Houston Personal Injury FAQs
What to Do After an Accident
Whether you have been involved in a car crash, slip and fall, or some other type of accident, the following weeks and months will be very confusing. You may not know what to do. If someone else caused your accident, you can seek financial compensation. It is for this reason that the steps you take now are very important. Taking the right action will protect your claim, while making a mistake could place your case in jeopardy. After any kind of accident, below are the most important steps to take.
Make Sure Everyone is Okay
First and foremost, check to make sure everyone is okay. If you were in a car accident, check the other occupants of the vehicles involved to ensure no one was seriously injured. Call 911 immediately if people are hurt. If you were in another type of accident that involved other people, such as an accident on someone else’s property, also make sure everyone is okay before doing anything else. Be mindful that others may be recording on their cell phone; and it may be a good idea for you to do the same.
Report the Accident to the Appropriate Authorities
You should report any accident, but who you report it to will depend on the type of accident you were in. If you were in an auto accident, you must report the crash to the police if it resulted in bodily injury or property damage worth at least $1,000. After calling the police, you must also remain at the scene until they arrive.
If, on the other hand, you were hurt in a slip and fall while in the grocery store, you should report the accident to the store owner, manager, or supervisor. They may ask you to fill out an accident report, and you should ask for a copy.
You should exchange your name, contact information and when appropriate, insurance information with anyone else involved in the accident. A personal injury lawyer will need this information when trying to obtain the financial compensation you deserve from the appropriate party.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Some of the most important evidence for your claim will be at the accident scene. Take pictures of what caused your accident, any property damage that was sustained, and your injuries. If there is other physical evidence of what caused the crash, such as skid marks on the road or a broken step, also take pictures of it.
Seek Medical Attention
If you do not receive medical attention at the accident scene, make sure you visit an emergency room or other medical center immediately afterwards. Delay is the defense’s weapon. Your health and well-being is the most important priority after any accident, and you need to seek treatment for your injuries. Seeking medical attention will also document your injuries, which can help you prove your full damages.
How Lawsuits Work
Thanks to the many television shows and movies that depict people suing each other, there are many myths and misconceptions about personal injury lawsuits. The reality is that you can file a lawsuit against a negligent or careless party if they cause an accident that results in injury. However, what is depicted in the media is not always an accurate representation of how lawsuits work. Below, our Houston personal injury lawyer explains the process of obtaining the full damages you deserve.
Free Legal Consultation
The personal injury process should always begin with a free consultation with a Houston personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will review the facts of your case and inform you of your legal options. You should bring as much documentation pertaining to your injuries as you can, as this will allow the lawyer to better assess your case. Gilde Law Firm offers a free legal consultation.
If you feel as though the lawyer you met with is the right fit for your case, and they agree to take it, they will begin an investigation immediately. During the investigation, the lawyer will try to determine the cause of the accident and collect important evidence to prove your case. A lawyer should ALWAYS do a site inspection. Seeing the site with one’s own eyes is imperative for the trial attorney to understand and later describe to a jury how and why an incident occurred. Gilde Law Firm performs an investigation and site inspection in EVERY case
A lawyer will review the facts of your case to identify all the losses you sustained during the accident. They will then calculate these losses to determine the value of your claim. Your lawyer will also collect evidence to prove these damages, which may include medical bills and invoices, pay stubs, and more. A lawyer will also know how to accurately calculate non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Lastly, often the value of the case is the trial lawyer. There are 1x, 2x, 3x, and 10x law firms; Gilde Law Firm is the latter. Choose a law firm that will evaluate your case appropriately and get you the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Lawsuit
Prior to filing the lawsuit, your lawyer will negotiate with the other side to try and come to a fair settlement agreement. When the other side refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will file the lawsuit and arrange to have the lawsuit served on the negligent party. Let Gilde Law Firm file your lawsuit.
