It is not a requirement to retain a personal injury attorney to represent you in Texas. You’re welcome to represent yourself during insurance settlement negotiations and even in a trial, but there’s a reason the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs opt for professional help. There are many things lawyers can do that the typical person can’t – including, in most cases, getting the most compensation for your claim. If you’re on the fence about retaining a lawyer for your case, find out what you’d be missing should you self-represent.
Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement
One of the most daunting aspects of any personal injury claim is your first discussion with an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the person in charge of analyzing your insurance claim and deciding how much to offer in a settlement. The adjuster is not on your team and will typically offer much less than your case could be worth. The best way to have an advantage over the adjuster, and to secure a fair and just settlement, is through an attorney.
An attorney protects your best interests. He or she will take over settlement negotiations and often spare you the time and money it would take to go to trial. In the majority of claims, a lawyer can achieve an out-of-court settlement that gives you the money your injuries demand. A lawyer can deal with the other party, its insurance company, and its lawyers, so you can focus on yourself instead of complex legal processes. The settlement process is much simpler and more rewarding with professional representation.
Bring Elements of Proof
There is much more to a lawsuit than just proving you were hurt. Most personal injury cases require the plaintiff to show four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. It can be difficult to show these four elements depending on the circumstances of the case. You will need to provide evidence such as medical records, official documents, police reports, expert testimony, eyewitness statements, and more for a successful claim. There are rules you must obey during the evidence gathering and discovery phases – all of which a lawyer can help you navigate.
Preserve Important Evidence
Speaking of evidence, another reason to hire a lawyer is the preservation of vital information relating to your case. Certain pieces of critical evidence, such as the data from a large truck’s black box after a crash or another driver’s cell phone records, can get destroyed, erased, or tampered with after an accident. Fast action to preserve this evidence can be imperative to the claim. A lawyer can submit an evidence preservation letter or file a temporary restraining order to prevent the destruction of evidence – safeguarding information that could make your case.
File Within the Deadlines
The world of civil law abides by many important deadlines. Missing a deadline, or a statute of limitations can mean losing the right to ever pursue compensation for your accident. Deadlines change according to the type of claim you’re filing, as well as on a state-by-state basis. In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file your lawsuit. The timeline for claims against the government is much shorter, often only giving you 60 to 90 days to file an initial notice. A lawyer knows all of the deadlines specific to your case and can make sure the right documents are in front of the right people at the right time.