When The Going Gets Tough,
The Tough Get Bowen



What is probate?

Probate in Texas is a legal proceeding by which a court recognizes a deceased person’s death and appoints a personal representative to settle their outstanding debts and distribute any remaining assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. The term is used to mean all proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, whether the person died testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will).

In general, the probate courts in Texas handle a variety of legal matters including but not limited to, probate administrations, both independent (unsupervised) and dependent (court supervised); guardianships for incapacitated adults; matters involving inter vivos, testamentary and charitable trusts; and hears all cases involving civil mental health commitments.

Many of the probate courts in Texas are statutory probate courts which means they have exclusive jurisdiction over their respective county’s probate matters. They also have expansive jurisdiction to handle almost any civil matter that is related to an estate. These courts are presided over by judges elected on a countywide basis.

Can you avoid probate?

While there are strategies that can be taken during your estate planning to obviate the need for probate, every case is different and there is never any guarantee that probate can be entirely avoided.  Some of these strategies include: ensuring all your accounts have beneficiary designations, filing Transfer on death deeds for your real property, and creating a living trust.

How long does probate take?

Every case is different and therefore, the time frame can differ depending on the facts. For simple and straightforward estates, the administration can take up to 6-9 months. However, in various situations such as when no will exists, or dealing with a lost will, or even a contested will, the process can take several months or years to resolve.

As the personal representative of the estate, what do I need to do?

When someone passes away in Texas, the personal representative (also called an executor when the decedent leaves a will, or an administrator when there is no will) has four essential functions. They are as follows:

Presenting the will (if one exists).

Identifying and collecting estate assets.

Paying any debts owed by the decedent at the time of their death.

Distributing the remaining assets according to the terms of the will, or the Texas law of intestate succession (if there was no will).


The first step is presenting the will (if one exists) to the probate court to ensure that all property is transferred as specified. After the judge issues an order authorizing the named executor to act, that executor has the authority to transfer assets, access financial accounts, communicate with third parties, and carry out their other responsibilities. In cases where there is no will, the court will issue an order determining who the legal heirs are and their rightful percentages of the estate. Once the heirs are determined, the court will then appoint an administrator who will carry out the duties, similar to that of an executor.


The personal representative must take an inventory of estate assets in order to accurately transfer property and pay any financial obligations. They are required to make a list of personal property, assets with titles (such as vehicles and real estate), and financial holdings, such as investments and bank accounts.

In addition, If the estate includes property in another state, the personal representative may need to initiate an ancillary proceeding in that state for its disposition.

If the deceased owned a business that requires management, the personal representative may need to seek assistance from the probate court to establish a trust.


The personal representative must notify all creditors about the person’s death and validate any claims before paying them to ensure that they are legitimate debts. Other duties include:

Filing tax returns for the decedent and the estate and paying any taxes due

Notifying the Social Security Administration regarding benefits payments

Canceling and/or settling credit cards debts

Any assets that remain after all financial obligations are satisfied will then distributed according to the will or the laws of intestate succession.


At this stage, the personal representative’s primary responsibility is ensuring that all named beneficiaries or legal heirs receive the property left to them in the will. This means that they must:

Locate these beneficiaries or heirs.

Distribute the assets in accordance with the terms of the will, or the court order.

If an asset is not named in the will, the executor will distribute it according to Texas law. Once all distributions are complete, they may have to return to the probate court and ask it to close the estate and discharge them as the executor.


Estate representatives have certain fiduciary responsibilities to the heirs and/or beneficiaries. They are:

The duty of loyalty: Every action taken by the representative must be for the benefit of the estate heirs and/or beneficiaries. They can never disclose information about the estate to unauthorized parties, favor their personal interests over those of the beneficiaries/heirs, or realize a profit in business dealings with the estate.

The duty of prudence: A personal representative must exercise diligence, care, and prudence in dealing with the assets of the estate.

The duty to preserve assets: A personal representative must provide sufficient security and protection for estate assets. This includes but is not limited to obtaining sufficient insurance coverage and maintaining a separate bank account for estate money.

These responsibilities remain the name regardless of whether the probate administration is dependent or independent.

What happens if my siblings don’t like how I handle my parents’ estate?

The personal representative of an estate has certain obligations to beneficiaries/heirs of an estate. When a personal representative does not fulfill his or her obligations, beneficiaries/heirs have certain rights to force the representative to comply. This usually means getting the court involved. Personal representatives can significantly reduce their risk by respecting a beneficiaries’ reasonable expectations and rights.

A beneficiary/heir should expect the personal representative to do the following:

Provide the beneficiary/heir with information

It is a fundamental right of a beneficiary to ensure that an estate is administered properly according to the terms of the Will. To do so, beneficiaries must be provided with enough information to enforce their rights. This generally includes the right to receive a copy of the Will shortly following the death of the decedent, and the right of being informed about the assets of the estate within a reasonable period of time. If a Will has been probated in Texas, any person can get a copy of the Will and the estate inventory from the court. However, to minimize disputes, the personal representative should consider sending a copy of these documents directly to the beneficiaries to ensure that they are properly informed.

Distribute their entitlement in a timely manner

The length of time it takes to administer an estate will depend on its nature and complexity. It is quite normal for an estate to take a year to be administered. However, a wise personal representative may want to keep the beneficiaries informed of any expected delays.

