With 30 years experience, I will work hard to protect your freedom, to protect what you have and to get what you
deserve. Your interests are my utmost concern. Anything you tell me will always remain confidential. Whether you have
a Personal Injury case, Criminal case or Family Law case, I will “fight for your rights”.
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Do You Know Your Legal Rights?
This brochure is provided to you in an effort to educate the public about their legal rights following an accident. The information below is not meant to cover all legal possibilities, only to give a few examples and to answer a few commonly asked questions regarding automobile accidents, personal injuries, insurance companies, and attorneys.
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- In most cases the "Property Damages" claim (i.e. car repairs) is settled before the "Personal Injury" claim is settled.
- Take pictures of the property and/or vehicle damage (yours and theirs) as soon as possible and before repairs are made.
- The insurance company may require you to obtain two or more estimates before they decide how much to pay you for your property or vehicle damage.
- The insurance company may choose to pay the lower estimate which is given to the insurance company by you or your attorney.
- When you receive a check to repair or replace your property, sign a "release" which pertains only to property or vehicle damage. You should always consult an attorney before signing any "release".
- You may choose which repair shop you want to fix your vehicle with the money you receive from the insurance company.
- If your vehicle is totaled, you are entitled to a rental car from the date of your accident until you receive a payment from the insurance company for your vehicle. If your vehicle is not totaled, you are entitled to a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.
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- Go to your choice of doctors and/or hospital immediately. Do not wait for the pain to get better. If you wait, the insurance company may say that you were not hurt. Always keep your appointments with the doctor and therapist and always follow their orders. Also, your attorney can sometimes arrange for your doctor to treat you and wait to be paid until after your case settles.
- A specialist may be needed to treat your injuries and get you well. Your attorney can help you find the best type of doctor to treat your particular injuries.
- No claim for bodily injuries should be settled until you and your doctor are satisfied that all injuries have been discovered or diagnosed. If additional medical treatment may be needed, you should get an estimate of future medical expenses from your doctor before settling your claim.
- In Texas, you must either settle your claim or bring suit within 2 years of the date of the accident or your right to recover damages from the party at fault will be forever barred.
- If an employee of a governmental agancy causes the accident, you must give written notice of your claim to that governmental agency by certified mail return reciept requested within six (6) months of the date of the accident.
- An accident victim is entitled to recover money from the insurance company to cover more than just his or her medical bills and cost of auto repairs. You may have a right to receive additional money for each of the following.
$ Past medical expenses
$ Future medical expenses
$ Physical Pain and Mental Anguish
$ Lost Wages
$ Future lost earning capacity
$ Physical impairment
$ Bystander mental anguish
$ Funeral expenses
$ Loss of household services
$ Value of nursing services
$ Loss of inheritance
$ Loss of consortium
$ Loss of enjoyment of life
$ Loss of
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- Depending on the circumstances, other types of damages may occur which may entitle you to payment from the insurance company.
Things To Remember
- Report the accident to the police and ask that they make out an accident report.
- Write down the names of all witnesses, as well as the name of the driver, their address, phone number, driver's license number, insurance company, policy number, and license plate number.
- Record and document everything in a diary or on a calendar. This includes all your expenses and lost wages. A letter from your employer stating how much wages have been lost is very helpful.
- You may be entitled to payment for using your sick and/or vacation time.
- Keep a diary of the pain and suffering you experience on a day to day basis. This is hard to recall and describe months later.
- Keep a diary of the changes in your lifestyle which have been caused by the accident.
- Never let anyone talk you into leaving the scene of an accident without getting information from the other driver.
- You may be entitled to receive money from your own insurance company, even when you receive money from the other parties insurance company (ex.- Personal Injury Protection, Medical Payment, Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Coverages).
- Insurance company adjusters work for companies that operate for a profit. The more they pay you, the less profit their employer (insurance company) will make. In order to deal with these adjustors, you should seriously consider hiring your own professional (attorney) to represent you so that you will get what you deserve.
- The value of your claim or case will be based on many complicated factors. An experienced personal injury attorney should be consulted before you agree to settle your claim for too little.
- If the party at fault was under the influence of alchohol or drugs at the time of the accident, you may be entitled to additional (i.e.- Punitive or exemplary) damages.
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Attorney vs. No Attorney
- An attorney will handle a personal injury claim on a contingent fee basis. If you do not recover, then there will be no attorney's fees. From your share of the recovery the court costs, litigation expenses, and medical bills are paid. You will not be responsible for court costs or litigation expenses if you do not recover, however, you will be responsible for any unpaid medical bills.
- Studies have shown that a victim almost always will receive more money through an attorney even after the attorney's fees have been deducted. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney of your choice as soon as possible after the accident.
- If an insurance company is not handling an accident claim to your satisfaction, get an attorney.
- Never let anyone take a written or tape recorded statement without consulting with your attorney first. Remember, your statements may later be used against you.
- Never delay consulting with an attorney. This law firm provides free consultations. The other driver's insurance company is gathering all the facts it can in order to evaluate your claim.
- If you do not have an attorney, we will be glad to discuss the legal aspects of your case with you at no charge or obligation. At this law firm, "it's free to talk." This firm makes hospital and household calls if you are unable to come into our office.
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Steven M. Williams
Attorney At Law
Remember, it's always free to talk.