Frequently Asked Questions
HOW LONG WILL MY CASE TAKE?
The exact value of any personal injury claim cannot be determined before a settlement is agreed upon by both parties; however, some factors can help make an estimate. Avoid any lawyer or firm that 'promises' or 'guarantees' that they can recover a specific amount for your case. Personal injury involves some damages that have a set value and some damages that are emotional in nature. Medical bills can easily be calculated, but the value of emotional damages such as pain or suffering cannot. At the Charles Bush Law Group, we will never promise to recover an exact amount for your case, but we can assure you that we will fight for the highest possible amount.
WHO CAN FILE A CLAIM FOR PERSONAL INJURY?
Anyone who has been injured as a direct result of someone else's negligence has the right to file a claim for compensation. As long as you played no part in causing your injuries and other damages, you can recover compensation by establishing the other party's liability. Our firm has handled countless personal injury cases. We have the experience to gather evidence and to hold the responsible party accountable for your damages.
WHAT KINDS OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES DOES YOUR FIRM HANDLE?
At the Charles Bush Law Group, we handle all types of personal injury cases. Some of the most common cases we handle include car collisions, motorcycle collisions, 18-wheeler collisions, dangerous and defective products, and premises safety and security cases. We also represent clients filing for wrongful death in case you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident of any kind.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER WITH A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
Personal injury cases can involve financial, physical, emotional, and property damages. Financial damages include medical bills; gas mileage to and from doctors' appointments; property damage repairs; and more. Physical damages are the injuries that the victim suffers to his or her person. Emotional damages include trauma, pain, and suffering. Property damages can occur to any of the victim's property that is affected by the accident.
WHEN SHOULD I FILE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death is two years. This means that you must file a claim within two years of your accident in order to be eligible for compensation. Failure to file your claim within that time period can result in denial of your claim and an inability to obtain compensation from the liable party, so act as quickly as possible.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
Accident victims are not required by law to retain counsel, but the benefits are immeasurable. Individuals who are represented by an attorney recover far more compensation on average than people who file a claim on their own. Make sure you have the advantage of an attorney's knowledge and ability to represent you with the insurance companies, as well as in the courtroom. Hire a lawyer from the Charles Law Group today!
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE FAULT?
In a comparative negligence system, the injured party may still recover some of his damages even if he was partially to blame for causing the accident. His financial recovery is simply reduced. For example: John sues Jane for his injuries in an auto accident. The jury finds that John had $100,000 in damages, but they also find that he was 75% at fault. While the verdict may be for John, his recovery will be reduced by 75%. In the end, Jane will only have to pay $25,000.
HOW DO I SELECT AN ATTORNEY?
The selection of an attorney is an important one. It should not be taken lightly. As other professions, attorneys specialize. It is probably not a good idea to retain a bankruptcy or a real estate attorney to try your auto accident case. You want someone with experience in civil trial work. Even criminal trial attorneys won’t do. Funding is another consideration. Your attorney should be able to capitalize the case, which may get expensive if the accident facts or your injuries are complex and you need experts.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL AN ATTORNEY NEED?
First, the attorney will need your name, address, phone number, date of birth, occupation. He will also need information about the accident. Who was involved? What happened? When and where did it happen? Were there any witnesses? Finally, he will need information about your injuries and the doctors and hospitals that treated you. That should give him enough information to get a police report, your medical records, and to give an initial evaluation of the case.
SHOULD I SIGN A RELEASE?
You should not sign any release provided by the other person or the other person’s insurance company without consulting an attorney. If it is a records authorization allowing the other side to examine your records, e.g. medical records, you could be allowing them to uncover private information that is unrelated to the accident. Even worse, you could be signing a liability release and releasing the other person from all responsibility for your accident.
SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR?
It is a very good idea to see a doctor immediately if you are injured in any way. Do not make any general comments at the scene about your physical condition other than to describe your symptoms to medical personnel. If asked, “Are you all right?” simply respond “I do not know, I will have to wait and see.” Because you may not know the extent of any injuries, it is best to get checked out, preferably in the emergency room or if not, within a few days of the accident. The more time that passes between the accident and any medical care, the less likely your doctor will attribute your complaints to the accident – a crucial issue. If your symptoms persist despite receiving medical care, it is also very important that you see the right doctor – a specialist for the type of injury you have. You can ask the emergency room physician, health care provider or your family doctor for a referral. Be sure to tell any doctor you see that you were involved in an automobile accident and describe as accurately as possible what happened to you physically and how you have felt since then. However, do not discuss any legal claims you might have with your physician.
