Do I Need An Austin Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you are hurt in a car accident, suffer injury due to a medical error or get harmed by a defective product, your first question may be, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?”
On one hand, the answer is: no. Technically, you can deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company and seek a settlement on your own. But on the other hand, handling a case on your own could actually end up being highly stressful, costly and simply not in your best interest.
We ask you to consider the following benefits that an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer can provide as you move ahead with your injury claim.
We also urge you to learn more by getting in touch with Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP. We can discuss your case and explain the services we have been providing to injury victims and their families in Austin since 1959.
1. Ease the stress you are experiencing.
It can be extremely frustrating to suffer an injury through no fault of your own. Suddenly, you find yourself dealing with treatment needs and medical costs. You may be unable to work as well and struggling to pay your bills.
When an insurance company contacts you and asks for a statement or tries to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer, it only adds to your stress level.
A lawyer can ease many of your burdens. For instance, a lawyer can work with health care providers and insurers to make sure your care and treatment goes uninterrupted. A lawyer can also deal with insurance companies on your behalf and protect your rights throughout the claims process.
Also, while you focus your energy and attention on getting better after your accident, your attorney can keep you updated about the progress in your case and answer any questions you may have.
2. Conduct a comprehensive investigation of your accident.
A lawyer with an extensive background in handling personal injury cases in Austin and surrounding areas will know how to investigate your case. The attorney will know what evidence is needed to establish a claim and how to go about collecting that evidence. The lawyer can also have a team of investigators, paralegals and others available to carry out the investigation in a professional, timely manner.
The quality of an investigation can bear directly on how much you are able to recover for your physical, mental and financial damages in an injury claim. If you try to handle a case on your own, you will not have those resources at your disposal. As a result, you may fail to receive full compensation.
3. Consult with a network of qualified experts.
Experts can play an important role in a personal injury claim. Accident reconstruction experts, for instance, can identify the cause of a car crash and the party who was at fault. Medical experts can determine the nature and extent of one’s injuries. Life care planning experts can estimate your future treatment and rehabilitation costs.
An attorney with experience handling personal injury claims in Austin can turn to knowledgeable experts in a wide range of fields for their opinions, which can ultimately give weight to your demand for compensation.
4. Calculate the damages you should seek.
Based on evidence that is carefully gathered through an investigation and input from qualified experts, your lawyer can calculate the amount you should seek in damages in your personal injury claim. This should include compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
If you are not represented by a lawyer, an insurance company may try to take advantage of you and offer a settlement of your claim that is for far less than what your claim is actually worth. Your lawyer won’t let that happen to you.
5. Seek a timely, full and fair settlement of your claim.
A lawyer should realize that you want to have your case resolved as quickly as possible. You didn’t ask to be injured, after all. You want to move past this experience. For this reason, a lawyer will work as efficiently as possible to prepare a demand for a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The reality is that most personal injury claims in Austin can be resolved in this manner — without the need to file a lawsuit or go to court. This is especially true if the other party admits fault or if fault has been clearly established by the evidence.
At the same time, an attorney can serve as an aggressive advocate for you. The attorney can present a strong case for compensation and work hard to seek the maximum amount for you. This ability to negotiate is a valuable skill that an experienced personal injury lawyer can bring to your case.
6. Present the strongest case possible in court.
In some situations, going to trial is necessary. The other party or parties involved in your personal injury case may refuse to admit responsibility or agree to a fair settlement of your claim. It will benefit you to have a seasoned Austin trial lawyer at your side.
If your case goes to court, you will want to be represented by a lawyer who knows how to present evidence in a compelling, persuasive manner and how to challenge the other side’s story of what occurred.
Of course, if you enter into settlement talks with an insurance company on your own, the insurer will realize that you are likely not ready, willing or able to go to trial. As a result, the insurer will have all of the leverage and may be unwilling to budge on the amount offered as a settlement.
7. Collect and disburse your award in an efficient manner.
What do you do if the insurance company drags its feet when it comes to paying a settlement or a judgment that has been entered by a court? A lawyer will know — and that knowledge can make a major difference when it comes to collecting what you are owed and moving on with your life.
Additionally, a health care or workers’ compensation lien may be attached to your financial recovery. A lawyer can negotiate with those lien holders in an effort to minimize the amount that is deducted from your recovery and maximize the amount that goes directly to you.
8. Charge you no legal fees unless you get a favorable result.
Your concerns about paying upfront for a lawyer may make you hesitant to take legal action. However, if the lawyer you hire works on a contingency fee basis, you will not have that worry.
In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer will charge you no legal fees unless the lawyer obtains a financial recovery for you. If a settlement or verdict is obtained on your behalf, the lawyer will deduct a percentage of that recovery as payment for the legal services provided to you.
