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What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Personal injury lawyers - what they do

13 things a Texas personal injury lawyer does for you

A car accident or any other type of accident can be one of the worst experiences of your entire life.

It could lead to serious physical and emotional scars that may or may not heal over time. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to hold the person who caused the accident responsible for his or her actions.

Let's take a look at what a personal injury lawyer does and why you need one in Texas (or anywhere, for that matter).

Personal injury lawyers – 13 things they do

What Does a Personal Injury
Lawyer Do?

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What is a personal injury case?

First it may be helpful to look at what sort of cases fall under personal injury.

A personal injury case is any legal case involving an injured person.

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, slipped and fell on an oil rig, or were physically assaulted while on someone else's property, you may have a case.

Enjuris Tip: Wondering if you need a lawyer after you accident? See 11 cases when you will need a lawyer. See also when you will NOT need a lawyer.

As a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and lost future earnings.

Punitive damages may also be awarded to hold offending parties in Texas generally responsible for their actions. (See why punitive damages may not always be clear cut.)

Even minor accidents can cause physical and emotional damage

The severity of an accident is not always indicative of the long-term damage that it can cause.

While your car may be in good shape, you may suffer from PTSD for weeks or months after the accident.

You may also suffer from head injuries, whiplash and other physical injuries that may or may not present themselves immediately.

To protect your interests and to make sure that you get the treatment that you need, see a doctor immediately after any car accident. 

So, what can a personal injury lawyer do for you?

A personal injury lawyer will examine the details of your case and determine the best way to resolve it in your favor.

In some cases, it may be necessary to go to trial and seek a jury award. In many cases, it may be possible to settle outside of court.

13 things your Texas personal injury lawyer will do:

  • Bring to bear all their negotiation experience on your behalf
  • Help you document and prove your pain and suffering
  • Bring objective, knowledgeable perspective to your decisions
  • Uncover layers to find who is really responsible
  • Level the playing field (the other side will have a lawyer)
  • Navigate court customs and procedures
  • Draw on resources like expert witnesses and private investigators
  • Keep an eye on timing and procedures, making sure all documents are filed properly
  • Determine when the defendant’s evidence may be suspect
  • Advise on courses of action, including help with medical bills
  • Possibly increase your potential compensation
  • Guide you through negotiation, mediation, trial
  • Spend their time and energy on your case, so you don’t have to – it’s their job and they can do it way better and faster than you can

Your personal injury attorney may be able to help with your medical costs. They can sometimes provide access to medical care providers that will bill on a contingency basis. That means you could have access to medical care with the cost delayed until you receive compensation from your lawsuit.

Your attorney will also make sure that your medical costs are all included as part of any settlement offer so that you do not suffer additional financial harm by having to pay for medical costs out of settlement monies designated for your losses and future care.

While settling outside of court may resolve the case quicker, it doesn't mean that it is the superior option.

Settling out of court may be quicker, but it might not be your best option. Tweet this

How the case is resolved depends on how willing the other parties in the case are to negotiate in good faith.

Furthermore, it is totally up to YOU as to how you want to proceed.

If you don't want to settle out of court because you don't like the terms of the settlement, it is your right to go to trial and see what a jury thinks. But how will you know whether that’s your best choice?

As your case goes through the legal process, your lawyer will act as your advocate who cares about nothing more than meeting your needs.

Whether this entails talking to your insurance company, gathering physical evidence or making sure that you have seen your doctor, your lawyer will be on top of it. All you have to do is worry about getting better.

Is hiring a personal injury attorney in Texas optional?

In theory, you have the option of whether or not to hire a personal injury attorney.

However, it is almost always in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you.

Remember, the insurance companies and other entities responsible for your pain and suffering will have attorneys on their side as well.

Enjuris tip: Wondering how pain & suffering is determined? See how pain & suffering is calculated in Texas.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that the legal system is fraught with nuance and minor details that can derail a case if overlooked.

As you don't want to have your case dismissed because you forgot to turn in a document or a statute of limitations passed, you should make sure to hire an attorney.

In most cases, your attorney won't get paid until you do. You can bet they’ll be on top of making those things happen when they should.

Another good reason to find an attorney is that he or she may be able to identify all parties who may be liable for the accident.

This may include the employer of a person who hits you with a company car or a deep pocketed investor in a company that produced a defective product.

Identifying these outside parties may help increase the amount you can win in a personal injury case. 

Finally, and this is a big one, Texas law – like that of any state – can be complex, confusing, and it will be nearly impossible for a layperson to grasp every facet.

Nolo also tells us that you’ll need a lawyer if you suffer from long-term or permanently disabling injuries, severe injuries, medical malpractice, or toxic exposure. Any of these situation will inevitably involve higher amounts of compensation and complicated legal rules.

Focus on yourself and your family

The most important thing to focus on after an accident is getting better.

If you or your father, sister or other family member has gotten hurt and you are a caregiver, you have more important things to do than learn how to take a deposition.

Instead, you need to make sure that you or your family member are able to engage in physical therapy, take medication on time and otherwise do nothing other than recover from your injuries. (See our article on life after an accident and tell us your story, too.)

In the event that you are unable to move or speak because of your injuries, your lawyer can act as your voice or the voice of the person who you are helping take care of.

Enjuris tip: Generally, an individual cannot be compelled to testify or otherwise give a statement if he or she is physically unable to do so. As long as the case has been initiated before the statute of limitations expires, the case can be delayed as long as it takes to get the right outcome. See our notes on why timing has to be considered carefully.

If you or a family member have been hurt in an accident, the party or parties responsible need to be held accountable for their actions.

It is important to note that a civil case can occur regardless of whether the responsible party faces criminal charges and regardless of the outcome of a criminal case. (Personal injury cases are civil cases.)

As soon as you know that you have been hurt in an accident, see a doctor and then contact an attorney for a free consultation. 

Have questions about your accident and the law? Get answers!
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See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.