Even if you bear some responsibility for an auto accident, you will most likely still be able to recover for your losses under Texas’ modified comparative fault rule.
Car accident claims are rarely straightforward. In many situations, the underlying causes of a collision are surprisingly complex. Perhaps you failed to signal a turn, but the other driver was distracted because he was texting and driving. The other driver was more at fault than you were, but you still were negligent. Can you still recover compensation for your losses if you were partially at fault?
In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will attempt to deny your claim, arguing that you were responsible for the accident because you failed to signal. Yet as an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer can explain, Texas law allows drivers who are partially at fault to recover for their losses, as long as they were 50% or less at fault under Texas’ “modified comparative fault” rule.
Don’t Take the Insurance Company at Its Word
Most people are fortunate enough to only be involved in a car accident once every few years at most. However, this put them at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and on-staff attorneys who’s sole job is to fight your claims. Their role is to minimize the amount of money that they pay out on every claim — so they often attempt to deny valid claims or give low-ball offers to settle claims early on in the process (before you know the full extent of your damages).
This is frequently the case when it comes to car accidents where both drivers share some fault. The insurance company may try to convince you that because you were also to blame for the accident, they do not have to pay you for your losses — but this is not true in Texas. Remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make a profit by tasking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims.
Rather than taking the insurance company at its word, it’s important that you call a personal injury attorney in your area for a free consultation. An attorney can explain your rights and fight for what you truly deserve. Depending on the facts of your case, you should be able to recover for your losses — even if your total damages award is reduced based on your own degree of comparative fault.
Texas’ Modified Comparative Fault Rule
In civil law, there is a concept known as “comparative fault” which means that a percentage of fault can be assigned to each party. A person’s recovery in a lawsuit will then be reduced by the amount that they are considered “at fault” for an accident. For example, if you were deemed 30% at fault for a car crash and were awarded $100,000 by a jury, the award will be reduced by 30% to a total of $70,000.
Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule. If a party is 51% or more responsible for an accident, then he or she is barred from recovering monetary damages in a case. Under this rule, you could be awarded anywhere from 100% of your damages (if you are found 0% at fault) to 0% of your damages (if you are found 51% or greater at fault).
In car accident cases, there are a number of factors that a jury may consider when determining who is at fault. Typically, a jury will look at dangerous or negligent driving behaviors, such as speeding, driving the wrong way, texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or ignoring traffic signs.
Based on evidence presented at trial, such as the police report, cell phone records and accident reconstruction, the jury will assign a percentage of fault to each driver. This percentage of fault is then used to determine how damages are awarded. For example, consider a case where you are driving to work, going slightly over the speed limit (5 to 10 miles per hour) in the left lane of traffic. Suddenly, a driver attempts to make a left turn from the right lane. You can’t stop in time, and you collide. The jury may decide that you are 10% at fault, because if you hadn’t been speeding, you could have stopped in time. The other driver is 90% at fault for making an illegal turn and cutting you off. If your award is for $50,000, you will receive $45,000. The other driver will not be entitled to damages because he or she was more than 51% at fault.
The Value of Hiring an Attorney
Car accident cases can be complex, and recovering money damages often requires knowledge of complicated legal concepts and relevant case law. It’s important to speak to an attorney who understands how to challenge the insurance company’s underhanded tactics, and who has experience handling personal injury cases in your state.
Insurance companies don’t want to to hire an attorney for obvious reasons. They handle claims like your on a daily basis, and are well aware that statistically, victims are likely to recover substantially more money when represented by an attorney.
Personal Injury: Things that you should know before hiring personal Injury Attorney/Lawyers or Law Firm
What’s Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law refers to the lawful remedies and defenses involved with civil lawsuits brought as due to wrongful conduct. In fact, the term “tort” comes from a Latin term meaning turn, wrong, or injury.
Most personal injury cases are predicated on the philosophy of neglect. That is not to say that negligence may result each time someone gets hurt. The doctrine recognizes that some accidents are unavoidable.
Cases of neglect include car accidents due to drunk drivers, medical complications caused by a doctor’s carelessness, and pet bites which occur when vicious creatures are permitted to roam free. In every instance, the responsible party dismissed the danger posed to other people, and consequently, the plaintiff had been injured. Certain types of damages are simple to calculate, such as property damage and medical bills. For other forms, such as psychological distress and loss of earning capacity, expert testimony may be required. Punitive damages, intended to punish and punish particularly egregious conduct, may also be available.
