What injuries does The Law Offices of Colby Lewis handle?
We handle a myriad of injuries resulting from partial fault or no-fault accidents, including but not limited to:
- Head injuries
- Thoracic injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Lacerations and disfigurements
- Extreme burns
- Neck injuries
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Chronic pain resulting from injuries
Do I have a personal injury claim?
If you have been hurt because of the negligence or mistake of another party, you may have a personal injury case. Some examples of personal injury cases are automobile accidents caused by the other driver, slip and falls because of improperly maintained properties, and exposure to dangerous substances.
The outcome of a personal injury case can be a settlement with the other side, or damages awarded to the injured party by the court if the case goes to trial. Occasionally, the court at its discretion awards extra damages to the injured party for the purpose of punishing the other side and dissuading future dangerous behavior. These damages are known as exemplary damages in Texas.
Are there different types of claims?
There are three main categories of personal injury claims, and each of the main categories has its own standard of proof. The facts of your case will determine what type of personal injury claim you can pursue. The three main categories of personal injury claims are: negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability.
The most common type of personal injury case is due to negligence.
A negligence claim arises when an individual fails to act with the necessary degree of responsibility that an ordinary person would use in a similar situation. If a person fails to fulfill this responsibility, the person may be found liable for negligence and held legally and financially responsible for the injuries and damages suffered as a result of that person’s negligence. For example, under Texas law, drivers on a road are required to exercise reasonable care when driving to avoid harming others. If a drunk driver injures you in a car wreck, the drunk driver would be liable for breaching the duty they owed to you, another driver on the road. As a result, the drunk driver may owe you damages.
The extent of a defendant’s duty is based on the context of the circumstances. While a surgeon would be held to a professional standard of care in the operating room, that same surgeon is only held to an ordinary standard of care if they are driving home from work and injure you in a car wreck. Companies and insurers sometimes attempt to protect themselves against negligence by denying liability, commonly by making their clients sign liability waivers before doing business.
A separate fault category of negligence is gross negligence, which is when an offender is aware that their actions carry an extreme risk of harm to others, but they carry on regardless of that fact. Thus, if you were injured by a drunk driver, that driver likely committed gross negligence against you. As a result, the court may award higher damages.
Intentional torts are normally both a crime and a civil wrong. Intentional tort refers to a deliberate act committed by the other party to cause you injury. For example, if that drunk driver exited his vehicle and punched you in the face. The standard of proof for a civil lawsuit is lower than that for criminal prosecution, so even if the drunk driver was acquitted of criminal charges, you may still have a successful civil lawsuit against them where you could recover damages.
When a plaintiff’s victory hinges on proving that the defendant behaved in a manner that was reckless, careless, or intentionally harmful, the case in question is one of strict liability. Strict liability is often employed against manufacturers or sellers whose defective product may have led to injury. To be awarded damages under strict liability, the Plaintiff must show that:
- The design, manufacture, or marketing of the product was defective;
- The product reached the plaintiff without significant change from its original condition;
- The product was “unreasonably dangerous”; and
- The defect actually caused injury.
What is a catastrophic personal injury?
We understand here at The Law Offices of Colby Lewis that almost every injury is catastrophic to the person dealing with it. “Catastrophic claim” refers to a legal concept that means extreme physical and life-altering conditions or injuries that will change the course of the injured individual’s life or lead to the deceased’s family needing to overcome tremendous hardships as a result of their loved one’s death.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include: individuals with burns across most of their body; the death of a family member as a result of negligence; amputations as a result of no-fault injury; and more. Insurance companies handle these types of claims with more experienced personnel and employ many intricate strategies to deny your claim. This is why it is pertinent to have an experienced attorney on your side.
The Law Offices of Colby Lewis will put pressure on the insurance company on your behalf, so you and your family have ample time to heal.
What should I do after a personal injury accident?
Go to an emergency room or visit a doctor if you haven’t already. You don’t have to tolerate your pain because you are afraid of the ensuing bill. Your health and safety are more important than any amount of money. If you have been injured as a result of another’s negligence, you can rest assured knowing that your attorney will fight to have as many medical expenses covered as possible.
It’s very important that you receive a professional assessment of your injuries as soon as possible after the incident. Law practices can gather from your ER report what course of medical care would be best for you, so we can get you into treatment more swiftly and smoothly. If you have visited a doctor, follow their care plan and attend all follow-up appointments.
Write down a narrative of what happened while it’s still fresh in your head. (See “How should I prepare my case?” FAQ below for more details).
Make a list of witnesses and their contact information if you know it.
Make sure you contact an attorney as soon as possible and follow their instructions carefully. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters, so when you don’t have an attorney, you are on an uneven playing field. Facing a team of professional attorneys that work full-time for a billion-dollar company all by yourself is not wise. Being informed about your rights and having someone who can effectively represent you can drastically change the outcome of your settlement. The Law Offices of Colby Lewis has a combined 30 years of experience and is well equipped to handle your case and provide you with a free case assessment. (See “What if I can’t afford an attorney?” FAQ below for more information)
How should I prepare my case?
It is important that you document the facts of your injury well. Write down what happened, how it happened, and craft a timeline documenting what happened before, during, and after your injury. This timeline will be an evolving document—update it every time there is a change in the status of your injuries. The timeline will be invaluable in communications with the multiple insurance companies, medical providers, and attorneys that may be involved in your case.
It is imperative that you fill out and sign every document that your attorney sends you as soon as you can. At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we want to make it as easy as possible for our clients–we send out a comprehensive Welcome Package and case history sheet that helps you keep everything organized and easy to access.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The last thing you should have to worry about when you are hurt is money. Many attorneys are willing to work with you and make special payment arrangements. These arrangements may include payment plans or contingency fees. Payment with contingency fees means that a certain percentage of the winnings from your case go towards attorney fees. At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we don’t get paid unless you do—our fees are paid through a small percentage of your settlement. If we do not win your case, you don’t owe us a cent.