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Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Houston, TX

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Houston, TX

Texas tort laws provide several grounds for personal injury claims. While the most common grounds for filing an injury claim is negligence, you also have international torts, strict liability, vicarious liability, and others. 

Regardless of the legal grounds, the process of filing a personal injury claim in Houston shares many common steps. Our Houston personal injury attorneys discuss these steps below to help you understand the process. Understanding the process of filing a personal injury claim can increase your chance of recovering fair compensation for your injuries and damages. 

Steps for filing a personal injury claim in Houston include:

Report the Accident or Injury and Gather Evidence

You need to report the injury or accident as soon as possible. For example, call 911 to report a car accident. Notify a property owner if you are injured while on their property. If a dog bites you, report the incident to the dog’s owner and animal control, and if you are hurt at work, report the workplace accident to your employer.

If possible, document the accident scene by preserving evidence. Steps to take include:

  • Take photos of vehicle damage, hazards, and other objects that could have contributed to the cause of the injury or were damaged as a result of an accident
  • Make a video of the entire area to capture anything you may have missed while taking photographs
  • Talk with bystanders and eyewitnesses to obtain their contact information and names

Severe injuries and other factors may prevent you from collecting evidence. Your personal injury attorney can do this during their investigation. 

Seek Prompt Medical Treatment 

After an accident or injury, it is crucial that you see a medical provider as soon as possible. Even if you are unsure whether you sustained injuries, it is wise to see a physician. You may have internal injuries or delayed symptoms that a doctor can diagnose during an examination.

Furthermore, delays in medical treatment could hurt your case. The insurance company may allege that you made your damages worse by failing to seek prompt medical care and/or failing to follow the treatment plan. If so, failing to mitigate damages could reduce the compensation you receive.

Notify Insurance Companies of Claims

Notify your insurance provider that you were involved in an accident if you have insurance coverage for the specific situation. You should also notify the at-fault party’s insurance company of a potential claim. If you hire a Houston personal injury lawyer, your attorney handles this for you, which can be better for your case.

Insurance adjusters search for evidence and information the company can use to deny or undervalue your claim. You may say something that is not intended to imply fault, but the claims adjuster could twist the meaning of your words to blame you for causing your injuries. 

Consider Hiring a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer in Houston is a valuable resource after an injury or accident. You’ll learn about your legal options during a free consultation and receive advice regarding your claim. Also, most personal injury lawyers accept cases for a contingency fee, so you pay no attorney’s fees upfront if you hire the law firm. 

An attorney handles all aspects of your personal injury claim. You do not need to worry about dealing with insurance companies, adjusters, and other parties. Instead, you focus on your health while your lawyer focuses on getting the money you need.

Independent Investigation by Attorney 

A personal injury lawyer investigates your claim to determine how you were injured. They use the evidence they collect to identify each party who could be responsible for your damages. It could take several weeks or months to complete the investigation, depending on the facts and the complexity of the case.

Establish Causation and Liability 

Texas is an at-fault state. You must prove that the other party’s conduct breached their duty of care and that the breach of duty caused your injuries and damages. If so, the at-fault party can be financially liable for your damages. 

Some cases are straightforward. For example, a driver runs a red light and causes an accident. You would assume that the driver who failed to yield the right of way is entirely at fault for the crash. However, the other driver could be partially to blame if they were speeding, or a government entity may be partially to blame if the red light malfunctioned.

Document Damages 

Damages represent the harm you sustained because of the other party’s conduct. Your attorney helps you document your damages to determine how much they are worth. An injured party can seek compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. 

Prepare and Send Settlement Demand Letter 

When your doctor states that you reached maximum medical improvement, they will issue a prognosis. The prognosis states whether you sustain a disability or permanent impairment. Your recovery period and the investigation are two of the most significant factors that impact a personal injury timeline.

Your attorney prepares a settlement demand letter after your doctor provides the necessary information. The demand letter gives the insurance company information about the case, including your injuries and damages. It explains the legal basis for the claim and how much your damages are worth. 

Negotiations and/or Mediation 

Your attorney and the insurance company negotiate a settlement. The insurance company often issues a counteroffer to the demand letter, which will be lower than the demanded amount. Fortunately, your attorney likely asked for more than you are willing to accept for settlement to allow room for negotiation. 

In some cases, the parties agree to mediation. A mediator is a neutral party who facilitates settlement discussions. They do not make suggestions for settlement but can help the parties compromise to reach an agreement. 

Settlement or File a Lawsuit 

Most personal injury claims are settled through negotiation. The insurance company and the at-fault party do not admit fault, but they agree to pay an amount to resolve the claim. You agree to waive your rights to file a lawsuit or pursue further claims against the parties. Because a settlement agreement impacts your legal rights, seeking legal advice before signing an agreement is always wise. 

If you do not reach a settlement, the next step is to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit may take more than a year to go to trial, and there is no guarantee of winning. Your Houston personal injury attorney provides their legal opinion of whether you should accept a settlement or file a lawsuit. Some factors could make settling for a lower amount a better option than taking the case to trial.

Book a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston

The first step in filing a personal injury claim in Houston, TX, should be seeking legal advice from an attorney. Understanding your legal options gives you the information you need to decide how to proceed with your claim. 

Contact the Undefeated Houston Personal Injury Lawyers from Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact our Undefeated personal injury attorneys in Texas at Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Harris County, Midland County, and throughout the state of Texas:

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Houston
2700 Post Oak Blvd #1000, Houston, TX 77056
(888) 603-3636
Open 24 hours

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Midland
306 W Wall St Suite 701, Midland, TX 79701
(432) 220-0000
Open 24 hours