Dealing with an injury can be jarring and overwhelming, often bringing physical pain, emotional stress, and financial burden. If you’re hurt in Houston, Texas, due to someone’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. While filing a personal injury claim can be complex, having a skilled Houston personal injury lawyer can simplify the process and boost your chance for a fair settlement.

Go through this step-by-step guide our Houston personal injury lawyers have put together to help you understand and navigate the process of a personal injury claim. Our goal is to walk you through the complexities of filing and successfully managing a claim so you can confidently seek and secure the fair compensation you deserve.

Seek Medical Attention

A common mistake people make when filing a personal injury claim in Houston is waiting too long to get medical care. Insurance companies often use delays in treatment as a reason to discount or deny claims. That means if there’s a big gap in your treatment, that can be used against you.

Seeking medical attention is a crucial first step in the event of a personal injury, as the journey to recovering damages in a personal injury claim begins at the moment of the incident. This documentation forms the foundation of your injury claim, providing evidence of the extent and impact of your injuries.

Immediate medical care is essential not only for your health but also for documenting your injuries, which is vital for your claim. Even if injuries seem minor, a medical professional can uncover issues that might not be immediately apparent. Remember, the medical records and doctor’s notes play a key role in demonstrating the seriousness of your case to insurers or in court.

Preserve Evidence

Gathering as much evidence as possible from the accident scene strengthens your case. This includes taking photos of the accident location, your injuries, and any property damage. Collect contact information from witnesses and keep a record of any police or accident reports.

Also, save all medical records and receipts related to your injury. This evidence helps to establish the facts of the accident and the impact of your injuries, which is crucial for your claim.

Seek an Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorney

Choosing the right attorney can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Look for a lawyer with a proven track record in personal injury law, particularly one who understands the nuances of Houston’s legal system. An experienced attorney will evaluate your case, guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.

File a Claim with Your Insurance Company

Filing a claim with the insurance company involves notifying your own insurance provider about the incident and injuries sustained. This step is key in initiating your personal injury claim. It requires you to detail the accident, the nature of your injuries, and any other relevant information.

Timely and accurate reporting is a fundamental step towards forming the basis of your insurance claim. You will need to inform not only your own insurance provider but also the at-fault party’s insurer. This step paves the way to activating your insurance rights and coverage in the aftermath of the incident.

Inform the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company

Reaching out to the at-fault party’s insurer is a key move in your personal injury claim. This step lets them know you’re planning to seek damages due to the accident.

In Houston, Texas, the insurance company is required by law to respond to your claim within a certain timeframe, typically 15 to 45 days, depending on the specifics of your case. They will conduct their own investigation into the claim. If their initial settlement offer is lower than expected, your attorney can negotiate for a fairer amount. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit for compensation.

You’ll want to give them a heads-up about the incident, but keep the finer details to a minimum for now. Quick action is best but watch your words. It’s smart to have your lawyer make this call — they’ll hit all the right notes without giving away anything that might twist your claim later on.

Determine Liability

Establishing liability requires gathering and analyzing evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, and any available physical or photographic evidence. It identifies who is at fault for the accident and to what extent.

In some cases, liability might be clear, but often, it’s a complex aspect that requires legal expertise. In Texas personal injury cases, determining who’s at fault can be intricate, particularly with the state’s modified comparative negligence rule. This means if you’re partly at fault for the accident, your compensation could be reduced based on your responsibility level.

A seasoned attorney is crucial in these scenarios, skillfully analyzing all evidence to establish liability and navigate the complexities of Texas law. Their ability to interpret the legal framework, especially in cases with shared fault, is essential for a strong, effective claim.

Analyze Potential Damages for Recovery

In a personal injury case, assessing potential damages for recovery involves a thorough evaluation of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include clear financial losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Each case is unique, and the calculation of these damages requires careful consideration of the injury’s impact on the victim’s life, both now and in the future.

At Johnson Garcia, we meticulously evaluate every aspect of your claim by calculating both tangible and intangible damages – from medical expenses and lost wages to pain and suffering and emotional distress. We evaluate the full extent of the injury’s impact on your life, both presently and in the potential future, to build a strong case for fair compensation so you can move forward with your life.

Understand How Fault is Defined in Houston for a Personal Injury Claim

In Houston, Texas, the way they figure out who’s at fault in a personal injury case is a bit different. They use what’s called a comparative fault system. Here’s how it works: if you’re in an accident and get hurt, you can still get money for your injuries, even if part of the accident was your fault. The catch is you can’t be more than 50% responsible.

Say you’re in a car crash, and it turns out you’re 10% at fault, and the other driver is 90% at fault. If the total damage is $100,000, you would take 10% off that amount because that’s how much of the accident was your fault. So, you would get $90,000.

