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It can be difficult to have an injury magnified by lost time at work because of a need to go to medical appointments. In a personal injury settlement, you generally have one chance to resolve all claims against the other side – all past and future medical bills, all past and future lost wages, and all past and future compensation for impairment and disruption to your life. Missing necessary medical appointments in the days and weeks after an injury can harm the chances of getting a full and fair recovery from the other side’s insurance company.

If you were injured in a car crash, check your personal auto policy for PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits. PIP will pay you for lost wages after a crash up to the amount of benefits you paid for with your premium.

The most important thing to do after an injury is to get the medical care you need to get back to feeling like yourself. Don’t delay important steps to a long-term recovery. To talk more about the process and your options, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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In Texas, lawsuits are against the person or company responsible, not directly against the insurance company that is ultimately responsible for paying a settlement.

A common question I have heard from clients and potential clients is whether a lawsuit is filed against the other person or company, or whether it can be filed against their insurance company. People are sometimes weary of filing a lawsuit against another person and would prefer to file a lawsuit against an insurance company. In Texas, however, the law requires the suit to be filed against the responsible person, then the insurance company takes over from there by paying for the defense attorney and any settlement up to the insurance policy limits.

To talk more about the process, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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In other Q&As, I talk about potential traps in talking to insurance companies directly, and in considering their quick settlement offers. Whether you need to formally hire a lawyer will come down to the specifics of your case, and that decision should be made after a full discussion of what happened and how you are recovering.

If you have been hurt by someone else’s negligence, it is important to talk directly to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The other side and their insurance company will be working on their investigation and defense immediately. Make sure to get a free consultation of your own right away as well.

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I don’t charge for consultations to discuss potential cases. I don’t charge any up-front costs, hourly rates, nor require clients to pay any case costs to move their case forward. I charge a contingency fee, which means I am only paid if, and when, I receive a settlement on your behalf. Don’t let a fear of costs prevent you from seeking legal advice for your personal injury claim. Set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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A common tactic used by insurance companies is to contact an injured individual shortly after an incident and make an offer to settle their entire case for a few hundred, or even a couple thousand, dollars. It’s not uncommon to hear about an offer from an insurance company of $1,000 or more, plus an “offer” to cover a certain amount of medical bills for treatment in the first few weeks or months following an injury.

Here’s the problem with those “offers”: the law, not the insurance company, says what a negligent party is responsible for paying. The law, not the insurance company, determines the reasonableness and necessity of your medical treatment. The law, not the insurance company, says how long you can wait to bring a claim against the negligent party.

Very often, these early settlement “offers” artificially restrict how much the negligent party will pay for medically necessary treatment, how long you have to receive that treatment, and take away the right to bring a claim against the negligent party before you know and understand the full extent of your injuries.

A negligent party’s insurance company is trying to get a claim off their books as soon as possible, they are not going to advise you on what the law says your rights are.

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After you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, an unexpected ambulance or ER bill can add insult to injury. The other side’s insurance rarely, if ever, will pay for medical care without you signing away the right to bring any future claims for all known and unknown injuries. That means you have one chance to get all the medical care you need and have it paid for by the responsible party.

​I have consulted with potential clients who agreed to a quick settlement in order to pay an ER bill, then were on the hook themselves for the bulk of additional treatment that they needed. Don’t let a short-term worry over a medical bill lead to a quick settlement that could risk your long-term recovery. Set a free consultation by phone, text, or email to talk more about your options.

​If your injuries are from a car crash, review your own policy for Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage. These types of coverage on your own policy could help pay medical bills or lost wages while you negotiate your case with the other side’s insurance, taking away an urgency to settle your case against them.

​If your injury happened on someone else’s property, there could be Medical Payments coverage on a business or homeowners policy that could help pay your medical bills before needing to negotiate under the liability portion of the policy.

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Even after a lawsuit has been filed, it is very rare for a client to have to step foot in a courtroom. In a lawsuit, lawyers are in constant contact with the court by filing documents, and by attending conferences and hearings. However, the injured person themselves only really sees the inside of a courtroom if the case goes to trial, which is very rare. In the Texas court system’s fiscal year 2018 (September 2018–August 2019), only about 1% of civil lawsuits were resolved by jury trial.

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If you settle your case, you are almost always on your own for the cost of medical care needed from that point forward (either directly or with the help of health insurance). The other side’s insurance company typically makes one lump sum payment for all damages, including all past and future medical care that may be needed. This makes patience with the process very important – injury victims need to either (1) complete all necessary medical care before settling a case, or (2) have a clear understanding of the likely future care that will be needed, so that the future treatment is accounted for in a settlement.

To talk more about the process, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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A personal injury case can take anywhere from a few months to multiple years to resolve. “How long will my case take” is one of the first questions that almost every potential client has, and also one of the most difficult to answer with any specificity. Every case has its own facts and issues that can cause it to last longer than expected, or help it resolve quickly. In cases that settle without a lawsuit, a typical range is between four to nine months; if a lawsuit is needed, cases tend to take between one and two years to resolve.

In most cases, negotiations don’t start until medical treatment is complete. A case involving injuries that get better after a couple primary care visits will typically take much less time to resolve than a case with an injury that requires specialist care lasting many months.

