In 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported that Houston drivers were involved in 47,585 car wrecks. On average, that is 130 incidents per day.
Chances are, if you reside in a major city like Houston, you will experience a collision, whether it’s your fault or someone else’s.
At the Hollingsworth Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to help and represent you through the process of dealing with a car wreck caused by the fault or negligence of someone else and get you the compensation you deserve.
Many people are nervous, scared, confused, and disoriented when faced with a car wreck, combined with other emotions that affect people after a traumatic event. Here at Hollingsworth Law Firm, PLLC, with our experience of having represented Texas individuals and big insurance companies, we have put together a list of helpful starting points to assist you when dealing with a car accident.
Often, when people are involved in an automobile collision, they want to make the aftermath and recovery process as easy and quick as possible, especially if it’s their fault.
As an injured person affected by someone else’s negligence, you want your case handled quickly and efficiently but also effectively.
If the at-fault driver insists on not calling the police, you insist on it, call 311 or 911, and get help! Speak with the officer about how the car wreck happened and inform the officer if you think you sustained any injury.
Insurance companies are already working to avoid paying hurt individuals’ compensation. They want to make it as difficult as possible for you to get help. Insurance companies hope the police do not file a report proving the driver they insured was at fault. Additionally, they will wish you were too shaken up and confused to let the emergency personnel know you are injured.
Read more about getting an accident report in Texas.
Immediately after the accident, you may feel like you are fine. Shock and adrenaline can inhibit the ability to realize your injuries from a traumatic event.
At the Hollingsworth Law Firm, PLLC, we recommend getting checked out, whether by an emergency room, a physical therapist, or a community clinic.
Injuries from car wrecks can show up days later due to the stress and shock of the event, so to be safe, get an examination as soon as you can.
Also, if you delay receiving a medical evaluation and treatment, insurance companies will argue you delayed because “you are not injured,” so protect yourself against their lies, too!
Our team of highly experienced trial attorneys has handled thousands of personal injury cases and recovered millions for their clients.
We know their schemes in denying you, the injured person, the rightful compensation and we will ensure you receive justice.
We understand a car accident can be overwhelming. After learning what you should do after an auto accident, there are other things that you should not do as well.
According to Texas Penal Code, if you failed to stop your vehicle and leave the scene of an auto accident inflicting injury, death, or property damage to an individual, you could be charged with a crime.
Some people believe there is no need to call 911 if no one is hurt. This is not true.
We recommend you call 911 regardless of how serious the accident was. As we mentioned earlier, shock and adrenaline can inhibit sensing injuries from a traumatic event. The police report can be crucial to establishing who was at fault for the accident.
You should never admit fault at the scene or in conversations with the other party, the police officer, or the insurance adjuster.
Furthermore, never say you “are okay,” or you “are not hurt,” for the same reason, we stated above.
For example, pain from a whiplash injury can present itself anywhere from two hours to several months after the initial injury.
Read more about the dangers of over-sharing.
It’s easy to post on Instagram, type a Facebook status, or compose a tweet in the heat of the moment after an accident.
Please remember, insurance companies will use everything you say against you to hurt your claim.
Defense attorneys will demand access to your social media accounts and attempt to use your posts against you. Even the things that witnesses post on social media can hurt your case.
They might contradict your claims about your injuries. They might make statements about how much money you want to get paid for your losses.
These things can hurt your evidence in the case and paint you in a negative light.
A recorded statement is a question and answers session conducted by the insurance adjuster to create a written document.
Recorded statements occur over the telephone or in person. The purpose of your recorded account is to find a reason for the insurance company not to pay you what you deserve.
Instead, insurance adjusters use your statement to compare inconsistent statements, ask complicated questions, fish for incomplete answers, and ultimately use those statements against you.
The main concern after a car accident should be the well-being of the injured person.
Receiving medical treatment early and consistently, as recommended by the treating doctors, is crucial to pursue a good result physically.
For the validity of the personal injury claim, you need to get the recommended timely and consistent medical treatment. It also provides documentation of what the victim has gone through.
Delaying medical attention can negatively impact a claim, and so can the duration of the medical treatment.
Talking to insurance adjusters or negotiating with skilled defense counsel may seem easy for some people.
But this would cost a tremendous amount of time, stress, and worry, not to mention the possibilities of making mistakes down the line.
Timing, strategy, and experience are what it takes to win a personal injury case. Do you know when or where to file a petition? The deadlines and timelines for discovery, expert designation, and deposition?