Once neglect has been established in a personal injury case, the defendant must pay the plaintiff for all injuries resulting from the defendant’s actions. Specific kinds of damages are simple to figure, for example property damage and medical bills. For different types, such as psychological distress and loss of earning ability, expert testimony may be deemed necessary. Punitive damages, intended to punish and punish particularly egregious conduct, may also be available.
When initiating tort actions, identifying the appropriate defendants can be difficult. This is because the”tortfeasor” who directly harmed the plaintiff – make it a delivery driver, nurse, supermarket clerk, or other individuals – may not have the monetary resources to cover a huge judgment. A number of these fall under the umbrella of intentional torts. As its name implies, in such scenarios the defendant acts intentionally to harm the plaintiff. Examples include assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass, theft, and infliction of emotional distress.
On the opposite end of the tort spectrum, there are scenarios in which defendants will be responsible even though they did everything possible to avoid causing the harm. This is known as strict accountability. The legislation will hold a defendant strictly liable if someone is injured while the defendant is engaging in an extremely risky activity, even if the action is lawful and all precautions are taken. Building demolition and hauling hazardous materials fall into this category.
Another frequent tort involves injuries caused by defective products. Liability in these cases can be imposed based on a theory that the maker acted negligently by designing and selling an unsafe product. Either way, product liability cases have the potential to become large class action lawsuits, including many plaintiffs and enormous money judgments.
To shield against personal injury liability, defendants tend to rely on some common defense concepts. In negligence cases, the defendant may assert that the plaintiff did not use due care, and is partly or entirely accountable for his or her own injury. The defendant could also claim that the plaintiff”assumed the risk” by voluntarily participating in a dangerous game or activity, or the plaintiff impliedly gave the defendant permission to take the actions that ended up hurting the plaintiff.
Plaintiffs who want to avoid losing a tort case based on such arguments ought to hire legal counsel. Maintaining an attorney will also help avoid the unfortunate position of breaking a statute of limitations (which is, missing the deadline for filing the litigation ), which is always an issue in personal injury cases.
You’ve been hurt in an collision. It may change everything. It casts doubt on your whole future and raises a million questions. How long does recovery take? How much will this cost me? Do I have the right to sue?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’ve got a circumstance. So how can you know if your injury is poor enough to warrant keeping a lawyer?
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
If your injuries are serious, you may wonder when you have the right to sue for damages. If you’re involved in a car collision, you’ll be notified by the other driver’s insurance company that lawsuits for pain and discomfort must meet a threshold. In other words, the harm has to be serious and permanent, impairing important physical, emotional, or emotional functions for you.
Your first duty after an auto accident is to talk with your own insurance carrier. This starts an accident benefits assert. The company will assign a physical injury adjustor to examine your situation. You will be asked to complete a few forms. These forms are simple and straightforward, but you ought to have them assessed by a lawyer before you publish them.
Anything you say in these forms can influence your eventual settlement. You also need to be advised that although this is your insurer, they’re under no duty to provide you their best settlement. Anything you say on your injury benefits assert could negatively influence the outcome of both your accident benefits claim and your lawsuit against the responsible party.
Dealing with third party insurance companies
This is where lots of wounded parties make the mistake of being optimistic in their recovery. This may be overcome. But if you say that to third-party insurance adjusters, then they might get the wrong impression.
In case you haven’t got a lawyer nonetheless, it is imperative you don’t downplay how the accident has transformed you.
In your further dealings with the company, they’ll be listening to anything you say concerning improvements on your problem. They do so to get a reason to deny your claim even in the event that you have not come forward with a single yet.
If you think you have a case, contact a respectable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Otherwise, the third-party insurer may assume no legal action is forthcoming and close your file.
What if they offer a settlement?
If the other insurance company supplies you with a settlement without hearing from your lawyer, do not signal, or say anything. Even if the settlement seems fair. Their offer can be a sign that they think that you can cost them a lot of cash. A fast and easy settlement now is in their very best interest, not yours.
Don’t sign the agreement thinking you can call a lawyer later if it appears unfair. It can be exceedingly difficult with a settlement put aside after the actuality.
Things to think about Before meeting with a Attorney
You need to ask three questions when searching for a potential personal injury lawyer:
- What is their specialty — car accidents, slip & falls, insurance disputes?
