Hiring a Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
What are my rights if I have been injured?
As a general rule, if someone’s negligence caused your injury, you are entitled to compensation for those personal injuries. The specific legal rights that apply to your case in particular will vary depending on the facts.
Because specific timelines will apply to your case, you can lose all your rights if you wait too long. That is why it is so important to contact a lawyer early in the process. Your first personal injury consultation is always without charge at Noteboom—The Law Firm in Hurst, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth.
I am a citizen of Mexico. Do I have rights after a personal injury?
Yes. Mexican citizens have the same right to compensation for wrongful death and personal injuries that United States citizens enjoy.
Do I need a lawyer if the insurance company has offered to pay my medical bills?
While you may not need to hire a lawyer in every case, you should take advantage of the free consultations offered at Noteboom—The Law Firm to make sure you do not lose your legal rights. The extent of your recovery will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. In many cases, however, full compensation may include damages other than payment of medical bills, such as payment for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of ability to enjoy life, lost wages and diminished earning capacity. This is why early consultation with a Noteboom lawyer experienced in personal injury cases can help you obtain the maximum recovery allowed by the law.
Do I need a lawyer if the insurance adjuster is friendly and cooperative?
Yes. A lawyer represents you. An insurance adjuster represents the insurance company. Insurance adjusters want to settle your claim cheaply. The sole purpose of the adjuster is to pay you as little as possible, as fast as possible, before you know the full nature and extent of your personal injuries. A good adjuster will be pleasant and will try to make you comfortable so you will not recognize the need for a lawyer until it is too late. Insurance adjusters are skilled in getting accident victims to settle their claims for far less than they are worth and in some cases may even trick victims who do not have lawyers into saying or doing the wrong thing for their case.
If I decide I want to hire a lawyer, when should I contact you?
Immediately. The longer you wait to hire a personal injury lawyer, the more time the insurance adjusters have to manipulate the situation. Hiring a lawyer right away allows your lawyer to gather physical evidence before it’s gone, and to get accurate witness statements while memories are still fresh.
I used a lawyer to draft a will for me several years ago. Why can’t that lawyer represent me in my personal injury case?
Personal injury claims are often brought against parties who are represented by insurance adjusters and by skilled defense lawyers hired by insurance companies. Every insurance company works hard to keep its losses as low as possible, and they do that by aggressively defending claims. Your opposition will be represented by an attorney with a great deal of experience in defending personal injury cases. You should hire a lawyer with experience in pursuing personal injury claims, who can best protect your interests.
I am not the “suing type.” Is there any way my claim can be resolved without actually filing a lawsuit?
Lawsuits are the method our society uses for resolving disputes when other methods have failed. The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved before a jury reaches a verdict at trial. It is also true that small car wreck cases with minimal personal injuries can be settled even before a lawsuit must be filed. But for cases causing a wrongful death or causing brain injury, paralysis, and other serious personal injuries, the defendant and his insurance company will do everything possible to avoid paying the full value of your claim. A lawsuit, and the various pre-trial procedures overseen by the Court, will provide a more level playing field for you and your lawyer to get the information necessary to evaluate the defendant’s conduct and properly prosecute your case.
What should I look for in choosing a lawyer to represent me?
Experience matters. Before hiring a lawyer, you should research the law firm and the lawyers you are considering to represent you. Ask for information about the lawyer’s education, training, and experience, and ask the lawyer to tell you about his or her experience in dealing with personal injury cases similar to yours. Ask about the lawyer’s trial and courtroom experience. You need to make sure that if your case goes to trial, your lawyer has the knowledge and experience to take you there. Noteboom—The Law Firm has two of the largest jury verdicts in Fort Worth or Tarrant County.
How do I pay for your services?
Every case is different, but we generally handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay us by the hour; rather, our fee is a percentage of what we are able to obtain for you, whether by settlement or after trial. With a contingency fee, if we are unable to make a recovery for you, you do not owe us anything for our time.
Lawsuits are expensive. Who pays the costs?
The contingent attorney’s fee does not include the costs of pursuing a personal injury claim, which may range from just a few hundred dollars to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex products liability or medical malpractice cases. Although many law firms may require you to pay these costs in advance, the personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm understand that the consequences of an injury make it difficult, if not impossible, for our clients to advance the costs of a case. In most cases, we pay the costs, and simply ask to be reimbursed at the conclusion of a case when your recovery is received. Noteboom—The Law Firm has the financial strength to pursue your case against the nation’s largest corporations and insurance companies.
Is there a minimum personal injury settlement amount?
