If you live in the Midland area, you already know that you are living in one of the safest places in all of Texas to live, work, and play. Unfortunately, as the personal injury and accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm of Midland will confirm, accidents and accidental injuries will sometimes involve even the most safety-conscious individuals and families.
What Are Your Rights After an Accident In Midland, TX
After an accident resulting in injury, many people are unaware of their legal rights when it comes to “what do I do now?” In most cases an accident victim will talk to a Midland-Odessa car accident lawyer who will agree to represent the victim at all stages of a personal injury case.
This by far the best course of action following an accident for several reasons:
An accident lawyer has both legal and a moral duty to act in a client’s best interests
An accident lawyer has the training and experience to represent a client in a Texas court.
Accident lawyers have a deep knowledge of insurance law and civil law and are aware of the duties of any other parties that may be involved in a lawsuit.
Accident lawyers can offer advice, and possible alternative courses of action, to their clients at all stages of a personal injury case including the preparation and negotiation stages.
However, in a relatively small number of cases, an accident victim will decide that they “don’t need a lawyer” because they can “handle everything myself and pocket the money that I would have paid some lawyer.” To an insurance adjuster, the words “I’m representing myself” come very close to being a literal interpretation of the phrase “music to one’s ears.”
In many such cases, an accident victim acting as his or her own Midland-Odessa personal injury lawyer will accept what their insurance carrier’s adjuster presents as his or her employer’s “generous settlement offer.” The “living room lawyer” has their car repaired, a few emergency room and doctor’s bills are paid, and the self-appointed lawyer signs a document releasing both the policy holder and the insurance company from any further liability related to the injury. Once a “release” is signed, the accident victim has given up the right to seek additional compensation at some point in the future. Let’s review some of (the many) reasons that acting as one’s own attorney is a mistake.
Very few non-lawyers have an extensive knowledge regarding the structure of the Texas legal system or the roles of the various courts that comprise that system.
Even fewer non-lawyers will understand the finer points of Texas civil law and the “case law” interpreting those details.
Private citizens have very little authority to examine records such as accident reports, DMV records or medical records. A private individual also has no power of subpoena, discovery, or to depose potential witnesses unless empowered to do so by the court.
An insurance company will have access to its in-house legal department, which places a non-attorney at great disadvantage from the outset.
Insurance adjusters have a far greater knowledge of insurance and personal injury law than the average citizen. Adjusters are also trained in the psychology of negotiation and how to ask seemingly harmless questions whose answers can be used against anyone filing a claim with the adjuster’s employer.