Under Texas civil law, a person who has been injured because of another person’s negligence may seek compensation for their losses from the individual or business that caused the injury. This compensation is typically paid through some form of liability insurance coverage the at-fault party holds.
At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., our personal injury lawyers in McAllen, Texas help injured individuals pursue all of the compensation they are entitled to by law. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and, as such, their objective is to protect their profit margins and pay as little as possible to settle claims.
Most people who suffer a serious injury, such as in a car accident or a slip-and-fall accident, are dealing with a major insurance claim for the first time. They don’t know what to expect, and it is easy for an insurance adjuster to take advantage of them. At Herrman & Herrman, our attorneys can make sure your losses from a serious injury are fully accounted for and just compensation is sought.
Every personal injury claim we handle begins with a free, no-obligation review of what has happened and how a claim would proceed. If we cannot recover compensation for a client, we do not charge for our services.
Do I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
When we meet with prospective clients for the first time, some say that they just want what is right and they’re not the type to file a lawsuit. Others want to know right away, “How does a personal injury lawsuit work?” and “How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?”
First, we need to assess whether the basis for a personal injury claim exists. Even then, a lawsuit is a ways down the road if it’s necessary at all.
To pursue a personal injury claim in Texas, the injured party (the plaintiff) must be able to demonstrate:
- The plaintiff must have suffered a loss at the hands of some other person, business or organization (the defendant). This is typically a physical injury, creating medical bills and loss of income. It also may include property damage, such as a wrecked car.
- The defendant must have acted carelessly or with disregard for others’ safety, and in so doing, caused the victim’s injury.
- Compensable loss. The defendant must have suffered loss that can be made better with compensation (“damages”) and must show that the amount they demand is necessary. This requires showing medical bills, lost income, property damage estimates, etc., and demonstrating that these losses are due to the injury caused by the defendant’s negligence. Texas also allows damages for pain and suffering.
After we review information you bring us and conduct our own investigation and find that you have a legitimate claim, we can seek compensation for you.
Initiating a Personal Injury Claim in Texas
To pursue a claim for you, our McAllen injury attorneys would compile evidence of the defendant’s negligence, a description of the accident, medical records describing your injuries, and an accounting of your costs and losses related to the injury. All of this evidence would be organized to support your claim for the compensation needed to make you whole financially. We would present this information in a “demand letter” to the defendant’s insurance company.
In theory, an insurer would review our letter and recognize that they are legally obligated to pay because of the insurance coverage the defendant has. More likely, the insurer will either deny their policyholder’s responsibility for your injuries or offer a settlement that is substantially less than our demand.
At this point, our attorneys will attempt to negotiate an acceptable settlement. When an insurer will not agree to a reasonable settlement, we will discuss with you the option of proceeding to court.
Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation in McAllen Personal Injury Claims
When a negotiated settlement is not possible, your attorney may file a lawsuit, but mediation and arbitration provide additional avenues to settle a claim.
In mediation, a third party works with attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant to work out an agreement. A trained mediator can be helpful but cannot make any binding decisions for either side.
In arbitration, a retired judge or attorney facilitates negotiations and can order and enforce a settlement that both parties agree to. An arbitration hearing works like an informal trial, with presentations of evidence and testimony.
Lawyers on either side of a case may agree to mediation or arbitration (with their clients’ consent) as a means of speeding up the case and concluding it with less expense than a civil trial. A judge may order the parties in a lawsuit to arbitration if the judge thinks the case should be settled without a trial.
The final option is to litigate a formal lawsuit. When a lawsuit is filed in Texas, the complaint and a summons to appear in court are served on the defendant. The defendant then has a certain amount of time to respond.
Prior to trial, a lawsuit goes through discovery, in which each side obtains witness statements and other evidence from the other. This would include a deposition from you, a sworn statement of the facts in response to an opposing lawyer’s questions.
Your attorney would go over likely questions with you beforehand so you would be prepared for the deposition. We would be by your side at the deposition to ensure you are treated fairly.
A lawsuit can be settled at any time prior to a judge’s or jury’s verdict, and many claims settle after discovery shows the relative strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case. We will advise you of all offers and whether we think they are reasonable. Whether to accept a settlement is always the client’s decision.
Will My Personal Injury Claim Go To Trial?
It is unlikely that you will need to go to court with a personal injury claim. Claims that go to trial are typically test cases over a legal principle or in which the insurance company believes settling would set a harmful precedent. In a few cases, the insurer simply won’t step up and make an acceptable offer, and our attorneys at Herrman & Herrman are prepared to go to court to obtain justice.
Our attorneys are fully prepared when we go to trial to make a strong and persuasive case on behalf of our client. Because we represent clients on a contingency basis – no fees unless we recover money – we pursue cases only when we have high confidence in the claim and the client.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in McAllen, Texas Today
If you have been seriously injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The McAllen personal injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. will work aggressively to seek the maximum compensation available to you. We have a track record of success in more than 20,000 cases and are ready to put our legal experience to work for you.