Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
It is normal to feel angry and upset when you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault. Physical injuries can lead to rising medical expenses and bills and even with a strong level of medical insurance, you can quickly exceed your coverage. This can leave you facing tough decisions.
Thankfully, Austin is governed by the same rules and regulations as the rest of the state of Texas and these rules state that you have every right to seek compensation for your damages when they are caused by another party’s negligence.
Texas personal injury law is complex, however, and if your accident occurred in Austin, TX you should seek representation from a skilled team of Austin personal injury lawyers. With their representation, you will have the best chances of seeking the full and maximum compensation that is on offer to you.
By obtaining legal representation from a skilled Austin, TX personal injury law firm, you will be able to take a step back and focus on your recovery and mental health.
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we have been representing clients in the Austin, TX area for over 25 years. Our goal is to seek the full and maximum compensation for your pain and suffering as well as your medical bills and lost wages.
We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency-fee-basis. This allows us to represent everyone, no matter what their situation.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
We are proud to be led by Chris Morrow, a trial lawyer with extensive experience. With numerous first chair trials for the state of Texas and an unrivaled dedication to his clients, you can rest a little easier knowing your Austin personal injury attorneys are led by a lawyer with such an impeccable reputation.
Damages a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Claim in Austin
When seeking to recover your damages, your Austin personal injury lawyer will use their skill and experience to calculate them in the most accurate manner. This makes it harder to dispute and makes it more likely that your settlement offer is agreed, or if you end up fighting in court, that your case is hard to argue with.
Your compensatory damages will be split into two categories: your economic damages and your non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be added up, as they have a sum attached. Medical bills and property damage are common examples of economic damages.
Non-economic damages are more difficult as they encompass all the damages that you have incurred that do not have a physical sum attached to them. This includes things like the pain you have been through, the emotional distress you have been put under, and any loss of enjoyment of life that you have suffered as a result of the injury.
While there are numerous forms of damage, these are the most common and are the ones that you should be aware of:
Medical expenses are often the number one worry during the months following the accident. If your level of cover is exceeded, it may leave you having to find the money for your medical bills. This can put you in a terrible situation, especially if you cannot afford the treatment that you need.
You were not responsible for your injuries and you should not be responsible for the medical bills you have to pay as a result.
In order to calculate your medical damages in the most accurate manner, you should ensure that you retain all of your bills and receipts. This includes bills for medical treatment, procedures, therapy, transport to and from appointments and the hospital, and even for any food you have to buy while you are in the hospital.
Another way that you can assist your attorney is by keeping a detailed daily diary of your treatment, mood, and pain levels. It doesn’t have to be complex, just a pain rating of 1-10, a few words on how you are feeling and if you have had any treatment that day, details of what you have received. This will allow your attorney to calculate your bills in the most accurate manner.
Loss of Earnings and Lost Wages
In the majority of personal injury cases, the victim will need to take time off work during the aftermath of the accident. This may be to receive medical treatment or to recover from injuries. This may lead to a loss of earnings. Thankfully, you can recover any wages you have missed out on because of the accident.
If your injuries or mental trauma are so severe that you cannot return to work in the same capacity, you can claim for all future loss of earnings too. If you will never be able to return to work, your attorney may calculate a lifetime of lost wages in the settlement figure.
Personal injury claims allow for loss of income, past, present, and future to be claimed for.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages account for things like the emotional distress and trauma you have suffered and for things like a loss of enjoyment of life. An example of what classifies as a loss of enjoyment of life would be if you can no longer ride a horse on the weekends because of the injuries you have suffered.
These damages are the hardest to work out. The more skilled your Austin personal injury lawyers are and the more experience they have dealing with similar cases for other personal injury victims, the more accurate they will be able to calculate these damages on your behalf when seeking monetary compensation.
In Austin, TX there is a further set of damages. These are non-compensatory and are designed to punish the at-fault party.
Punitive Damages are usually reserved for the following reasons:
The other party has caused the injuries on purpose and they have done so with malicious intent.
Gross negligence damages are reserved for when the defendant’s actions are so awful that they have shown a blatant disregard for human life through their actions.
What Types of Injury Does an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Deal With
Our legal team provides personal injury representation to numerous clients every single year, and this means we deal with an enormous variety of injuries.