Treat beneficiaries fairly

Beneficiaries have a right to be treated the same way as all other similarly situated beneficiaries. The personal representative should not give preferential treatment to some beneficiaries and not to others unless the Will specifically directs them to do so. Even if the Will gives them discretion in dealing with certain assets as they see fit, a representative should keep beneficiaries informed to minimize possible disagreements, even if the final decision is up to him or her. An unhappy beneficiary has no recourse so long as the representative is respecting the obligations set forth in the Will.

Provide an accounting report

In Texas, beneficiaries/heirs are entitled to an accounting–a detailed report of all income, expenses, and distributions from the estate which can be requested from the personal representative 15 months after being appointed by the court. The personal representative then has 60 days to furnish this request before the court will need to get involved. This means that the personal representative will need to show the court everything that has gone in and out of the estate while he or she was serving as the estate’s representative.

If the personal representative is found to be in breach of their fiduciary duty to the estate, they can be removed, and another person appointed.

Request the removal of the personal representative:

If a beneficiary/heir believes that the personal representative is not acting in the best interest of the estate, the beneficiary can ask the court to have that person removed. However, a court will only remove a personal representative if it determines that their removal is justified. That usually means that the personal representative will remain in power unless he or she has been in serious breach of his or her obligations. It will not remove a personal representative simply because the beneficiaries disagree with some of his or her decisions. An application to remove a representative is not without risks. The court may find that the legal costs relating to the application be paid by the estate, the beneficiary personally, or by the personal representative depending on the circumstance.

To avoid disagreements, an experienced or well-advised personal representative will not wait until beneficiaries start asking questions; they will let them know at regular intervals how the administration of the estate is progressing. Furthermore, if a beneficiary is not receiving the information they expect from the personal representative, they should request it on their own.

If you are a beneficiary or heir of an estate and have any questions throughout the course of its administration and you cannot get a satisfactory explanation from the personal representative, you would be wise to consult an attorney in order to enforce your rights.


During probate, the court will legally recognize a person’s death, oversee the payment of their debts, and rule on the distribution of his or her estate and assets. If your loved one had a drafted will, the named executor of that will must file for probate — typically within four years of the decedent’s death.

The Application for Probate of a Will and for Issuance of Letters Testamentary should be filed to the court with the decedent’s original will. From here, the court will have to notify each beneficiary and party named in the will that the process has begun.

The executor of the will must send certified letters to each person named in the will, with a copy attached, as well as the order from the court admitting the will to probate. The executor must typically do this within 60 days from the date of the order — and within 90 days, the executor must prepare a sworn affidavit with the court swearing that the beneficiaries were notified.


A dependent administration means that the administrator is dependent upon the Court’s supervision and authority to conduct any action in the probate process. This means an administrator would have to seek the court’s approval before selling any assets, settling any debts, and distributing any property to the beneficiaries. In addition, they must file accountings with the court every year that the probate case continues. This higher level of scrutiny can involve a lot of time and expense, but it helps estate heirs and beneficiaries feel confident that the administrator has properly completed their duties.

Independent administrations, on the other hand, allow the executor/administrator to fulfill their duties without any court supervision. This typically happens when a will appoints an executor and specifically states that the executor can act independently. This option is also available even absent a will if the heirs or beneficiaries of an estate all agree to waive the dependent administration requirement and appoint an independent administrator, which is less expensive and time-consuming. In this situation, the estate executor/administrator distributes assets, pays bills, and carries out their duties without court oversight.

Administration of an estate can be difficult, especially if there are assets located outside Texas or the decedent had significant business holdings. If you are named as the executor of a complicated estate, or an heir who believes they can successfully fulfill the duties of an administrator, an experienced Texas probate attorney can answer challenging questions and help you make the right decisions.

Estate Planning

What is estate planning?

Why do I need to plan?

What is my “estate”?

Do I need a will?

What happens when someone dies without a will?

Should I hire a lawyer to help me draft a will, or can I do it myself?

What do I do after the death of a family member?

What is a living will/advance healthcare directive?

What are trusts and what benefits do they offer?

What plans can I make for my pets?

Will my beneficiaries’ inheritance be taxed?

What is a power of attorney?

Can I leave money to a charity?

What happens if the terms of a trust are disputed?

What is a guardianship?


What is a will?

Who needs a will?

What happens if I die without a will?

Who should draft my will?

What are the requirements for making a will?

Can I appoint a guardian for my children in my will?

Can I dispose of my property in any way I wish?


What is a Revocable Living Trust?

Do you need a lawyer to execute a trust?

Is there a time limit on a living trust?

What questions to ask when setting up a trust?

What do you do with a living trust after death?

What are the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust over a Last Will (probate court)?

What are the drawbacks of a Revocable Living Trust?

Power of Attorney

Who Should Be Your Agent?

How The Agent Should Sign?

What if I move?

Will my Power of Attorney expire?


What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit in which the person bringing the suit has suffered harm to his or her body or mind.

Do I have a Personal Injury Case?

Three Basic Requirements for a Personal Injury Claim

  • The responsible party was careless (negligent). For example, if a truck driver crashed into an innocent victim’s car because he ignored a stop sign, the truck driver, under the law, would be considered negligent.
  • The negligence caused the personal injury. In the above example, if the innocent victim sustained a broken arm and severe headaches as a result of the crash, the truck driver’s negligence would be considered to have caused the personal injury.
  • The injury resulted in harm (compensatory damages). In the above example, if the innocent victim’s broken arm and headaches resulted in medical bills, lost wages, and/or pain and suffering, the injury would be considered to have resulted in compensatory damages (i.e., damages for which an injured party may be compensated).

