When an accident happens, and you had no part to play in causing it, the world can seem against you. You may have suffered terrible injuries, injuries that could affect you physically and mentally for the rest of your life. If you have physical injuries, medical bills might start mounting up, adding to the stress and the chaos.
If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Your emotions are running high, you might be angry or afraid and unsure what your next steps should be.
Fortunately, Texas Law is clear in regard to this type of incident, and Houston is no different. When someone else has caused you damages through negligence and unreasonable behavior, you are entitled to seek compensation for the damages they have caused.
However, even though the law is there to protect you, it can be a time-consuming and complex process to navigate, and while many people attempt to do this alone, employing the help of a skilled Houston personal injury lawyer is a much smarter choice.
To begin with, you are most likely already dealing with the immediate aftermath of the accident, like the injuries and emotional trauma. This is a poor frame of mind to begin tackling the complex personal injury legal system and law that governs Houston.
Obtaining the help of a team of skilled Houston personal injury lawyers will allow you to take a step back, and focus on what is important; your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Here at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, our team of experienced Houston personal injury lawyers has been dealing with cases just like yours since 1951.
Our personal injury law firm has fought and won favorable results for numerous clients, giving us an unrivaled wealth of knowledge to draw upon.
Give us a call at 713-535-9319 for a free consultation. The phone lines are staffed 24/7, around the clock.
What Types of Personal Injury Can Lead to a Lawsuit in Houston, Texas?
Every single year, as a personal injury law firm, we deal with numerous clients, with accidents ranging from common, to extremely unusual.
If you have been involved in an accident and have received a personal injury from the list below, you should get in touch immediately:
- Burns to the skin, abrasions, and lacerations (cuts).
- Animal bites and attacks.
- Drowning and choking.
- TBIs (traumatic brain injuries).
- Injuries to the spine.
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash and crushing.
In general, these are the most common types of personal injury that we deal with but any injury that has had an impact on the way you live your life may entitle you to seek compensation. Mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of income are all included in this.
We offer a free consultation for a reason, if you are unsure if your situation is eligible for a claim, call our personal injury law firm today and we can evaluate your case for you.
What Damages Will a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me to Claim in Houston?
Luckily, in the majority of accidents that happen across Houston, TX, both parties involved manage to walk away unharmed.
Some people aren’t so lucky, and the results can be injuries that change their quality of life forever.
This may be due to long-lasting injuries or mental trauma that does not get better over time. When this happens, your Houston personal injury lawyer will be responsible for building your case so that you can seek compensation for:
- Medical bills – Often, even the best level of medical insurance has its limits, meaning that your bills can quickly surpass your level of cover. When you weren’t responsible for your personal injury, you shouldn’t be out of pocket for your medical bills.
- Loss of wages/earnings – If your injuries and mental or emotional trauma mean that you can no longer go to work, or work to the same level as you did before the accident, you will most likely be looking at lost wages or earning potential. Personal injury claims allow for loss of income, past, present, and future to be claimed for.
- Intangible Losses / Pain and Suffering – Some losses will need to be calculated differently as they do not have a tangible, physical cost attached to them. A medical bill will be very clear in how much you have to pay. Calculating the compensation value of the loss of enjoyment of life will need to be done by a skilled personal injury attorney, one with experience in these kinds of calculations.
Houston, TX is ruled by the same laws as the rest of Texas, meaning you may also have the chance to seek a type of damage called Punitive Damages. These are damages that are designed to make an example of and punish the other party.
Punitive Damages are usually reserved for the following reasons:
- Purposeful misconduct – This is when the other party has caused the injuries on purpose, with malicious intent.
- Gross negligence- This is reserved for when the defendant’s actions are so terrible that they have shown a blatant disregard for human life.
The Process of Seeking Compensation in the Houston, TX Area
First and foremost, when you are looking to begin the process of a personal injury claim, you need to find a good personal injury law firm, one with a good reputation, proven track record, and a team of experienced personal injury attorneys.
Here at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, like many other good law firms, we offer a free consultation and initial case evaluation to our clients. This allows us to get a feel for your case and for you to get some immediate advice regarding your situation.
