Lewisville Lawyers Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury
Personal Injury FAQs
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligent and/or reckless actions and wish to recover damages in a personal injury suit, it is highly recommended that you read the answers to the questions below provided by the helpful attorneys at Steele Law, P.C. They will provide you with the basic information you need to get started on your claim. For answers to more specific inquiries, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (214) 333-9393. You may also fill out a free consultation form and we will get back to you shortly.
Will my health insurance coverage or paid sick leave from work limit my compensation for an accident?
Q: What should I do after an accident?
A: There are a number of things you can do in the first few days and weeks after an accident to protect your right to compensation, such as:
- Write down as much as you can about the accident itself, your injuries, and any other losses (such as wages) you've suffered as a result of the accident;
- Make notes of conversations that you have with people involved in the accident;
- Preserve evidence of who caused the accident and what damage was done by collecting physical evidence and taking photographs;
- Locate people who witnessed the accident and who might be able to help you prove your case;
- Contact Steele Law, P.C. to evaluate and pursue your claim.
Q: Do I need an attorney to handle my personal injury claim?
A: The insurance company representing the person(s) at fault for the accident will have a team of adjustors, investigators, and attorneys working against you. The insurance company's goal is to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. Attorney Dina Steele of Steele Law, P.C. can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Q: When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
A: You should retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, after being seriously injured in an accident, you are immediately placed at a distinct legal disadvantage. While you are pre-occupied dealing with your injuries and resulting financial concerns, the party at fault in your accident has notified their insurance company. The insurance company adjustor is experienced and recognizes the necessity to immediately investigate and "process" accident sites. Therefore, it is critical to protect your legal rights by contacting Steele Law, P.C. in a timely manner.
Q: How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
A: Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, most personal injuries are subject to a two year statute of limitations. However, there are important exceptions that can apply to specific cases, so it is best not to rely on the general guidelines. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, your claims can be dismissed. Consequently, it is important to contact Steele Law, P.C. as soon as you receive or discover an injury.
Q: What happens if I wait too long to make a claim for my injuries?
A: If you fail to properly file a lawsuit within the time set forth in the law, you will be forever barred from making a claim for compensation for your injuries. Note that your case does not have to settle within the statute of limitations. It simply must be filed within that time period.
Q: Do I need a lawyer if the insurance company has offered to pay my medical bills?
A: While you may not need to hire a Lewisville personal injury lawyer in every case, you should take advantage of the free consultations offered by Steele Law, P.C. to make sure you are not surrendering your legal rights. Remember, the insurance company's goal is to settle with you for as little as they believe they can get away with. They have many years of experience and know how to manipulate people into thinking they’re getting a fair deal. In many cases, however, full compensation may include damages other than payment of medical bills, such as payment for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of ability to enjoy life, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity. The extent of your recovery will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. This is why early consultation with Steele Law, P.C. can help you obtain the maximum recovery allowed by the law.
Q: Do I need a lawyer if the insurance adjuster is friendly and cooperative?
A: Yes. A lawyer represents you. An insurance adjuster represents the insurance company. Insurance adjusters want to settle your claim cheaply. The sole purpose of the adjuster is to pay you as little as possible, as fast as possible, before you know the full nature and extent of your personal injuries. A good adjuster will be pleasant and will try to make you comfortable so you will not recognize the need for a lawyer until it is too late. Insurance adjusters are skilled in getting accident victims to settle their claims for far less than they are worth and in some cases may even trick victims who do not have lawyers into saying or doing the wrong thing for their case.
Q: What can I do until my personal injury claim is settled?
A: The right time to settle a Lewisville personal injury case is when you are 100% recovered from your injuries, or when you have given it at least six months to one year to recover and you have sufficient medical documentation to show the insurance company what the probable or likely long term affects of the injury will be. If you settle before one of these times, then you are probably settling too quick and too cheap.
The key to surviving until the right time to settle is to use the other benefits and coverage that you may have to cover your lost wages and medical expenses. If you have major medical health insurance, an HMO, active duty or military dependent benefits, CHAMPUS/TRI Care, workers comp. coverage, V.A. benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, or P.I.P. coverage, use these to cover your medical until it is time to settle. Just remember that you will likely have to repay any of these medical benefits (except the P.I.P. coverage) out of your final settlement.
If you have to be off work, you can use your company's sick leave, vacation time, personal days, temporary disability coverage, workers comp coverage, government S.S.I. benefits, or your P.I.P. coverage so that you can pay your bills. Out of these benefits, you only would have to repay the workers comp or government S.S.I. benefits out of your settlement.
If you will be out of work an extended period of time because of injuries to you or a family member, you can normally file with your employer under the Family Medical Leave Act to protect your job for up to 12 weeks.
If you do not have any of these benefits available, Steele Law, P.C. may be able to arrange for your medical treatment to be provided on a "lien" basis. This means that you agree in writing with the medical care provider that your medical expenses will be paid out of your final settlement. These benefits or arrangements make it possible for you have time to make as complete a recovery as possible without being forced to settle early for an amount that does not fully compensate you for your losses.
Q: Will my health insurance coverage or paid sick leave from work limit my compensation for an accident?
A: Whether you paid for medical care out of your own pocket or your health insurance covered it is none of a claims adjuster's business. The same goes for whether your lost time at work was covered by sick leave or vacation pay. In fact, it is improper for an adjuster even to ask about such payments. You paid for your health insurance and earned your sick leave or vacation pay; now the insurance for the person who caused the accident has to pay.
Q: What can I receive if my personal injury lawsuit is successful?
A: If you are injured due to the fault of someone other than yourself you may be entitled to collect monetary damages from the person or company who caused your injuries. Most people or companies are covered by insurance. If the guilty party has low insurance coverage, you may be forced to collect the rest of your damages from your own insurance provider, supposing you have the appropriate policy.
When you are injured due to the fault of another, that person or their insurance company should compensate you for the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity in the past and future
- Pain and suffering in the past and future
- Mental anguish in the past and future,
- Physical incapacity or disability in the past or future
- Property damages.
An injury victim generally must collect all of his damages in one trial or settlement (including all future medical payments). If an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement, be sure you know what damages you are entitled to and how much they are offering on each type of damage, especially medical expenses you will need in the future.
Q: Why should I hire Steele Law, P.C. instead of the attorneys I've seen on TV or heard on the radio?
A: Perhaps the greatest difficulty in deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer to represent you is being able to separate all the promises, claims, and assurances that are glibly bandied about on the airwaves. There seems to be a growing public aversion to these TV and radio lawyers who advertise like used-car salesmen. You should be cautious of these high volume "legal factories" that sign you up, turn your case over to a paralegal/legal assistant, and then pressure you to accept an early and cheap settlement. Insurance companies and large corporations know which attorneys are prepared to take a case to trial and which firms are large-volume advertisers who take whatever settlement is offered. Steele Law, P.C. will fight for your legal rights and work to obtain fair and full compensation for your injuries. Our number is (214) 333-4357.