No, there is no minimum or maximum settlement amount. The amount of a settlement in a personal injury case depends on many factors, including the type and severity of your injuries and the amount of economic damages, such as lost wages and past and future medical bills.
What is my case worth?
Any lawyer who tries to answer that question in a phone call or an email is not a lawyer you want to hire. Every case is unique. Before anyone can make an accurate determination of the value of your personal injury case, they must have a thorough understanding of your course of medical treatment, your current condition, and your prognosis. Additionally, your lawyer must completely investigate the details of the accident, and analyze the impact that the accident has had on your wage-earning ability and on your lifestyle. Only then can an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney accurately evaluate your damages.
Who will pay my medical bills?
You are usually entitled to be compensated for any medical expenses incurred as the result of your auto accident, truck accident, or other personal injuries resulting from another person’s negligence. A personal injury attorney from Noteboom – The Law Firm in Fort Worth can work with you to make sure that every expense is itemized and recovered and can advise you on strategies to maximize available insurance benefits.
What types of cases do you handle?
We are a trial firm, and we handle cases where there is a good chance the case will tried to a jury. Most of our cases involve serious personal injuries or death from construction accidents, car wrecks, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, and premises cases where a person injured on the property of someone else. The next largest areas of our practice involve insurance bad-faith claims handling cases and financial and business torts.
Noteboom—The Law Firm has successfully operated in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for more than twenty years. If you’re not sure if your case is something we’d handle, feel free to give us a call. We are always happy to provide you with names of other attorneys who might be a better fit for your case.
What if someone intentionally injures me?
Many lawyers will say “you don’t have a case” when someone intentionally injures you. This mistaken belief comes from the fact that insurance polices generally provide coverage for only negligent acts, not intentional acts, and from the fact that an employer is generally not liable for the conduct of their employee when that employee intentionally injures you. That said, the personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm have made significant recoveries for persons injured by intentional acts. Each case is different, and your ability to make a recovery will depend on the particular facts of your case. If you or a loved one has received serious personal injuries through the intentional act of another person, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
What are my rights after a dog bite?
An owner of a dog, or any animal, may generally be held liable for the injuries that that animal causes to others. However, the ease with which you can win a dog-bite lawsuit varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm are familiar with animal control ordinances in Fort Worth, Dallas, and throughout Texas, and they can advise you on your legal rights.
For areas without leash-laws or similar ordinances, a recovery is still possible, depending on the facts of your case. If a wild animal—such as a wolf, lion, bear or monkey—injures you or a loved one, the animal’s owner may be held accountable under a theory of strict liability regardless of other facts.
It is very important to contact a personal injury lawyer soon after a dog-bite occurs. This is important both to preserve evidence and to make sure your doctors refer you or your child to specialists who can help you minimize any disfigurement and help you cope with the emotional trauma associated with these events.
Do you handle cases of libel and slander?
Yes. “Defamation” is the legal term that includes both slander and libel. Generally, slander concerns oral statements and libel concerns written statements. To win a slander or libel lawsuit, the statement must almost always be false, and we must show that the speaker or writer knew it was false or recklessly disregarded the truth. No matter how damaging, hurtful, insensitive, rude, or inappropriate the statement may be, if the statement is true, your case becomes very difficult to win.
Once this is established, we must generally show that you suffered an economic loss. The law recognizes, however, that some lies are so hurtful that you do not have to show an economic loss. The statements falling into this category are false statements about your sexual habits or false allegations of criminal conduct.
For the personal injury lawyers at Fort Worth-based Noteboom—The Law Firm, the most common defamation cases we see arise on the job. A co-worker makes a statement that causes you to lose your job or get passed over for promotion. These can be very hard cases, and the defense will argue that other events on the job caused your problems.
What are my rights if I am injured on someone else’s property?
An owner or occupier of property has a general duty to protect members of the public from injuries that may occur upon the property. But the level of that duty will depend on the reason you are on the property. These are called “premises liability” cases, and the personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm in Fort Worth have extensive experience in handling these lawsuits.
A property owner owes the greatest duty to someone who comes on the property for mutual business purposes. The most common example is a retail store. The store sells goods and services and you are interested in buying goods and services. Further down the duty scale are property visitors who come on the land for social or non-business reasons. Here, the most common example is a guest in someone’s home. The least duty is owed to a trespasser, but the landowner can still not willfully or intentionally injure trespassers, and must not create a situation that would attract children into dangerous areas.
What about personal injuries and wrongful deaths from swimming pools?