If So, how much is it Worth?

If you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness and are considering filing a lawsuit, you are probably asking yourself: “How much is my case worth?”

There are two basic types of damages for which injury victims can be awarded monetary compensation – “compensatory damages” and “punitive damages” – and two potential limitations on these damages.


  1. “Compensatory” damages. Compensatory damages are damages that compensate you for your harms and losses caused by the underlying injury incident. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover the following compensatory damages:

Medical bills.

You are entitled to recover the total amount of your medical bills incurred as a result of your injuries. You are also entitled to recover the cost of future medical care, if any, you require as a result of your injuries.

Lost wages.

If you cannot work because of your injuries, you are entitled to recover your current and future lost wages.

Pain and suffering.

You are entitled to recover damages to compensate you for your physical discomfort and distress, as well as your mental and emotional trauma. In some states, there are limits on the amount you may recover for pain and suffering.

Loss of normal life.

If your injuries prevent you from enjoying the pleasurable aspects of life, such as hobbies, exercise and the like, you may recover damages for what is referred to as “loss of normal life.”

Other damages.

In addition to the common categories of compensatory damages listed above, additional damages may be applicable depending on the nature of your injuries. These include property damage, loss of consortium, disfigurement, increased risk of future harm, shortened life expectancy and future care-taking expenses.

Punitive damages.

Punitive damages refer to a sum of money, often significant, that goes above and beyond compensating you for your injuries. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their extremely reckless or intentional behavior. Examples include a car company that knowingly leaves faulty brakes in a car rather than issuing a recall or a doctor that intentionally performs an unnecessary surgery. Punitive damages are reserved for only the most extreme cases of reprehensible conduct. An attorney will be able to tell you if your case may qualify for punitive damages.

Potential Limitations on the Extent of Your Monetary Recovery

Two major factors can affect the extent (maximum or partial) of your monetary recovery:

Who is at fault for your injuries?

The extent of your monetary compensation will depend, in part, on who is at fault for your injuries. If someone else is entirely at fault, then you are entitled to receive all of your compensatory damages. If you are entirely at fault, then you are not entitled to recover any compensatory damages.

But what happens if you are partially at fault and someone else is partially at fault for your injuries? Texas is a “modified comparative negligence” jurisdiction, which means that a judge or jury will examine the facts of your case and assess each party’s relative fault.

As long as you are no more than 50 percent at fault for your injuries, you are entitled to recover compensatory damages. Your damages will, however, be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were awarded $1 million in damages, but were found to be 30 percent at fault for your injuries, then your damages would be reduced by 30 percent, or $300,000, and your total recovery would be $700,000.

Did you attempt to “mitigate” your damages?

When you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, you have an obligation to “mitigate” your damages, which means you must avoid aggravating your injuries. Generally, an injured party must attempt to minimize their injuries by seeking prompt medical attention and following the medical provider’s instructions.

The government was at fault.

If a local or state government employee is found to be liable for your injuries, there may be a cap on the maximum amount of damages you can recover.

Other than these three situations, there is no limit to the amount of compensation a jury can award you. Unlike many other states, there are no damages caps for non-economic damages. However, the state and federal constitutions require that certain damages awards are not “excessive.”

Do I have a case if I do not feel hurt?

There is a possibility that you can still have a case even if you do not feel hurt. After being involved in a car crash, it’s possible that the adrenaline from the car crash is causing you to not feel as much pain which is only temporary. You may start to feel increased pain or other symptoms later on, so it is better to always consult with a doctor even if you do not feel pain.

How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured or lost a loved one caused by another’s negligence, you have the right to bring a personal injury or wrongful death against the at-fault party. If you are successful, your recovery may include compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and other injuries that will continue to affect you for months and possibly years to come. An experienced Texas personal injury attorney is a valuable asset who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Having the right attorney on your side can mean the difference between winning and losing your lawsuit. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will also help to ensure that you receive a full and fair recovery for your injury.


Choosing the right personal injury attorney can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. Make sure that your lawyer has these four essential characteristics:

  1. Experience You Can Trust

There are several stages to a lawsuit. During a lawsuit, you will rely on your attorney to help you make many important decisions – how much a case is worth, when to settle, when to go to trial, how best to handle an insurance company that refuses to negotiate in good faith, and more – each requiring the kind of decision-making that only comes with years of experience. Experienced attorneys are also up-to-date on legal developments and changes in the law, and they likely have credibility with insurance companies and the respect of the opposing counsel.

  1. Proven Track Record of Success

Many personal injury cases are resolved through settlement, in which your attorney and the opposing attorney negotiate a financial payment for your injury in exchange for your agreement not to pursue the case any further. Claims that cannot be resolved through settlement go to trial, where a jury determines the amount of damages you recover. Experienced personal injury attorneys will not cave-in to opposing counsel or to a big insurance company. Instead of accepting a quick payout or mediocre settlement, the attorney may advise you to push for a better offer or try the case. The attorney you choose should have a successful track record of settlements as well as jury trial verdicts.

  1. Personal Service

Personal injury lawsuits can last from several months to two or more years. So, having a good relationship with your attorney is important. Good attorneys will understand your needs and be responsive to them. When you ask a question, they will listen carefully and answer it. When you are feeling overwhelmed or confused, they will steer you in the right direction. When you are hurt and suffering, they will provide you comfort and support. The personal injury attorney you choose should be committed not only to your case but also to you.