HOW DO MY MEDICAL BILLS GET PAID?
After an auto accident, the opposing insurance company is not likely to begin paying your medical bills. Payments are usually denied or delayed. You should immediately direct your medical bills for payment by your own personal healthcare provider. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the negligent driver and his or her insurance company to pay the costs associated with your injuries. Sending the medical bills to your health insurance provider will not limit the compensation that you can recover for your claim. You can still pursue a lawsuit against the other driver. Assuming you obtain a favorable judgment, you can then get his insurance money and possibly garnish his wages if the insurance money was not enough.
CAN I SUE THE OTHER PERSON’S INSURANCE COMPANY ALONG WITH THAT PERSON?
Generally no, an injured party cannot proceed in a direct action against the other person’s insurance company. The injured party has to sue the other person and establish that person’s liability first. The insurance company has no responsibility to the injured party unless the insured is liable.
WHAT IS “BAD FAITH?”
First-party bad faith involves only two parties, the insured and the insurer. There is a contractual relationship between the insurer and the insured in which the insurer has a good faith duty not to unreasonably withhold payment due to the insured under the policy. This type of bad faith claim occurs when the insurer refuses to pay a claim the insured has made and that is owed to the insured under the policy. First-party bad faith claims occur because there is a dispute over whether the particular loss is covered by the policy the insured holds. Usually the insured sends in a claim believing it to be covered and the insurance company refuses to pay for the loss because it claims it is not covered by the insurance policy. The claim therefore centers on the correctness and reasonableness of the insurance company’s determination that there is no coverage under the policy.
HOW DOES BAD FAITH AFFECT MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
If you are the victim, you are more likely to encounter “third party” bad faith. Third party bad faith essentially involves three parties; the injured party, the insured and the insurer. Third party bad faith deals with liability insurance. A bad faith claim is made when the insurer either wrongfully refuses to defend a lawsuit against the insured or when the insurer defends the insured in the lawsuit but fails to handle the suit with the insured’s interest in mind and a settlement, judgment or verdict is made in excess of the policy limits. The most common bad faith claim arises when the insurer fails to settle a (your) claim against an insured (e.g. the driver who rear-ended your car) within the applicable policy limits resulting in a judgment or verdict against the insured for punitive damages or for an amount in excess of the policy limits.
WHAT IS A STATUTE OF LIMITATION AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
A statute is limitation tells you the time limit after an accident when you can file your lawsuit. The time varies depending on the type of claim and the state that you’re in. Generally, after the statute expires, you are prohibited from filing the lawsuit.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO GET AN ATTORNEY FOR MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
You will only pay our attorneys if we are able to win compensation for you and recover damages. A fee contract is written up that pays us a contingency fee based on a percentage of the recovery, normally between 30-50%. You will not pay anything unless there is a successful recovery.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS I SHOULD LOOK FOR AND EXPECT FROM MY ATTORNEY?
First of all, you should retain someone you feel comfortable communicating with; that you feel is reliable and accessible. If an attorney is available to answer your questions and knows and is experienced in the area of the law you are seeking representation in, you will likely feel confident that you have chosen an attorney who can help you.
IF MY CASE IS WON, WHAT DO I RECEIVE?
If your case is successfully settled, you will likely be awarded a certain amount of money for your losses. The amount you receive is based on the losses you are claiming, which can include medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, physical impairment (if it resulted from the accident) and in the event of death, all the losses that result from a loved one’s death, including emotional and financial.
WHAT IF I WAS PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE?
If you had something to do with the incident that does not automatically mean that you can't receive compensation. If you are a worker that is injured on the job, you can still seek compensation. You may be not been properly trained or other factors may be involved that warrant damages. If you were involved in a car accident that wasn't 100 percent the other person's fault, that doesn't mean that they are liable for a large portion of it or that you will be unable to gain compensation from the insurance company. Fault is an important factor in personal injury cases but there are also other details that can come into play. In accidents, it can also be common to look at what we could have done differently to avoid the situation so you may not always be as responsible as you think. These should be assessed by a professional to better determine if there is cause to move forward with a case.