You can give us a call, come to us in person, or arrange a video chat. The initial consultation process is designed to be relaxed and stress-free. When you feel comfortable, and more at ease, we can move to the next stage, which will be a more formal sit-down and a more in-depth evaluation of your situation. During this sit-down, we will assess your case, question you more extensively, and examine any evidence you can provide us.
In this meeting, we will tell you what we think about your case and your chances of compensation. We will talk you through our plan of action, how we are going to tackle the claim, and we will lay down our fee structure.
Once you agree to our fees and our process, we can get to work instantly, sending investigators if necessary, contacting experts if needed, and taking the burden from your shoulders, giving you the space to focus on your mental and physical health.
How Does a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Assign Negligence?
To win a favorable result in a personal injury compensation claim, the first and most important task for your Houston personal injury lawyer will be to work out whether or not the other party acted negligently.
Negligence, defined simply, is acting in a way that another normal, reasonable person would not act if they were in the same situation. If they would have taken care to clean up a spill that is reasonable. If you see a spill and ignore it, knowing someone might slip, and they do, you are negligent.
If your Houston personal injury lawyer thinks the other party acted negligently after assessing the evidence, they can begin to assign liability for your injuries.
If your case ends up proceeding to the courtroom, the plaintiff will expect your personal injury attorney to prove the following if they want to assign liability:
- The other party had a duty of care for the individual who was injured. A good example of duty of care is the shared use of the road. Everyone driving on the road has a duty of care for other drivers on the road.
- The other party breached their duty of care to the victim by acting in a way that is not reasonable. An example would be speeding up and traveling through a red light.
- The injuries of the victim are a result of that negligence.
- The incident led to the victim suffering from economic and non-economic losses.
Injured in Houston, TX? – What You Should Do and What You Should Not Do?
While we sincerely hope that you are reading this out of curiosity, if you are reading this in the immediate aftermath of a crash or another serious injury, we have some simple guidelines to follow in order to protect your rights and ensure you have the best possible chance of seeking compensation for your injury.
After an accident in Houston, TX resulting in personal injury, or wrongful death, there are certain things you should avoid doing and saying.
What NOT to do!
- Firstly, you should never apologize in any form at the scene of an accident. Even if the accident is clearly the fault of one individual, by saying sorry, you could lose all chances of compensation as it could reduce their liability. This is a common mistake.
- In the hours and days following the accident, never let any insurance company adjuster record a phone call with you. They may seem innocent but they could use your answers against you later in court.
- Do not accept any quick-fire settlement offers without speaking to your Houston personal injury attorney. Insurance companies will often call in the days following an accident and offer a settlement figure that may seem attractive. Remember, whatever they are offering is less than they think they might have to give you in a settlement fight.
These are the crucial things to remember as they will directly affect your chances of a successful claim later on down the line. Worse, they could even result in the blame being laid at your feet.
What you SHOULD do!
Next, here are a couple of things that you could do to give yourself an advantage later down the line and improve your chances of success if it comes to a claim.
At the scene of the accident:
- First and foremost, always prioritize your own safety. If you are able and have not sustained injuries to the spine or neck, move away from any danger. In motor vehicle accidents, move out of the flow of traffic, in truck accidents, move away from the truck, especially if it is on fire or smoking. Move away from electricity or bodies of water. When you have moved away, call the emergency services.
- Calling the emergency services serves multiple purposes. Firstly, they will ensure the safety of all involved. The police can direct traffic and defuse hostile situations and the paramedics can see to any injuries. Both services will also create their own respective reports. These reports are great pieces of unbiased evidence that can be used by your personal injury lawyers.
- Once you are safe, and the emergency services have been called, if you are in a position to, you should begin the collection of evidence. Take as many photos as you can, draw sketches of how the accident happened, take witness details and brief statements, everything you can take note of could be useful later.
- If you did not require immediate medical attention from the paramedics, your first stop after the accident should still be to get checked at a hospital. This serves multiple purposes. Firstly, some injuries, like internal bleeding, have no visible symptoms and you might not even realize you have them. Secondly, this will be your first documented case of medical attention for your personal injury lawyers to use in your case.
Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Most people want to seek justice and compensation from the party that has injured them through their negligence.
The biggest reason for not seeking the help of a personal injury law firm is that people think they will not be able to afford to hire them. Another reason is that people believe they will end up with more money if they seek compensation on their own.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency no-win-no-fee basis. This means you do not pay anything upfront, and you only pay them their fees if they win your case. Even with these fees, the compensation won when representation is at your side is usually higher than if you seek compensation alone, even after the fees are deducted.
To seek compensation alone you will also have to do all of the fighting yourself. If you are injured or have emotional trauma, this isn’t the best frame of mind to start a fight that could last months or years.
Personal injury trial law is complex, and you are going to be fighting against teams of aggressive and experienced attorneys that work for insurance companies. Their sole job is to ensure you get as little as possible.
They will use every trick in the book, every underhanded tactic to ensure they lessen their liability. By hiring a skilled Houston personal injury attorney, you will have a defense in these situations.
Often insurance companies will decide to settle, simply because they know you have an aggressive, experienced personal injury attorney representing you.
What Type of Personal Injury Accident Cases Do We Cover in Houston, TX?
Here in Houston, TX we have seen most types of personal injury cases over the years. From car accidents to wrongful death cases, here are some of the cases in which we have won favorable results for our accident victims:
Dram Shop Cases in Houston, TX
If a bar or restaurant has served an intoxicated or dangerous individual alcohol when they should not have, and this individual has gone on to cause an accident, the venue may be seen as negligent.
These cases are complex and will require a Houston personal injury lawyer with experience to handle them correctly.
Car Accident Cases in Houston, TX
With the sheer number of vehicles on the road, Houston, TX sees its fair share of car accidents every single day of the year.
This means a large number of the personal injury lawsuits we cover are car accident cases.
Motorcycle Accidents in Houston, TX
Just like car accidents, we see a lot of motorcycle accident cases in Houston. Motorcycle accidents have a much higher rate of serious injuries and wrongful death. This is due to the nature of the motorcycle and the lower levels of protection and awareness riders have in a crash.
Commercial Truck Accident Cases in Houston, TX
Commercial trucks have a much higher potential to cause serious damage and injuries. On average they weigh 15 times more than a normal car and when things go wrong, they can be catastrophic.
Truck accidents are different to car and motorcycle accidents in many ways due to the fact that many truck drivers are commercial drivers. This means they are governed by different rules and stricter regulations.
Companies are responsible for training their drivers to a high standard, maintaining the vehicles, carrying out regular checks, and ensuring drivers do not drive longer hours than is safe.
Slip and Fall Cases in Houston, TX
If you have slipped and injured yourself on property owned by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation due to their negligence.
If the owner of that property has failed to carry out reasonable maintenance or has ignored hazards they know are dangerous, this counts as negligence.
These cases can be notoriously tricky to navigate, especially when the property is private property. Your best chances are to use a personal injury law firm with experience in slip and fall cases.
What Is the Compensation Process in Houston, TX?
As personal injury lawyers, every case that we deal with is different to some degree. Personal injury attorneys understand that each case has different levels of available evidence and complexities, but for the most part, they follow this framework:
The first stage is always going to be an evaluation of your case and evidence. This is the period after the accident when you get in touch with your Houston personal injury attorney and explain to them what happened.
They will examine your case, look at your evidence and then decide what to do next.
Once you have agreed to legal representation, your personal injury attorney will spring into action. They may use their own personal investigators or hire accident experts for their testimonials.
They will get in touch with all of the witnesses, speak to the police and ambulance services to obtain their reports, and will dig for things like CCTV footage.
Calculate a Fair Compensation Value
To recover compensation for your damages and personal injuries, your personal injury attorney will need to be able to prove that what you are seeking is fair and reasonable.
Your personal injury attorney will calculate a compensation settlement figure from your medical bills and losses by working out what your pain and suffering is worth.
They will send this figure to the insurance company, who will either accept, counter or decline your figure.
If they accept, you can settle, receive your money and move on with your life.