  1. No Fees Unless You Win

Avoid choosing a personal injury attorney who charges you for their services up-front, even if you do not recover a damages award. The best personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency basis,” meaning they only get paid if they successfully get compensation for you and your family. This aligns your attorney’s interests with your own.

How Does the Litigation Process Work?

The litigation process typically has 8 significant milestones.

1) The Incident

2) Selecting an Attorney

3) Pre-Filing Fact Gathering

4) Filing the Complaint

5) Formal Discovery

6) Settlement Discussions or Mediation

7) Trial

8) Appeals

Below you may find out more about these specific phases of litigation. We hope this information serves you. If you have further questions, contact us.


The injury or incident is what initially gives rise to a lawsuit. It can be a car crash, 18 wheeler crash, dog bite, on an injury on another person’s property,  , medical negligence, or other event that has caused harm to an individual.


Once you believe you may have been through an event where you need a remedy, it is important to speak to someone in the legal profession regarding your rights. At this point you should consider selecting an attorney to help you with your lawsuit. Most attorneys who help victims are willing to speak to them about their cases free of charge. You should use that opportunity and speak to an attorney about your case.


Whether or not you have selected an attorney, it is important to gather the materials you need to preserve the evidence in your case. For example, if you have been involved in a car crash , you will want to obtain the police report, information about any other people who were involved in the car crash , witness names and contact information, insurance information, photographs of your vehicle, and photographs of the other vehicles. You also want to keep track of the doctors who you have seen, bills that you have incurred, and track how the injury may have affected you. The more material you have and the better organized it is, the more it will help your lawyer assist you. Once an attorney is involved in the case, the attorney will often have an investigator take statements from witnesses, follow up on information related to your incident, and determine what information the attorney will need once a lawsuit is filed. On occasion, particularly strong cases may resolve without the filing of a lawsuit. In certain situations, we will prepare a package for the potential defendant or its insurer to review prior to filing the lawsuit. While these do not always result in settlement, it allows the defendant and the insurer to understand their exposure and what difficulties they may face as the case moves through litigation.


If the insurance carrier for the at-fault party who caused your injuries refuses to do the right thing, the only option is to file a personal injury lawsuit. . Sometimes these lawsuits have administrative hurdles that must be exhausted before filing. These hurdles include government claims. All government claims and complaints have strict statutes of limitations (due dates by which they must be filed). Should one miss one of these deadlines, you can be barred from ever filing a lawsuit against those legally responsible for the harm you sustained. In order to preserve your rights, it is always best to speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later. The filing of the lawsuit is the initiation of the formal lawsuit process. It is the framework through which litigation proceeds. Once the defendant has answered the lawsuit, the case is ready for formal discovery.


Formal discovery has several aspects, including asking and responding to questions known as interrogatories, seeking and turning over documents related to the action, asking the other side to admit to certain facts, and taking depositions. Depositions are formal question-and-answer proceedings that are taken down by a court reporter, and often a videographer, for use later at trial. Toward the middle portion of formal discovery, depositions are taken of percipient witnesses-those witnesses who have knowledge or have perceived something related to the incident. Toward the end of formal discovery, depositions of experts occur. These are witnesses hired by one side or another to provide opinion testimony on subjects like medicine, crash reconstruction, safety, design, and other areas.The formal discovery process in a case can last quite some time. Depending upon the complexity of a case, formal discovery can last from three months to several years. Once the parties have completed discovery and gathered the evidence, they need to prepare their prosecution and defense, the case proceeds towards trial.

The formal discovery period is also the time where parties can make certain types of motions-formal requests that the court take a specific action. These motions include requests that one side or the other respond to specific questions, such as a motion to compel, or they can be motions that seek an end to the lawsuit without trial, such as a motion for summary judgment. While rare, sometimes a court will grant a motion for summary judgment for a defendant, which will functionally end the case against that particular defendant.


At a certain point in the case, the parties will typically sit down to some form of settlement discussions. The most common settlement discussion is mediation. A mediation is usually overseen by a retired judge or an experienced lawyer who acts as a neutral party and who works with the parties to try to resolve the case without a trial. A mediator cannot force any party to settle a case-the client makes that decision. The client does so when an offer has been made that the client feels is an acceptable alternative to proceeding to trial. While we enjoy trying cases, a settlement is frequently better than a trial-a settlement has a certainty that trial does not. While a client may be giving up the possibility of a larger outcome at trial, the client is guaranteed that they will get a result. No one can predict what a jury will do in a particular case. Some cases require several opportunities to sit down and discuss the case before the case resolves.


When the parties have been unable to reach a settlement and the case is fully prepared, the matter proceeds to trial. Trials on catastrophic cases often last several weeks or months. The majority of our trials are jury trials where 8 to 12 jurors make the decision. The client is an active participant during the course of the trial. The trial involves jury selection, opening statements, witness testimony, documentary or other tangible evidence, closing arguments, and jury deliberation. Once the jury or judge returns a verdict, the parties then have the opportunity to appeal the outcome if they believe that the result was unfair in some fashion.


