Frequently Asked Questions
Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer
I have been in a motor vehicle accident. Should I go to a doctor?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you should see a doctor right away. Firstly, you should see a doctor for your own well-being. You may not be able to discern the extent of your injuries yourself; a small ache could be something significant, or it could be nothing at all. Only a doctor can tell you for sure. Secondly, you should see a doctor because if you decide to bring a legal claim against the at-fault driver or another party, you will need documentation of your injuries and what you did to fix them.
Do I have to go to court if I want to recover monetary damages?
The majority of claims and lawsuits are settled before they get to trial, but what happens in your case depends on the facts, the law and the parties involved. By consulting with a Sugar Land personal injury lawyer from The León Law Firm, P.C., we can help you determine your best legal options.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
Your attorney can speak with you about this, but even attorneys can't necessarily pinpoint what your case is worth until it is close to a resolution. Many factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the state of the drivers involved and the insurance companies, influence the outcome. So do your medical bills, your loss of income and the nature of your injuries. An experienced lawyer can work with you to decide whether to pursue legal action and how to proceed.
What if the insurance company offers me a check right away?
Before you accept anything - or sign anything - from an insurance company, be sure that you are aware of your legal rights and options. Accepting a check may mean that you are giving up your right to sue later on if you need extra medical care or you have to miss a lot of work. Consult an attorney before you negotiate with the insurance company.
What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?
A criminal case can only be brought by the government. The prosecutor makes a case against the person accused of a crime, seeking prison time or another punishment. The prosecutor must meet a higher standard of proof than in a civil case. A civil case can be filed by anyone whose private rights or civil rights have allegedly been violated by another party. When a private party files a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the party is seeking monetary damages, compensation for the loss suffered. A civil trial for wrongful death, therefore, is very different from a criminal trial for murder or manslaughter.
Are punitive damages recoverable in wrongful death actions?
Punitive damages are an extra monetary penalty against the party found legally responsible in a civil lawsuit. They are usually awarded because the defendant's behavior was reckless or malicious. Some, but not all, jurisdictions allow plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Your attorney can tell you more.
What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
If the person dies of the injuries that would have been the subject of the lawsuit, then the representative or heirs may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the person who was injured dies of other causes, then the representative or heirs usually can file the personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the person's estate. If the statute of limitations has run on the personal injury lawsuit, and the death resulted from those injuries, the legal claim may not be valid anymore. Each state treats the situation according to its own laws; competent legal advice can help you sort out your state's approach.
Can a plaintiff sue for the pain and suffering of the decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit?
While a wrongful death award compensates the survivor, a pain and suffering award normally compensates the person who experienced the pain and suffering. Some states allow pain and suffering to be included in a wrongful death lawsuit; others do not. The pain and suffering must have been due to the injuries that eventually caused death, and the person who died must have been conscious enough to actually experience the pain and suffering.
Can I bring a wrongful death action based on the death of a child or an elderly person?
Yes. The calculation of damages, however, may be different than if a parent who supported a family had passed away. It is likely focus on the non-monetary contributions or the services that the deceased provided to the family.
Contact a Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer
to get answers to your questions when you have been injured in an accident.