What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Learn more about your legal rights from experienced Houston attorneys
One of the most common types of accidents is known as a personal injury accident. There’s also a lot of confusion about personal injury claims and what rights injury victims have after an accident. This includes the role a lawyer often plays in such cases. Many people don’t fully understand what a personal injury attorney does or how one can help after an accident.
Below, you can learn more about attorneys who handle these types of cases. You can also find out more about the process often involved after such accidents. It’s also important to note that each state has its own unique rules and regulations when it comes to lawyers. That’s why it’s critical that you have an attorney licensed to practice law in your state who thoroughly understands how the legal system works in the state where your accident took place.
What is a personal injury accident?
Personal injury is a legal term used to describe a type of accident in which an injury occurs due to someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior. In particular, someone’s actions (or inaction) directly result in an injury sustained by someone else.
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All these accidents often share one thing in common – someone else caused the injury and should be held legally responsible for all injury-related expenses.
What does a personal injury attorney do?
The primary role of a lawyer in a personal injury accident is to represent the injury victim and make sure their rights are respected under the law. As the injury victim’s attorney, a lawyer often performs many tasks on behalf of the injured party, including:
- Review the injury victim’s official accident report (often in the case of a car accident) to make sure the information contained in the report is correct and accurately reflects what happened. In Texas, the motor vehicle accident report filled out by the investigating police officer is officially called the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report.
- Conduct an in-depth investigation of the accident to gather evidence in support of an injury claim.
- Deal directly with insurance companies on behalf of the injury victim.
- Review any settlement offers made to the injury victim, often from the insurance company for the at-fault party.
- Negotiate a settlement offer in order to obtain the maximum financial compensation for the injury victim.
- File a lawsuit or take other legal action on behalf of the injury victim, particularly if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to negotiate or denies an injury claim.
A lawyer may also perform other tasks on behalf of an injury victim. Each case is different. That’s why the role of an attorney can vary significantly from one case to another.
How much does a lawyer cost?
Attorney fees can vary widely from one lawyer to another. Some charge significantly more than others. That’s why it’s important for injured people to talk to an attorney upfront about how much they charge for their services.
In the case of personal injury accidents, many lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means the attorney is paid a percentage of the money recovered by the lawyer for the injury victim. The money recovered for injury victims is often paid in the form of a financial settlement or a jury verdict. The at-fault party’s insurance company often pays this money.
In contingency fee cases, the lawyer is not paid if they do not recover any money for their client. As a result, there’s no risk for injury victims in such cases. If their lawyer does not obtain any money for them, injury victims do not have to pay for legal services under the terms of a contingency fee agreement.
Is it worth it to hire a lawyer?
You might wonder why you need to hire an attorney if someone else clearly caused your injury. This is especially true if someone admits wrongdoing and insurance companies representing you and the at-fault party are involved.
Your insurance company is often simply focused on making sure you are not found to be at fault. As for the at-fault party’s insurance company, they will often do everything they can to reduce or deny your injury claim. This is because they’re a business and will often do everything they can to save money.
Your lawyer can focus on obtaining the maximum financial compensation you are legally entitled to under the law. Personal injury accidents can be very expensive. Experienced attorneys know this and work hard to get you the money you rightfully deserve.
What compensation can a lawyer get for me?
Your attorney can obtain financial compensation for all your injury-related expenses. What many people might not realize is such expenses can cover a wide range. In general, you should be paid for all past, current, and future expenses related to your injury accident. Such expenses may include:
- Emergency medical care, including ambulance fees and emergency room medical treatment
- Follow-up medical care, including physical therapy, follow-up surgery, and chronic pain management
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Financial compensation for property loss due to property damage
- Replacement income if you cannot work during your recovery for your injury
- Lost future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability sustained in your accident
- Pain and suffering in certain circumstances
The financial toll of your accident can add up fast. If you don’t get the money you deserve, you could end up paying for your injury-related expenses out of your own pocket. That’s not right. That’s why you need a lawyer on your side, demanding the money you rightfully deserve.
Do different rules apply to lawyers in Texas?
Yes. Each state has its own unique rules and regulations governing attorneys. Texas is no different. In order to practice law in Texas, a lawyer must pass the Texas State Bar Exam. In order to take the exam, a prospective lawyer must have a law degree (often called a Juris Doctor) from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
In addition, the State Bar of Texas oversees lawyers working in the Lone Star State. The State Bar of Texas has extensive rules of conduct that attorneys must abide by when practicing law in the state. These rules are collectively known as the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. If a lawyer violates any of these rules, they could face disciplinary action.
That’s why it’s critical that you hire a lawyer familiar with practicing law in Texas if you or a loved one was hurt in an accident in the state. The lawyers at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law, in Houston have years of experience fighting for the rights of injury victims in Texas. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, simply contact us and schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis in all personal injury matters.