This is the next article in our series discussing personal injury cases in which the victim is paralyzed in Fort Worth, Texas. Our previous post discussed the importance of selecting a law firm with adequate resources to represent your interests. Firms will incur significant fees up front throughout the case, including multiple expert witnesses, attorney and staff fees, and more. Costs can reach into seven figures in complicated paralysis cases. Hiring a firm which lacks such resources can, potentially, result in your case not being handled properly. When choosing a law firm, do not be afraid to ask about their financial resources, their number of attorneys and support staff and whether they employ their own investigator. In this article we will discuss the need to hire counsel who will take your case through the litigation process if a settlement cannot be reached.
It is not uncommon for personal injury cases to be settled before any lawsuit is filed. This is particularly true when the victim’s medical prognosis can be reasonably ascertained and damages calculations are available prior to expiration of the two-year statute of limitations. Because this is a relatively common occurrence, some law firms limit their representation of clients to the settlement negotiation phase and are unwilling to continue to trial. Instead, these firms will refer the case to another firm if they are unable to reach a settlement with the insurer. This means that a victim, who has dealt with the attorney retained, will suddenly find themselves dealing with a new firm. Not only can this be disruptive to the case, it can potentially impact the new firm’s ability to provide adequate representation. For example, if the first law firm conducted only a cursory investigation for purposes of reaching a quick settlement, they may not have gathered evidence which may or may not be available later.
In catastrophic injury cases including those involving the victim’s paralysis, it may be difficult to obtain a medical prognosis before the statute of limitation expires. If not, counsel will need to file a lawsuit to preserve the ability to litigate the matter and be prepared to begin the trial process. It is important for victims and their families to understand this factor up front in paralysis cases. Furthermore, by retaining a law firm willing to handle both aspects of the case, there is less chance that counsel will recommend accepting a hasty settlement in order to resolve the matter. While we do not mean to imply that other firms would act against the interest of their clients in this way, it is important to understand that there is a real possibility that a firm would settle a matter so that it could collect a fee and not have to refer out a case. By retaining a “full service” firm you help to prevent such a possibility.
When looking for a law firm to represent you in a serious personal injury case we recommend inquiring about their willingness to litigate the case if necessary. We also suggest that you retain a firm in which the attorneys are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law and which also employs its own investigator. You should look for these traits regardless of whether you are injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.