Appeals occur when one side is unhappy with the outcome or decision that has been reached at trial and believe there is a legal basis for the judgment to be set aside. Cases can also be appealed if the judge has made a ruling on a terminating motion such as a motion for summary judgment. Appeals require detailed briefing and analyses of the facts, transcripts from the trial, pleadings from the underlying case, and briefings from all sides. Appeals typically take one to two years from the date the appeal has begun until the appellate court makes a decision on a case. Sometimes parties engage in settlement discussions again during the appellate process. If an appeals court upholds the verdict, then the case is most likely completed unless there are unusual circumstances. The appeals court can also decide that something was unfair during the trial and require that the case be retried.

Should I Talk to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?

There is no Texas law that obligates you to speak to the liable party’s insurance company after a car crash . Instead, seek out legal representation from an experienced Houston car crash attorney like The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC.

With our attorneys on your side, we guide you through the process and handle the negotiations on your behalf to pursue your best interests. Let us help you determine when and why it is necessary to speak to insurance representatives.

It is always best to let your insurance company handle all matters directly with the other insurance company involved in a car crash claim. You are not required to discuss any details of the claim with the other insurance company. This is especially important when there are personal injury claims. It is easy for something to be taken out of context or misunderstood, which could jeopardize your claim. The other insurance company may attempt to contact you and even pressure you to provide information to process the claim. Politely decline and suggest they direct any questions regarding the matter to your insurance company or attorney.

You should be especially wary of a call from the other driver’s insurance company when they ask for your permission to record the conversation. That means they will turn on a recording device and everything you say will be recorded. Generally, you do not get a copy unless you specifically condition your permission on getting a copy. Even so, it is best to consult an attorney before creating any written recordings.

Your insurance company is responsible for gathering information about the crash and negotiating a fair settlement. That is what they are licensed and paid to do. There is only one instance when it is prudent for you to talk to the other insurance company. In what are called “third party claims”, the other party involved is clearly at fault, so the claim is filed with the other person’s insurance company. This is only after they have admitted fault, or it has already been determined. Otherwise, it is not advisable to talk to the insurance company of the other person involved in the accident. Even then, it is often advisable to have an attorney do it for you. Remember they handle insurance claims every day. They will have more knowledge and more information than you. It is best to have someone you can rely upon with just as much knowledge and usually much more. At The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC, we request that any questions about pending insurance claims be directed to your attorney or insurance agent. We can suggest the best course of action regarding your claim.

If you’ve been in a car crash and are looking for representation from a local personal injury attorney in the greater Houston, Texas area, please contact us and we will reach out immediately to discuss your claim.

How can I handle my medical bills until my case is settled?

During a personal injury claim, your hope is that you will receive compensation for any past and future medical expenses. While you wait, you need funds to pay for those bills. Luckily, you do have options. In most cases, you can defer payments until your case settles, and most providers as well as hospitals have been in these situations enough to know that they can wait for a settlement.

Being in the middle of an injury claim is highly stressful, and the last thing you need to worry about is the medical expenses sitting in front of you while you try to recover from your injuries. Some claims can take months – if not years – to resolve themselves. So, how do you pay for the growing number of medical expenses when you cannot work, and you are waiting for a settlement?


You can still pay your medical bills while you have a pending injury lawsuit. One of the best ways to do so is to speak with your medical providers, the hospitals, and other agencies that send you these bills and create an arrangement. Let them know that you would like to defer payments until you receive your settlement. In most cases, these providers will do so.


If you have health insurance, you can use that insurance coverage to pay for medical costs while you wait for an official settlement in your case. Your health insurance provider will pay up to your policy limits, but you will still be responsible for any deductibles or copays as part of your policy.

If you do have a pending personal injury lawsuit, you should note that your health insurance company may file a lien against your settlement. That is because they will want reimbursement for any medical costs they cover as part of the accident. Therefore, they will pay for those costs, but then your attorney will be required to take funds from your settlement to pay them back afterward.

Health insurance is the most common way car crash  victims pay for their medical expenses while they wait for their settlement.

What if you do not have health insurance?


Most healthcare providers will allow you to defer payments, the provider is offering medical care upfront, without payment, in return for receiving payment after your case settles in court (or during private negotiations).

You agree to pay the provider in full for any outstanding medical balances once you receive your settlement.


If you do not have medical coverage on your auto insurance, or you have no health insurance, the best option is to speak with your attorney. Your attorney can negotiate with your healthcare providers to ensure that your treatment is not paused or affected while you wait for an injury settlement.

Everyone deserves care, and when you are suffering serious injuries from a car crash t that was not your fault, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden alone.


In most personal injury claims, settlements take six months to one year. Be careful setting these type of expectations. It is better to say something along the lines of… “There are many factors that affect how long each person’s personal injury claim will take to conclude. The most important factor that is unique to each person is when that person reaches maximum medical improvement. Meaning no additional medical treatment is needed.  That is why it is critical to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve for the disruption thrust into your life through no fault of your own.


If you or a loved one was seriously injured, do not wait until you are facing insurmountable amounts of medical expenses to file a personal injury lawsuit. When someone else’s negligence leads to your serious injury, you have the right to seek compensation from that party.

An attorney can help you file an injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and not only receive compensation for your medical expenses, but for your lost wages, physical pain, and even mental suffering.

To get started, schedule your case evaluation with The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC. Attorney Boë Bowen understands how stressful it can be to face thousands in medical expenses after a serious injury, and he can help you and your loved ones recover the compensation you deserve.

What is a release in a settlement?

