- Percentage of Texas Cases That Went to a Jury Trial .6% .6%
- Percentage of Texas Cases That Went to A Bench Trial (Trial Without a Jury) 10% 10%
Since The Cases Hardly Ever Go to Trial, Do You Need an Accident Lawyer in San Antonio, Or Can You Handle the claim yourself?
Let’s Put It This Way–If You Like Money, You Should Hire a Lawyer For Your Accident Case.
How Your Final Settlement is Determined
You or your lawyer cannot simply tell the insurance company or lawyer in your case that you demand $100,000 to settle your lawsuit or personal injury claim. There has to be a source or basis for your demand amount. Where is this number coming from? The injury lawyer adds up all of your “damages” and that is how the number is determined.
There are different kinds of “damages,” which all have different names or categories.
Your Medical Bills
All of your past medical bills are added up. The more your medical bills add up to, the more your lawsuit is worth. If your lawyer is getting 40% of your settlement for his/her labor and service, then 40% of a $100 medical bill is not great.
If you are having trouble finding a personal injury lawyer that will take your case on contingency, it may be because your medical bills do not amount to enough to make it worth the lawyer’s time.
If you decided to decline medical help at the time of your injuries, you reduced the value of your personal injury claim. So sometimes when a lawyer is telling you to call us today, we can help you, their advice will be “go to the doctor” (with the implication being, incur some medical expenses for your lawsuit).
This category of damages includes your future medical bills, which your lawyer will help you figure out.
Your lawyer can offer to several medical providers what is called a Letter of Protection, which can help you obtain access to needed medical care.
Here is this idea explained in more detail–
Getting Medical Help Via a Letter of Protection
Some medical providers will give you medical care if your lawyer sends them a letter of protection. The letter of protection, known as an “LOP”, will tell the medical provider that they will be paid first for their necessary services when client’s settlement is sent for his lawsuit. This ensures that the Firm will not give the client 100% of the settlement without first paying back the medical providers back their funds due for services rendered. The letter of protection can be used as evidence in a case, so it is imperative that this letter does not say anything that a jury would disfavor such as “please provide as much medical care as you can possibly think of because then you will get paid more and everyone will win more money.”
“Economic damages” also means your lost wages.
Your Other, More Subjective Damages
The more creative part of determining the extent of your settlement is called your Non-economic damages.
Are you experiencing mental anguish because of the accident?
Are you disfigured because of the accident?
Are you suffering or in pain?
What amount of money can make this better.
Really, in very serious injury cases, no amount of money can make a personal whole again. So, the question is how much money can be awarded to give some other life comforts to this person that will at least help them.
These types of damages can be presented creatively, to persuade the defense attorney or insurance company.
Having a lawyer present these to your insurance company within the norms of the insurance defense industry, can make a gigantic difference in the amount you are offered.
They Are Not Worried About You Winning a Horse Race If You Don’t Bring a Horse (The Lawyer is The Horse in Your Accident Case, So Bring a Lawyer).
Keep in mind that in an accident case, the injured person needs to obtain sufficient funds at the end. But, the insurance defense company needs to keep as much of its money as possible. The worst thing that can happen to an insurance company is losing millions of dollars in a trial case. They want to avoid the expenses of trial. They want to avoid the risks of trial. They don’t want to go to trial, just like most personal injury lawyers in San Antonio don’t want to. So, by having a lawyer, at least there is some leverage you have, some tinge of proof that yes you can take this case all the way to trial if this insurance company wants to give you pennies on the dollar. If you show up without a lawyer, its like showing up to a horse race without a horse. No one is worried you are going to win big when you don’t have any way to win. So, your offer for settlement is lower. Yes, you get to keep 100% of your settlement after expenses and you don’t have to pay a lawyer a chunk of the money. But, 60% of $100,000 is a lot more money than 100% of $1000 bucks.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Wants You to Think They are Tough. Okay, Fine But They Also Better Be Sweet.
Since Only 10% of Cases Go to a Final Trial, Your Lawyer Better Be Good With Just Dealing With People Nicely.
If you buy the most expensive scholarly lawyer books available on how defense companies settle injury cases, you will find a repetitive piece of advice for your personal injury lawyer: Insurance defense firms consist of just regular people, and regular people react better to kindness than aggression.
Sweetness aside, you want a lawyer that is likable. Here’s why.
If your lawyer is just generally not likable, a jury will not like him. If your case goes to trial, a jury can award you less or more money based on things that shouldn’t matter in your case outcome (but do) such as how much the jury likes your lawyer.