In most cities and towns, owners must fence, gate, and lock their pools in a manner that keeps children out. If they fail to do so, they will be found liable for injuries to children, even if the children were trespassers that were warned to stay off the property.
But many other factors can contribute to swimming pool accidents and drownings, including improper or inadequate safety equipment, lack of supervision, and poor design. Click here to see an article published by the personal injury firm Noteboom on the subject of swimming pool lawsuits.
What is a “slip-and-fall” lawsuit?
A slip and fall lawsuit is a specific type of personal injury claim where a person slips and falls to the ground. The classic example is a person who slips on a spill in a retail store. To win these cases, we must generally show that the owner of the property had notice of the condition and failed to clean it up within a reasonable amount of time.
Faulty construction and needed repairs can also cause slips. If a property owner knows a handrail or a step is loose but fails to repair it or warn you about it, that owner may have liability if the defect causes your fall.
What is a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death is a special claim, and the Texas Legislature has set limits on who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Only the deceased’s parents, surviving spouse, or children are able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. Other relatives, such as grandparents and siblings, may not recover for a wrongful death. In a wrongful death case, the defendant—if found liable for the death—is also liable to the parents, serving spouse, and children for their loss.
Can other relatives ever recover for a wrongful death?
In very limited circumstances, close relatives can recover for the mental anguish they experience when they personally witness the death of their loved one. This is called a “bystander” claim. To recover, the relative must have a close relationship, such as a sibling, a grandparent, or an uncle who actually lived with the deceased, and must have seen or heard the incident which caused the death.
Case Handling Questions
What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) pays for your injuries if you are struck by a hit-and-run driver or by someone who does not have adequate insurance—either because they have no coverage or because they do not have enough coverage—to pay for your injuries. This is valuable coverage and can help compensate you when, as often happens, the other driver can not. A personal injury claim under a UM policy is very similar to a personal injury claim made directly against the other driver, and both claims are often pursued simultaneously. The personal injury lawyers at Noteboom in Fort Worth can work with you to maximize you recovery under your UM policy and avoid the many pitfalls that can allow the insurance company to pay you less than you are entitled to receive.
Will my case go to trial if we do have to file suit?
Most lawsuits are settled before trial. But the personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm are trial lawyers and will prepare every case to be decided by a jury in Fort Worth, Dallas, or anywhere else in Texas. We always remain open to settlement offers, and our lawyers are experienced in settlement negotiations. But if we believe that a settlement offer is inadequate, we will take your case through trial.
Can a lawyer settle my case without my consent?
Absolutely, but the personal injury lawyers at Noteboom think that is a bad idea. When you hire us, our contract with you will clearly state that we will not settle your case without your consent. Some firms include a power or attorney or other language in your contact which gives them the authority to settle your case without your consent.
What is a “bodily injury claim” and are medical bills included?
The term “bodily injury claim” is the same thing as what most people consider a “personal injury claim.” In addition to medical expenses, your economic damages may also include lost wages, lost business, and future costs and expenses. Beyond economic damages, the law allows you to recover “non-economic damages” such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, impairment, and mental anguish.
My health insurer is demanding to be repaid from my personal injury claim. Can they do that?
Generally, yes. Most health insurance policies now have language that allows the insurance company to be reimbursed for the amount paid out on medical bills if the insured person gets a personal injury settlement. The personal injury lawyers at Noteboom—The Law Firm in Fort Worth are experienced in working with health insurers to evaluate the reimbursement claim and negotiate a lower settlement amount.
Can I get compensation for lost income?
You are generally entitled to compensation when someone’s negligence has caused you to lose income or earning capacity, whether the loss comes from a motor vehicle accident, a truck accident, a construction accident, or any other personal injury claim. A Noteboom personal injury lawyer in Fort Worth can help you to determine how your condition will affect your income, now and in the future. For catastrophic personal injuries, our lawyers will work with your doctors and with life-care planners to give the jury a complete understanding of your ongoing needs.
What other expenses are recoverable after a personal injury?
In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, you are generally entitled to compensation for any other expenses resulting from your injury. For example, you may need to pay for child care or domestic services if your injury prevents you from carrying out your normal family responsibilities. A Noteboom lawyer can help you evaluate these additional expenses so that you and your family are protected.
How do I get compensated for my pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering is a burden that can materially disrupt your life. Noteboom’s personal injury lawyers represent injured persons in Fort Worth, Dallas, and throughout Texas to obtain fair compensation for their pain and suffering. You can help your lawyer by keeping detailed records of how your pain and suffering has interfered with your quality of life.