General Instructions For Injury Clients

Fill out a personal injury claim evaluation.

Things Which You Should NOT DO:

  • Do not speak with the insurance company or their adjusters regarding your matter until you have spoken with our firm first.  There are many things that you could say which will adversely affect your case.   We will usually let you discuss the property portion of your case with the insurance company, but only after we have given the insurance company a Letter of Representation.  This letter will specify that the insurance company cannot talk to you about anything other than the property.  (no questions as to injuries and no questions as to how the accident happened)
  • Do not make any false statements about your injuries to any of your treating doctors.
  • Do not get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace, or any other social media and post pictures or discuss ANY element of your accident.
  • Do not discuss your case with friends or family, as their testimony can adversely affect your case.

Things for you to REMEMBER:

  • Call Us immediately after the accident:  Waiting to call an Austin accident attorney can cause significant damage to the valuation of your case.  Call Funk & Associates NOW!
  • Car Repair: If your car was damaged, take photos of the vehicle before it is repaired.  Also collect any estimates from body shops with regards to your vehicle repairs
  • Medical :Save all bills, records, prescription bottles, and any other medical items.  Notify us immediately if you plan on seeing a new medical provider.
  • Photographs: Make sure you provide us with any and all photos taken of the scene, vehicles, or your injuries.
  • Employment – Keep track of missed time/days from work.  If you take Paid vacation, keep track of that too, as it is reimbursable.
  • Receipts: Be sure to obtain and save all receipts itemizing any and all expenses you incurred as a result of your accident. Receipts must be dated and contain legible and complete vendor identification.

Five BIG MISTAKES clients make:

  • Not seeing a doctor immediately after an accident
  • Not listening to your medical provider
  • Not keeping your doctor appointments
  • Discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney or your doctor.
  • Failing to tell your doctor the injuries sustained in the car accident

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Listen to your Doctor’s Advice.   Make your doctor appointments.  If there is a gap in your medical treatment, the insurance company can point to that gap to imply that you may have been re-injured during that period.  Its important for your health to have a continuous and regimented medical recovery.  It is near impossible to obtain a pain and suffering recovery if you have not attended regular doctor visits.

First Steps In Representing You

We will gather the appropriate information regarding your matter.  You will sign our contract and medical authorization.  We will send the insurance company a Letter or Representation, which will authorize them to speak with you regarding the vehicle, but nothing else.  You should never speak to an adjuster about what happened or your injuries.  If you need one, we can refer you to a medical provider.

Who To Talk To

Only speak with your attorneys or your doctors.  Do not post anything on social media and do not speak with friends or family about your case.   We may authorize you to speak with an insurance company about the property only; but once again, only after we have sent the insurance company a letter stating that they can only speak with you regarding the property and NOTHING else.

What To Sign

Never sign anything unless you speak with our office first.   If the property is negotiated by you, you can sign the title over to the insurance company.  Call us if you have any questions.

Medical Payments Before Your Case Is Settled

While your case is being handled, we try to have your medical bills paid from one of the following places:  Our letter of Protection to a provider, your health insurance provider, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or medical payments (Med Pay) provision of your automobile insurance policy, or your worker’s compensation insurance. Make sure you provide us with all medical insurance providers so we can get those bills paid.

Keep Detailed Records

Please be sure to record the following:

  • Lost days/time from work.
  • How is this affecting your life? Pain and suffering.
  • What daily tasks and hobbies are you unable to perform due to the injury? (ie; cooking, exercise)
  • any photographs of your injuries

Medical Liens

Many times our clients are involved in accidents where there is no health insurance in place to pay for their medical bills.  In such cases, the doctors may accept a Letter of Protection from our office.    This letter will guarantee that the physicians bill will be taken care of out of the settlement proceeds. Texas laws permit health care providers to file a “hospital lien” which must be paid out of the proceeds of your case.

Subrogation

This is not a simple subject.  Basically, if your health insurance provider (an Erisa based policy – usually through your job) puts us on notice that they paid your bills, you cannot get money from a third party (defendant’s auto insurance) without repaying your health insurance company.  We deal with this on a regular basis and have had much success in negotiating the health insurance companies subrogation liens down.

They will Investigate your Past and may Photograph you.

Following an accident, insurance investigators have been known to videotape and or photograph your activities.  Insurance companies usually don’t spend the resources to do so on smaller injury cases, but larger injury cases merit such activities.  They are looking for use of canes, crutches, neck braces, heavy lifting, exercise, etc.  Depending on the value of the case, insurance adjusters may look into your past record.  They are looking for felony convictions within the last ten years in addition to other civil filings you may have had.  If you believe you are being watched notify us immediately and we will handle it.