In Houston, when a personal injury claim is brought to court, evidence such as traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, and accident reconstruction reports are crucial in piecing together the sequence of events and determining each party’s degree of fault. So, having a strong legal ally on your side to navigate these claims becomes essential for accurately assessing fault and supporting you in receiving fair compensation.

File Before the Texas’ Statute of Limitations Deadline

In Texas, including Houston, the time frame to file a personal injury lawsuit has specific limitations. Generally, you have two years from the injury date to file a claim. However, there are exceptions.

Claims against government entities, such as city or state governments, require quicker action. For city or county governments, you might have only 30 to 90 days. For the State of Texas, it extends to six months, and for federal claims, it extends to two years.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for minors in personal injury cases typically extends until two years after they reach the age of majority, which is 18 years old. This means they usually have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit. However, for medical malpractice cases, Texas law has placed specific limits that might shorten this timeframe.

For example, even for minors, there is a 10-year statute of repose that limits the ability to bring a claim more than 10 years after the incident, regardless of the minor’s age at the time of the incident. This reflects Texas’s tort reform efforts, which have introduced various restrictions on medical malpractice claims.

Therefore, in cases involving medical errors or malpractice, the extended statute of limitations for minors might not apply or could be shorter, making it crucial to seek legal guidance promptly. Sexual crime cases also have extended statutes. Adults have five years to file, while minors might have up to 30 years, depending on the specifics.

If the injury wasn’t immediately apparent, Texas law might give you more time to file, known as the discovery rule. This applies to cases where the injury could not have been discovered right away.

Given these complexities, especially in Houston’s legal environment, it’s vital to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who will act fast. At Johnson Garcia, we are well-equipped to handle complex cases involving the specific statute of limitations. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with accurate and timely advice on the unique statute of limitations.

Protect the Privacy of Your Settlement’s Details

This not only pertains to legal and contractual obligations but also extends to how you manage information in your personal life, particularly on social media and in public discussions.

  • Social Media Caution: In today’s digital age, it’s tempting to share updates on social media. However, discussing your settlement details on platforms like Facebook, X, or Instagram can breach confidentiality agreements and potentially lead to legal consequences. Moreover, public posts can attract unwanted attention or misconceptions about your financial situation.
  • Avoid Public Discussions: Besides social media, it’s wise to avoid discussing your settlement in public settings or with acquaintances. Word can easily spread beyond your intended audience, leading to issues similar to those encountered with social media sharing.
  • Be Mindful in Community Settings: This includes places like your workplace, social gatherings, or community events. Conversations in these settings can inadvertently become public knowledge.
  • Selective Sharing: Share the settlement details only with those who need to know, like your immediate family or financial advisor, and even then, stress the importance of confidentiality to them.

Remember, the settlement is a part of your private legal matters. Maintaining its confidentiality protects your interests, adheres to legal agreements, and preserves your personal privacy. Your attorney can provide specific guidance on how to navigate these aspects post-settlement.

What’s more, keeping your personal injury settlement details private is essential. Often, your agreement will have a confidentiality clause. Ignoring this could lead to legal trouble or even losing your settlement. Plus, keeping things private protects you from unwanted attention or requests. How you handle this matter can also affect your future legal interactions, showing that you respect and abide by confidentiality terms. It’s important for your attorney, too, as it relates to their professional integrity.

Generally, it’s best to only discuss your settlement with people who really need to know, like your closest family or a financial advisor. Always check your settlement agreement for the exact confidentiality rules.

Remember, keeping your settlement details private isn’t just a choice — it’s often a legal must-do. It helps protect your future and maintain your credibility.

Hire Johnson Garcia to Guide you Through the Houston Claims Process

Many clients, in their anxiety and good faith, often assume that all parties involved in a personal injury claim will act fairly. This assumption can, unfortunately, lead to some common mistakes, like accepting the first settlement offer presented to them without fully understanding its implications. This eagerness can result from a desire to quickly resolve the matter or a belief that the offer is the best they can get. However, these initial offers are often much lower than what the case is actually worth.

Ultimately, it’s not just about gathering evidence or figuring out who’s at fault. It’s also about understanding how your injuries affect your life now and in the future. These factors are key to accurately determining what your claim is really worth.

With over 35 years of experience in guiding clients through Houston’s personal injury claims process, our team of personal injury lawyers at Johnson Garcia excels in navigating these legal intricacies. From preserving evidence to assessing the long-term impacts of your injuries, we leave no legal stone unturned. We are committed to helping our clients reach a fair settlement that reflects the true cost of their injuries — even if that means taking the fight to court. Our goal is to negotiate a settlement that truly reflects the hardships you’ve endured, backed by our extensive experience and commitment to justice. Call us today at 832-844-6700 or reach out to us online for a free consultation.