When should I hire a lawyer?

25.04.2024 General

            When Should I Hire a Lawyer After an Auto Accident?

            I receive calls every day from Texans involved in motor vehicle collisions and other accidents trying to decide whether to hire a lawyer. As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I can determine if the individual requires a lawyer with three questions:

  1. Were you injured in the crash?
  2. Is fault being disputed?
  3. Do you want to receive the maximum financial recovery under the law?

            Were you seriously injured in the crash?

          According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one vehicular crash occurs in Texas every 57 seconds; every 2 minutes Texas has an auto accident with a serious injury; and 1 person is killed every 2 hours on Texas roads. Not every auto accident results in serious injuries to the occupants. But nearly every person involved in auto accident does experience some type of injury. Sometimes the individual will experience minor bruising from making impact with the inside of the vehicle or a low back strain that resolves with no treatment within a couple days. These types of injuries, in my experience, do not require a personal injury lawyer and the individual should be able to resolve their injury claim directly with the insurance company. However, the most common mistake in this type of situation is when the individual believes the injuries are minor, attempts to (prematurely) to negotiate a settlement, and later realizes that the injuries are more serious. Once you settle an injury claim with the auto insurance company you can never reverse that decision.

           Moderate to Serious injuries always require an experienced personal injury lawyer!

           A routine ambulance and hospital trip after an auto accident cost between 5 to 15 thousand dollars. When an injured person requires multiple diagnostic tests the hospital bill easily exceeds 20 thousand dollars. In Texas, some hospitals have a billing strategy in which the hospital will not bill an auto accident victim’s health insurance because the hospital can recover more money under the Texas Hospital Lien Statute by seeking payment from the tortfeasor’s auto insurance. Personal injury lawyer Holland DeKeyzer understands how to navigate these complex laws and negotiate with the hospital systems to prevent the predatory hospital strategies to put the most money in the injured client’s pocket.

            Not only is the medical billing industry complex, many doctors and medical clinics will not treat persons injured in auto accidents because the doctors and clinics do not want to be involved in lawsuits and want to be paid within 30 days of treating a patient. Holland DeKeyzer is a dedicated injury lawyer that has cultivated a network of doctors and medical clinics that are skilled at treating injury victims and will not require the injured persons to pay upfront. These injury doctors and clinics only participate in this type of care because they know and trust DeKeyzer Law.

            Another reason an experienced personal injury lawyer is necessary is because folks often do not connect their symptoms to common accident injuries. This is especially true in traumatic brain injuries after an auto accident. Brain injuries often have unusual symptoms that may go unnoticed and unreported. So an experienced personal injury lawyer can assist by identifying these subtle symptoms and directing medical care.

               Is the cause of the vehicle crash being “investigated” or “disputed?”    

            In the initial stages of an auto accident the insurance company must determine which party is at fault for causing the crash. Sometimes this is a straightforward process where an individual crashes into the back of another vehicle stopped at a red light—the typical “rear-ender.” Some of the most severe crashes, however, are heavily disputed like a T-bone at a traffic intersection commonly known as the “red-light-swearing match.” You should always contact local law enforcement after an auto accident but if both drivers claim they had the green light. When there are no witnesses the investigating officer usually cannot make a determination of fault. When fault is disputed auto insurance companies typically deny the claim and refuse to pay for the damages. Without a skilled injury lawyer you may be stuck paying for the property damage yourself and have no remedies for your bodily injuries.  

            Another tactic I have seen is the auto insurance company will claim it has “investigated” the crash and determined you are 20% at fault even when the facts are clearly in your favor and the Texas Crash Report cites the other driver as the exclusive cause. This 80/20 strategy allows the auto insurance company to essentially receive a 20% reduction of the total payout of the claim, and without a lawyer you will feel helpless and accept the outcome.

            When the cause of the crash is disputed it usually results in a lawsuit. When you hire a Texas trial lawyer like Holland DeKeyzer and file a lawsuit, you are able to take depositions of key witnesses, subpoena documents and videos, and discovery other information that resolves the dispute over which party caused the crash.           

            How do you receive the maximum financial recovery in an auto accident case?

            Auto insurance companies have no legal responsibility to pay the maximum amount nor is it in their business interest to pay claimants the maximum financial recovery. Insurance adjusters and insurance company executives are incentivized (via bonuses) to not pay the maximum. Personal injury lawyers, on the other hand, are incentivized to recover the maximum amount for their clients as the more money you receive the more money the lawyer earns. This is because experienced personal injury lawyers accepted cases on a contingency basis meaning you pay nothing up front.

            Recovering the maximum financial amount under the law is obviously not simple enough to explain in a brief article. Some basic steps to achieve a full recovery include: seeking the proper type of medical care and understanding trauma injuries; having legal expertise in the area of personal injury damages which include physical pain, mental anguish, medical care cost, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of services.

            Contact DeKeyzer Law at (713) 904-4004 for a FREE consultation about your rights and options.