Texas Only Allows a One-Time Settlement, Which Has Significant Bearing on Why You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Interviewer: What about situations where an individual was injured to a point where they have some sort of injury that will be more long-term and as a result of that, they may find it difficult to seek employment. They may not even be able to work at all.
Stephen Boutros: That’s why you have to have a competent lawyer, because in Texas your settlement if a one-time settlement. If you have the type of lawyer that’s going to go for a quick, cheap settlement, then you might end up with a big problem. This is because your lawyer needs to fully develop your damages.
The past medical bills and the past lost wages are easy, but you need experts to explain that are called life care planners to explain what the future medical costs are going to be. You need an economist.
If you can’t go back to work, your doctor says you are not going to be able to go back to work, so you are disabled now, you need an economist to determine how much is the value of your future lost earnings. We hire experts to help prove the amount of those damages, because when you settle, it’s over, it’s done.
It Is Always Advisable to Consult with an Attorney after You Have Been Injured
Interviewer: Do people still tend to settle with companies directly instead of consulting with an attorney?
Consulting with an Attorney: When You Need Expert Medical Advice, You See a Doctor—When You Need Expert Legal Advice, See an Attorney
Stephen Boutros: It’s so foolish when people don’t get legal counseling. If you have a medical problem, you go to a doctor, because your doctor is specifically trained at helping diagnose and treat your medical problem. When you have a legal problem, there are people called lawyers, who are specially trained in your specific area like personal injury, to diagnose and help treat your legal problem.
It’s just like when someone has a medical problem and they try to treat it themselves, they end up with a poor result. Legal issues are the same way. When you have a legal problem, you need an expert in resolving legal problems. Those are called lawyers. If you don’t get an expert to help you resolve it, you are probably going to end up with a poor result.
Insurance companies all have lawyers. It kind of boggles the mind when someone from an insurance company you know has been trained by a lawyer or as a lawyer themselves, starts telling you that you don’t need a lawyer. That’s not really a fair negotiating platform.
When Should You Consult with an Attorney after an Injury?
Interviewer: How soon after the injury should someone contact an attorney?
It Is Important to Document and Preserve Evidence as Soon as Possible
Stephen Boutros: I would say immediately is best. This is because then a lawyer can make sure that the evidence to prove the case is secured. Someone tells me there’s defect that resulted in an unreasonably dangerous condition—I’m going to need to document it as soon as possible. I need photographs and I need to take statements of witnesses. Legal work needs to begin immediately.