Texas Personal Injury Attorneys You Can Trust
You or a loved one may have suffered a terrible loss or a serious injury during an accident. Even if the physical pain is gone, the financial and emotional pain continues. Medical expenses add up quickly, property damages pile up, and you might be unable to work. The last thing you need is a long, brutal fight because of someone else’s negligence.
At Clarissa Fernandez Pratt, Attorney at Law, we provide powerful representation and skilled legal counsel to be your trusted advocate. Our attorneys will fight on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve, so you can continue to heal without fear of financial ramifications.
Personal injury cases we handle include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Oil field accidents
- 18-wheeler accidents
- Company vehicle accidents
Essential Personal Injury Terms To Know
Personal injury: Physical or emotional harm caused to a person because of someone else’s negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability.
Negligence: The failure to exercise reasonable care, thus harming or injuring another person. Negligence is a common legal basis for personal injury claims.
Duty of care: The legal obligation of an individual or entity to act reasonably and prudently to prevent harm to others. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
Standard of care: The level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances. It is used to determine whether someone breached their duty of care.
Causation: The link between the defendant’s negligent actions and the plaintiff’s injuries. There are two types of causation: actual cause (the defendant’s actions directly caused the harm) and proximate cause (the harm was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s actions).
Damages: The monetary compensation sought by the injured party in a personal injury case. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage.
Statute of limitations: The legal time limit within which a personal injury lawsuit must be filed. It varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of case. Failing to file within the statute of limitations can result in the case being dismissed.
Liability: Legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. In personal injury cases, establishing liability is crucial to proving negligence and holding the responsible party accountable.
Comparative negligence: A legal principle that assigns fault and determines the amount of damages based on the degree of each party’s negligence. It recognizes that multiple parties may share responsibility for an accident or injury.
Settlement: An agreement reached between the parties involved in a personal injury case to resolve the dispute without going to trial. It typically involves the payment of compensation by the defendant to the plaintiff.
Preponderance of evidence: The burden of proof in a civil personal injury case. It requires the plaintiff to show that it is more likely than not (51% or greater) that the defendant’s negligence caused the injury.
Contingency fee: A fee arrangement where the attorney’s payment is contingent upon recovering compensation for the plaintiff. The attorney typically receives a percentage (usually around 33-40%) of the final settlement or court award.
These terms provide a foundational understanding of personal injury law, but there are many more concepts and nuances within the field. Consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of this area of law effectively.
What To Do After A Car Accident
If you find yourself in a car accident, it’s important to stay calm and follow these steps:
- Ensure safety: If you are able to, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road, to prevent the obstruction of traffic and further accidents. Use your hazard lights to let other drivers know your predicament.
- Check for injuries: First, check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone is injured, call emergency services immediately for medical assistance.
- Contact the authorities: Regardless of the accident’s severity, it’s advisable to contact the police or local law enforcement to report the incident. They can help document the accident and provide an official report.
- Exchange information: Get all the necessary information you need from all involved parties, including their names, contact details, license plate numbers, insurance information, and driver’s license information. Be polite and cooperative but avoid discussing fault or admitting guilt.
- Document the scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including of how the vehicles are positioned, damage to the vehicles, and any other relevant details. This documentation can be valuable for insurance purposes and legal proceedings if necessary.
- Speak to witnesses: If there are witnesses present, get their phone numbers or emails because their statements may help with your case later on.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as quickly as possible, providing them with accurate and detailed information about the incident.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t notice any immediate injuries, it’s a good idea to receive a medical evaluation after an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and documenting any injuries is important for insurance claims.
- Consult with an attorney: If the accident resulted in significant damage, injuries, or other complications, it may be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney who can provide guidance on legal matters and protect your rights.
Remember, it’s important to comply with local laws and regulations regarding reporting accidents and providing assistance to others involved. Stay calm, gather information, and take appropriate steps to ensure your safety and protect your interests following a car accident.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
Personal injury lawyers typically operate on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not get paid unless they successfully recover monetary compensation for you. Here’s how the payment structure usually works:
Contingency fee agreement: When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you will sign a contingency fee agreement, which outlines the terms of the attorney-client relationship, including the fee arrangement. The contingency fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered in your case.
Percentage of recovery: There is not a set contingency fee percentage, but it is typically around 33-40% of the final settlement or court award. The specific percentage may depend on factors such as the complexity of the case, the stage at which it is resolved, and the risks involved.
No upfront fees: One advantage of a contingency fee arrangement is that you don’t have to pay any upfront fees or retainer to your lawyer. They cover the costs of pursuing your case, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees, investigation expenses, and other legal costs.
Deducting expenses: While the contingency fee covers the attorney’s legal services, it’s important to note that any expenses incurred during the case, such as medical record fees or deposition costs, may be deducted from your final recovery. These expenses are typically outlined in the contingency fee agreement.
Only paid if you win: If your case is not successful and you don’t receive any compensation, you generally won’t owe your lawyer any fees. The contingency fee ensures that your attorney is motivated to pursue your claim vigorously, as their payment is directly tied to the outcome of your case.
It’s important to thoroughly discuss and understand how your contingency fee agreement with your lawyer will work before hiring them. Ensure that you are clear about the percentage of the fee, how expenses will be handled, and any other relevant payment details. A reputable personal injury lawyer will provide transparency regarding their fees and be willing to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Schedule A Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today
If you were involved in an accident at no fault of your own, share your personal injury story with us. Contact our firm online or call our San Antonio office at 210-920-2535 to secure your personal injury representation. We will listen to your story and assess the situation to see how we can help.