Most personal injury claims result in a settlement, or a payment of an agreed-upon amount compensating you for your injuries. A settlement agreement is a legally binding document both parties sign, agreeing to end the dispute and dismiss their claims. It’s also customary to sign a release in a settlement agreement.

What is a release of all claims form?

A release of all claims form releases the other party from liability, meaning that you cannot pursue further legal action after accepting the settlement.

It’s important that you understand how a release of claims form will affect your legal options. Make sure to thoroughly discuss your case with a Houston, Texas personal injury attorney at The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC. It may be beneficial to take your case to court instead of settling with the other party.


Release of all claims forms are also known as liability waiver forms. As mentioned above, they release the other party from liability and from having to pay additional claims. In other words, you’re signing a document that requires the other party to pay you in exchange for the other party being released from responsibility for causing your injuries and damages.

A release form should contain the following information about your claim:

  • Identification of the parties involved
  • The details of the accident (when and where it occurred)
  • Your claims (bodily injury, emotional damage, property damage, etc.)
  • Payment details
  • Governing law and enforceability of the agreement

The other person’s insurance company will likely ask you to sign a release form before they pay you. They may even hold on to the settlement check until they receive your signed release form. That may be frustrating, but in many ways, it’s beneficial for you – this gives you and your attorney time to thoroughly examine the document.


Before you sign the release form, have your lawyer examine the document thoroughly. They should make sure that all damages are accounted for. If something is left out or if you are still undergoing treatment for your injury, don’t sign the form.

Once that document is signed, you won’t be able to make additional claims, so it’s imperative that you review the agreement several times and make sure everything that should be accounted for is present in the document.

If you do not agree to the settlement offer, don’t sign the release form. Again, if you do so you give up the ability to hold the other party liable, and you’ll have to pay for upcoming or future costs yourself.


Of course, not all release forms will look the same or have the same particulars, but most will contain the following elements:

  • Identification of releasor and releasee – In the context of personal injury, the releasor is the injured party, and the releasee is the at-fault party.
  • Releasing obligation to pay – This part of the agreement states that you will not receive further payments from the other party.
  • Giving up the right to sue – By signing the form, you give up your right to sue the other party and their insurance company.
  • Non-admission of fault – The document also provides that no party is admitting fault. It doesn’t affect the settlement amount; instead, it simply provides that the parties don’t blame each other.


You may experience serious ramifications by signing a form you don’t fully understand or agree with. By hiring a personal injury attorney at The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC, you can protect your legal right to pursue compensation and prevent significant consequences.

Contact an experienced attorney at The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC today to learn more about your legal options.


This is a common question without a specific answer as each person’s personal injury claim is different. The biggest factor in the time required to receive your personal injury settlement check depends upon the amount of time required to treat your injuries. For example, it may take longer for a person who needs surgery following a car crash compared to a person who only needs physical therapy to receive a settlement check.

That is why it is important to speak with one of the personal injury attorneys at the Bowen Law Firm, PLLC to learn more about the factors affecting your specific claim and the settlement check that belongs in your pocket.


Personal Injury settlement checks can be issued for various types of cases, including car crashes, wrongful death claims, slip and falls, product liability or defect claims, premises liability claims, medical malpractice, TBI (traumatic brain injury) or spinal cord injuries, dog bites and more. When a victim’s injuries are cause through no fault of their own by another person and suffers expenses from medical care, lost wages or earning capacity, reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more, financial compensation via a civil lawsuit settlement is a means of helping the injured party recovery and live a productive life.

The process of obtaining a settlement check includes the following steps:

  • Signing a release: In order for the defendant’s insurance company (or defendant alone) to issue a settlement check, you will have to sign a release form stating that no further legal action will be taken to pursue additional damages for the incident in question. By signing the release, you effectively protect the liable party from being sued in the future for the same injury or accident.
  • Processing the release: After you’ve signed the release, the insurance company processes the document and then issues a settlement check. In most cases, the settlement check is sent to your personal injury attorney and made payable in both of your names.
  • Depositing the check: Once the check is received, your attorney will deposit it into a special trust or escrow account. As soon as the check clears, your personal injury attorney will distribute the settlement money. However, it should be noted that in some cases your attorney might need to put a portion of the settlement money towards any outstanding debts or liens. Be sure to always discuss with your attorney in advance whether or not any unpaid debts or liens exist in your particular case, so you’re prepared accordingly.
  • Deducting legal fees and paying you directly: Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing up front, and instead a portion of the final settlement award is deducted and used to pay the lawyer fees. Once your attorney pays off any remaining liens and subtracts legal costs (e.g. hours devoted to your case, court reporting costs, expert witness fees, private investigator fees, etc.), you will receive your settlement money. The contingency fee an attorney charges can vary depending on which attorney you choose to represent you. That’s why it’s important to always discuss fees and an estimated percentage deduction of your final settlement amount in advance. If you find two attorneys with similar experience and past success rates, but one charges a 45% contingency fee while the other charges 33%, it’s in your best interest to confirm those details ahead of time before committing to an attorney.


Delays, while not a common occurrence, can happen occasionally in personal injury settlements. In such cases, it’s helpful to know what to expect. If a defendant is not represented by an insurance company, it’s possible that he or she may have their own release form that needs to be agreed upon by all parties. In such cases, your attorneys, as well as the legal representation for the defendant, will have to review the release and agree unanimously on the terms. This may add additional time to your settlement check being received, but in most cases the situation can be resolved without issue and in a relatively short period of time. Wrongful death cases and other cases involving estates are two types of claims that tend to take a bit longer and require additional preparation.

