Frequently Asked Questions for Personal Injury Cases
No one wants or expects to be involved in an accident, especially one that is no fault of their own. When you are injured due to the actions of someone else, many important questions come up. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we receive about injury cases:
Should I hire an Attorney?
We get asked this question regularly. If you are injured, it is absolutely in your best interests to seek representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer – this is true whether you hire us or another firm. If you hire us, we do not get paid anything unless we recover money for you.
Why do I need a lawyer?
It is difficult, if not impossible to battle insurance companies or large corporations and come out ahead without the help of an experienced attorney. These companies can and will take advantage of you, so you need a lawyer who has experience dealing with them. Tim O’Hare worked as a Claims Examiner for an Insurance Company before Law School, and defended Insurance Companies as a lawyer immediately after passing the Bar, so he knows how they operate. If you have been injured, you need a lawyer to make sure you are treated fairly and receive what you are rightly due.
Will the Insurance Company treat me fairly if I handle my case on my own?
The short answer is no. Insurance adjusters regularly get raises and promotions based on how much money they save the company, not on how happy the claimants are. From the very beginning, insurance adjusters are looking for ways to minimize the amount they pay you. An experienced personal injury firm knows insurance laws, rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure, as well as what is reasonable for bodily-injury settlements. Typically, clients don’t know any of these things, but insurance companies do, and will use what they know to their advantage and to your disadvantage. Insurance companies will not, under any circumstances, look out for your best interests. We will.
How do my medical bills get paid?
In almost all circumstances, insurance companies settle cases in one lump sum. They do not pay your medical bills as you are billed. If you do not have health insurance, there are other ways to get medical treatment. One is an arrangement between your lawyer’s office and a medical provider to pay your bills out of any settlement. This is a binding contract between the medical provider, you and your lawyer. In this scenario, the provider does not try to collect for bills until the case is resolved. There are other ways to take care of medical bills and/or help you get medical treatment. We will work to get you the treatment you need, almost always at no cost out of pocket to you until the case is resolved.
Should I talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
This one is an easy answer. NO! They are not looking out for your best interests – they are looking out for their employer’s bottom line. Many insurance companies are publicly traded, so in addition to the adjuster’s own interests, they are also looking out for the interests of their shareholders. You are an afterthought. Some firms require clients, in auto accident cases, to handle property damage on their own. We do not. We handle property damage/total loss/rental car issues for you, for FREE. Our recommendation is to always let us talk to the adjuster and all insurance personnel for you, which includes your own insurance carrier.
What if I have already talked to the Insurance Company?
It is best if you let us handle it from the beginning, but that is not always possible. We strongly recommend you let us (or whoever your lawyer is) deal with all insurance companies involved from the beginning. If you tried to deal with them early on, it usually turns out okay and whatever damage has been done is usually repairable when we get involved.
How much does a Lawyer cost?
At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, all consultations are FREE. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis (a percentage of the recovery) so there are no attorney’s fees, court costs or expenses owed by you unless you recover. Contact us today to discuss your rights and your recovery.
I want to hire the best Personal Injury Lawyer in Dallas, is that you?
There are a lot of lawyers that do what we do. Some of them are really good, some not so good. Tim O’Hare has been recognized by D Magazine as one of the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas. But, there really isn’t a best personal injury lawyer in Dallas or anywhere else, just like there isn’t a best pediatrician in Dallas or a best restaurant in Dallas. Prospective clients can know we are well-recognized by numerous lawyer ratings organizations, in online reviews, by other attorneys and from respected media organizations. If someone claims they are the top personal injury lawyer in Dallas, you should probably run from them. The important thing for you is to find a competent attorney/law firm who you feel comfortable with. It is also important to feel comfortable with the law firm’s staff. Our previous clients regularly refer business to us, we receive referrals from many fellow attorneys in the area, and we actually receive referrals from insurance company personnel. We put our reputation, skills and results up against anyone in the country, but we don’t falsely claim we are the highest-rated personal injury attorneys in Dallas.
Do I have a case?
You may have a Personal Injury case if you have been physically or emotionally injured by another party’s negligence. These cases require evidence of causation, negligence and damage. If you have been injured, make sure to retain as much evidence as you can and contact a lawyer right away. Please see our Practice Areas for the types of cases we handle. Chances are, if you are injured, we can help.
What should I do if I am injured?
If you’ve been injured, you should seek immediate medical attention. Next, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your potential case. We do not advise you to negotiate with insurance companies on your own because they can and will take advantage of you. Contact us and we can inform you of your rights and even refer you to a doctor, if necessary.
How much is my case worth?
A case needs to be evaluated thoroughly before knowing what it is worth financially. In order to estimate the worth of a case, evidence must be gathered, damages have to be known and medical treatment must be at least near conclusion. Each case must be evaluated individually. At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we take into consideration the strength of the case, type of injury, past and future medical expenses and loss of earnings. Call us today and we can discuss how to handle your Personal Injury Case. If you talk to a lawyer who tells you the value of your case before knowing all of the facts, you should stay far away from that lawyer.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Until your case is evaluated, it is impossible to determine how long a settlement might take. The time frame depends on the insurance companies involved, if a settlement can be reached, if a lawsuit needs to be filed, the extent of your injuries, and other factors specific to each case. Our goal is to resolve your case for its full value, as quickly as possible.
What is the Statute of Limitations for my case?
The Statute of Limitations restricts the period of time within which a person may file a lawsuit. In Texas, the Statute of Limitations for a personal injury case in most situations is two years. Sometimes circumstances can change this window from as little as a few months to as much as four years, perhaps even longer, from the date of the injury. Since the Statute of Limitations varies, it is best that you contact a lawyer right away to discuss your case. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, and we have seen anywhere from 1 to 4 years in states we have worked in.
What if I am partly to blame for the Personal Injury Accident?
Even if you are partly to blame for a Personal Injury Accident, you may still recover money. In Texas, the injured party can still recover damages if their fault is 50% or less. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover money (Modified Comparative Negligence-51% Rule). A lawyer can help you determine if you are at fault and how much you are at fault. With the help of an attorney, you can negotiate your level of fault with insurance companies in order to maximize your recovery.
Will I go to court?
Depending on the specifics of your case, it is possible, but not likely. Most cases can be resolved successfully without ever going to trial. Sometimes, a trial is necessary to maximize your recovery. Our attorneys have extensive trial experience and aren’t afraid to take that step if necessary to protect you and your rights. We will advise you on the best course of action for your specific case, but it is ultimately your decision whether to settle, file a lawsuit or go to trial.
Who is allowed to bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, a surviving spouse, child or parent is able to file a Wrongful Death Claim. In order to bring a wrongful death action, a death must have been caused by the wrongful, negligent, careless, reckless or malicious act of another person or entity. If you know someone injured in a Wrongful Death Case, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare and we will advise you on the next steps to take.
What if I have a Personal Injury Question not answered here?
If you have been injured in an accident, or have lost a loved one as a result of someone’s negligence, please contact us. Our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys offer a FREE consultation. We can inform you of your rights, answer any questions you might have about the case and even refer you to a doctor, if necessary. We are available to answer any questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.