Did you suffer injuries in a Fort Worth car accident? If so, you might be considering hiring a car accident lawyer. A good rule of thumb in this situation is that if you have to ask yourself whether or not you need a lawyer, you probably do.
Personal injury claimants who hire lawyers typically end up with more money than claimants who represent themselves. Continue reading to learn other benefits of hiring an attorney for representation in your car accident claim.
Situations When You Need a Fort Worth Car Accident Lawyer
Following are just a few of the many circumstances in which you probably need a lawyer after a car accident in Fort Worth, TX.
Liability Is in Dispute
When more than one party is at fault, Texas applies a modified comparative fault system. Under this system, a claimant whose fault exceeds 50% receives nothing. A party whose fault is less than 50% will see their compensation reduced by that percentage. For example, a party 20% at fault would lose 20% of their awarded compensation.
Because of this law, you can be almost certain that the opposing party, probably an insurance company, will try to pin at least some of the blame for the accident on you. Insurance companies can get creative in the way they go about this. An attorney will push back and protect you.
You Are Filing a Lawsuit for an Injured Minor
A minor (under 18) cannot file a lawsuit in Texas. Instead, a guardian or “next friend” must file the lawsuit and make major case decisions on behalf of the minor. Child injury cases can be emotional, so it’s best to have help from a skilled attorney.
You Were Involved in a Multi-Vehicle Collision
Multiple-vehicle collisions typically occur on major highways. These lawsuits can get complicated. You might, for example, find yourself playing the role of both plaintiff and defendant. In fact, you might need to sue more than one party, or more than one party might sue you. This can get messy without a lawyer by your side.
You Suffered Serious Injuries
The more serious your injuries, the more money you are likely to demand. The more money you demand, the harder the defendant is likely to fight back. The harder the defendant fights back, the more complicated your case will become and the more you will need a lawyer.
If your injuries will require long-term care or prevent you from returning to your previous occupation, you have one more reason to hire a lawyer. Under these conditions, you might need to seek compensation for expenses that will not arise until years after your accident. Such claims are extremely difficult to value—in fact, even your lawyer might need the assistance of an expert witness.
Someone Died in the Car Accident
If someone died in the accident, the deceased victim’s spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death claim. Texas wrongful death cases work differently from ordinary personal injury claims, especially with respect to the type of compensation awarded. However, compensation awarded for the value of human life is typically significant.
The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Insurance companies exist to make a profit, not to help accident victims. Consequently, you may find that the insurance company is a “good neighbor” when accepting premiums but a miser when it comes to paying claims.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you will have to negotiate a settlement by exerting leverage to change their minds. If that doesn’t work, you can always file a lawsuit. Either way, you will need a lawyer.
The Texas Statute of Limitations Deadline Is Approaching
In Texas, you normally have two years to file a lawsuit before your personal injury claim dies (exceptions sometimes apply). If your claim dies, you will lack the bargaining leverage to negotiate a settlement. If the statute of limitations deadline is looming, you may need a lawyer to help you prepare a strong claim quickly.
Why Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
What can a lawyer do for you? The list of advantages of hiring a lawyer is very, very long. Following are some highlights.
Calculating the True Value of Your Claim
Calculating the value of your personal injury claim can be trickier than you might imagine. In some cases, it is straightforward, while in others, it isn’t.
Following are some circumstances in which you probably need a lawyer to obtain a ballpark estimate of your claim’s true value:
- You are claiming damages for pain and suffering. Since pain is intangible, you will likely need a lawyer to help you translate it into a concrete dollar value.
- You anticipate future medical expenses. If you suffered permanent injuries, how much will you need for medical expenses five years from now? You might need an expert to tell you.
- You are suffering from diminished earning capacity. The younger you are, the more lost earnings you are likely to accumulate before you otherwise would have retired.
You might also need a lawyer if you are claiming other non-economic damages, such as disfigurement.
Detailed Knowledge of Car Accident Laws
Do you know what evidence is and is not admissible in a Texas car accident claim?
It is nuances like these that an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with.
Negotiations With Opposing Parties
Negotiation is a fine art. Even if you have mastered it, you probably don’t understand Texas car accident law the way that an experienced personal injury lawyer does. Additionally, you probably don’t need to be bothered with negotiating your claim while you are attempting to regain your health.
Most personal injury claims end at the negotiating table, not at trial. “Winning,” however, is not enough—what really matters is how much you win. It is here that hiring a lawyer can help you the most.
The Credible Threat of a Successful Lawsuit
Unless you can credibly threaten to win a lawsuit against the opposing party, they will have no reason to negotiate in good faith with you. The moment the insurance company discovers that you have hired a lawyer with a successful track record at trial (not only negotiation), they will probably experience a spontaneous “attitude adjustment” about settling your claim for a fair amount.
Drafting Legal Documents
For strategic reasons, you might need to file a lawsuit even if you still hope to settle your case out of court. However, drafting a car accident lawsuit complaint is a complex endeavor that requires extensive knowledge of legal principles and document drafting strategies. Preparing a settlement agreement requires almost the same amount of skill.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Fort Worth Car Accident Lawyer?
Almost all personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Their legal fees will come out of the compensation the defendant pays you. You will not owe attorney’s fees if the lawyer doesn’t secure compensation for you. For this reason, a personal injury lawyer will not take your case unless they believe they can win it.