- What is their reputation? Look on the Internet to look for complaints filed against them.
- You could be meeting with them frequently.
The law has many aspects. There is business law, property law, criminal law. And that is just the beginning. Lawyers sometimes work in many areas to meet their client needs, but most specialize in one field. They become trusted experts in that area and build their practice about it.
Avoid lawyers that work in multiple practice areas — if you have a serious, permanent injury, you need a lawyer who has built a career specializing in personal injury law. And you also want one who’s built up a great track record doing so.
The standing a lawyer earns representing their clients speak volumes about everything you can expect from them. A attorney who manages their clients will have a history of great decisions with satisfied customers. They’ll be honored within the legal community and will not have specialist discipline issues on document.
Also, your lawyer ought to be accessible. Open communication is essential, and you want to locate a lawyer you can see without too much trouble. To put forward the best case possible, your lawyer should get to know you and see exactly what you’re going through. Whenever possible, you’ll be better off using a local attorney with a fantastic reputation who has the experience you can trust.
Researching your possible options
Looking to a lawyer’s reputation and experience is easier than you might think.
For starters, network one of the medical professionals you are already working with. They might know which attorneys were helpful to their previous patients.
Talk to family and friends. Or anyone else you know who has been injured and sought out a lawyer. Were they pleased with the results of their case? Can they recommend their attorney to you?
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) is an association that promotes justice and advocates for the rights of the injured. Attorneys That Are OTLA members agree–along with their own commitment to the Law Society–to adhere to the association’s integrity principles, including:
- Putting the client’s interests first
- Mutual respect, cooperation, and civility with the customer
- The highest standards of advocacy
The Law Society of Ontario is Ontario’s regulatory body which manages lawyers. You may go to them with your listing of potential lawyers to see whether any of them have a history of disciplinary actions against them.
In a personal injury case, it’s important that you find a lawyer you feel comfortable with. Ultimately, the decisions on which you choose to retain will likely come down to how they treat you when you meet them and what your gut is telling you.
Things to ask during your first meeting
Your first meeting with a lawyer is a excellent chance to go over your situation, your options, and other pressing questions you’ll have, including prices and fee structure. You’re very likely to have a whole great deal of questions. Focus on questions that let the attorney show you exactly what they understand about your own situation.
Don’t be afraid to ask what your legal rights are. Find out if they think your case could be obtained. Inquire if they have expertise in similar scenarios. Ask about everything you can expect. And figure out the best way to contact them if you need them.
When looking at the retainer arrangement, ask about fees. Are there any upfront fees? Can you be charged if the instance isn’t successful? Who pays for your legal fees if the case is successful? Could you find another lawyer if your connection with this one breaks down?
Ensure that you’ve found someone you are familiar with before signing the retainer agreement. You want to sign with the person who answers your questions and makes you feel like you understand the procedure –as well as the potential risks and benefits–clearly.
Can you switch lawyers?
You’re always free to hire a new lawyer. But if you have any concerns about the way things are being treated, always tackle them together with your existing lawyer first. Next, if things are not dealt with to your satisfaction, you can seek counsel elsewhere.
Remember that attorneys like to build a case from the ground up, so they understand it inside-out. Asking a new lawyer to step in because the trial date approaches could prove difficult in that respect.
There may also be financial penalties involved with switching attorneys. Many personal injury lawyers only take money out of you whenever they win your case. But they nevertheless incur expenses on the way. Something which may dissuade them from taking your case.
Changing lawyers is obviously possible, but to the case to be solved efficiently, it’s best to stick with one from the beginning.
Personal injury claims – the best way to prove your loss
If you are ever involved in an accident whether it be a street accident, an injury at work or a slip or trip in a public place, you will be able to claim for personal injuries and associated monetary loss provided of course the incident wasn’t your fault and was a result of the negligent actions or omissions of someone else.
But, you may only have the ability to maintain such reduction with supporting proof. If you have suffered an injury, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice or treatment as soon as possible so that there’s evidence in your records of the harm sustained and obviously to make certain that you get timely therapy. Furthermore, your acting solicitor will also arrange a medical examination for you to ensure your injuries may be assessed further along with a prognosis given. Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, it could be necessary to obtain your complete medical history and this is proof that can be obtained by your attorney.
