Frequently Asked Questions
Not on every case. You may not need a lawyer in every car crash case. Arguably, in some accident cases with minor to no damages and no injuries you may not need an attorney. However, in non-minor accidents or severe injury cases, there is no question that you need a lawyer to protect your interests. It is important that you understand that the insurance adjuster will attempt to low ball your case. The adjuster may only offer you $500 dollars or in other cases less or a little more. Your case may be substantially larger. The best way to find out what is the range of money due to you is to call an experienced injury lawyer. We recommend that you call us and ask us questions before speaking to the insurance adjuster. Because your answers to an adjuster could be used against you, we highly recommend that you call us first. We can help.
Most contingency fee agreements give the lawyer a percentage of between 33 and 40 percent, but you can always ask for a lower fee or for a reduced percentage or alternative fee agreement. In the majority of cases, a personal injury lawyer will receive 33 percent (or one third) of any settlement or award, especially if the insurance company is not disputing the case.
Most people, after they've taken some time to heal, feel better after they get back to work and continue treatment before or after work or get to a point where no additional treatment is needed. However, individuals in substantial pain or on pain medications or that have labor-intensive jobs need to have a conversation with their doctor if regarding when to return to work.
The length of the case is dependent on the length of time it takes to heal. If you are completely healed the case may be able to be resolved in a few weeks. If there are issues about liability, who is at fault or the extent of the injuries in the past or the future, these issues can take additional time. Assuming that there are no issues and/or no disputes, then the case can be resolved quickly.
Usually, it takes between two to four weeks to complete the settlement process (this process varies on a case-by-case basis). First, the insurance company will require you to sign a release that settles your claim. The release documents are then returned to the insurance company. The company will then order a check for you and it will be mailed out of their offices. This can take two weeks in some cases but in most cases, three to four weeks. Unless the settlement or resolution is greater than $100,000.00. Then it usually takes four to six weeks.
The statute of limitations on car accident cases is usually two years here in Texas. That means that if you don't resolve or settle the claim or file a lawsuit within 2 years of the accident, then you may lose your right to proceed with a claim. Please note there are some exceptions to the rule. Please also note that if you were hit by a City, County, State or Federal Vehicle or a Government Employee you must immediately place the government on notice of the claim in compliance with the Law. Call us for more information.
In most cases, the check will be issued to you, the injured person, and not your medical providers. However, if there is a hospital bill the insurance company may in an effort to make sure the hospital will be paid, will send the check directly to the patient or his or her attorney made payable to the injured person and the hospital. Rarely are other medical providers ever listed on these types of checks. The hospital is listed because the Texas Hospital Lien Statute authorizes them to be added to the checks.
On average about 70 to 80 percent of the time the insurance company will attempt to settle the case and the matter does not need to go to court. Unfortunately, over the years more and more insurance companies are acting in bad faith and this results in the case ending up in litigation. It is critical to consult with an attorney on this issue, especially if the insurance company is not treating you fairly.
It depends. If the check is for your property damage then the insurance company may pay you directly. Or the insurance company might issue a check made out to you and the body shop you have chosen to repair your car. If there is a lienholder or you owe money on the car to a finance company they will always include the lienholder on the check. On personal injury losses in most cases, the check will be made out to you or you and your attorney.
If you receive a financial recovery from a lawsuit, judgment or settlement, you probably will not owe any taxes on the monies if it is a personal injury or auto accident case. The IRS does not tax award settlements for personal injury cases. However, if the award is for lost wages or loss of business then taxes will be due. It is critical that you speak with an attorney to discuss ways to lessen your tax exposure or better understand these rules.
It is your option as to which medical bill should be paid. Except if the hospital has filed a lien or letters of protection have been issued on the case or a medical billing assignment document has been signed. If such documents exist then those medical billings will need to be paid. Note that some exceptions exist on mandated payment.
If your case is not settled it will need to go to trial. Usually, it will take twelve or more months to prepare the case for trial. The case will be tried to a jury and overseen by a County or District Judge.
If you experience mental distress or trauma after a car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for emotional distress as a part of your overall pain and suffering damages. In order to prove this element of damages, it is advisable that you seek treatment and obtain a diagnosis of PTSD if your condition is consistent with the diagnosis.
It will depend on whether you have been diagnosed with a Closed Head Injury, a concussion or a mild concussion. It will also depend on the specifics of the impact, liability, other medical treatment, other injuries, other losses, and insurance coverage. These cases can be quite large with our two most recent head injury cases resulting in a recovery of over $8,000,000.00 and $13,000,000.00 respectfully. If the coverage is less, or diagnosis is less severe, or there are liability issues, the amount recovered may be substantially less.