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When Should I Hire an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should hire an Austin personal injury lawyer whenever you have a sizable personal injury claim. You can always seek a free initial consultation to find out whether your claim is worth pursuing.
If you are still unsure whether to hire a lawyer, this article will provide you with valuable insight so that you can make a decision that is in your best interest.
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Lawyers do a lot more than simply argue cases in court. They can also:
You can also bring a lawyer with you to mediation or arbitration, should you choose one of these two means of alternative dispute resolution.
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If one of the following red flags appears in your case, it is probably worth hiring an Austin personal injury attorney.
Insurance companies don’t make money by paying claims. You can expect resistance to a sizable claim, and they might use unfair tactics on you, such as:
These are five out of a hundred tricks that insurance adjusters like to play. If these tricks are serious enough, you can file a bad faith insurance claim, which will give you two claims.
If you are suffering from a long-term or permanent disability, you might not have finished accumulating losses. You might need medical care for the rest of your life. You might not be able to return to work. You need to claim those damages now; you won’t have another chance.
But how do you calculate future medical bills? Future lost earnings? That can get complex, and that is where a lawyer can help. In some cases, you might need an expert to calculate your future damages. Experienced personal injury lawyers typically have working relationships with these types of experts. Most of them will also pay the expert’s fee in advance and deduct the amount from your compensation if (and only if) you win your claim.
Two categories of people canot file a lawsuit in their own name—minors under 18, and people who are legally incapacitated (a victim of dementia, for example). However, they still have the right to collect economic damages for personal injury. You can file a lawsuit on their behalf if the court appoints you.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. Because these losses are so subjective, the opposing party is likely to drastically undervalue them. You will need a lawyer to help you negotiate a fair settlement or file a lawsuit if the other party refuses to settle.
If you share fault with the other party, a Texas court will break down this fault into percentages. Any party that is 51 percent or more at fault receives nothing. The other party will suffer a deduction of their damages equal to their percentage of fault. If you were 30 percent at fault, for example, you will lose 30 percent of your damages.
The other side, especially an insurance company, will try to pin as much fault as they can on you. You may need a lawyer to stop them.
If your case is technically complex, you might need an expert witness to prevail. Claimants commonly use expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases, for example, or in product liability cases. Your need for an expert witness applies whether you resolve your claim in court or at the settlement table. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you find a reputable expert witness.
In most cases, you have two years after an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If this deadline passes, your claim will become worthless. If the statute of limitations deadline is approaching, you need to hurry to prepare for a lawsuit. These preparations can be complex, and they will require the drafting of complex documentation. Filing a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean you will go to trial. You can settle any time before trial.
In some cases, the at-fault party holds evidence that you need. In a truck accident claim, for example, the truck’s event data recorder (“black box”) includes data about speed, braking, and other crucial information that can help establish fault for the accident.
You will need to file a lawsuit if you doubt your ability to win a settlement without this evidence. Filing a lawsuit gives you access to the pretrial discovery process. You will be able to demand the evidence from the other side and appeal to the court for enforcement if they balk. Both filing a lawsuit and engaging in pretrial discovery are highly complex processes that generally require the assistance of a lawyer.
If someone dies in an accident caused by someone else’s misconduct, certain close relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. If nobody files a lawsuit within three months, the estate representative can file it.
Wrongful death claims tend to be worth a lot of money, which is why defendants fight them tooth and nail. Consequently, you need a lawyer for a wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages are usually difficult to win. Most claimants don’t even seek them because an ordinary negligence claim doesn’t qualify for punitive damages. If you qualify for them, however, the court will add them to your compensatory damages.
Successful punitive damages claims are more likely in certain kinds of cases, such as drunk driving accidents and assault. To qualify for punitive damages, you must prove that the defendant’s behavior was outrageous (gross negligence, for example, or intentional misconduct).
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Very few Austin personal injury lawyers charge for an initial case consultation. Because of the contingency fee system that almost all personal injury lawyers use, they have no financial motivation to sweet-talk you into hiring them to pursue a worthless claim. They will turn down your case if they don’t believe you can win a significant amount. This leaves you with very little to lose, and perhaps a lot to gain, by scheduling a free initial consultation.
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