Q&A With an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic and painful experience, but if you’re hurt and suffering because of someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Here are some in-depth answers to some common questions you might have about filing a lawsuit in Austin, Texas, answered by the legal experts at Lorenz & Lorenz.
How Does a Lawsuit Work?
A lawsuit is a formal legal complaint filed with your local court, which essentially tells the court that someone else was negligent and hurt you in some way. By filing a lawsuit, you’re asking the court to step in and order that person to compensate you for the harm they’ve caused.
It’s important to note that a lawsuit must comply with very specific laws and procedures established by the state of Texas. There are deadlines to be met throughout the process, and in order to receive compensation, you must be able to prove the extent of your injuries and the negligence of the other party.
Are There Other Options Besides Filing Suit?
Yes, and filing suit is rarely your first option. Instead, insurance is the primary source of compensation after a car accident in Texas. If someone else is responsible for causing an accident, you’ll probably turn to their insurance company for compensation.
When you pursue benefits from an insurance provider, you don’t file a lawsuit. At least, not at first. The first step involves filing an insurance claim for benefits. This claim serves as a formal request to receive insurance benefits for your injuries.
Along with the claim, you’ll also have to submit a demand letter. This lays out how you got hurt, why you think the insured driver is at fault, and the amount of damages you’re requesting.
Another driver’s insurance company might deny your claim or try to drive down its value, so be prepared for the insurer to do whatever they can to get out of paying what you need and deserve.
When an insurer refuses to pay, or if your damages exceed policy limits, you might want to consider filing suit. This means you take your dispute to the courts. If you don’t reach an agreement, a judge or jury will ultimately decide the outcome. Most personal injury lawsuits settle privately before going to trial.
Who Can I File a Lawsuit Against?
In Texas, you can file a lawsuit for damages against anyone who directly or indirectly causes you to get hurt. Under the state’s comparative negligence rules, liability for an accident is apportioned to everyone who contributes, meaning that even someone who is only 5% responsible for your accident can be liable for the resulting injuries.
The larger your role in causing the accident, the greater your financial responsibility for resulting damages, and the damages in a lawsuit can be reduced if you share fault. For example, if you’re 20% to blame, your compensation would be reduced by 20%. If you share more than half of the blame, you’ll be barred from recovering anything, at all.
What Can I Ask For When I File Suit in Texas?
When you get hurt in an accident, you might sustain various physical, emotional, and financial injuries. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you can ask to be compensated for all of these. These are known as “compensatory damages” and are split into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages help to cover the verifiable financial costs and losses you have and will experience because you got hurt. Examples include:
- Medical bills
- Nursing care
- Past and future lost wages, and
- The cost of replacing or repairing damaged property.
When you file a lawsuit to recover economic damages, you’re asking to be put back in the financial position you were in before the defendant caused you to get hurt.
In certain situations, you might also be able to ask a court to impose punitive damages. These are paid to punish the defendant if their conduct was really reprehensible
Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer If I Want To File a Lawsuit?
Yes. Lawsuits can be complicated, and insurance companies and defendants will fight you every step of the way. Hiring a personal injury attorney in Austin can put you in the best position to get the money you need and deserve after an accident. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, collect evidence, negotiate with insurers, and build a strong case to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Looking for an Austin personal injury attorney after a car wreck or another serious accident? Lorenz & Lorenz could be your trusted guide through the legal system, working to bring you the compensation you need to recover. You deserve to have your rights defended by only the best, so contact us today to get started with a free consultation.