Personal Injury FAQ
Being injured in an accident or because of another party’s negligence is frustrating, painful, and frightening. Many people are unsure about what to do to protect their legal rights.
To help you understand personal injury claims and answer some of the most common questions about personal injury, Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, has gathered together ten Personal Injury FAQs for you.
Answers to Ten Personal Injury FAQs You Need to Know
Ten things that everyone should know about personal injury cases are:
1. Report the Accident or Injury and Seek Medical Care Immediately
Report the accident immediately. For motor vehicle accidents, call 911 to report the crash and request police assistance.
If you slip and fall on another person’s property, report the injury to the property owner or a property manager.
A workplace injury needs to be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Likewise, a dog bite needs to be reported to the dog owner, property owner, and the local animal control office. Reporting your injury creates a record that can be helpful during the personal injury claim.
You also need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Documenting your injuries is an essential step in a personal injury claim. Delays in medical care and treatment could complicate your personal injury claim and lower your injury claim’s value.
2. You Could Receive Compensation for Economic Damages if Someone Else Caused Your Injury
Texas is an at-fault state for personal injury claims. If you can prove that someone else caused your injury, you could receive compensation for your economic damages. Economic damages are the financial losses incurred because of the accident and your injuries.
Economic damages in a personal injury case can include:
- Cost of medical care and treatment
- Losses of income, including diminished earning capacity and benefits
- In-home health care and personal care
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Out-of-pocket costs for medications and medical supplies
- The cost of paying someone to perform household chores
Reasonable and necessary financial expenses can be included in a personal injury claim. However, you must have proof of each expense to recover compensation for the loss.
3. Your Claim Might be Worth More Than You Believe
Some individuals do not know that they could also receive compensation for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can significantly increase the value of a personal injury claim.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological injuries, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Disabilities and impairments
- Loss of quality of life
Non-economic damages compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced because of the injury. However, calculating pain and suffering damages can be challenging. There is not a specific formula used in all cases.
A personal injury lawyer understands how to use the evidence and circumstances in your case to maximize the value of pain and suffering damages. In most cases, catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments increase the value of non-economic damages.
4. The Insurance Adjuster Does Not Work for You
An insurance adjuster may act as if he is your advocate. He might tell you that he is working on getting you the most money available for your personal injury claim. The adjuster might also tell you that he can help you get more money if you do not retain an injury lawyer.
The claims adjuster does not work for you. He works for the insurance company. The adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company. Protecting the insurance company means settling your claim for as little money as possible.
Do not trust the insurance adjuster. Talk with a personal injury lawyer to learn the facts about personal injury cases. Put your trust in someone who has your best interest as his only priority.
5. You Might Receive Compensation Even if You are Partially to Blame for the Accident
The insurance company might tell you that you cannot receive any money for your personal injury claim because you contributed to the cause of your injury. It might explain that under the modified comparative fault laws in Texas, you are barred from receiving compensation for an accident that you caused.
That statement is only partially true. If your percentage of fault is 51 percent or higher, you are barred from recovering compensation for your injury claim.
However, if your percentage of fault is less than 51 percent, you could recover compensation for your damages. Your percentage of fault reduces the amount you receive.
Blaming the victim is a common insurance tactic used to avoid paying a personal injury claim’s actual value. If the insurance company or other party tries to say that you are partially to blame for the accident, call a personal injury lawyer immediately.
6. You Can Get Free Legal Advice About Your Accident Claim
You do not need to worry about paying a retainer fee to talk with a lawyer after an accident or injury. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations.
During your free consultation, you learn about your legal rights and the steps to take to protect those rights. The attorney learns about your case and offers advice at no charge.
7. You Can Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for No Upfront Fees
Most personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. The attorney does not receive any attorneys’ fees until he recovers money for your claim. In other words, you do not pay any attorneys’ fees up front to hire a law firm to represent you in a personal injury claim.
Insurance companies have unlimited resources and teams of lawyers working to protect their best interests. You deserve to have a legal team on your side that works to recover full compensation for all damages.
8. Your Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Limited
All personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations restricts the time to file a personal injury lawsuit. The time to file a lawsuit could vary depending on the type of claim and the case’s facts.
For example, claims involving government entities have very short deadlines for filing a notice of claim. If you fail to file a notice of claim, you could lose your right to file a lawsuit.
There are other exceptions to the Texas statutes of limitations for personal injury cases. Because you do not want to risk losing your right to file a lawsuit for an injury claim, talk with an accident lawyer now. Learn more about the timeline of a personal injury case.
9. Injured Workers Might Have Additional Claims Other Than Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation generally covers injuries on the job. The worker does not need to prove negligence to receive workers’ comp benefits.
However, a workplace accident or construction accident could result in an additional claim for damages. For example, a worker injured by a defective product could have a claim against the manufacturer under product liability laws.
Before you assume you are only able to receive workers’ comp benefits, talk with a lawyer. You could be entitled to full compensation for loss of income and other damages not covered by workers’ comp benefits.
10. Family Members May be Entitled to Compensation After a Loved One’s Death
When a person is killed because of another party’s wrongdoing, errors, or negligence, the family members might be entitled to wrongful death benefits. A wrongful death claim is separate from any criminal charges filed against the party who caused the death.
However, wrongful death claims can be complicated. There are special rules about who can file a claim and the damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death claim.
Family members should consult with a wrongful death lawyer to discuss their options for seeking justice for their loved one’s death.
If you have additional questions about personal injury claims, talk with a lawyer. Get the answers to your questions before deciding how to proceed with your claim to make sure you are doing what is best for you and your family. Call Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, to get started today.