Personal Injury FAQs

What are Personal Injury cases?

Personal injury cases are cases whereby someone suffers personal injury as a result of the negligence of another person or establishment. Such cases may involve train wreck, airplane accident, car wreck, medical negligence, defective product cases, slip and fall, unjust death, or any other circumstances where a personal injury resulted from someone’s carelessness. Other times, an intentional act like assault and battery can be a basis for a personal injury case.

Can I have a case without physically getting hurt?

When you are involved in a traumatic event like an accident, there is a spike in your adrenaline, and it causes a reduction in sensations of pain which means that you may unlikely not know how serious the injuries are until the adrenaline normalizes. You are advised to seek medical attention even if you do not feel immediate pain at the point of the accident, to determine the degree of your injury and if there is a need to file a personal injury lawsuit.

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit after an injury?

In Texas, claims of negligence are expected to be filed with a two-years window while those involving intentional misconduct are to be filed within a two-year window. This may vary with other states and may be as short as one year. Contact an attorney as soon as possible, so you don’t lose the opportunity to exercise your rights.

If an attorney or insurance adjuster calls me, what do I do?

Desist from speaking with an attorney or insurance adjuster that has been employed by the negligent person even if they seem sympathetic and friendly. It is their job to get you to make statements that would reduce your chances. If you already have an attorney, direct the negligent person’s attorney or insurance adjuster to your attorney when they call. However, you can also direct them to your insurance company if you do not already have an attorney.

How soon should I get an attorney?

To avoid any fault on your part, contact an attorney as soon as you can, especially if it resulted in death or severe damages. Most times, witnesses move, relevant evidence disappears, details are forgotten, and your chances of proving your case may become weak. In the case that you are still undergoing medical treatment, an attorney can advise you on how to get the needed treatment and foot the unpaid bills.

How much will it cost me to file a personal injury lawsuit?

In most instances, The Rodriguez Law Firm, PC, handles these type of lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. We advance the expenses involved in the investigation and taking the case to court and only get an agreed percentage of the settlement after the damages are paid. We will absorb every expense invested in the case, and you won’t have to pay any fee if we do not recover your funds. You also have the option of paying an hourly rate, but the choice is rarely available due to the significant investment of money and time involved in product liability cases.

What are the available damages in personal injury cases?

It varies with states, but if you happen to stay in Texas, the damages available to you include past and future medical expenses, past and future emotional anguish, disfigurement and scarring, transportation and lodging, costs for the extent and nature of your injury, loss of companionship in the case of an injured spouse, rehabilitation, past and future suffering, and other similar expenses.

Can I file for punitive damages?

Punitive damages are only available when there is extreme negligence, gross recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Majority of cases of negligent aren’t usually reckless enough to qualify for punitive damages. However, a court can award punitive damages as a punishment for the offender and discouragement for future offenders of the same misconduct. An example could be punishing a doctor for carrying out surgery on a patient under the influence of drugs, punishing a drug manufacturing company for prioritizing profit over safety, or punishing a trucking company for intentionally allowing a drunk operate a truck. However, here is a limitation on awarding punitive damages in some states.

ow much is a personal injury case worth?

Several factors determine the value of a personal injury case. Some of them are wage loss, cost of medical expense, future damages, scarring and disfigurement, degree of fault, point of the accident, amount of insurance coverage, the likelihood of punitive charges, and where the case was filed. The worth of a case isn’t decided by the amount sued for. The value of a case can be established by an agreement between affected parties if they opt for a settlement or by the analysis of evidence in court in the case of no agreed settlement. Juries and insurance company consider facts provided rather than the amount sued for.

Do I need to file a lawsuit?

Several cases have been settled without the need for filing a lawsuit. It becomes necessary only when the fault is not acknowledged or when there is a need for proper evaluation of documents and depositions, like getting an affidavit from the witnesses.

Are there other options aside from going to court?

There is a growing area of law called alternate dispute resolution (ADR). It is voluntary but can also be ordered by a court. It is further classified into two types. The first is mediation which involves a settlement officiated by a qualified mediator in agreement by all sides. The other is arbitration whereby an agreed arbitrator – usually a former judge or an attorney – decides who is at fault and awards damages. The decision of the arbitrator binds all parties.

