Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
Can I talk to you about my case for free?
Yes. As a Dallas personal injury lawyers, I am more than happy to talk with people 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 some reason, I can often make suggestions about what the caller can do, or refer them 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.
How much will I have to pay for you to handle my case?
Our fee is taken as a percentage of the recovery that is made. If a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, the percentage increases, due the increased amount of work required in prosecuting the lawsuit. However, if we are unable to recover money for you, you do not pay us anything.
How much money is my auto accident case worth?
Your case is worth either what you agree with the insurance company it’s worth or the amount of a cash award granted by a judge and jury. We examine all of the conditions surrounding your case in order to arrive at a figure that we believe the insurance company must pay for your injuries. Generally, the dollar value is dependent upon the type and extent of your injuries. Other factors influencing the dollar value of your case are the amount of medical bills, length of treatment, frequency of treatment, future medical bills, permanent disabilities and any other damage that can be documented. We study every detail so that we can get you the money you deserve for your injuries.
Will I have to go to court?
If the insurance company agrees to pay what we believe your case is worth and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. This is what happens in most situations. Some cases do require a formal trial proceeding, however. In either situation, hiring a firm with experience in handling personal injury cases is critical. We prepare all of our cases as if they are going to court and this is the very reason why most of our cases get settled outside of court. We are always prepared, and our preparation allows us to negotiate from a position of strength, helping you get the maximum award for your injuries.
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.
Once the client has finished with his or her medical treatment, we 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 offer. After the insurance company makes the initial offer, 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 eight to twelve 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. In that situation, we talk with the client about the possibility of filing a lawsuit in connection with the accident. In every case, however, we attempt to resolve the client’s claim as efficiently as possible.
Can’t any lawyer handle any type of case?
It’s true that you could hire any licensed lawyer, but not all lawyers have the training, expertise, and trial experience that we have as Dallas personal injury attorneys at The Barber Law Firm, PC. We always represent our clients’ best interests. Think of it this way: if you needed surgery, would you rather have it done by a surgeon who is a specialist or a general practitioner? Both are doctors … right? Yes, but the surgeon has the training and experience you need. The same is true for lawyers. The family lawyer who prepared your Last Will and Testament may not have the personal injury trial experience that you need. You have a right to ask about the experience and training of the lawyer you hire.
What is UIM and PIP coverage on my car insurance and should I pay for this coverage?
If you’re hurt in an accident, no matter who is at fault, personal injury protection (PIP) will pay your medical bills, expenses and loss of income. Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage helps make up the difference in a negligent driver’s insurance policy limits and the damages you suffered from your injuries. This is important because the emergency room bill alone could easily be many times higher than the minimum coverage Texas drivers are required to carry. When buying car insurance, think seriously about getting these. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do, it could make the difference in keeping your family afloat while you’re down.
What’s meant by statute of limitations?
Statute of limitations refers to the need to file a lawsuit within a time limit. In Texas, many causes of action have a two-year statute of limitation, but not all. Some lawsuits, such as lawsuits against the government require a notice within a short time. The time begins to run when a cause of action accrues. A good example is someone negligently running into your car. The statute of limitation begins on the day of the accident. This issue can become more complicated. Sometimes, you have no way of knowing that you have a cause of action for years, such as discovering ill effects from taking a medication or being exposed to chemicals. It is important to seek the advice of an attorney and doctor if you suspect that you are having problems but don’t know for sure if it relates to the negligence of another or an unreasonably dangerous product.
Who will pay the doctor bills and fix my car if the other person has no insurance?
Even if the other driver doesn’t have any insurance, you may still be covered. Check with our office. We can look at your policy and tell you if you have uninsured motorist coverage, coverage which can compensate you if you are involved in an auto accident with someone who has no insurance.
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. 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. However, some cases have much shorter deadlines, which is why you should contact an attorney immediately after being injured.
My car is totaled. How do I recover from the other driver’s insurance?
Once the accident has been reported, an adjuster will be assigned to the claim. The adjuster will usually take the recorded statement of the drivers involved in the accident, and will have an appraiser look at the damage done to the vehicles. Once the insurance company has accepted responsibility for the accident, and if the damage to the vehicle is extensive enough, the insurance company will declare the vehicle to be totaled and pay the owner for the vehicle’s fair market value. The fair market value is the amount that the car was worth before the accident, and is also referred to as the “blue book” value.