food and slip on a wet surface, fall backward, and hurt your head, neck, and back. You can be out walking and a dog takes a disliking to you and gives you a good bite.
What all these accidents and resulting injuries have in common is that someone else was responsible for what happened through their negligence or carelessness, and all of them will no doubt also have some sort of liability insurance through which you can file a claim for your medical and other expenses and losses.
An at-fault driver generally will have bodily injury coverage on their auto policy. A store owner/operator will also have some form of liability insurance. Even in a dog-bite situation, the dog’s owner will probably have liability coverage through their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Of course, a personal injury lawsuit is also possible, which may be warranted if the at-fault party’s insurer lowballs or denies your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in or around Corpus Christi, Texas, contact us at The Torres Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys can negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurer to seek the just compensation you are due and, if necessary, file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. Our firm also serves clients in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Personal Injuries
Your questions about personal injuries matter. At The Torres Law Firm, we understand that it can be difficult to navigate the legal system and find answers after being injured. We’ve put together a list of FAQs to help you better understand your rights and what steps you should take going forward:
Is Texas an at-fault or no-fault state?
Texas is an at-fault state. What at-fault means is that the person whose negligence, actions, or inactions caused the accident is liable. In a car accident, for instance, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is in contrast to a no-fault auto insurance state where you have to file for injuries on your own policy first.
Depending on the provisions of your own auto insurance coverage, you might also be able to file under the terms of your policy. Your insurer will then seek a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. Either way, the at-fault driver’s insurer will assign a claims adjuster to grill you about what happened and try to get you to admit some or all of the fault. That’s reason number one to let a personal injury attorney handle your claim for you.
What should I do after an accident?
Your first responsibility is, of course, for your own health and well-being. If you are injured badly enough, get immediate medical attention. If you’re still mobile enough to assemble evidence from the scene, that can go a long way toward substantiating your claim.
For instance, in addition to getting the at-fault party’s insurance information, talk to any witnesses and get their statements and contact information. Use your cell phone to take pictures or videos of the scene. When you get a chance, write down or record everything that happened to the best of your memory. Then contact a personal injury attorney.
I don’t feel hurt. Should I still see a doctor?
When you’re involved in an accident, your body will send a rush of adrenaline throughout your body, which can mask pain and other symptoms. You may not feel anything until hours, days, or sometimes weeks later. Your best course of action is to get medically evaluated immediately.
What if I was partially at fault?
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that, should you file a personal injury lawsuit, the jury will be asked to assign a percentage of fault to each party. Say you were rear-ended, but your brake lights malfunctioned. You might be assigned 30 percent (or more or less) of the fault. Any award you receive will then be reduced by 30 percent, so your $50,000 will become $35,000.
Insurance claims adjusters will also try to assign a portion of the fault to you, and that’s another reason you don’t want to answer their questions directly. Let your attorney handle their inquiries.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
If by claim, you mean making an insurance claim, then you shouldn’t wait very long. Insurance policies generally have prompt-reporting clauses, and in addition, the longer you wait to make your claim, the more suspicious the insurance company is going to be that you may be faking it. As soon as you have assembled sufficient medical and other evidence, you should file. For a personal injury lawsuit, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your injury.
Should I talk with the insurance adjuster?
If all you suffered was a dent in the fender and a bruised ego, then it should be safe to talk to the adjuster assigned to your claim. But if you suffered injuries, the best advice is to let an experienced personal injury attorney deal with the adjuster. Also, do not sign anything sent to you without running it past your attorney. You may be inadvertently signing away your rights to a just settlement.
Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
The answer is yes. Studies have shown that attorneys generally secure settlements two to three times higher than those negotiated by the claimants themselves. In addition, an attorney will know when a personal injury lawsuit is needed to secure the maximum compensation owed to you.
Advocating for You, Your Rights, and Your Future
Once you sign off on a settlement, you cannot reopen your claim and ask for more if your symptoms resurface or your injuries worsen. A settlement is a final deal. That’s another reason you should rely on experienced personal injury attorneys to carry out all negotiations. If you or a loved one has been injured in or around Corpus Christi, Texas, or in Dallas or Fort Worth, contact our legal team at The Torres Law Firm. While you recover, we will work on obtaining the best possible result, whether through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.