What Steps Should A Person Take To Garner The Best Outcome In A Personal Injury Case?
If you are injured in an auto or truck collision and assuming you are not at fault, it is important to do things the smart way without making assumptions about the outcome. First, if you are able, take the time to get an accident report and make sure the investigating officer has the correct information on you and the other person(s) involved. If you are seriously injured, request an ambulance to the nearest trauma center so a physician can examine and diagnose your condition. State the facts of the collision to the nurse or doctor so that your medical records are accurate. Don’t drive yourself to the ER or assume your pain will resolve without treatment.
Second, hire an attorney to represent you before you contact the other driver’s insurance company or the other driver. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help you avoid delays and maximize any settlement or trial outcome.
Third, follow your doctor’s orders or treatment plan to the T, as this will help you recover faster and build a supporting medical record for your case. This means you should take any medication prescribed according to the physician recommendations, attend all therapy sessions, and keep all appointments. Remember that any missed appointments will be noted in your medical record by the nurse or physician. Talk to the attorney or the physician if you’re having difficulty paying for the treatment. It is okay to use your own insurance, but remember that any contractual adjustments between your insurer and the healthcare provider will be reflected in your bills. The law provides that you can potentially recover the expenses you paid, incurred, or are obligated to pay, but not the amounts written off.
Fourth, keep detailed records in your file, planner, or phone for every doctor or therapist visit and note the names of all providers, treatments, and medications. At some point, you will be asked about this information, and if you’re ready to respond, then your claim is more likely to be given attention by the other side.
Fifth, don’t discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney, your physician, and your therapist. If an insurance claims adjuster or opposing attorney contacts you or asks for a statement, tell them to contact your attorney to discuss scheduling a call or meeting. Don’t make any admissions or state any conclusions about fault to anyone. Be careful about discussing the case with family or friends, and by all means do not start posting images or statements on social media about the collision or the other persons involved in the collision; all of that content will eventually be used against you if possible. Don’t try to justify your actions to the world at large through your social media. Remember that if you are seriously injured and need representation, contact our office to schedule a consultation by video, phone, or in person.
If I Was Partially At Fault For The Accident, How Does That Impact My Personal Injury Case?
Texas follows a proportionate responsibility scheme whereby a jury can allocate a percentage of responsibility to every party involved in the collision. Your percentage of fault is determined by the jury. To resolve your case by negotiated settlement, you will need evidence as to how much fault could be allocated to you. If your fault is found to be 51 percent or more, then your recovery will be barred by statute. This means that if the other party is found to be 49 percent or less at fault, then you will not recover any damages. In a negotiated settlement, your partial fault is factored into the negotiating position that you should develop with your attorney.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Claim In Texas?
A lawsuit asserting a personal injury claim in Texas must be filed within two years of the event (such as in the case of an auto collision), or within two years of your discovery of the damage or illness (such as in the case of a disease or condition caused by exposure to toxic substances or defective medical products). Details about how limitations my affect your case should be discussed with your attorney.
Will The Insurance Company Have Access To Past And Present Medical History And Treatments? Can They Use That As Part Of Their Defense To Avoid Paying Out On Claims?
Your medical history is subject to confidentiality and protection by federal statutes (HIPPA, HI-TECH). Unless you sign a specific authorization, your protected healthcare information cannot be disclosed by your provider. However, when you file a lawsuit, you will likely be required to sign an authorization allowing disclosure of your recent past medical treatment. You should probably limit the disclosure to a reasonable time period, such as the past five or six years.
Depending on what the records show, the defense attorney may argue that your conditions were pre-existing and not caused by the collision. This points out why it is important to make sure your current records accurately describe your current injury, and to distinguish it from your prior condition. Ultimately, if you have a valid claim for damage and an experienced attorney handling your representation, then you will recover what you are due.