Being injured can be one of the worst things that can happen to you. And a personal injury can take many forms. You can be injured at work, by a product, by a doctor or dentist or while shopping. You can suffer a personal injury as the result of an assault, because you slipped on a patch of ice or due to your working conditions. Of course, the most prevalent personal injury is one that happens as the result of a car accident.
A San Antonio Injury Lawyer Can Help
There are many ways that you can be injured. In some cases the fault will be your and you won’t be entitled to any monetary damages. However, in many of these cases another party caused the injury and you may be entitled to compensation. These cases can be complicated, complex and confusing, which is why you need a San Antonio injury lawyer to help you understand whether or not you have a case against some other individual or party and if so, how much you can expect to receive in compensation.
The importance of consulting a San Antonio Injury Lawyer
Auto accidents are not only the most common type of personal injury; they can be the most complicated. Texas law makes these accidents even more complex as it recognizes something called “degree of fault.” So, even though you think the other driver was totally responsible for your accident, it’s possible that you could be found to be 15% or 20% responsible. And this will definitely affect the amount of monetary damages you can expect to receive. And you may not receive any money at all unless you have a San Antonio injury lawyer.
If you were involved in a road traffic accident, did the other driver actually run a red light? Had he or she been drinking? Was he or she served too many drinks? Did the other car’s brakes fail? Did the other driver have a vision problem? Was he or she speeding or driving on the wrong side of the median?
A San Antonio injury lawyer can help you find answers to these questions and prove the other driver was negligent. Your injury lawyer will be able to hire expert witnesses if necessary to help prove that the other driver was 100% at fault. This can include experts in auto accident re-creations who use high-speed cameras, video cams and computers to re-create the accident and show that the fault was not yours. Your auto accident lawyer can also hire expert medical witnesses to testify about the extent of your injuries and the treatment you required.
What to expect
When you first consult with a San Antonio injury lawyer, he or she will be fact gathering. He or she will discuss the injury with you from your point of view–what you believe happened, why you feel the other party was responsible and what sort of medical treatment you have received. He or she will answer whatever questions you might have regarding the other person’s (or company’s) negligence, how the case will precede and what you might expect to get in compensation.
The attorney may hire someone to do a preliminary investigation and to gather evidence that can be used when he or she discusses the case with the other person’s or company’s insurer. In most cases, the other insurer will attempt to negotiate a settlement with you and your lawyer because this costs the company much less then if they have to try the case in court.
Your lawyer will talk to you about this settlement discussion and will advise you as to whether or not you should settle, depending on what the other insurance company has offered. There may actually be several settlement discussions, depending on the severity of your injuries and the complexity of the accident. At some point, you may agree to a settlement or conversely, you and your lawyer may determine that you just cannot reach a satisfactory settlement.
If this is the case, the next step for your attorney will be to file suit against the other person or company whom an insurance company will actually defend. Sometimes the mere act of filing suit will force the insurance company’s attorney to come to you with a better settlement offer.
Trying your case
If your attorney and the defendant’s attorney are still unable to reach a satisfactory settlement, you will have to go to trial. There will be a judge and jury, your attorney, the insurance company’s attorney and quite possibly a number of expert witnesses. Your attorney may hire these types of experts to testify on your behalf as well as medical experts to testify about the severity of your injuries.
The opposing attorney will also have his or her expert witnesses to counter the testimony of your witnesses. As you can imagine, hiring all these experts can get very expensive. However, your attorney will probably have taken your case on what’s called a contingency fee basis. This means that he or her takes a percentage of the settlement. This is usually done on a sliding scale. The more work the attorney had to do, the higher the percentage. The highest is if he or she has to try the case in court.
How much money you can expect to receive in compensation for your personal injury will depend on a number of factors. This typically includes your out-of-pocket and medical expenses. The out-of-pocket expenses can include such things as crutches, a wheelchair and physical therapy. Medical expenses include the cost of emergency room care, hospital costs, in-patient treatment, office visits, chiropractic care and any other medical care required as a result of your injury. You can also be compensated for lost wages and what is called “conscious pain and suffering.”
Naturally, the more serious your accident was and the more medical attention you required, the bigger your settlement will be. In other words, if you were rear ended and suffered what is called a “whiplash” injury, you can expect to receive a smaller amount of money then if you are suffering from a disease caused by your working conditions such as mesothelioma.
As you can see, personal injuries can be very. It is really impossible for you to successfully take on an insurance company all by yourself and expect to get the settlement you really deserve. You need to find a San Antonio injury lawyer who has experience in handling personal injury cases and who has had experience dealing with insurance companies – to make sure you get a settlement that is fair and just.