How To Obtain A Settlement From A Car Accident

Getting Financial Compensation For Damages
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an auto collision, you know that an accident can have a significant financial impact on your family. Healthcare bills, lost wages, car repair costs and other expenses can cause economic uncertainty in your household. Obtaining a settlement following a Houston car accident can be one way in which to help provide for the financial security of your family.

Filing A Personal Injury Claim
While no personal injury lawsuit will be exactly like another, there are some constants existing between cases. The first is that a victim of car accident should see a doctor as soon as possible following an accident. Even if it appears no injuries have been sustained, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. A medical professional may discover hidden injuries, and documentation of conditions are an important part of any personal injury claim.

The second rule of thumb is that anyone involved in a car accident should secure the services of an experienced attorney. Because of the detailed requirements of Texas law, the personal injury process can be a complicated and intensive ordeal. An experienced injury lawyer can guide you through the process, including the following steps.

  • Investigating the accident. Your attorney will take steps to understand what happened in an accident. In addition to your interview, a lawyer will try to collect statements from eyewitness. Photos of the accident scene may be taken, and requests made for phone records that could show that texting or talking on a cellphone may have contributed to a crash.
  • Negotiating for a settlement. Your attorney will likely work with an insurance provider or another party to try to secure a monetary award that fairly compensates you for damages.
  • Engaging in court proceedings. In the event your legal representative is unable to negotiate a settlement at this time, he or she will file a lawsuit with the court. This is typically followed by a discovery period in which you and the other motorist will have to provide testimony about what happened in an accident. Motions may also be filed about where a case should be tried and what evidence admitted.
  • Seeking a settlement once again. It is often at this stage in legal proceedings that a settlement is reached. Because going to court is costly and the outcome is uncertain, another party’s lawyer may believe settling is the best option. Your lawyer will only recommend you accept a settlement if it provides fair compensation.

It’s possible that no settlement may be reached, in which case a trial will be scheduled. A lawyer will make arguments on your behalf during a trial, seeking to convince the court that you deserve compensation for damages resulting from an accident.

Find An Experienced Lawyer
Remember, if you’re interested in the possibility of obtaining a settlement after a Houston car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. A legal advocate can tell you what to do after a car accident in Houston, giving you the best chance of achieving a favorable result in your case.

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How Much Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost

The Benefits Of Legal Representation
Personal injury law is very complex. Many court regulations and legal processes must be followed in order to successfully secure compensation for damages. While most people recognize the value of legal services, many worry that car accident lawyer costs in Houston will prevent them from obtaining personal injury representation.

This caution is understandable. If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident, you’re likely seeing medical bills stack up. There might be a bill from the auto mechanic, too, or payment slips for a new car in the event your previous vehicle was totaled. The last thing you need is another bill, especially if an accident is preventing you or a family member from working.

Fortunately, you don’t need to forego obtaining legal representation, even if you and your family members are in the middle of some of the most difficult financial challenges you’ve experienced.

No matter how dire your current financial outlook, quality legal services are available to you right now. That’s because most car accident lawyers take personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis.

What does this mean? As a client of a lawyer, you pay nothing for legal services up front. Further, you will only be responsible for paying legal fees if an attorney is able to secure compensation on your behalf from another party (another driver or the person’s insurance company). In the event your personal injury case is not successful, you won’t be responsible for any legal fees.

If you’ve felt overwhelmed by insurance adjusters contact you, it can be a great relief to learn that you’re in position to hire legal representation. It remains important, however, to understand the agreement you’re entering into, including some key aspects that include:

  • How are fees to be calculated? Most often a lawyer’s fees are established as a percentage of the monetary award obtained in a judgment or settlement. It’s important to be aware of what that percentage will be.
  • Is the fee taken from the gross award or the net award? The gross award is the full amount of the monetary judgment or settlement. The net award is that which remains after expenses are deducted.
  • Will you be responsible for expenses? If you win a judgment or settlement and legal fees are to be taken from the gross award, you may have to also pay for legal expenses.

If you’re like most people, you don’t feel equipped to represent yourself in a personal injury case. Paying for representation on contingency-fee basis can allow you to secure quality representation.

Contact A Legal Representative
Securing the services of a lawyer should be an immediate priority if you have been in a car accident. The complexities of personal injury can make it extremely difficult for the layperson to pursue an effective case. Having a lawyer to tell you what to do after a car accident in Houston can ensure that you keep your legal rights intact.