The discovery process is an important one in any lawsuit. During this phase, each side can ask the other party for certain information. Your lawyer can ask for maintenance records, testing results, employment records, criminal records, and anything else that may be useful to your case. The discovery phase is the longest in any lawsuit, but it provides each party a chance to understand the arguments the other side will use. While important and lengthy, it is also critically important to find the “smoking gun” in every case, and Gilde Law Firm “turns over every leaf” leading to mediation and trial.
Most personal injury cases in Houston have to go through mediation before trial. During mediation, a neutral mediator will try to foster compromise and communication between you and the other side so you can reach an agreement out of court. While settlement is often preferred, mediation is only successful if both sides agree to a resolution. Many times mediation is not successful because the other side doesn’t believe that the plaintiff can or will take the case to trial. Gilde Law Firm is a trial firm. It’s what we do.
Few personal injury cases make it to the trial phase without settling first. During a trial, your lawyer and the attorney for the other side will present arguments in front of a judge or jury. Once arguments are heard from both sides, a judge or jury will then make a decision on the case. This is where the art of advocacy comes in. Whether it is a judge, jury, or both, your trial lawyer needs to employ every tactic of persuasion to win your case. At Gilde Law Firm, Brad Gilde is a student, teacher, and practitioner of the art of advocacy.
Should I sue, if a loved one or I have been harmed by the actions of someone else?
Gilde Law Firm unabashedly supports the 7th Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees your right to civil redress in a court of law. Tort Reformers and the lobbyists of big business have been successful in convincing many in the American public that there is something wrong with being a “plaintiff” in a civil suit. In fact, many of Gilde Law Firm’s initial meetings with potential clients often begin with the client saying, “I’m not the type of person that sues, but …”. This sentiment reaffirms the improper stigma created by big business. This sentiment is destructive at the beginning stage in shaping the decision whether to seek justice and file suit and is destructive at the end stage when faced with a jury that shares the sentiment. Gilde Law Firm seeks to change that sentiment – the stigma of suing – one client and one case at a time. Gilde Law Firm believes that the courtroom is the one place in our country where an individual can stand on equal ground with a large corporation.
Gilde Law Firm believes that you should NOT be a victim – that you should not be further victimized by indecision and delay because of the improper stigma placed on seeking justice, which stigma was likely pushed and paid-for by the very entity that caused you or a loved one harm in the first place. Whether you decide to sue is a question that only you get to answer – not your lawyer. However, you may not know whether anyone is to blame for the incident, whether the incident could have been avoided, whether you have any claims as a result of the incident, etc. These are important questions and issues that you should discuss with a lawyer, which questions sometimes may only be answered by taking legal action. If you want to discover the truth, want to answer the question: “Why did this happen?”, want to stand for justice, and don’t want to be a victim, we support your decision. At Gilde Law Firm, We Believe, We Fight, and We Win for you. We sue because, often times, suing is the only way to seek justice for our clients. The 7th Amendment is your right, if you choose to exercise it. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
Can I afford your firm?
Gilde Law Firm is proud to work on a contingency fee agreement, which means that we only get paid if we are successful in your case. Gilde Law Firm is proud to offer this service because many of our clients cannot afford the costs associated with prosecuting a case, which costs may include filing fees, depositions and discovery fees, expert fees, cost of travel, etc. These costs are daunting and can be especially daunting after having already suffered a loss. Gilde Law Firm is also proud to offer this service because it forms a relationship with the law firm and client – we rise and fall together. Gilde Law Firm offers a contingency fee agreement because We Believe, We Fight, and We Win together. Gilde Law Firm also offers additional fee agreements like a flat fee agreement, a hybrid agreement, and an hourly fee agreement. Each case is different, and you and Gilde Law Firm are free to agree to any available fee agreement available for your type of case. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
How do I know if I am a potential plaintiff or have a potential claim?
Whether you are a potential plaintiff depends on the facts of your specific case. If you are not the injured party, you may still have a potential claim depending on a special relationship with the injured party (e.g. spouse, child, parent, etc.). You may also be a potential plaintiff, if you have suffered harm unique to you as a result of the incident. Plaintiff standing is a complex issue of law and is fact and case specific. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
Can I hire a TX Law Firm, if I live in another state or my case is in another state?
