Every year, tens of thousands of people are seriously injured by negligent individuals and businesses. These injuries can result in long-lasting and sometimes debilitating physical complications and leave victims with lingering mental and emotional trauma. The days, weeks, and months following a personal injury accident can be stressful and confusing. Injured victims are often left dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and insurance companies that have no interest in providing real help. However, you do not have to navigate these struggles alone. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer allows you to focus on healing while your attorney deals with the insurance companies and financial turmoil.
I. What is Personal Injury Law?
In broad terms, personal injury law deals with legal disputes that arise when one person suffers an injury due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Unlike criminal law, personal injury cases do not involve the government prosecuting the wrongdoer. Instead, a private plaintiff, the person who is claiming an injury occurred, seeks compensation from a defendant, the person or business accused of causing that injury.
Personal injury claims can result from accidents as well as intentional acts. Common types of personal injury claims include:
- Trucking accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability (e.g. slip and fall accidents)
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Negligent security
- Child injury
- Child abuse
- Wrongful death
II. What Does a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
In the broadest sense, a personal injury attorney is a lawyer that provides legal services to those who claim to have been injured as a result of negligence or wrongful behavior of another party. However, there is a lot more that goes into a personal injury lawsuit than you may expect.
As soon as you contact an attorney, your attorney will begin taking steps to preserve and gather evidence for your claim and will begin working with insurers on your behalf. When investigating your case, your attorney will have one goal – to gather all the evidence necessary to verify how the accident happened and establish who was at fault. They will gather photographic evidence, witness statements, and official reports and may file a temporary restraining order to preserve any evidence that is at risk of damage, destruction, or tampering.
Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, both your attorney and the defense’s attorney will begin pretrial investigations. This is known as the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys will begin gathering evidence and may solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, or request sworn testimony under oath, known as depositions.
Settlement negotiations will likely begin after pretrial investigations are complete. At this point, your attorney will begin seeking fair compensation for the damages you suffered. If a settlement is negotiated, your attorney will contact you for your approval.
If your attorney and the defense cannot agree upon a fair settlement or if the defense continues to challenge liability, then your case will go to trial and your attorney will represent you in court.