You wouldn’t want to operate on your body if you are not a doctor; leave the work to skilled attorneys who have a proven track of winning record.
We often hear a client say, “my friend said I can get a lot more money,” or “my cousin said I should go after this party for compensation.” Never take advice from people who have no experience handling personal injury cases.
Outside parties do not know the facts of your claim and the intricacies of legal procedure. Each case is different; follow your attorney’s advice. That is why you hired them.
The personal injury claim process intentionally frustrates victims. After the accident, not only do you need to navigate your busy life to find time for treatment, but you also have to wait for months, sometimes years, to see any type of progress.
Insurance companies are aware of this and use it to deny and delay your claim, knowing that you will likely accept their low offer or withdraw from the lawsuit. When our clients are frustrated, we always tell them we need their help answering discoveries and attending depositions. Patience is the key to winning a personal injury case; frustration is precisely what the insurance companies want.
Before you hire any personal injury attorney, ask yourself these three questions:
If the answers are no, it will not affect who you choose to represent your case. No attorney can win a case without the cooperation and willingness of the client.
If the answers are yes, hiring a personal injury attorney will benefit your case. You should ask the following questions to your attorney:
Most experienced and successful personal injury firms offer a free consultation.
Anyone who has ever seen personal injury firm billboards, tv commercials, or advertisements knows almost every injury lawyer makes the same offer: no fee if no recovery, free consultation, and hospital or home visits.
If a firm charges you to review your case, stay away.
Almost every personal injury firm handles cases based on a “contingent fee,” which means there is no attorney fee unless there is a recovery. The amount is a percentage based on the amount recovered.
You may run into some law firms that handle several areas of law at once: immigration, criminal defense, personal injury, etc. If you have a severe injury, you should only hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury.
The law has become so complex that a general practice lawyer can’t stay on top of all the developments in personal injury law.
Experience is everything in handling a personal injury case. For the most part, personal injury lawyers charge similar percentages of contingency fees. Make sure you choose one with years of experience and personal injury jury trials under their belt.
Attorney Steve Hollingsworth has worked on behalf of injured individuals and the insurance companies. At our firm, we know the insurance company’s tricks firsthand.
You will be surprised to know that a significant number of lawyers who hold themselves out to be trial lawyers or personal injury lawyers have little or no jury trial experience.
One of the first questions you should ask your attorney is how many jury trials they have served as lead counsel. It is essential to do so because insurance companies use this information to evaluate their risk.
If they see a severe claim, they will likely research the attorney representing the victim.
Research and read the attorney’s Google review before you hire them. You will generally get a good grasp of the quality of service you will receive at the law firm.
Sometimes, a personal injury attorney may reject your case for different reasons. Here are some common reasons for rejections.
Just because someone suffered an injury in an accident doesn’t always mean they are not at fault. If the victim is responsible for their damages, there will be no recovery.
Attorneys often use police reports in the early stages investigation process to determine which party may be liable for the accident.
One key element of a personal injury settlement is the severity of the injury and damages. Damages may include medical expenses, mental anguish, lost wages, property damage, lost earning capacity, and more.
An attorney must justify spending the time and case costs to handle the claim, especially as payment is contingent upon winning the case.
The attorney who represents you needs to have your best interest in mind. However, at times, the conflict of personality and lack of trust will create poor rapport within the professional relationship.
An attorney may reject a case if a trusting and respectful relationship does not develop to avoid potential problems.
In other situations, for example, if a personal friend or family member of the attorney is the at-fault party in your case, a conflict-of-interest issue will occur, leading to the attorney rejecting your claim.
In a typical personal injury case, your medical bills and medical records serve as evidence of your injuries.
If you delay your treatment or aren’t willing to receive treatment for your injuries, your attorney will have difficulty proving you are hurt.
A “Statute of Limitation” is a state law that sets a strict time limit of your right to file a lawsuit in civil court. The specific deadlines vary depending on what kind of lawsuit you want to file, but a time window is usually some years.
In most cases, the statute of limitations in Texas to file a civil claim is two years from the date of the accident. If the two-year window has passed, your attorney will reject your case.
Our aggressive personal injury trial attorneys at the Hollingsworth Law Firm are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve. If you are the victim of an automobile accident, airplane accident, workplace injury or other catastrophic injury, you need legal advice from a personal injury attorney with proven results you can trust. Our dedicated legal team is proud to represent clients across the state of Texas. WE WILL START FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS TODAY!