However, medical treatment is not the only factor in how long a case takes. The other party and their insurance company might refuse to pay for certain medical treatment, or claim that they are not at fault for causing an injury. When that happens, the case might need to go into a lawsuit which can significantly lengthen the time it takes to resolve

If you have questions about how long your potential case might take, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email and we can talk more your specific issues.

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How do I choose a personal injury lawyer?
Start with some basic research into prospective lawyers. Do they seem knowledgeable about the issues you’re facing? Do they seem compassionate? Will they be responsive? Can they break down and explain, in everyday terms, the legal battle you face ahead?​

Most importantly, call and talk to them about your case. Interview them. Ask them all the questions you have about this unexpected interruption in your life. Do they listen and respond to your concerns?

There are a lot of options when it comes to a personal injury lawyer. The only way to find the right one for you is to talk to them and find out if they are going to be able to help you through your time in need. To talk to me about how I can help, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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If you have started the claims process on your own (or even if you have not taken any action yet), the other party’s insurance company might try to get an early statement from you as part of their investigation. Sometimes they will simply ask for basic facts about what happened. Other times they will ask for a more formal “recorded” statement, where the insurance company records the call and the adjuster goes through a thorough script of yes/no and open-ended questions. Before talking to an insurance company (or talking to them again), consider discussing your rights and options with a personal injury attorney.

Any time you talk with the other side’s insurance company, know that their job is to protect themselves and their insured—not you. You may have heard the famous phrase “anything you say can and will be used against you.” While that phrase is part of the rights expressed by police during an arrest, the concept is the same in what the other side’s insurance company is trying to get from you.

Insurance companies’ processes are refined by legal departments and experienced adjusters. These processes are then implemented day-to-day by adjusters who are highly trained to get what they need and who spend their entire working days doing just that. Make sure you are prepared and have considered having someone in your corner before talking with an insurance company. If you would like to discuss the specific facts involved in your case, set a free consultation by phone, text, or email.

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After an injury, people tend to not quite feel like themselves for a while. Body parts hurt and range of motion is restricted, headaches or a general brain “fog” make it tough to gather and express your thoughts, bills are coming in the mail, and an inability to work regular hours (or at all) all throw off your daily routine. The most important thing after an injury is getting all of the medical care you need to start feeling like yourself again.

​The other side will rarely, if ever, will pay for medical care without you signing away the right to bring future claims for all potential injuries, including those that could still get worse or have not even fully developed yet. That means you have one chance to get all necessary medical care, and have it paid for by the responsible party.

​If you don’t have health insurance—or even if you do, but are concerned about high costs of co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance—it can be challenging getting the healthcare you need after an injury. It’s no secret how expensive medical care is, particularly specialist appointments and advanced imaging. Ambulance and ER bills can cause shock and a fear of racking up additional bills for more treatment that is still needed. There are multiple ways to get necessary treatment without putting your financial well-being at risk. Don’t put off medical care that you need because of the cost. Set a free consultation by phone, text, or email to talk more about those options.

​Aside from relying on the other side to pay for medical treatment, if your injuries are from a car crash you should review your own policy for Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage. These types of coverage on your own policy could help pay medical bills or lost wages while you negotiate your case with the other side’s insurance, taking away an urgency to settle your case against them.

If your injury happened on someone else’s property, there could be Medical Payments coverage on a business or homeowners policy that could help pay your medical bills before needing to negotiate under the liability portion of the policy.

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Maybe. There is almost always an option to settle a case without a lawsuit. However, sometimes the offer is not good enough and the best choice is to move forward with a lawsuit. I do not file lawsuits for clients without their full consent and agreement after discussing all of their options.

​In most cases, we wait until a client is done with their medical treatment and then try to negotiate a fair settlement with the other side. If we can reach a compromise without the need for a lawsuit, we settle the case. If the other side will not make a fair settlement, the best option is usually to move forward with a lawsuit. In some instances, it is clear from the outset that a lawsuit will be required and waiting only delays the eventual resolution of a case.

​I discuss these options in depth with clients to present and advise on the two options—it is always the client’s choice which path to choose.

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This is one of the most common questions from potential clients and also one of the more difficult questions to answer with any specifics, especially early in a case. Many factors play into an eventual settlement or verdict: the full extent of injuries, the impact of those injuries on a person’s life, the amount of medical bills paid and still owed, the length and type of treatment involved, whether any long-term or permanent injury or impairment is involved, the amount of lost wages in the past and ability to earn income in the future, and the amount of assets and insurance available to compensate you, the injured party.

​It’s easy to see case results advertised on TV, radio, or the internet, or hear directly from someone who had a personal injury case, and create certain expectations. Keep in mind that two seemingly similar cases can have significantly different settlement values when, for example: one case involves large medical bills owed by an individual and the other case involves medical bills paid by health insurance; one person’s injury heals with minimal treatment but someone else’s similar, but slightly more severe, injury requires extensive treatment to recover; one case involves treatment that fully cured an injury while the other case had the same treatment that leaves a permanent impact on the person’s quality of life.

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