Concerning any financial losses, there are a number of expenditures for which you can claim and examples are as follows:
Care and help
Based upon the seriousness of your injuries, you might be dependent upon family and friends to help with your restoration. This might be in the kind of assisting you along with domestic errands, preparing meals and shopping. It may also be to help with personal care such as showering, dressing and toileting. This is recoverable to some degree, provided that medical evidence supports that care has been required. It is a good idea to keep a journal of the times when care was required as you will have to indicate the number of hours per day/week such care has been granted and also with what tasks.
Vehicle damage/policy excess
If you’re involved in a street crash, your vehicle is likely to have sustained any damage. If you are insured the next party only, your insurance policy won’t cover you in the event of injury damage. Therefore you will need to take your vehicle to a garage and obtain an estimate for the repairs. It’s also advisable to take photographs of the damage.
If you’re insured fully comprehensive, your insurers will take care of the automobile repairs however you’ll be asked to cover a policy surplus. It’s important to keep the receipt for your extra payment as this may be used to evidence that your loss.
Reduction of earnings
In any incident you may have sustained loss of income. Your acting attorney can write to your companies for details of any earnings lost. It is normal practice to request evidence of your earnings for the 26 weeks before the incident and also evidence of any payments made for you through your period of absence.
If you are self employed, you would need to provide your profit and loss accounts and taxation returns for the three years prior to the accident together with evidence of any post-accident earnings where applicable.
You may have a claim for damaged items like clothing, spectacles and jewellery etc. If your vehicle was damaged in an crash, there may be items in the car that were damaged as a consequence of the impact. It’s a good idea to keep the things in the event that they are necessary for inspection. At the very least you would need to take photos of the damaged items and original purchase receipts are always helpful. If you do not have these then you would have to get estimates for the cost of replacement items.
To assist with your healing, you might have undergone a course of private therapy. Evidence of the expense of the treatment will be required to prove your loss and it might also be necessary to contact your treatment supplier for sight of your notes. In case you have incurred any prescription charges or medication costs, you would have to supply receipts to signify that the payments made.
In case you have incurred any travel costs because of your accident for example attending treatment sessions, you will need to maintain a list of the mileage incurred and also any parking charges.
The above is not exhaustive and there’ll be other losses that will be relevant to your claim. The most important thing to remember is that your losses are not likely to be considered without supporting proof so make sure you get receipts for every item for which you intend to maintain.
How to find best Personal Injury Attorneys
You have probably seen ads for personal injury attorneys on tv, in telephone books, and online. However, when you need a personal injury attorney, not just any attorney will do–you need a good one. Below are a few ways to find a personal injury lawyer you can count on.
Local Bar Association
Every county has an area bar association that is affiliated with the bigger state bar association. All the attorneys who practice ahead of your county’s or district’s court is going to be registered with this association. You will generally want to get in touch with the head or president of the institution. You can find the contact information from your local courthouse. The majority of the time, it will not appear online. Explain that you are looking for a good personal injury attorney. Oftentimes, these organizations list the attorneys and their specializations, in addition to if they’ve been marked for lawful law or discipline. It is also possible to request recommendations, but bear in mind that in case the mind of the association specializes in personal injury law, he won’t be able to help you find a personal injury lawyer without it being a conflict of interest.
Friends and Family Recommendations
Personal experiences can be the best index of an attorney’s quality. Talk to family and friends members to find out which attorneys that they have selected to reveal themselves. If you do not have any friends or family members who have used personal injury lawyers, then you can ask personal injury attorneys in the event that you can talk to some of their client. They will typically be inclined to offer you references so that you can verify the quality of the job.
If you’ve been injured in the car accident that wasn’t your mistake, you could be stuck in doubt how you can fight with the insurance company to take what you deserve. Rather than of going up against the insurance company yourself, consider hiring a Car accident personal injury attorney. Before selecting one, you should consider these things.
Look advice for Car accident personal injury attorney from Friends and Family
If you require a personal injury lawyer, discuss to your family and friends. Probabilities are truly high that anyone of them has been injured by car accident before and has done a little study into a local attorney. Ask your friends and family if they meet with any auto accident attorney and what kinds of impressions they get from them. It’s not an excellent idea to hire a motor car accident personal injury attorney based on a reference.