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What To Do After A Car Accident

Being Ready To Start Recovery
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. Even minor fender-benders can lead to confusion and make you feel out of sorts. While this is certainly understandable, it’s also important to be as cognizant as possible of what you should do after a car accident in Houston. Following the appropriate steps can help safeguard your personal injury rights.

What You Should Do After A Houston Accident
Many severe accidents require that emergency services arrive on the scene. If your injuries from a crash are critical, you may be rushed to a medical facility.

In a relatively minor incident in which emergency services are not necessary, how you respond can have a bearing on your future ability to pursue personal injury compensation from another driver. Following are step-by-step actions you can take after an accident to preserve your legal rights:

  • Check your surroundings. While many people want to immediately exit a vehicle, you should only get out of your car after when it’s safe. If at all possible, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Exit the vehicle. When it appears safe, get out of your vehicle. Inspect the damage and ask the other driver if he or she is all right.
  • Call the police. Although an at-fault driver may ask you not to call the authorities, it’s critical to call 911 and report the incident right away. Formal law enforcement reports and highway investigations can be used as evidence that may help victims obtain a settlement after a car accident in Houston.
  • Document what happened. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, noting vehicle details like the license plate number. In the event it’s safe to do so, take accident pictures with a cellphone or camera. If other people nearby saw the incident, ask them for their contact information so that they can serve as witnesses should the need arise.
  • Call a lawyer. After being given permission to leave by authorities, call an attorney to schedule a consultation. An attorney may provide you with some post-accident advice that can be helpful in building a case, for example, getting checked out by a doctor — even if your injuries may seem minimal.
  • Call the insurance company. Some policies automatically make claims void after a certain time period. While it is important to report an accident right away, avoid speaking with representatives from an insurance company without first consulting an attorney.

Get Help To Pursue Compensation
Contacting a lawyer after a car accident in Houston can give you the best chance of obtaining personal injury compensation from another motorist who has negligently caused you harm. An attorney can tell you how to obtain a settlement for a car accident in Houston and help ensure that you do not take actions that inadvertently compromise your legal rights.

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How Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident

Why Reporting Is Important
Some people who get into car accidents make the mistake of agreeing to the request of an at-fault driver to avoid reporting a crash. Later, a person may have a change of heart after noticing back stiffness, neck pain or previously unseen damage to a vehicle. These unlucky people are often surprised to learn they only have so long to report a car accident in Houston, and can no longer make an insurance claim.

Don’t Wait To Report A Car Accident 
The Transportation Code of the Texas Statutes states that anyone operating a vehicle that is involved in an accident leading to injury, death or serious damage to another vehicle must immediately use the fastest means of communication to contact the local police department or sheriff’s office. Failure to report an accident and remain at the scene of the crime is technically a criminal offense.

If you are involved in a car accident, don’t rely on someone else to make the report. It is not very long that you have to report a car accident in Houston. Taking the initiative immediately can be of benefit to you in the following ways:

  • The accident is entered into the official record. Any plans you may have to one day pursue a personal injury claim rely on the accident being reported. In fact, a police report can be a very important piece of evidence.
  • Emergency services are made available. Law enforcement officials can quickly radio for emergency services in the event you or another person on the scene sustains injuries. Getting checked out, even if your pain is slight, is a good idea given that personal injury cases typically require documentation of injuries.
  • You support your case. A lawyer may be able to use 911 emergency call records (and recordings) as evidence in building your claim. Investigation records taken on the day of an accident can also help your case.

While the Transportation Code of Texas Statures fails to address insurance reporting, it’s a good idea to contact an insurer as soon as possible after an accident. In addition to preserving your legal right to make a claim, these benefits may apply:

  • Earlier payouts. If you have to repair a vehicle or receive medical care, a prompt report can work in your favor. The earlier victims make a report, the more likely their insurers will be to disburse a payout in time so that they don’t have to cover treatment fees or pay property damage out of their own pocket.
  • You stay informed. Reporting an accident early, and keeping constant contact with an insurer, allow you to remain informed about how much an insurance company is offering to pay. This can be a determining factor in whether you, along with your attorney, decide to pursue compensation by means of a personal injury lawsuit.

Find Help For The Legal Process
Calling law enforcement authorities is an important first step toward preserving your personal injury rights, especially given you have only so long to report a car accident in Houston. As mentioned, calling your insurance company right away is also a good idea. It’s important to note, however, that you should avoid speaking with an insurance company until you have first spoken with an attorney. Your legal representative can tell you what to do after a car accident in Houston to preserve your rights.

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