Yes. First, Gilde Law Firm’s attorneys are licensed in Texas, Pennsylvania, and California and have appeared on behalf of clients in numerous other states. Second, Gilde Law Firm’s attorneys may appear in other states’ courts under special rules (e.g. Pro Hac Vice). Third, Gilde Law Firm often joint ventures and associates with other local law firms to prosecute cases out-of-state. This is done at no additional cost or expense to you. Finally, the important issue is whether the right law firm, a law firm that will believe, fight, and win for you, represents you. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
How much time do I have after an incident before I need to file a lawsuit – Statute of Limitations?
Your Statute of Limitations or “SOL” is case specific and jurisdiction specific. SOL is a term of art that basically refers to your deadline for filing suit. That is, if you wait until after your SOL has passed, you are barred from bring suit by law. Determining what your SOL is, as it pertains to your case, is complicated to say the least. Each type of case is different (e.g. intentional torts, negligence torts, etc.), and each jurisdiction is different (e.g. Texas, California, etc.). Your case may involve several causes of action that carry different SOLs ranging from one year to several years. Your case may be properly brought in more than one state where a cause of action may be barred in one state due to a short SOL but still open in another state with a longer SOL for the same cause of action. To complicate matters more, tolling provisions (i.e. reasons to prolong the SOL) may apply to your case like The Discovery Rule, The Continuing Tort Doctrine, minority (i.e. under the age of 18 at the time of the incident), or some other form of incapacity, which tolling provisions extend your SOL beyond the statutory time period permitted by law. Regardless, the SOL is potentially case-ending. And, it takes time to investigate a case, accept a case, file a case, and then serve the defendant(s) in the case – all of which time eats away at your SOL, which may be less than one year. Delay and indecision are a defendant’s most welcome gifts and most powerful weapons against you. Time is of the essence; you need immediate representation. Don’t let your SOL pass. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
What is my case worth?
Every case is as unique and as different as you. The answer to this question is contingent on many, often countless, variables that may include the facts of your case, the law governing your case, the jurisdiction(s) your case can be filed in, the judge presiding over your case, the potential jury pool, the law firm(s) on the other side, the defendant’s insurance carrier – if any, and the defendant’s ability to satisfy a judgment – if at all. An analysis of all of these variables is taken into consideration when evaluating a case and is done at the initial stage of sign-up by Gilde Law Firm. Regardless of the variables, Gilde Law Firm takes its oath seriously. We are ethically bound to zealously represent you to the best of our ability. We maximize case value and strive to give you the full measure of justice you deserve and not a penny less. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
What if I am partially at fault or someone else is partially to blame?
Who’s to blame, also known as causation, is a mixed question of fact and law. Often times, incidents occur that would suggest that our client is to blame, but discovery following suit reveals otherwise. This scenario often arises where an incident occurs (e.g. auto collision) and the potential plaintiff dies due to the collision leaving the surviving defendant as the only living “witness” to how the incident occurred. Following suit and an accident reconstruction conducted in discovery, facts may come to light that indicates that the incident did not occur as testified by the defendant – the only living “witness.” This “he said, she said” situation is particularly self-serving to a defendant when one of the parties to the “he said, she said” incident isn’t alive to say anything. Another example is where a product fails while being used (e.g. tire de-tread, gun misfire, pharmaceutical drug, etc.). The natural and easiest inclination may be to associate causation with the user instead of the product, or causation may not even be associated with the product’s use (e.g. where a disease or condition arises from a pharmaceutical drug’s use that isn’t disclosed in the pharmaceutical drug’s warning). Regardless, a defendant’s motivation to hide the truth is obvious. If you want to know the answer to the question, “Why did this happen?”, you need to consult an experienced trial attorney that will believe you, fight for you, and win for you. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
Should I try to deal with my employer, the defendant, or the insurance company (i.e. the at-fault-party) alone first, before employing an attorney?
