If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should call a Houston car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Most people make the mistake of assuming that their insurance will treat them fairly. However, insurance companies always try to pay out as little as possible. In addition, there are damages https://definithing.com/entertainment/ask-a-surgical-error-lawyer-what-are-the-odds-of-success-in-a-surgery-suit/that you may not be able to recover through your insurance. When you meet with a lawyer, there are several questions you should ask to plan your next moves.
What Should You Ask a Houston Car Accident Attorney at Your First Meeting?
Ask About Determining Fault, Potential Compensation, and the Timeline
Even though all car accident cases adhere to the same Texas civil code, each incident is unique. There are three main variables that you should consider. First, it’s important to discuss fault with your lawyer. In Texas, fault can have an impact on compensation. Speaking of compensation, you should ask your lawyer about the kinds of damages you can recover in your case. You may be entitled to more than you think.
Next, ask about the timeline of your case. A car accident can seriously derail your daily routine and potentially create more economic hardship. You may want to seek compensation quickly to get back to a stable situation. However, you may want to battle the case in court, which could add time to the whole process. Knowing how long a lawsuit takes to settle can help you plan your personal finances and guide your decisions throughout the process.
How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident Case?
Let’s start with fault. Unlike no-fault states, where each party bears responsibility for their own injuries and property damage, Texas is an at-fault state. This means that courts must evaluate who is at fault. The party found to be mostly at fault will be responsible for all the damages caused by an accident. However, the law also grants courts the freedom to assign fault to both parties. Whichever party is more than 50% at fault will have to pay.
Suppose you failed to use your turn signal on a left turn through a blinking red light and were hit by a speeding vehicle coming from the opposite direction. You could be held partially at fault for not signaling, but the car speeding would likely be considered chiefly at fault. The court could rule that you were 20% to blame while the other driver holds 80% of the responsibility. In this case, you’d receive 20% less compensation than if you were not at fault at all.
How Much Can I Receive in Compensation for my Injuries?
Although you might have read headlines featuring massive settlement numbers, these cases are rare. Many times the numbers in those headlines are symbolic, representing punitive damages to make an example out of a particular case. Visit this page and talk to a Houston car accident lawyer to estimate your potential payout. Your lawyer will help you calculate how much to sue for. First, you’ll tally up all of the economic damages, including lost wages, medical bills, and insurance copays.
From there, you’ll need to consider non-economic damages. This is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering is subjective, so it’s important to calculate a reasonable number. If your case goes to trial, the jury will decide whether you deserve these damages, and the judge may adjust the final amount. Sometimes courts will use a simple multiplier on the economic damages to determine non-economic damages. Your lawyer knows the courts’ tendencies and can recommend the best approach.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Compensation After a Car Accident?
The legal process can be time-consuming. However, the sooner you act, the faster you will resolve the case. Nevertheless, an estimated 95% of lawsuits will settle without a trial. This is preferable, as it’s much faster. Settlements can be negotiated by your lawyer to secure a satisfying amount without the hassle of fighting in court. After you meet with your lawyer, a lawsuit will be drafted and sent to the appropriate court.
Once the court receives this lawsuit, the defendant is notified by a process server. This process generally takes a few weeks. The defendant can then respond with a settlement offer, or they can insist on taking the case to court. If you receive an offer, your attorney will review it with you, and you can try to negotiate for more. Each round of negotiations can take weeks to perform. However, this is faster than waiting months for a trial.
How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With Your Attorney
With these questions in mind, what else do you have to do before you meet with your attorney? Make sure you bring any relevant evidence you have. For example, if you have dashcam footage from a car accident, your attorney will want to see it. Likewise, bring insurance and vehicle records with you. Your attorney will take care of the rest.