Before selecting a lawyer for car accident personal injury to work with, create a list and interview is the best choice. The interviews must be done in personal and most lawyers do not take for this initial consultation fee. Ask maximum questions, such as ‘How numerous cases are settled before going to trial for you?’ and ‘What percentage of cases gets some sort of award?’ Don’t feel lewd about talking about the loss vs win record and finally, tell to meet up other persons from the firm who may be helping in your case. The law firm is working for you and you should be comfortable with each person involved in your personal injury case. At last, ask them if they believe you have a case! You don’t want to go through the complete process, only to lose in discussions or at court.
What is Your Fee Requirements?
Do you need an attorney who will take your case on abruptness? Or do you suppose to pay a fee up front? Tell about these things in your first meeting so there isn’t any surprise when it comes to your personal injury case. Normally rates differ by location, but you can guess to give 1/3 to 40% of your winnings amount to your car accident & personal injury lawyers. Lastly, ask if you’ll be expected to pay any amount in case you lose your case – most lawyers don’t take cases they don’t expect to win so the answer is typically no. However, it is a better idea to have this in writing to defend you. Do not forget to get the payment details and fee structure in writing before signing an agreement.
Finding attorney can take some time, but that’s the best thing. By taking a little time you can be confident that you’re working with a car accident personal injury attorney who has your best interests in the brain. Having auto accident attorneys on your side will help make sure that someone is looking out for your requirements while your case is being settled.
If a person injured in a car accident or injured by someone else’s action, you have possibly been asked that you should talk with a personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL. In fact, in most cases, it is to your advantage to hair a lawyer to handle your case. Here are 5 advantages to having personal injury attorneys represent for you.
1. Personal Injury Attorneys Know Personal Injury Law.
This is obvious, but most people believe that they know much as lawyers and that a lawyer only collects the money. That is not true. Just because you’ve been injured does not mean that you are entitled to complete compensation for your injury. Some states recognize contributing negligence these days, although contributory negligence says that if you even contributed little to a car accident, then you are not entitled to any compensation. Most states know some form of relative negligence which permits you to get at least some compensation for your injuries but it’s depending on your involvement in the accident. Other parts of personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL knows what personal injury claim to which someone is entitled. There are many possible claims, which is non-lawyer doesn’t think about it.
A person advantage with the lawyer has information about personal damage law for the reason that an insurance plan adjuster is unable to BS or maybe misrepresent what the law states in attempting to convince you that you will not acquire compensation to which you might really possibly be entitled.
2. A Personal Injury Attorney Knows Insurance Law.
This may sound like it doesn’t make a difference, but it can make a dramatic difference. For example, an insurance policy may provide for a benefit of $20,000 to an injured person. The insurance adjuster tells you that he will give you the entire $20,000 since you have a good personal injury claim. What the insurance adjuster does not tell you is that there may be ways under state law that you can receive more. For instance, some states allow “stacking” of insurance policies in certain circumstances and this means that you can receive more compensation.
You benefit by a personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL knowing if state laws entitle you to more compensation for your injuries than is apparent.
3. Personal Injury Attorneys Know Estimated Values of Injuries
Knowledgeable lawyers have handled many cases and have best ideas of what most injuries value. Also, personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL knows what factors can increase or decrease the compensation amount for which you are entitled. Based on the experience of the lawyers, insurance claims adjuster and lawyers cannot BS or misguide the amount of your personal injury claim.
4. A Personal Injury Lawyer Will Go To Court.
Insurance companies know that if your case will go to court, then the insurance company could be forced to pay a more than they thinking to pay. The companies also know that if you are representing yourself, it will be hard for you to go to the court case. They know that a personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL will go to court. so, the companies have to be more practical in what they provide you as compensation for your personal injuries case.
5. Personal Injury Lawyers Normally Increase The Value Of A Case.
Essentially for all of the reasons stated above, insurance companies will offer extra compensation when a lawyer is representing for you. Some peoples will say you that the increased compensation amount is because having to pay an attorney. Therefore you finish up with the same amount of the need. Sometimes that is right, but in most cases, because of his/her experience and knowledge,
a personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL will get more than enough amount for your personal injury claims to balance the lawyer fee.
I cannot and do not promise for the effectiveness or experience of any personal injury lawyer. The above is just a guide as to what you may guess. Also, the results of any personal injury case may be fluctuating from lawyer to lawyer.
This is just information only. If you have any questions at all, talk with a licensed in personal injury lawyer in Birmingham AL.