Personal Injury FAQs
Can I talk to you about my case for free?
Absolutely. I am more than happy to talk with callers about their case, without charging a fee for the consultation. At the end of the conversation, if the caller decides to retain me, I forward the paperwork to the caller so that he or she can sign up with my firm, and I can begin work on their case. On the other hand, if the caller does not want to retain me at the end of our conversation, or would simply like to think about it, there is no fee charged. Even if it is a case that I am not able to take for one reason or another, I can often make suggestions about what the caller can do, or make a referral to other legal resources that may be able to provide assistance.
What am I entitled to recover after an accident?
You may be entitled to a number of different types of damages under Texas law. Some of the more common types of damages in accident cases are: reasonable medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and permanent impairment. These are discussed in more detail elsewhere on my website.
How much will I have to pay for you to handle my case?
Our fee is one-third of the recovery, which is the standard percentage that lawyers charge for handling accident cases. If a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, the percentage increases, due the increased amount of work required in prosecuting the lawsuit. In most cases, however, I am able to settle the client's claim without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, so the fee charged is one-third.
How long will my case take?
While the client is in treatment, we are building the client's files, obtaining copies of all medical records in connection with the accident and injuries, and resolving any remaining liability or other issues in the case. Of course, the length of medical treatment depends on the nature and severity of the client's injuries.
In any event, once the client has finished with his or her medical treatment, I prepare the paperwork to formally submit the settlement demand to the insurance company. It usually takes three to four weeks for the insurance company to evaluate the claim and respond with a settlement counteroffer. After the initial counteroffer is made by the insurance company, the negotiations begin in earnest. The negotiation phase typically takes two to three weeks. If an agreement is reached at the end of the negotiations, it generally takes another week or two before financial arrangements are finished and a settlement check is presented to the client. The total time required to finalize a claim after the client has been released from treatment typically ranges from six to eight weeks. Of course, each case is different, and a slow insurance company or unmotivated insurance adjuster can lengthen the process considerably.
Of course, some cases do not result in a settlement agreement, usually because of an unreasonable insurance company or adjuster. In that situation, I talk with the client about the possibility of filing a lawsuit in connection with the accident. In every case, however, I attempt to resolve the client's claim as efficiently as possible.
How long do I have to file an injury claim?
In most Texas injury cases, the only deadline that applies is a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you must bring suit no later than two years from the date of the accident or you would be prevented from filing suit. As a practical matter, the two-year statute of limitations means that you have two years from the date of the accident to either settle your case or file a lawsuit in connection with the accident. If your claim is not settled by the two-year anniversary of the accident, then a lawsuit MUST be filed prior to the anniversary date in order to protect your rights.
Do I need a lawyer?
It’s important to understand that in settling accident claims, insurance companies are not concerned with any notion of fairness, but instead just try to pay people as little as they can possibly get away with in order to settle accident claims. That’s why the insurance companies prefer to deal with people who are not represented by a lawyer. The insurance companies know that people who are not represented by lawyers
- usually don’t know what their claim is worth,
- usually don’t know how to present the claim, and
- can do very little in response if the insurance company gives them a lowball settlement offer (whereas the insurance company knows that a lowball offer made to someone represented by a lawyer may very well be met with a lawsuit).
This is the reason that people often hire a lawyer after they have been in an accident – to have someone on their side who understands the law and the procedure, someone to give them a fighting chance going up against the insurance company.
Why are you the best attorney for personal injury in Dallas?
Can the pedestrian be at fault in an automobile accident?
My car is totaled. How do I recover from the other driver’s insurance?
An 18-wheeler hit my car. What should I do?
Call or Email Stephen Johnson for a free initial consultation about your personal injury case.