Maintaining regular communication with your attorney and asking questions will help ensure you are kept apprised of timelines and any potential setbacks to receiving your personal injury settlement check.

How do I pay for a lawyer in a personal injury case?

Your Texas personal injury attorney may receive the check from the insurance company or responsible party after settling your case or winning an award in court. Then, they will take out expenses and fees before sending you the outstanding funds.

Most Texas personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning their clients do not pay anything until after they reach an agreement or receive an award in court. The law firm handling the case covers all expenses during this period and represents them to the insurance company, judge, and jury.


The process begins when you sign the settlement agreement or there is a verdict in court.

The agreement paperwork goes to the insurance company, where it may take a few days to a few weeks to process. We can call and check on an estimated date of your payment if it takes an unusually long time.


Once the law firm has the check, it will typically pay any liens that are on the settlement or judgment, such as from medical providers.

The law firm will also take its attorney’s fees and other expenses encountered during the case.


You can find out the percentage of your attorney’s fees from your agreement with your lawyer you signed at the start of your case. You can expect it to be a third or a little more of your total payout. There may be clauses that allow you to receive more or less of the total amount if your case settled before filing a lawsuit, or if you had to go to court.


The expenses in your case depend heavily on the facts of the claim and how far your attorney had to go to build a strong case to fight for your compensation. Common expenses include:

  • Administrative costs including copying, postage, and similar expenses
  • Costs of the investigation, including accident reconstructions and survey teams
  • Expert witness fees, if necessary
  • Other expenses related to gathering information, such as medical record fees

Court costs, if necessary

What is a “contingent fee”?

Simply put, a contingency fee means that a lawyer works in return for a percentage of a settlement, verdict, or a jury award: not for an hourly charge. When a lawyer works for a contingency fee, it means the attorney gets paid only if their client recovers damages. There is no upfront charge for the attorney’s services. In fact, you never make an out-of-pocket payment. The contingency fee simply comes out of the compensation the attorney recovers on your behalf.

Contingency fees are deducted from the settlement or award that is recovered by a lawyer on the client’s behalf. If an attorney settles an injury claim with an insurance company, the contingency fee is deducted from the settlement. If the claim goes to a trial, the lawyer will represent the victim in court. If the verdict or jury award is in the victim’s favor, the contingency fee will be deducted from that when the judgment is paid.

It’s important to understand that with contingency fees, no recovery of damages means no legal fees. The lawyer only gets paid when you recover compensation.

Why Use Contingency Fees?

Contingency fees are common in personal injury claims. Quality legal representation can be expensive. Contingency fees are a way for people who may not be able to afford an attorney’s hourly rate to pursue a claim. Contingency fees allow injury victims to hire a lawyer without having to worry about legal bills on top of the medical bills and other injury expenses that may be piling up.

Limited client resources shouldn’t produce limited results. Contingency fees work for both clients and lawyers. That’s because the lawyer’s interests are aligned with the client’s. An attorney will accept only cases that have a strong chance of success. The more money the lawyer recovers for the client, the more the lawyer gets paid. That gives the lawyer a big incentive to maximize the client’s recovery.

In other fee agreements, a lawyer is hired to perform work at a set hourly rate. The client often has to pay an amount of money upfront called a “retainer.” If the retainer runs out, or the client is not able to pay their legal bill, the lawyer may stop representing them. Contingency fees help ensure that if a lawyer takes a claim, that lawyer will work on that claim until it’s finished.

Contingency fees allow clients to have their claims evaluated by a lawyer at no cost. A legal claim evaluation can be expensive, and many clients don’t have the resources. For a lawyer, it takes time, training, and experience to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a claim. The contingency fee model allows clients to get a lawyer’s consultation without spending money out of their pocket.

Contingency Fee Agreements

If you’re working with an attorney on a contingency fee basis, you may have to sign a contingency fee agreement. The contingency fee agreement will discuss the time and work a lawyer will put into the claim. It will also let you know if there are other costs that may arise with your claim.

The agreement will outline what costs are covered and what costs are not. The agreement will depend on the facts of your case and your situation. In most situations, clients will have no out-of-pocket costs.

Many costs may be discussed in a fee agreement including:

  • Expert analysis. If your claim requires an expert to study the record, there may be related costs.
  • Court fees. If a claim goes to trial, there may court fees incurred.
  • Costs for certified records. Hospitals, insurers, and authorities may charge fees for official copies of records. These records can be vital to a claim.

Often, these costs can be deducted from a settlement or verdict, leaving clients with no out-of-pocket expenses. Our attorneys will work to craft a contingency fee agreement that works for you.

We Work for You

If you’ve been injured, contact us for a free consultation. We can discuss your claim and any questions you may have about contingency fees.

We have represented injury victims throughout Texas, including Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County  areas and beyond. We understand the challenges of personal injury claims and we fight for our clients and their families. In many claims, we’ll work on a contingency basis so that you can get quality representation without out-of-pocket expenses.

What should you do if you are injured at work?

Many companies have specific programs aimed at avoiding work related injuries. Safe work practices and efforts to avoid injuries are important for employers and employees alike. They create a safe working environment while saving money for the employer. However, once an injury happens, you are not doing yourself or your employer any favors by failing to report it.

