Getting in a car accident can be a living hell. You may have already had a surgery or need one. You won’t be able to move without pain. You can’t sleep. You won’t have your car. You might not be able to work. You will owe a ton of money to a hospital and doctors. For example, today a client of ours found out she needed a major cervical fusion after she was rear-ended a few weeks ago in Dallas. If this has happened to you, here’s a question you need answered: should you settle with or sue the other driver?
This photo was taken from the Tarrant County District Courts building of the Tarrant County Courthouse after a hearing.
This is a difficult but critical decision. This is why your best course of action is to hire a good personal injury lawyer who will make the right decision and speed you through this complicated process.
We at Berenson Injury Law have seen this on a daily basis for almost 40 years and do everything possible to help people get through a horrible period of their lives.
Mr. Berenson met with a young man and his parents on Friday to give him his settlement check from his devastating DWI crash — which only happened two months ago. He had to have a major surgery to his back. He and his family were thrilled with the results. Now we are fighting to get him paid another sizeable insurance payment.
Later, after Mr. Berenson had obtained a giant settlement for a nice young woman and saved her over $100,000 in medical bills, her mother very nicely wrote him this email: “Thank you for being such a warrior and making the outcome positive. We would have been lost without you. Thank you always for your and your team’s valued support.”
When to try to settle with the other driver’s company
Our first objective is to get our clients the medical treatment they need. Our number goal is to get our clients back to where they were before the crash. At the same time, we also obtain the critical evidence we need to get them the compensation they deserve.
Later, when our client is recovering from his or her injuries, we discuss what is in their best legal and financial interests. Rather than automatically file a lawsuit and take them through the slow and expensive litigation process, we discuss whether it might be in their best interests to consider an out-of-court settlement.
We are often successful with getting a favorable offer after we negotiate. For example, the young man referred to above received over a check for over $66,000.00. On his own, he might have received no money given some adverse facts that affected liability.
If we don’t settle the case out of court, then we file suit.
When to sue the other driver
This question is an important one. Victims of car and truck wrecks have to deal with a lot of moving and uncertain parts. There are hospitals, doctors, the other driver’s and their own liability car insurance companies, health insurance companies, disability companies, Medicare and Medicaid, jobs, and of course families. Everyone wants to get paid. Noone wants to pay. Trying to put all of these medical, legal and financial pieces into the car wreck puzzle can be overwhelming.
If you go through the insurance claims process, you may not recover all the money you need to cover your medical bills and other expenses. Also, if the other driver does not have enough car insurance, it could cause you to pay a lot of medical bills.
Although the car insurance companies represent the interests of their policy holders, these companies are primarily thinking about their bottom lines. The less they pay out, the more profit they make.
Sometimes we recommend that our client immediately file suit depending on the case facts. We discuss the alternatives with our clients and obtain their approval to file a petition in court. We pay for all litigation expenses up front and depending on the case, even charge the lower pre-suit attorney’s fee and not charge for the filing fee if the insurance company makes a better settlement offer within a reasonable period of time.
The result that happens almost all of the time is that your car accident lawyer can settle the case for a good amount without you having to testify in a courtroom. And for the remaining cases, he fights to get you a good verdict from a judge or jury. In both cases, then and only then is he paid a percentage of the settlement or verdict. After certain medical bills are paid, you receive the rest of the money. It’s a win-win for you.
Steps you should take now
Insurance claims and lawsuits depend on evidence. So take pictures of the vehicles and accident scene on your cell phone if possible. Get the names and contact info for all witnesses. Write down everything that happened and what the other driver said. Press record on the camera’s video. When you hire us, we will help you get a lot of this information.
Get the medical treatment you need, starting with a trip to the ER, and continuing with doctors and physical therapy to help you recover from your injuries.
Keep copies of documents related to bills from property damage, medical bills, and lost pay from work. Ask the hospital and your doctor to keep you off from your job in writing if you cannot perform your job duties.
More tips are here: How can you get a good injury settlement?
Having this information is important in deciding whether to sue because it will help you calculate how much financial damage you have suffered and how much money you should be able to collect. These are the variables we consider: How we calculate how much money we think our client’s case is worth
The statute of limitations on car accident cases in Texas is generally two years from the date of the crash. That means that if you don’t sue within that period of time, you lose your right to sue forever. There are variations and exceptions to this rule.
The statute of limitations deadline is much shorter, practically speaking. Gathering facts and building a theory of the case and why you should receive a certain amount of damages can take a long time. If you plan to sue before the statute of limitation runs, you will need to work on those things for months before you file the lawsuit.
Furthermore, under H.B. 1693, a brand new law that takes effect for all lawsuits filed after September 1st, the required affidavits that prove your medical records and billing filed must be filed within three months of the day that the defendant files his answer/other deadlines. This is vastly accelerated under the current procedures set out in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Obtaining these affidavits and files is an involved process that can take months, so here is another reason to consider filing suit quickly.
If your crash happened in the DFW area and think there is even a chance that your insurance company will not compensate you fairly, consult with a top injury lawyer in Fort Worth as soon as possible. No injury case has ever improved by waiting. Instead, cases decline in value when inportant actions have not been taken.
Don’t trust insurance companies
Car wreck claims are handled through both drivers’ insurance companies. The other driver’s insurance company representatives are paid to represent the interests of their policy holders, certainly not yours. The at-fault driver’s insurance especially will play games and low-ball you to save itself as much money as possible.
Your company rarely will give its policy holders what they deserve unless they are forced to do so. If you are filing on your own property damage, personal injury protection, medical payments, uninsured, or underinsured motorists provisions, you will quickly learn that they are NOT your “good neighbors” or “on your side,” contrary to their slick marketing campaigns.
Estimate Your Total Economic Damages
Berenson Injury Law has a formula that calculates your damages including any unpaid vehicle and property damage, medical expenses, missed work wages, pain, disability, and other damages the law allows you to recover. We study what other lawsuits like yours are worth and use that to give our clients a working knowledge of what they can expect.
More on this subject: Neck and back injury settlement averages
Hire the best car accident lawyer you can find
Whether you decide to settle or sue, it is smart to have a good personal injury attorney representing you.
Lawyers know the legal and insurance process. They understand the games that insurance companies play on unsuspecting claimants. They are experts at persuasion and arguments. This gives you more leverage during negotiations and enables you to recover the maximum amount against the other company and its attorneys.
And personal injury lawyers charge zero down, lay out necessary case expenses, and only get paid when you do. Here is more about why hiring a personal injury makes complete financial sense.
Mr. Berenson specializes in only one type of legal case: car and truck wrecks. He has successfully handled several thousand of these in the past nearly 40 years.
If you have any questions about your car or truck crash, please contact us at 1-800-801-8585 or click here.