Lino Ochoa | November 22, 2023 | Car Accidents
Car accidents are perhaps the most common type of personal injury claim. If you suffered a minor car crash in McAllen, TX, you might not even need a lawyer to resolve your claim.
Many people resolve small claims involving only property damage without the help of a lawyer. On the other hand, your claim might not turn out to be as ‘minor’ as you initially thought it was.
Five Circumstances That Might Indicate You Need a Lawyer
The following five circumstances are not the only circumstances that should prompt you to speak with a McAllen injury lawyer. The purpose of listing them is to give you an idea of what kinds of claims typically call for the assistance of a lawyer.
Liability Is in Dispute
You might blame someone else for the accident, and they might blame you. It can get really complicated in a car accident claim when two injured drivers file personal injury claims against each other. The principle of comparative negligence can come into play under circumstances like these, and that can greatly complicate your case.
Someone Was Injured
Your claim is not minor just because nobody suffered a catastrophic injury. Some injuries take hours or even days to manifest themselves. No car accident that caused an injury is “minor.”
In your own case, make sure to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident if your body suffered any impact at all. This will help you preserve your claim if late-breaking symptoms prove that the accident was not so ‘minor’ after all.
If you suffer from painful soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries include neck injuries, whiplash, and more. These types of injuries can be very painful, yet difficult to prove the existence of. Nevertheless, if you are suffering from pain, you deserve compensation for pain and suffering.
Even if you prove your pain and suffering, it can be difficult to place a value on that suffering. This is where the assistance of a lawyer can matter a great deal.
The Insurance Company Is Playing Games with You
Insurance companies have a thousand tricky ways of reducing the value of your claim or killing it outright. They can also mislead you into failing to aggressively pursue a valuable claim. Of course, they will tell you that you don’t need a lawyer.
If the insurance company goes too far with ‘black hat’ tactics, you can file a bad faith insurance claim against them. This is a separate, stand-alone claim that pays its own separate compensation. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know just how to handle a potential bad faith insurance claim.
The Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured
Texas state law requires local motorists to carry the following minimum amounts of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance:
- $30,000 per person in personal injury liability insurance;
- $60,000 per accident in personal injury liability insurance; and
- $25,000 in property damage liability insurance.
Nevertheless, about 20% of Texas motorists are uninsured. If you don’t want to foot the bill for the accident yourself, you will need to find a way around this limitation. If you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, hiring a McAllen Car Accident Attorney may be your best bet.
You’re Claiming on Behalf of a Child
A child (under 18) cannot file a lawsuit in Texas. Instead, a Texas court will appoint a guardian to file the lawsuit on behalf of the child. (typically a parent). Remember that any lawyer you hire represents the child, not you.
What a Car Accident Lawyer Can Do For You
A lawyer can help you in too many ways to count. In particular, a skilled McAllen personal injury lawyer can:
- Advise you against mistakes, such as talking about your case on social media, that could diminish the value of your claim.
- Assess the value of your claim. You cannot demand the fair value of your claim until you know how much it is worth. In many cases, the value of a claim can be deceptive. Your claim might be worth a lot more than you think it is.
- Negotiate your claim for you. You won’t even have to bother sitting down at the negotiating table.
- Gather admissible evidence. The Texas Rules of Evidence prohibit you from submitting certain kinds of evidence to court. Your lawyer should know which evidence is admissible and which is not. Admissible evidence might include documents, photographs, videos, witness statements, and even expert testimony.
- Arranging for adequate medical care: Your lawyer is probably not a doctor, but they are almost certainly familiar with healthcare providers whom they have worked with before on behalf of previous clients. It is important, even for legal reasons alone, to make sure you obtain adequate health care and comprehensive documentation of the treatment you receive.
- Represent you in court. Hopefully, your lawyer will keep you out of court. If a trial is necessary, however, you will need representation.
Remember that no matter what your lawyer does for you, you are still entitled to make every major decision in your case, including the decision of whether to accept a settlement offer.
The Contingency Fee System
Personal injury lawyers are paid differently from other types of lawyers. Instead of working on the “billable hour” system as most lawyers do, they work on a contingency fee system.
Under the contingency fee system, your legal fees equal a certain percentage (typically 30% to 40%) of whatever amount of money your lawyer ends up winning from you-–either in court or at the settlement table. This means your lawyer only wins if you do, and your lawyer only wins big if you win big too.
Seek a Free Initial Consultation With a Car Accident Attorney
Because of the contingency fee system, personal injury lawyers are essentially entrepreneurs. As such, most of them will be happy to schedule a free initial consultation if your claim sounds promising.
If you have even a fleeting suspicion that your claim isn’t as minor as you originally thought it was, you have very little to lose by scheduling an initial consultation to discuss your claim.
Contact Car Accident Law Firm of The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa in McAllen, TX
We serve Hidalgo County and its surrounding areas:
Hours: Monday to Friday,
from 9 am – 5 pm