Q: If I am injured in a car or truck accident, what should I do? Why should I hire the De Leon Law Office?
If you are injured in a car accident, you should seek necessary medical treatment immediately. If possible, take photos of the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Even if you are not injured, it is important that you call 911. On site, the police officer will often speak to both drivers, witnesses, etc. and make an initial determination of fault. The police officer will give you a case number and will incorporate his findings into a “traffic report” that is usually available in 3-5 days after the accident.
Once you have received initial medical treatment, you should call our office immediately! If necessary, we can help you find medical professionals who are willing to provide you the medical treatment that you need. We can also set up your personal injury and property damage claims with the insurance company, determine and verify what insurance coverages are available to you, contact potential witness and obtain statements, and obtain police reports. If we are unable to resolve your case directly with the insurance company, we file your case in District Court. Once it is filed, we work to aggressively develop your case and prepare it for mediation and/or trial.
Q: I was in a car accident and the other driver’s insurance company is asking for a statement. Am I required to provide one?
No! More often than not, the other driver’s insurance company is calling to obtain information which may be used against you as you seek to recover losses. If you are asked for a statement from the other driver’s insurance company, politely decline the request and immediately contact our office. We will notify the insurance company that all future correspondence must go through our office. We will evaluate your case and will allow you to make a statement only if we feel that it is necessary and in your best interest. If a statement is necessary, we will sit with you and make sure that only relevant topics are addressed.
Q: If I am injured in a car accident, what types of damages am I entitled to recover?
In most cases, the party at-fault (or his respective insurance company) is responsible for paying your medical bills, your lost wages and the repair costs for your vehicle. Under Texas law, you are also entitled to receive compensation for mental anguish, past and future pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, and physical impairment. As your attorney, I will explain each of the above damage categories and explain the evidence needed to support each type of damage claim.
Your insurance policy may also provide no-fault coverage that will allow you to obtain additional compensation for your injuries. We will analyze all of the relevant insurance policies, determine what coverages are available to you, and will assert all possible claims on your behalf.
Q: In a personal injury case, how does my attorney get paid?
We represent injured clients on a “contingency” basis. This means that we will not ask you to pay us any money up front. We also pay all of your filing fees, court costs, deposition fees, mediation fees, expert costs, etc. Then, once the case is over, if we are able to obtain a successful recovery on your behalf, we receive a percentage of your total recovery, typically between 25-35%. We are also reimbursed for our costs at that time. At the end of the case, all clients receive an itemized accounting showing where every penny was spent.
Q: How long will my personal-injury lawsuit take?
This depends on many factors. However, general time frames are as follows. Once you finish your treatment, we will often try to negotiate a settlement directly with the insurance company. This negotiation process usually lasts 1-2 months, but is rarely successful.
If no settlement can be reached with the insurance company, we file your lawsuit and set it for trial. Before we can go to trial, we must first try to settle the case through mediation. From the time we file your lawsuit, it typically takes 6-7 months to get to mediation and 12-14 months (6-7 months after mediation) to get to trial.
Q: What is my role in the lawsuit?
Your attorney will take care of all of the legal aspects of your case, but you are still expected to participate. Initially, your job will be to attend all of your doctor, physical therapy, or other appointments and keep us updated as to your treatment and recovery. Once your lawsuit is filed, you will also be asked to participate in discovery by answering written questions, producing relevant documents and/or giving oral testimony in a deposition. A deposition is a meeting that occurs in our office. During that meeting, the insurance company’s attorney will ask you questions about the accident and/or your injuries, and you will have to answer under oath. If your case goes to trial, you will also be expected to appear in court and give testimony.