Following an auto accident, you might be facing unexpected medical bills, vehicle damage, and disruption to your work and family life. You’re likely to have many questions and concerns, including how auto accident attorneys could help you. Let’s look at six situations when retaining an experienced car accident attorney in Houston, TX is your best course of action.
6 Situations Where You Should Hire Auto Accident Attorneys
1. You’re Recovering From Physical Injuries
If another driver caused you any degree of physical injury, you can seek compensation with an auto accident claim against them. And it’s better to file a claim sooner than later because you need evidence and eyewitnesses from the scene of the accident to prove the other driver’s liability. The longer you leave it, the harder it becomes to gather reliable evidence and build a strong case.
But if you’re still recovering from your injuries, filing a claim can be daunting. Recovery from physical harm requires rest and relaxation, not the stress and uncertainty of dealing with difficult insurance adjusters and complex legal matters.
Your Attorney Gives You Breathing Space To Recover
This is where a good car accident attorney becomes invaluable. Your attorney can answer your questions, investigate the accident, file the claim for you, collect evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight tooth and nail to win you a full and fair settlement. All the while, you can focus on recovering your health.
Dismissing Minor Injuries Is a Common Mistake
If you’ve experienced a mild fender bender, beware of brushing off a seemingly minor injury. Small aches and pains can later develop into major and even chronic injuries. Take whiplash, for example, which is the most common injury sustained in auto accidents. Immediately after an accident, whiplash can appear mild, only to develop into acute pain and complications several days or even weeks later.
Some accident victims who feel okay after a minor crash don’t want to be bothered with the hassle of a lengthy claims process and hiring a lawyer. So they quickly accept any settlement amount the insurance company offers, only to later regret it. But once you’ve accepted a settlement, you can never file another claim for the same accident, no matter how costly your medical bills later become. Auto accident attorneys can save you from making a similar mistake.
2. You Don’t Know the Value of Your Claim
Insurance companies will often make a quick lowball settlement offer and discourage you from consulting with a lawyer. It’s almost always an error to accept this first offer without first finding out the true value of your claim, for which you’ll need the guidance of a good attorney.
Without any legal know-how or experience with accident claims, victims often underestimate the full damages they’re entitled to. As a result, they leave a great deal of money on the table.
Objective Economic Damages
Any damages with a clear monetary value are called economic damages. This includes your medical expenses, both existing medical bills and ongoing medical costs into the future. Lost wages because of your injuries are another common example, also including any reduced capacity to work resulting in lost wages in the future. And property damage to your vehicle can also be recovered.
Subjective Non-Economic Damages
Damages without a clear objective monetary value can also make up a significant portion of a final settlement figure. These non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical impairment, deformity, reduced quality of life, and harmed relationships.
3. You’re Accused of Contributory Negligence
Proving the liability of the at-fault party is essential for a successful auto accident claim. In straightforward cases like a rear-end collision at a stop light, the full liability of the other driver is reasonably certain. But in other cases, liability is less clear, such as if a driver was glancing at their phone while crossing an intersection and failed to see another car running a red light. Here, the victim is guilty of contributory negligence.
If you’re found to hold partial responsibility for an accident, the value of your claim may be reduced or even destroyed. This is why an insurance adjuster will often seek to persuade an unsuspecting accident victim to make an official statement before hiring a lawyer. During the interview for that statement, they’ll often ask leading questions and encourage you to unwittingly admit to some degree of contributory negligence.
How Your Houston, TX Lawyer Can Help
Firstly, an attorney will communicate with the insurer for you from the get-go, preventing any accidental admissions of contributory negligence. And if you’ve already been accused of sharing the blame for the accident, your attorney can do their best to minimize or dispute this accusation with an extensive investigation and mountains of evidence.
Whether your accident was in Houston, TX, or elsewhere in the state, necessary evidence will probably include police reports, eyewitness accounts, photographs and video footage from the scene, surveillance camera footage, and more. Your attorney can also retain accident reconstruction experts and other expert witnesses to provide testimony in support of your claim.
4. Multiple Drivers Were Involved in the Accident
An accident involving just two drivers usually takes several months to resolve. But navigating the aftermath of an accident with multiple defendants can sometimes take years. In these complex cases, investigating the accident and establishing liability is often a monumental task.
There’s also a danger to claimants as the statute of limitations in Texas places a two-year deadline on filing a lawsuit following a car accident. And as the case drags on, you’re at risk of passing this deadline. It’s essential to find an attorney who can move things along as rapidly as possible while handling the complexity of the case and also the endless reams of paperwork and communications between multiple insurance companies and legal teams.
5. You’re Entering Settlement Negotiations
Insurance companies are skilled and experienced at minimizing their payouts. This makes negotiating a higher settlement figure a tough uphill battle for any claimant choosing to handle their case alone.
On average, accident victims that hire a lawyer receive three and a half times more money in compensation than those who don’t. One of the biggest reasons for this is the ability of an attorney to counteroffer and negotiate effectively. With their knowledge of your legal rights and ability to prove the full extent of your damages, a lawyer can fight until you receive the compensation you deserve, and not a cent less.
6. Your Case Is Going to Court
While 95% of auto accident cases are settled out of court, it’s sometimes necessary to file a civil lawsuit. This is usually the case when the insurer’s final settlement offer is still far below what you deem to be fair compensation. A lawsuit might also be necessary if negotiations stall, your damages exceed the maximum payout of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, or your claim has been denied altogether.
When facing a court case, it’s highly advisable to retain a competent car accident lawyer with experience trying similar cases before a judge and jury. Merely taking this step will often be enough to persuade the insurance company to agree to your terms and settle out of court.
If you’re seeking a settlement payout following an auto accident, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner today for a free consultation. We’ve been helping car accident victims successfully recover full and fair compensation since 1951.