Why Does It Take So Long?

It is imperative to wait until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before discussing a settlement with the insurance company.  Not doing so, would fail to maximize the value of your case.  Once you reach MMI we usually get a demand package out within a couple of weeks and any settlement discussions usually conclude within 30-90 days after that.  Although most of our cases settle in this state, that is not always the case.  See filing a lawsuit below.

For more information on this topic, go to the FAQ link and scroll down to see How Long does this process take.

What is the Value of My Case?

This is the ultimate question.  The right answer is; as much as we can get.  There are many factors which determine the value of your case (we have 100 factors which we consider when evaluating your matter, most of which are not determined until you have reached maximum medical improvement), here are a few:  damage to both vehicles, pre-existing medical issues, weather conditions, police reports, defendant’s driving history, your driving history, your medical history, was alcohol involved (for either party), medical treatment, continuity of medical treatment, the type of doctors you have visited, the reputation of said doctors, your final impairment rating or prognosis, etc, etc etc.  As you can see any answer to this question is determined by too many factors to predict.  Once again, the right answer is; as much as we can get!

The recovery will include medical expenses (past and future), disfigurement, impairment, lost wages, pain and suffering, medical anguish, loss of consortium.

For more information on this topic, go to the FAQ link to see What is My case Worth.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the insurance company is being unfair or unreasonable with their settlement offer, we may advise you that a lawsuit needs to be filed.  We will get your approval before filing a lawsuit and get you into our office so that you can fully understand what the next 18 months to three years hold.

The following is an outline of the procedure to expect after filing a lawsuit FOR A TYPICAL CAR ACCIDENT and the estimation of the time to be incurred in doing so.  All timelines quoted are estimates, subject to change based on the extent and complexity and length of the legal issues involved.

  1. Research, prepare and file the Original Petition with the Travis County District Court (Approximately 2 weeks to 1 month of attorney time)
  2. Defendant(s) are allowed 20 days after being served with a citation and the Original Petition to file an Original Answer to the lawsuit
  3. Upon receiving an Original Answer to the lawsuit, your attorneys, will send written discovery questions to the Defendants, which include the following (this process takes approximately 6 months – 1.5 years)
  4. Discovery – Most of the information gathered for a trial takes place during Discovery.  Below are the types of discovery associated with a typical auto accident.

a.  Request For Disclosure – its purpose is to learn the names of expert and fact witnesses of the other party(s); the dollar amount, if any, the other party has been damaged; and the basis for the other party(s)’ claim or defenses);

b.  Request For Production (allowed for by the Rules – its purpose is to obtain copies of evidence and documents in the possession of the other party that will assist your attorneys in protecting you and in pursuing litigation against the other party);

c.  Interrogatories (allowed for by the Rules – its purpose is to obtain answers to questions as to the position and knowledge of the other party);

d.  Request For Admissions (allowed for by the Rules – its purpose is to obtain admissions as to liability issues).

e.  Depositions – These are usually the most important part of any case.  The other side’s attorney will be permitted to ask you questions about the case, your injuries, your character.  We will prepare you for the deposition and will be there to object to any objectionable questions.  We will also depose, with ferocity, the defendant and any other experts or witnesses that may be involved in the case.

5.  Mediation – In Travis county, we must first attempt to mediate a case before we can proceed to trial. The parties meet with an independent third party, usually an experienced lawyer or retired judge, who attempts to arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement. The results are not binding. Many of our filed cases reach their conclusion here.

6.  If mediation is successful, then we prepare a Compromise and Settlement Agreement, Release, Agreed Judgment, Motion to Dismiss.

7.  If mediation is unsuccessful, we will now go to trial.  To prepare for trial will take about 1 to 2 weeks to formalize evidence documents, research, prepare strategies, hire experts, schedule witness testimony, prepare witnesses for trial and prepare and file required pre-trial motions.

The typical mid level car accident trial itself will take about 2 to 5 days and include the submission of evidence to the Court, the testimony of fact and expert witnesses, and the testimony of the parties, and the finalization and creation of a judgment to be entered by the Court.  To present this type of case to the Court, it will require the attendance and participation of an Austin accident attorney and a paralegal for the full 2 to 5 days of trial.  If a trial takes place, it usually does so between 1 years and 3 years after the petition is filed.

Time to call Funk & Associates!


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The submission of information to Funk & Associates (“The Firm”) or one of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship, and the receipt of said information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  This website presents general information which is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such.  Contacting Funk & Associates does not, and should not, prohibit you in any way from seeking legal advice regarding this or any other matter.  This Firm makes no representations, material or implied, of any statute of limitations which may or may not exist.