Random Fact Your Accident lawyer should know.
There is Actually a Legal Term Called a “Judicial Hellhole”
A Judicial Hellhole is a county where the judges are particularly favorable to the plaintiff (you the injured party) and are particularly unfair to the insurance company. Judicial Hellholes are places where injured parties can win higher amounts of money from accidents. Counties of Texas make this national list, holding 4 of the judicial hellholes:
Jefferson County, Starr County, Hidalgo County and Nueces County.
In these counties, insurance companies are more likely to settle claims outside of court since going into court there is very much lopsided in favor of the plaintiff.
Should your personal injury lawyer know these things? Yes, because all of these things give strategic information to the lawyer who you are hiring arguable for their negotiation skills above all else. When you are interviewing your lawyer, ask them what a judicial hellhole is. If they aren’t sure, they may not be practicing as much personal injury in South Texas as they would like to have you believe.
Your Lawyer’s Team of EXperts Will Make or Break Your case
(Does your lawyer know experts to call on for your particular case & Can Your Lawyer afford to pay them to work for your case?)
Your Expert is Super Important
You have to make sure to know when you are hiring a personal injury lawyer whether the lawyer will be paying for the expert out of pocket while the case is going on, or do you have to pay that expense out of pocket?
Many do not realize this, but a vital role of your personal injury lawyer’s job is to select your expert or team of experts that will help you win your case.
The expert is the person with the proper medical training needed to be able to assess you injuries and explain to the court, if needed, that indeed your injuries were caused by the accident. Because experts are often doctors, they are expensive.
There are many technical legal strategies that accompany the use of experts in a case. For instance, your lawyer can hire one, and then the defense team can file a written objection to your selection and try to have your expert thrown out of the case, even after money has been paid by your legal team to use this expert.
Remember that you win your chunk of money only after the money won pays expenses so if your expert gets thrown out because your lawyer made a bad choice, that money, most often comes out of your portion of settlement funds in the end.
Having a Lawyer with Experience Really can Matter, and HEre is Why:
Your Lawyer’s Rejections & Judgement May Heavily Cost You
Say for a moment that you are in a car accident, and you hire Dean Greedy & Inexperienced Lawyer McGee to handle your case. The insurance company offers your lawyer, in writing, $100,000 to settle your case. Your lawyer, without missing a beat says “No WAY, we demand $300,000”.
Because your lawyer and the insurance company could not agree, now the case has to go to trial. Then you go to trial and you actually only win $79,000. Well, now you’ve won less than 80% of what the insurance company offered.
And, now the insurance company can win the right to have you pay their lawyer’s fees which can eat your entire settlement, leaving you with no money at the end.
Keep in mind that when you hire a big law firm, they can farm out your case to an inexperienced lawyer that can make mistakes. Make sure that you negotiate a lawyer engagement letter that you will have an experienced seasoned injury lawyer negotiating on your behalf, even if it is not the Firm owner himself.
So Who Are The MOST PROMINENT SAn ANtonio Injury Lawyers?
Here is a list of the lawyers you will see advertising for personal injury cases the most heavily in Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas, in no particular order:
And, Finally, How do You choose the best personal injury lawyer for your own case, in san antonio?
Key Takeaways On Choosing an Accident Lawyer Here in South Texas
Accident Lawyers may be free until you win, but the wrong choice is very expensive in opportunity cost;
Injury Lawyers that only believe in fighting are not going to optimize your settlement well;
Motor accident Lawyers who never go to trial may have a weak reputation with defense attorneys and thus are offered less in settlement;
Truck accident Lawyers who have clearly accumulated expertise in the various ways to negotiate an accident case, and can explain those to you, will do better for you;
Lawyers who do not have any reviews on Google may not be “in the game” practicing as much as others are that have reviews (but they also just may have business from referrals and may not need these reviews).
As for Lawyers who do not have any reviews on Avvo.com—this just means the lawyer did not create a profile on Avvo.com, and does not mean anything else. Having a rating on Avvo.com does not make a lawyer “the best”.
Lawyers that do not have enough resources to hire an expert for you or incur expenses during your case, may have difficulty doing well for you.
One Last key to remember
We talked a bit above about how your medical damages are pretty easy to win in your personal injury case as part of your final lawsuit settlement. The subjective damages are where your lawyer’s creativity and work methods can make a very big difference. Subjective damages are your pain and suffering or other life losses that have occurred due to the event at issue. Make sure to hire a lawyer that will focus on these creatively for you, to maximize your damages. When interviewing your lawyer, ask them their strategy when it come to this.