No. The at-fault-party’s interest is simple – to limit your claim. Regardless of their representations made to you to the contrary, the at-fault-party does not want to pay you your full measure of justice. They may try and show some progress, string you along, and delay your claim until the passing of your SOL. They may try to give you some recovery early that looks reasonable but with the passage of time and seeing the full measure of damages, pales in comparison to the full measure of justice you deserve. They may record conversations or get you to sign documents that you don’t understand. Their tactics are many, but all are aimed at the same end – to limit your claim and thereby limit their exposure. One of the most difficult conversations Gilde Law Firm has with some of its potential clients is to inform them that nothing can be done because their claim’s SOL has passed or the document they unwittingly signed released their claim forever. At Gilde Law Firm, we give you a free consultation and handle most of our cases on a contingency fee agreement. You lose nothing by speaking to us, but you may loose everything, if you don’t. Don’t fight the battle alone. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
I’ve decided to sue because of the harm caused to a loved one or me, now what?
Lawsuits follow a procedure, a timeline from beginning to end, which procedure or timeline includes pretrial, trial, and then post-trial. After filing the lawsuit, the next phase in pretrial is Discovery. During the Discovery phase, both sides are entitled to learn about the other side in preparation for trial. This is accomplished in many ways either by way of written discovery (e.g. written questions directed to the party or witness in the form of Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and Requests for Admission), oral discovery (e.g. depositions), site inspections, independent medical reviews, etc. During pretrial, there may be significant motion practice where either side seeks relief from the court (e.g. Motion to Compel Discovery, Motion for Summary Judgment, etc.). Pretrial is by far the longest part of the timeline of a lawsuit and may take a year or longer. Generally, the more complicated and/or bigger the case, the longer pretrial tends to last. If the case survives dispositive motion practice, the case may proceed to mediation and then to trail. Mediation is a process to attempt to resolve the case before incurring the time and costs of trial. After pretrial, trial is next. Trial consists of picking a jury, seating the jury, conducting opening statement, the direct and cross-examination of witnesses, charging the jury, and then closing arguments. Unlike pretrial, trial is relatively quick and may last from a few days to a few weeks at most. Following trial and the verdict, there are post-trial remedies available to the victor and the looser. The prevailing plaintiff may then go into execution and force the defendant to pay, if appropriate. The losing defendant may seek to attempt to set aside the verdict for some defect that may have occurred during the trial or may seek to appeal the verdict. From start to end, the timeline of a lawsuit is generally longer than a year. However, your involvement is limited to assisting in the discovery process and assisting at trial – Gilde Law Firm handles the rest. We have the strength and stamina to go the distance. Let us relieve your stress and burden. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
Do I really need a trial law firm like Gilde Law Firm?
Not all law firms are alike. There are big city firms and small town firms, large firms with many attorneys and small firms with few attorneys, litigation firms and trial firms, firms that specialize in a practice area and firms that have a general practice, etc. Just as there are many different types of law firms, there are many different types of cases, and your case may not need a trial firm like Gilde Law Firm. However, if you choose Gilde Law firm, you get a big city firm, with a small town firm feel. You get an efficient firm with attorneys whom are dedicated to your case and whom specialize in civil trial law. And as for needing a trial firm, there is a saying among trial lawyers, “Lawyers solve problems; trial lawyers solve problems lawyers can’t solve.” If you have a serious case, you deserve a trial law firm that will believe you, fight for you, and win for you. If Gilde Law Firm is not the right firm for you, we’ll be the first to tell you, and we will do our best to help you find a better alternative. Contact Gilde Law Firm today.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Houston Can Help with Your Lawsuit
After an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important to speak to our Houston personal injury lawyers. At Gilde Law Firm, our skilled attorney has a long history of successfully helping clients with their lawsuits, and we can help you too. Call us today at 800-973-3106 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.