Filing a Lawsuit
If they decline, you may need to move to the courtroom stage. This is where a Houston personal injury lawyer will prove instrumental, using the air-tight case they have built for you to prove to the courts your demands are fair and reasonable.
Deadlines after an Accident
Under Texas law, you must make a claim after an accident within 2 years.
If you do not make your claim within this deadline, you will not be able to do so afterward, no matter how strong your evidence is.
Even though there is a 2-year deadline to make your claim, we highly recommend you get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. The longer you leave it, the lower your chances and the harder it will be to dig up evidence.
How Do I Find a Good Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, TX?
Houston has a lot of different teams of personal injury lawyers, all of which claim to be the best. This can make the task of sorting through and finding a skilled personal injury lawyer seem like a monumental task.
But it doesn’t have to be.
When looking for a good Houston personal injury attorney, here is what we would advise:
- Any law firm can throw money at flashy ads and banners. Instead of choosing a firm based on adverts, look for recommendations from independent sites and friends and family.
- Any firm worth its salt will be able to showcase its wins and referrals from happy customers, if they can’t, or are hesitant to provide glowing recommendations, we advise you to stay away.
How Does My Houston, TX Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?
When personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, it means you do not pay upfront. Instead, you pay a percentage of any compensation sum they win for you.
If you lose your case, you do not have to pay a penny. It also works as a good motivator for your attorney to fight as hard as possible on your behalf.
Houston Personal Injury FAQs
Is my compensation guaranteed?
When it comes to compensation claims and personal injury, there is no guarantee, and any firm that says they can guarantee a win should be avoided at all costs. No ethical attorney will give false hope like this. They may say your chances are good but never certain.
How long do personal injury cases take to settle?
The complexity of your personal injury case will dictate how long it takes to settle. There is a huge number of different factors that can influence the path the case will take.
Some simple settlements can take a couple of months, wrongful death cases and complex cases involving multiple injuries and people may take years.
Do I need to go to a particular doctor for treatment?
You can choose whatever healthcare provider that you wish for treatment for your injuries.
The main exception to this is when you are dealing with a workplace personal injury case, in which case you may need to use their specific occupational health provider, covered by their insurance.
Do I need to go to a particular mechanic for car repairs?
Do not let insurance companies bully you into using their designated repair shops, you have every right to choose where you get your repairs done. If the insurance companies fight this, get in touch with your attorney.
Should I speak with an insurance adjuster?
Always remember that insurance companies have ulterior motives when it comes to individual claims. They do not become the successful companies they are by playing fair and paying compensation in full.
They will have a team of aggressive loss adjusters and attorneys that are working to reduce their liability. They might call you up by offering deals that seem lucrative, record conversations that seem innocent or try to get you to admit liability in some way.
The best thing to do in any case is to inform them that you wish all liaising to be done via your attorney.
Am I able to sue a party in court myself?
We are asked this a lot and the answer is yes, you do not need an attorney to seek compensation in court. However, we strongly advise against doing so.
When going up against a team of aggressive loss adjusters at an insurance company, attorneys with strong knowledge of personal injury law, you are at a disadvantage on your own.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, people win much more compensation with representation, even after fees have been deducted.
It also means you do not have to be involved, your attorney will represent you, fill in paperwork, investigate on your behalf and fight for you in court.
With the majority of law firms offering a free consultation and a no-win-no-fee option, it doesn’t really make sense to go it alone, at the very least, utilizing the free consultation for legal advice is a smart idea.
Contact us Here at Abraham Watkins Today
Here at Abraham Watkins, we have a team of extremely skilled, highly experienced personal injury attorneys. We have been fighting compassionately on behalf of our clients since 1951 and we have a long list of wins, favorable results, and happy clients to back it up.
We have dealt with cases just like yours, and have won favorable results for our clients in even the most complicated of cases. By agreeing to representation from us, you don’t just get a personal injury lawyer, you get a whole team that works together to fight aggressively on your behalf.
Our phone lines are manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we offer a free consultation to all clients, so if you are unsure of what the best course of action is get in touch. Give us a call today at 713-535-9319!