If you have been the victim of an accident and have suffered a personal injury from the list below, you should get in touch for a free case evaluation immediately:
- Burns to the skin, abrasions, and lacerations (cuts).
- Drowning and choking.
- TBIs (traumatic brain injuries).
- Injuries to the spine.
- Animal bites and attacks.
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash and crushing.
These are the injuries that occur the most often in a personal injury case, but it is not an exclusive list. If you have suffered from any injury caused by a negligent party’s behavior, you may have grounds for a claim.
The Process of Hiring an Attorney to Deal with your Personal Injury Lawsuit in the Austin, TX Area
The very first step in seeking compensation via a personal injury claim is to choose the best personal injury lawyers for the job. You should look for a law firm with a strong team of attorneys that have a proven track record of victory, impressive levels of communication, and excellent time management skills.
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we know how difficult this decision can be. For this reason, we offer a free consultation and free case evaluation, with no strings attached. During this meeting, you can ask all the questions you may have and we can evaluate your case, informing you if we believe it to be worth pursuing.
We can do this through a phone call, in-person meeting, or video chat. We want you to feel comfortable with your personal injury attorney, and this is the perfect opportunity to ensure that you get along. After all, a personal injury claim may take several years to complete and you will be working alongside your attorney for this entire process.
During the initial consultation, we will explain how our fee structure works, such as how the contingency-fee-basis system operates and what percentage of your settlement you will pay for our services. We will lay this down in a crystal clear manner, allowing you to make an informed and confident decision.
If you feel comfortable, and wish to proceed, you can agree to representation. At this point we will begin immediately, taking over the burden of paperwork, liaising with the insurance companies, and investigating on your behalf. We will begin building your case the second you agree, wasting no time in preparing your case.
This not only increases your chances of victory and maximum settlement but gives you space to breathe and focus on what is really important: your own mental and physical health.
What is Negligence and How Does an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Assign It?
Together with your Austin personal injury lawyer, you will need to prove certain elements in order to win your case. One of these elements is assigning negligence. Your personal injury lawyer will need to provide evidence that the other party acted negligently.
Negligent behavior, defined by Cornell Law School, is:
“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct). “
Defined in a more simple manner, negligence is acting in a way that another sensible or reasonable person would not act in the exact same situation.
If you own a store and you are mopping the floors and fail to sign-post that the floor is wet, knowing someone might slip, and they do slip, you have acted negligently as another “reasonable” person would have put a wet-floor sign up.
The Four Elements of a Personal Injury Case
If your personal injury claim requires litigation in the courtroom, you will be expected to prove four elements in order for the court to award you your damages:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care for the individual who was injured.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care to the victim by acting in a way that is seen as negligent.
- The injuries of the victim are a result of that negligence.
- The incident led to the victim suffering from economic and non-economic losses.
The Do’s and the Don’ts After an Accident in Austin, Texas
On the scene of an accident, there are things you should do and things you should not do if you want to maximize your chances of success and avoid admitting liability.
Here are some brief and simple instructions to follow:
What NOT To Do!
Let us start with the things that you should avoid doing.
The first and most important thing to remember is that you should never apologize at the scene or after the accident. Any form of apology could be seen as an admission of liability and may cost you all of your compensation.
Never Allow an Insurance Company Representative to Record Your Conversation
Often, in the hours and days after an accident, you will receive a call from the insurance company. This will be from one of their legal teams, most likely a loss adjuster. They may ask you to record your conversation, but you should always politely decline. The best option is to refer them to your personal injury attorney. If they record you, they may use anything you say against you in order to reduce the amount they have to payout.
Never Accept a Settlement Offer on the Spot
Another common insurance company trick is to get in contact with the victim of an accident quickly, following the accident, to offer what may seem like an appealing settlement. You should never accept a settlement on the spot. You should always tell them you will talk it through with your attorney and get back to them. In almost all cases, the first offer of settlement will be a lot lower than the amount they are truly willing to offer.
These are the most important things to avoid as they could directly affect the amount of compensation you walk away with in the end. Even more importantly, if you are not careful, you may admit liability and lose all chances of compensation whatsoever.
What You SHOULD do!
Next, let’s talk about the things that you could do to maximize your chances of success in your case.
At the scene of the accident:
Prioritize Your Safety
The first and most important thing to think about in the aftermath of an accident is your own personal safety. If you know you have hit your head, or feel pain in the neck, spine, or shoulders, do not move until the paramedics turn up. If you feel confident you have not hurt your spine or head, move to a nearby place of safety, away from further damage.
