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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Settlement Vs. Trial: Which Is Right For You?

By | Personal Injury, Uncategorized | No Comments

How do you determine if you have a personal injury case?

Under Texas law, there are many categories of personal injury damages that allow an individual or multiple individuals to initiate a lawsuit.  For example, wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip or trip and fall, lack of security, work-related injuries, boating accidents, and auto accidents.  If another party contributes to the injury of a person in any way — directly or indirectly, they may be at least partially liable for those injuries.  This is the basic premise of a personal injury claim.

Obviously, there are times when it is difficult to tell who or what may have caused an incident that led to injuries.  This is when thorough investigation of all the facts of the incident must be done.  Skilled personal injury attorneys know how to uncover details and leave no stone unturned.  Injury cases are not easy to pursue in most cases.  And so, an injury attorney must be adept at finding hidden facts and extracting information from unlikely or unwilling sources.

The first thing that many people ask is, will I need to go to trial?  The truth is, in Texas and anywhere in America, the majority of personal injury claims are handled through settlement.  Trials are very costly and time-consuming. Both sides of an injury lawsuit are motivated to resolve the case without going to trial.  There are advantages and disadvantages of going through the legal trial process.

Sometimes, the plaintiff in the case may question why their injury attorney is pushing for a settlement.  Why don’t we take this case to trial?  Can’t you potentially get more compensation from a trial? Well, the truth is, trials are risky. Our McAllen, Texas injury firm shares with you here: the differences between settlement and trial.

Benefits of Settlement

It’s less risky than heading to court (you could lose and get zero)

It’s less expensive (less time on the part of the attorney/law firm)

It’s less time consuming and can happen faster, whereas trials can drag out over a year or more

It’s not as hard on the plaintiff and their loved ones – not as emotionally and physically draining as a trial in court

Get your life back to normal sooner/ Move on sooner

As you can see, a settlement is a sure thing – money in hand.  And if a trial outcome is uncertain, your injury attorneys will recommend accepting a reasonable settlement.

It typically takes a year, or longer for a court date to be set for a trial.  So if you are holding out for that, it means waiting longer to be compensated for your expenses, which may still be ongoing.  Now consider that juries are individuals, with their own thought processes and belief systems.  What seems obvious to you, or fair to you, may not be obvious or fair to them.  You can choose to go to trial and risk LOSING.

Now, if your case is worth millions and your settlement offer is $650,000, then your injury attorney may decide that the trial is the only way to go.

A skilled injury lawyer evaluates each case

Obviously, your personal injury attorney wants to be successful.  He or she wins when you win.  So your lawyer will review all the details of your settlement with you and guide you in deciding whether accepting the amount is the right decision.  Often, injury attorneys counter the settlement offer with an offer you WOULD accept, when the defendant’s offer is too low.

It pays to ask your injury attorney questions at the beginning of your case, to get their thoughts on potential settlement.  Note that sometimes, even the most experienced lawyers sometimes call on outside help, by consulting mediators or facilitators to help resolve a settlement.  When all attempts at mediation and settlement fail, then an injury case goes to trial. 

Benefits of a Trial

Possibility of receiving a higher/the highest possible amount for your claim

A chance to document all details of your claim (for the record)

The ability to appeal the decision

As you can see, wise legal counsel is critical in any type of wrongful death, auto accident, or injury claim.  Tijerina Law Firm serves Mcallen and Brownsville, Texas, helping the injured seek justice and compensation. We welcome all inquiries and offer free case evaluations.

Injured? Learn The Steps Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

By | Personal Injury | No Comments

A personal injury case is not a quick and simple process. Some cases are more easily handled and settled than others, but if you or a loved one has been injured, then it is best to know what to expect. You must understand that you will be involved in the case for quite a while. A personal injury/auto accident case follows certain steps, which we outline below.

Seek Treatment and Collect Evidence

As soon as you have been injured in any type of incident or car accident, you should seek medical treatment. Your injuries should be evaluated by a professional doctor and the injuries must be recorded. This is to your advantage, should you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. It’s also very important that you write down everything you remember about the incident or situation that led to your injury (or your loved one’s injuries.) From the beginning, you should always record everything associated with the accident and injuries, and keep records of all medical bills, lost work, medications needed, etc.

Meet with an Attorney – Free Initial Consultation

You may be wondering if you have a case, or if you should accept the amount that the insurance company is offering to you? This is exactly the time to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney and take advantage of a free consultation. Your injury attorney will be able to evaluate your accident or situation and determine the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement. He or she will also consider the possibility of your case going to trial in a court of law.

The attorney will advise you on how the case merits possible financial compensation and possible trial or litigation length. The attorney will also advise you on how to proceed. Keep in mind that any and all evidence that you collected will help the attorney assess your personal injury case.

Initial Court Papers

Once you’ve selected a personal injury attorney to help you, he or she will explain the paperwork that is involved. This initial paperwork officially launches your lawsuit. The first papers filed in a case are called pleadings. There can be even more papers involved with this process, however all cases will – at the minimum – include the documents we name here. You will first have to fill out a Complaint/Petition, which gives a basic premise of what took place at the accident, or it describes the situation that caused the illness or injury.

A document called the Summons and Service of Process will be sent to the defendant. It notifies them that the case is being filed. The defendant then responds to the summons, which is called the Answer. This answer influences how the rest of your case will go, because it requires the defendant to make one of these responses: admit, deny, or having insufficient knowledge to admit or deny.”

The Discovery

The facts brought by the plaintiff and the defendant that are sent to each other are the discovery phase of the case. This is when medical records, personal information, extent of injuries, any long term side effects, and any other related materials are exchanged. Written questions and answers from the injured party and witnesses are also placed on record. It is always best to give all information to your injury attorney and not withhold any details.

Settlement

Despite what you see on television, very few cases actually go to trial. The majority of personal injury claims involve communications back and forth between the plaintiff and defendant. Information is requested and shared over many months or even years. And then these cases are settled, with a settlement offer being made from the insurance company to the injured party. Your attorney will advise you whether, in his or her professional opinion, the settlement is fair. Your attorney will either encourage you to accept the settlement or keep fighting to achieve a fair and just amount.

The Trial

In cases where no settlement is offered or the settlement is considered not acceptable, the plaintiff’s attorney will file for court proceedings. Keep in mind that it can take many months sometimes even a year or more, before your trial comes in front of a jury. At trial, your attorney will present your case, while the defense will attempt to keep any payout to a minimum. The defendant may deny all responsibility. This is when the experience and abilities of your injury attorney are essential. The trial will go in the following order: jury selection, opening statements by the plaintiff and defendant, plaintiff presentation of facts, defendant presentation of facts, closing statements, jury deliberation, and finally the verdict.

Unfortunately, injuries can be caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Our injury law firm in McAllen, Texas sees all types of auto accident cases as well as slip and fall cases and job related injuries. It’s always wise to speak to an injury attorney before speaking with insurance companies.