If you are injured in an automobile accident in Houston or San Antonio, your first thought may be to call a car accident lawyer. Trust your instincts if that’s the case, as individuals with legal representation usually receive far greater financial settlements than those who represent themselves during a claim. Keep reading to find out what happens after contacting a truck accident lawyer about your claim.
What Happens After I Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio?
After you have found a car accident lawyer you would like to represent you in the Houston or San Antonio area, they will guide you through the steps necessary to receive compensation for your injury or damages. Whether your claim ends at the settlement stage or progresses to a court trial, having a practiced lawyer on your side will make the process easier and help you obtain more compensation than you could acquire alone.
During the phone call, you would decide if you would like this car accident lawyer to represent you. The lawyer will ask you for details about your case’s circumstances, and then determine if they are willing to take on your case. If both parties agree to work together, you will sign a retainer.
This agreement states that you are ‘retaining’ the lawyer’s services for your case. In addition, the document will list what your truck accident lawyer is required to do on your behalf and what their legal fee is. It will also detail the terms for ending your representation and what fees you will be responsible for if you terminate your agreement prematurely.
Providing a Letter of Representation
Once you have officially hired your car accident lawyer, they will inform the at-fault insurance company that they are now representing you. Being represented by a lawyer means the insurance adjuster should no longer contact you directly about your case. Instead, your representation will need to handle all queries related to the accident.
This decision is for your protection, as the average individual can inadvertently claim fault or say something that damages their credibility, even if they are the innocent party. Your statements may seem innocuous, such as “I’m sorry the accident happened” or “It happened in the blink of an eye,” but an insurance adjuster can use them to prevent paying your claim.
Your car accident lawyer will work alongside you to collect all reports, bills, and medical records related to the accident. If you have been keeping track of your paperwork, this step will be easy. However, many individuals lose track of essential papers in the stressful days and weeks following the accidents.
Your lawyer will be prepared to reach out to your doctor for copies of your medical reports. They will also ask businesses near the accident scene if they have security cameras that captured the incident. Be upfront with your lawyer about your evidence; this allows them to start seeking copies of essential documents immediately. Tracking down paperwork can be time-consuming, so the sooner your car accident lawyer can begin requesting it, the better.
Sending a Demand Letter
A demand letter is written on your behalf and sent to the at-fault driver’s insurance company or legal representation. The letter will include a statement about the accident, a summary of how the at-fault driver was responsible, and an overview of the medical treatment you needed due to the accident.
It will also detail the damages you must be compensated for and demand a monetary sum to settle your claim. Additionally, medical records and bills will be submitted with the letter.
Once the opposing party has received your demand letter, they will typically respond with a settlement offer. However, it is vital to remember that the first offer you receive is not the final offer. Insurance companies want to compensate you the lowest amount possible and throw out low-ball offers to see if you will bite.
Your car accident lawyer will go over the offer with you and negotiate to land you a better settlement. If you are not far along in the healing process, your lawyer will likely encourage you to wait until you know your recovery outcome to accept a settlement. You do not want to agree to a settlement only to determine that your injury will impact your ability to work and quality of life more than you anticipate.
Accepting the Settlement
Most insurance companies would prefer to settle out of court, so there is a good chance they will eventually offer an appropriate settlement. Your car accident lawyer will help you close out the settlement if you reach an agreement.
However, if the opposing party will not reach a settlement amount you find acceptable, it is time to move your claim to court. This step is called beginning the litigation process.
The Litigation Process
Filing a Complaint
If the opposing party will not reach a settlement amount you find acceptable, it is time to move your claim to court. Your lawyer will start the personal injury lawsuit by filing the complaint; this legal document details your arguments, the facts supporting them, and the compensation you seek. Once your complaint has been filed and served to the at-fault party, they will file a response.
Discovery is the name of the litigation phase where both parties share information that can be used as evidence during a trial. This phase can last for several months, as both parties will gather as much information as possible to help support their side. During this stage, the deposition will occur. A deposition is a verbal question session designed to allow both sides to gain more information about the case.
Interrogatories will be completed in the discovery stage as well. Interrogatories are written questions that one party can send to the other party, who must answer in writing and under oath.
Once the discovery stage is completed, the trial is scheduled. The possibility for the at-fault party to offer a reasonable settlement is always on the table, and if terms are agreed upon, you can still settle at any time. While most personal injury cases will settle before making it to trial, should your case be an outlier, you will be glad to have legal representation handling every aspect of litigation for you.
Things to Know About Working With a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve never been involved with legal proceedings before, you may feel uncertain as you navigate your claim. However, knowing what to expect can help eliminate your unease and allow you to relax and let your truck accident lawyer get you the compensation you need.
Don’t Discuss Your Case With Others
You may receive calls from individuals you don’t know; whether they claim to be an insurance adjuster or a mediator for the other party, don’t discuss the case with them. All communication regarding the claim needs to go through your truck accident lawyer or happen with your lawyer present. Some insurance companies may be trying to trick you into saying something that undermines your claim.
Keep Your Truck Accident Lawyer Updated
Make sure you inform your truck accident lawyer of any new happenings in your life that apply to your case. Whether you finished your medical treatment, or an insurance adjuster called you, your lawyer needs to know to provide you with the best representation possible.
Let Them Know if You have Financial Difficulties
Let your truck accident lawyer know if you’re experiencing financial troubles resulting from your injury. They can provide you with advice on how to deal with creditors and recommend methods of financial support.
Dealing with injuries from a car or truck accident can be a challenging ordeal. However, if you trust your claim to an experienced accident lawyer in Houston or San Antonio, you will have someone looking out for your best interest and working on getting you the compensation you deserve. Call the Gamez Law Firm to schedule a complimentary consultation today to ensure you get the best outcome for your accident claim.