Check for Injuries and Call an Ambulance
If you are able, check yourself and everyone else on the scene for injuries and call an ambulance immediately. Tell them about the injuries and wait for them to turn up. The ambulance team will be able to ensure everyone is seen and that people are checked for hidden injuries. They will also file an accident report you can later obtain as unbiased evidence.
Call The Police or Fire Department if Necessary
In certain cases, you should call the police or the fire department. Call the police for car accidents and if the at-fault party is aggressive or drunk, and call the fire department if the accident involved fire, electricity, gas, or explosion. Both will file a report that can be useful later on as well.
Collect Evidence and Speak to Witnesses
If you are able, and once you have ensured you are safe and that any emergency services that need to be called have been called, the next step is to begin collecting evidence and speaking to witnesses. Take photos and videos of the scene and a brief description of what happened. Take all details of the witnesses, if there are any, and ask them for a brief statement.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have not already, now is the best time to call your Austin personal injury attorney so that they can advise you on what to do next. They may also send investigators to the scene on your behalf. The sooner you get in touch, the better your chances of success.
Do I Really Need an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer?
Many people question the need for a dedicated Austin personal injury lawyer and believe that they will be better off without one or that they cannot afford to employ representation.
This isn’t usually the case.
Firstly, most personal injury attorneys, including the ones here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, work on a contingency fee basis, also known as no-win-no-fee. This fee structure means that you do not have to find money up-front to obtain representation, and it is non-recourse. This means you only pay your attorney if you win your case. If you lose, you do not have to pay a penny. This allows victims to seek help without the worry of failure.
Secondly, although you will have to pay for your attorney’s services if you win, with their experience and skill in personal injury law and regulations, the eventual settlement they will win you is usually much higher than if you had sought it out alone. The difference is usually high enough that even after they have taken their fees from your settlement, you will most likely walk away with more compensation.
Next, personal injury claims can take several years to complete and without representation, you will be expected to fight your case and keep the claim moving over the entire process yourself. This requires a lot of energy and time. With the injuries you have suffered and the emotional distress you may be in, you probably aren’t in the best frame of mind to dedicate your time to your own case.
Finally, you are going to be fighting against the insurance company, and they most likely employ an entire team of aggressive, legally trained loss adjusters. They will have an immense advantage over you when it comes to fighting a legal battle. This means not only may you win less compensation, but you also may not be able to win any at all without legal representation.
Insurance company legal teams have one job, ensuring you win as little as possible.
With a reputable Austin personal injury attorney behind you, the insurance company will be more likely to settle as they know their chances are lower of a victory in court against an aggressive, skilled lawyer.
Common Types of Personal Injury Accident Cases in Austin, TX
We deal with all types of personal injury cases here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, including:
Car accidents are the most common form of personal injury lawsuits in the entirety of the United States. Car accident cases are often caused by distracted driving or drunken drivers, which usually results in more serious injuries or the wrongful death of a victim.
Due to their design, the fact the rider is much more exposed and harder to spot, motorcycle accidents often result in life-threatening injuries and wrongful death.
Commercial Truck Accident Cases
There are stricter rules and regulations that apply to commercial truck drivers and the companies that hire them. This is because a commercial truck can weigh 20x as much as a regular passenger car. With all the added weight, when they crash, the impact is way higher.
Trucking companies are expected to monitor their drivers, the amount of time they drive, and the number of breaks they take. They are also responsible for keeping the vehicle maintained and in good order.
This means that your case may lie with the driver, or it may lie with the trucking company, depending on what caused the accident. In some cases, it may even lie with the mechanic or manufacturer of the parts used on the truck.
Slip and Fall Cases
The most common form of premises liability personal injury cases are slips trips and falls. Property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors to the property and this means that if they have acted negligently, and you have injured yourself, you may have grounds for a compensation claim against the at-fault party.
What Is the Compensation Process in Austin, TX
Every single personal injury case has its own unique fingerprint. The situation and circumstances that led to the accident will always be unique and every case will come with its own challenges and timeline.
In general, the process will follow these stages:
The very first stage following the accident will be getting in touch with your Austin personal injury attorney. They will evaluate your case and examine any evidence you have been able to provide. They will ask you what has happened and if you are still on the scene of the accident, may send investigators straight to the scene.
