You may not need to retain legal representation for a minor car accident. If your injuries are serious or if bills mount, however, you will need to enter into serious negotiations with the other side (typically an auto insurance company), file a lawsuit, or both. It is in this situation hiring a skilled Houston car accident lawyer can increase the amount of your eventual recovery by far more than you pay out in legal fees. Following are some of the ways that a car accident lawyer can help you.
Calculating Your Damages
Whether you are in court or at the settlement table, you will have to prove every dime of your claim. This can turn out to be a lot trickier than simply handing the other side a stack of car repair and medical bills.
How do you calculate something as ambiguous as “pain and suffering” for example? If your injuries are long-term or permanent, how do you calculate your future medical bills so accurately so that you know for sure you won’t run out a few years down the road? If your injuries forced you to abandon your career, how do you break down the opportunity cost into dollars and cents? A good car accident lawyer is skilled and experienced at all of these calculations.
Negotiation is an art that insurance company executives are quite adept at. An experienced Houston personal injury attorney will be able to stand toe-to-toe with these heavyweights to protect your interests at the bargaining table. He will be able to tell the difference, for example, between a deliberately low offer and an offer that genuinely represents the other side’s “bottom line”. If negotiations stall, he will know exactly when to file a lawsuit to ramp up the pressure, and he will know how to use developments in an ongoing lawsuit to pressure the other side into increasing the amount of its settlement offer. When a settlement is reached, he can draft a settlement agreement that will protect your interests.
Assembling Admissible Evidence
Evidence is the brick and mortar used to build case, and you cannot win without sufficient admissible evidence, no matter how valid your claim is. The Texas Rules of Evidence are complex, detailed and in many cases counterintuitive. There are many grounds to exclude evidence, and many loopholes that will allow you to avoid the exclusion of your evidence.
Suppose, for example, that your accident was caused by a brake drum malfunction, and you sue the manufacturer alleging a design defect in the brake drum. The Texas Rules of Evidence might prevent you using evidence that the manufacturer subsequently redesigned the brake drum to prove that it was defective in the first place. If the manufacturer asserts that it was not feasible for it to redesign the bake drum, however, a loophole in the law might be allow you to submit this evidence to rebut the defendant’s assertion. A good lawyer would draft a plan for questioning that would be designed to elicit such an assertion from the manufacturer.
Filing and prosecuting a lawsuit requires a command of civil procedure, the rules of evidence, examination and cross-examination and persuasion. Your car accident lawyer should be skilled at actually taking cases to court all the way to a final verdict, not simply negotiating out-of-court settlements. Without the ability to “pull the trigger” by successfully litigating a claim in court, you might not be able to win enough respect from an insurance company to obtain a fair settlement on your car accident claim.
Talk to a Professional Today
Houston car accident attorney Mario Madrid has been practicing law for two decades. During these years he has played the roles of lawyer, prosecutor and judge at various points. He is also a member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys and a certified specialist in criminal law. Regardless of where you are from, if you have been a victim of a car accident in Houston that you believe may have been someone else’s fault, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.