How soon will a case go to trial after it has been filed?

After a lawsuit has been filed, it gets in line with other pending lawsuits. Most times, the courts try to prioritize the oldest, but any scheduling has to consider the attorneys involved and the trial schedules. Also, some judges travel to separate law courts and only hold sessions at specific times of the year, taking turns with other judges. Since criminal cases are given priority over civil matters, there is the tendency for a civil lawsuit to be postponed or adjourned to a new date. How complicated a case is will also affect its commencement date. A litigant may find it very frustrating waiting for their day in court, especially if the trial date had been rescheduled more than a few times. Considering the many different variables mentioned earlier, this question can only be answered by the attorney on a case by case basis.

Is technology of relevance to my case?

Technology has become more and more relevant in today’s world. Case management software is now used by lawyers to track deadlines and provide reminders. They also use them for documenting witnesses, damages, and other essential case data. The available research on the internet has also replaced the large legal libraries that were frequented in past times. Mails are now sent for rapid and efficient communication over the internet rather than using the telephone. Letters and other documents are now received by email, corrected, and returned, bypassing the inability to edit fax transmissions and the delays associated with postal service. Images of several documents and depositions can be carried about in laptop computers which can be projected during a trial to present exhibits, video depositions, and visual aids prove a point to the jury. Usually, a complex case will entail complex damages and will require a sophisticated technology to maximize the chances of winning the verdict. Make sure that the firm you choose to represent you can provide the essential technology needed to present your case effectively adequately.

Does a personal injury settlement have any effect on my government benefits?

Sometimes it does. Food stamps, Social Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other government welfare programs may see a reduction after a while. However, benefits that have been earned, like retirement from the military or an employer, are not affected.

How will my personal injury settlement be paid to me?

After an agreement has been made, a check will be written by the negligent person’s insurance carrier, otherwise known as a draft. The check will then be sent to you after you sign a release by mail.

Am I expected to pay tax on the settlement?

Since the settlement received was as a result of an injury, it is not subject to tax. Nevertheless, you can seek tax advice through a consultation with a tax professional.

How is the cost of settlement for a personal injury lawsuit determined by an insurance company?

They refer back to similar local and national cases of the past. They are only trying to figure out what a jury would award after examination of the facts of the case. When it comes to negotiation, a balance is reached between the high and low range as agreed by both sides.

Am I getting a fair settlement from the insurance company?

This is precisely why you have an attorney. With our vast experience in this issue, we are sure to get you the most we can. We never advise victims to settle for less when we know we can get more. If the settlement offered is fair, we will say so, and if it isn’t, we will also let you know. The decision to accept a settlement is entirely yours to make, and we are always available to provide you with our legal knowledge towards making that decision.

How do I get treatment and pay my medical bills if I do not have medical insurance?

Even if the manufacturer’s insurance company admits that the insured is at fault, until the case is settled, you may never get any payment from the insurance company. In the meantime, payment will be demanded from you by your medical providers who are ready to turn you over to a collection agency for failing to pay. Although the injury was caused by some else, you are not relieved of your primary responsibility of footing the bill. To make things easier for you, our attorney may direct a “letter of protection to the collection agency or your medical provider directing them to cease collection, with a promise of paying the bill after settlement. If you require further medical treatment, our attorneys can help you find a medical facility willing to treat you as long as the letter of protection is provided.

What should I seek in a personal injury attorney?

When it comes to complex cases like a personal injury case, you need an attorney with adequate experience in the particular area of law. Just like different doctors are specializing in various medical conditions, some attorneys concentrate on specific areas of law. There is no certification process in Dallas for attorneys to show their specialization in this area of law. Still, you can simply inquire as to whether the firm or attorney handles personal injury cases as a specialization. You deserve an attorney who is not only knowledgeable in the area of law but one who is caring enough to go the extra mile in responding to your needs and getting you a deserving settlement.

Why should I hire The Rodriguez Law Firm, PC?

The Rodriguez Law Firm has the technology, experienced attorneys, and financial resources required to handle big and small personal injury cases, regardless of how tough and complicated they may seem.