Your attorney will now begin investigating on your behalf and will begin the process of building your case. They will speak to eye-witnesses, obtain police reports and look for CCTV footage to support your claim.
Calculate a Fair Compensation Value
The next stage is calculating your damages. They will now look at the economic damages you have suffered or may suffer, such as your medical bills and property damage.
They will then begin the tough task of calculating what your non-economic damages, like your pain and suffering, are worth. This is where the experience of your chosen law firm and personal injury attorney will prove vital. The more experience they have in cases similar to yours, the more accurate this figure will be. The more accurate this figure is, the harder it will be to argue with.
This will leave them with an overall figure of what they believe your damages to be worth and they will send this figure over to the at-fault parties’ insurance company in the form of a settlement offer. At this point, they have the choice of accepting, declining, or counter-offering.
If they accept, you can settle, receive your money, and move on with your life.
Filing a Lawsuit
If they have declined or sent a counter offer you are not happy with, your Austin personal injury lawyer will escalate the case and prepare to move it to the courtroom.
During this stage, your lawyer will need to use the case they have built for you on your behalf to convince the courts that you are fully deserving of the compensation sum and damages you are seeking.
If the courts agree, they will award you your damages.
Deadline after an Accident
Texas law places a time restraint on the period of time you have to claim following a personal injury accident. The statute states that you have 2 years from the date of the incident to raise your claim. Following this time period, your case will most likely be thrown out if you try to raise it.
How Do I Find a Good Personal Injury Lawyer in Austin, Texas
There are a lot of different law firms in the state of Texas, many of which cover the Austin area. This can make the choice of which law firm you wish to represent you, a tough one.
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we believe we are the right choice, but we also respect and recommend that you do your own research. In our opinion, here are the things we would look for.
- A proven track record of wins and victories is much more important than flashy ads or billboards. Any good personal injury lawyer will be able to provide proof of their victories and will have a long list of happy clients. If they do not, stay well clear.
- Organization and communication skills are crucial. You should feel that your lawyer makes time for you in their busy schedule and replies to your queries promptly.
- Personality is important. Some cases may take years to settle and you will have to work with your lawyer for this entire process. Take the time in the free consultation to ensure that you like and get along with your lawyer.
Austin Personal Injury FAQs
Any personal injury lawyer that guarantees a victory is unethical and should be avoided. There is no 100% guarantee in any case. We can advise you whether we think your chances are good or bad, but we will never guarantee a win.
The period of time that your case takes to settle or complete will be entirely reliant on how complicated it is. If the at-fault party is clearly liable, the case may settle quickly. If there are multiple parties involved and different degrees of liability, it may take a lot longer. Wrongful death cases and medical malpractice cases usually take several years to settle.
When you have been injured in an accident, you are entitled to choose whatever healthcare provider you wish to choose to treat you in the majority of cases.
The only exclusion to this rule is when you are involved in a workplace accident. In these cases, you may be expected to use your work’s occupational health provider.
There is no legal requirement or regulation that states you must use your insurance company’s repair shop. They will often try to bully you into doing so, but refuse and refer them to your personal injury attorney if necessary.
You may not be able to avoid speaking to your insurance company or the at-fault parties but always remember to watch what you say. They do not have your best interests at heart and will often try to trick you into admitting liability.
There is nothing to stop you from seeking compensation by yourself, but we strongly advise that you seek representation. You will be fighting a legal team that deals with cases like yours every day, giving them a clear advantage.
This means that your chances of success alone are low and your overall compensation if you do win, will most likely be lower.
Many Austin personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. You should at the very least utilize this service to obtain a free case evaluation and receive some free advice.
Contact Us here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we want to help you seek the compensation you rightfully deserve. We have a passion for helping our clients and will work tirelessly to ensure you have the best chance of success.
We have a long history of favorable outcome wins and numerous happy clients. With our focus on the attorney-client relationship, our skill in the courtroom, and our vast experience, we are ready to help.
Our team of highly experienced Austin personal injury lawyers have been fighting compassionately on behalf of our clients since 1994, giving us over 25 years of experience.
Our phone lines are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we offer a free consultation to all clients, so if you are unsure of what the best course of action is, get in touch.
Give us a call today at 512-520-8100.