Do I need a lawyer?
Personal injury is an area of law that covers a broad spectrum of civil wrongful acts, and it is a part of so called tort law. It is created to protect those who were harmed by negligence and recklessness. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, it is not your fault. You are, probably, suffering, you’re facing medical bills, time out of work, piles of paperwork. When you contact an insurance company for a fair compensation, they may want to settle your case cheaply. You’re wondering if you need a lawyer. Wait a second before you’re thinking about lawyers. You, probably, do not have an answer to another question which is …
Do I have a case?
There are two essential elements required to establish a personal injury case:
- The first element is about liability. You will have to prove that an individual or a company, that you’re charging, is truly legally responsible for your personal injury
- The second part of the equation is about damages. You will have to show that claimed damages are indicating the extent of the injury or loss,
If you can maintain these two elements you may have a personal injury case. Liability and damages may be established on one of three bases : negligence, strict liability, and intentional wrongdoing.
For example, someone was hurt in an auto accident. Who is liable for the damages? The negligent driver, maybe even his or her company. What are the damages? Medical bills, lost wages due to inability to work, and much more.
Now, ask yourself again: Can I handle it on my own?
You really need a lawyer
Just to make things clear, to evaluate you specific situation, you need a professional. Personal injury attorneys are equipped to explain these legal bases of liability and damages to you. They have an experienced staff of legal investigators that can help tremendously. A law firm can perform a free evaluation of your claim, when it examines the details of your type of accident and tell you if you have a case. The common practice is that even if you do have a legal claim, there’s no obligation to use services of this particular law office.
What is wrongful death?
A broad definition for Wrongful Death says it is death caused by the fault of another. When somebody is drinking and driving, then causing a fatal accident, it is Wrongful Death.
Another examples of wrongful conduct are manufacturing a deficient product, building an unstable structure or failing to diagnose a fatal disease. It is a highly sensitive issue, and you will definitely need help of an attorney specialized in those types of cases. But before you talk to the lawyer you may want to understand the big picture.
Personal Injury Claim Basics
This not a secret that Texas law is a very complex field of knowledge and practice. When a person faces a dilemma of whether to handle claim personally or hire an attorney one should consider many factors. One of them is an understanding of basic terms used in any legal Personal Injury claim.
Majority of Law firms or solo attorneys provide free of charge initial case evaluation. Reviewing your case by professional can end up in several ways. You can receive valuable advice and proceed with the claim personally.
Another outcome is that attorney will refer you to another professional which is able to help you better. And finally, you will decide on hiring a lawyer to handle your Personal Injury claim. Yes, some simple cases, where there is no complexities are involved, may be taken care by you. But majority of injury cases are not straightforward ones, or require substantial capital to start a legal process. That is when you are probably better of going with professionals.
Before we can start talking about the legal process, lets make sure we are using a proper terminology. First of all, what is that – Personal Injury – according to the law.
If somebody spills a hot coffee on you in a restaurant, a personal injury claim covers your pain, recovery and suffering from humiliation, but not your clothing. That simple… But again, majority of the cases are full of complexities. That is when you need a legal advise.
Another very important term used in this field of the law is “parties”, that simply means groups of people involved in a Personal Injury claim. There are, usually, two major parties in the legal process. First one is who has suffered injury, or any of the injured persons relatives who may also have a right to bring a claim. Before the process reaches the point when this group file a lawsuit, the group or an individual is called “claimants”. They become the “plaintiffs” when and if the lawsuit is filed in court.
The second group is a person, a group, or even corporation whom the injured blames for the damage. In auto accidents, for example, that might be a person who owned the vehicle that caused injury, or a company who employed that person. This groups are generally referred to as the “insureds” in an insurance claim. The injured person submits claim against insureds group or their insurance policies. If a lawsuit is filed in court, insureds will become the “defendants.” Here is an important fact that supports a need of Personal Injury Lawyer in many cases: very often only an experienced attorney can identify properly all parties involved in the claim. Simply saying, if you handle your case on your own you may leave out a defendant. That can lead to a much smaller settlement.