Keep in mind: Even though you will need to pay the lawyer, the legal services you have received should still allow you to emerge with greater compensation than if you had pursued the case on your own.
Understanding The Fact-Finding Process In A Personal Injury Case
The American justice system stands by the principle that in the course of a personal injury lawsuit, there should only be few surprises as possible. Back in the 1940s, laws have been enacted that required full disclosure of all significant and relevant facts from both sides, through a process termed as ‘discovery.’ Discovery happens in three forms — deposition, written discovery and document production.
Interrogatories are questions asked to determine the version of facts coming from one individual. There are different kinds of interrogatories, but most of which are already predetermined. There are general questions asked, such as ‘Where were you on this date?’ or specific ones such as ‘Did you see the suspect step out of the building at 4 p.m. in the afternoon on this date?’ If the respondent finds that the questions are rather unjustified and unfair, he or she can ask his or her lawyer for assistance.
Requests for admission, on the other hand is another type of written discovery. These are not used as much as interrogatories, but are effective nonetheless. This asks a person or a party to admit or deny information related to the case. The power of this kind of discovery lies in the possible penalties the respondent can face if they answer incorrectly, falsely or not at all.
This type of discovery gives the parties the right to see most documents that relate to a case. In the case of medical malpractice cases, the paperwork can be voluminous. Also, with the continuous development of technology, courts now also allow access to files in a computer as part of the discovery. Furthermore, if deemed critical to the case, courts can ask to have files and emails deconstructed.
Depositions are also known as sworn statements, in which a respondent is asked questions while a court reporter takes note of what the responses are, verbatim. Some depositions last for an hour and some take over a week to complete. Lawyers have their own set of strategies when it comes to depositions, and usually dictate how the respondent is to respond when it is his or her time to be questioned.
Other Facts About Discovery:
- Remember that it is highly likely that everything and anything can come out of the process.
- It is of utmost importance that the respondent be honest and truthful to his or her lawyer — especially about things that are yet to be dug up. Without full disclosure, the lawyer will have a difficulty representing the case.
- Discovery is often a lengthy, frustrating, intrusive and expensive process. Before starting a lawsuit, consider first if you are willing to go through the possible pains that this process entails.
- Be honest. A discovery is not the chance to lie, but is the time for the truth to come out. Lying will not only weaken the case, but also subject the respondent to legal action as the statements are made under oath.
Financial Recovery After A Personal Injury
Below, you will find the kinds of damages where financial recovery is possible. Take note that it is best to work with a competent lawyer, such as ours from Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, to ensure that your rights are upheld at all times.
If an accident leaves its victim deformed or disfigured, the victim may file for damages related to mental strain and suffering that come from the awareness of the disfigurement. This includes scars and other permanent marks on personal appearance.
Future Medical Expenses
If the accident leaves the plaintiff to undergo a series of medical operations, checkups and other procedures as a result of the injury, then he or she may demand for financial support as well.
If the accident renders the victim unable to perform basic household chores and other activities and needs to employ household help, then the expenses can also be included in the claim.
Loss Of Consortium
Injuries can leave couples suffering from the loss of the benefits of married life — affection, comfort, companionship, assistance, as well as sexual intimacy. The uninjured spouse can file a claim for the loss of consortium on behalf of his or her spouse.
Loss Of Consortium Of A Child
If the injury affects the relationship of parents with their children, then they may also ask for the damages to help themselves recover.
Loss Of The Enjoyment Of Life
If an injury leaves its victim unable to enjoy the daily pleasures of life, then he or she may also file for the expenses.
Loss Of Companionship
In the unfortunate event of a wrongful death, the surviving family members of the victim can also demand monetary compensation that will represent the loss of love and companionship resulting from the death of the victim.
Loss Of Earning Capacity
When an injury leaves its victim unable to report to work, then he or she is entitled to claim for damages to compensate for lost wages.
Victims can also demand that their medical bills, doctor’s fees, cost of medication and other hospital-related expenses be included in the damages.
If a victim is psychologically traumatized, or is emotionally disturbed by the accident, then he or she is also entitled to claim for damages in this regard.
A doctor is usually required to testify about how the injury caused the permanent disability of the patient, which also establishes a valid ground for the damages to be paid.
Connect With Our Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Today
As the oldest personal injury law firm in Austin, Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, can bring valuable experience and resources to work for your case. We can help you avoid mistakes that can be easily made if you try to handle your injury claim on your own, and we can work hard to seek the compensation you deserve.
We will charge nothing for an initial consultation, and you will pay no legal fees unless we secure a financial recovery for you. Don’t wait to get legal help: contact us today.