If you suffer an injury while working, one of the most important things you can do is to report it. This might seem fairly obvious. However, there are many times a person is injured without requiring immediate medical attention, so it might seem like a good idea to take a wait and see approach and not mention the incident. When an injury is not reported, an employer can deny you medical treatment and benefits for missed time from work. Reporting injuries properly will prevent many potential problems.

Failing to report an injury can lead to several problems. If you do not report an injury on time, your employer can deny you medical treatment and out of work benefits. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will also question why your employer did not report the injury on time. Your private health insurance carrier will not pay for treatment for work related injuries.

If you do not report an injury when it happens, your employer can deny the injury occurred or may claim it happened outside of work. Many employers also impose strict internal deadlines for reporting injuries , for instance, within 24 hours of an incident. If you fail to report the incident on time, you can receive a formal reprimand and/or suspension without pay. You can actually find yourself in the position of receiving a formal reprimand for not reporting an accident that your employer denies happened.

If you injure your back lifting a heavy box or twist your knee climbing off a piece of machinery, you may not require immediate medical treatment. It might also seem like a good idea not to mention this to your supervisor unless it reaches the point that you’ll need to see a doctor. Then, if you wake up the next morning with severe pain or stiffness at the site of the injury your or your back starts to act up weeks later, your employer can deny medical treatment because you did not report the injury when it first happened.

What should you do?

Report the injury to your employer, even if you think you are not seriously hurt. By reporting the injury,  you protect yourself against the employer who might claim that you were injured away from the workplace. If possible, report the injury in writing or in the presence of a reliable witness. If you are a union member, you should also report the accident to your union representative in addition to your employer. Using an accident report form provided by your employer or union is best.

It is also important to know your co-workers. In the event of an injury, your co-workers are your best witnesses as to the happening of an accident as well as the cause. They may also be in a position to verify the happening of the accident if your account of what happened to you is challenged.

Even if you are reporting an injury late, you should still follow the above recommendations.

In Texas, injured workers are allowed up to 30 days in most situations to report an injury , however, employers can impose much shorter internal deadlines. You may eventually be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but if an injury  is not properly reported, you will face more hurdles along the way.


If you are injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You should consult with an attorney to inform you of your rights and obligations under the law and strongly recommend that you call an attorney today if you have been hurt at work.

Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?

Personal injury claims cover a wide variety of situations and different types of injuries. You may have been injured in a car crash, by slipping and falling on someone’s property, or bitten by a neighbor’s dog. All these things are considered personal injury and the level of your injury can make big a difference in processing your claim.

That is why is it important to reach out for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Bown Law Firm, PLLC today before you lose any rights to ensure maximum compensation for your injury.


Attempting to handle a claim on your own only to hire a lawyer later may complicate the claim process, so it’s important to understand what you’re capable of and what’s at stake if you mishandle your case. If you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a claim, you may consider contacting an attorney immediately after your injury for a consultation to find out if an attorney is worth the cost.

Here are a few examples of cases that you may be able to handle without an attorney:


One of the most common types of case involves injuries caused in car crashes. Someone might rear-end you at a low speed and cause minor damage to your vehicle. The injuries to yourself or your passengers might result in a few visits to the doctor’s office. Filing a claim with your insurance, or the other person’s, will often be efficient and enough compensation to cover the costs of repair to your car and the medical expenses incurred because of the accident. If this is the case, and you are satisfied with the coverage and service you receive from the insurance claim, there could be no need to call an attorney or seek further legal advice.


Insurance companies will only pay out to their policy limits. This means if the defendant who injured you has a $30,000 maximum insurance policy and you’ve been offered a $30,000 settlement, even getting a larger verdict may not be useful to you. Any additional dollars over what the insurer is offering would have to be collected from the defendant directly. If the defendant has assets or money, then it may be worth it to try to collect additional damages if you believe you deserve them. However, if the defendant has little in the way of assets, then accepting the settlement is probably the best move.


Ensure you learn about the most important issues, including fault and legal liability that affect your case, and the various compensation available for different types of damages.

This can involve a lot of time and research in order to understand the particulars of the law. Many people do not have the energy to put into this research and there are professionals who have already undergone that training and have intimate knowledge of the law: attorneys. If you find yourself spending more time than it’s worth, and getting frustrated by the complications of the details, it could be time to consider consulting a legal professional.

That is why is it important to reach out for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Bown Law Firm, PLLC today before you lose any rights to ensure maximum compensation for your injury.

How do I pay for a lawyer in a personal injury case?

Personal injury lawyers make money by winning personal injury cases in court or by settling personal injury case out of court. For the majority of personal injury cases, a personal injury lawyer will charge a contingency fee. In a contingency fee arrangement, the fee is contingent on the outcome. It is only paid if the case is successful.

If the lawyer wins the case, he or she will take a percentage of the final settlement in a case or from the final verdict at trial. When a person becomes a client of a personal injury attorney, he or she signs an agreement with the attorney agreeing to pay the percentage.

If no money is recovered from a judgment or settlement, the client does not owe the lawyer’s fees. The contingency-fee arrangement balances the interests of both the client and the attorney.

This percentage varies by state, case type and individual attorney. In general, it ranges from 33% to 45% of the settlement amount.

Contingency fees may appear high, however, when a person hires a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, that lawyer is taking a gamble on the case. During the course of litigation, some cases will settle, some will go to trial, and some will be appealed and perhaps tried multiple times. In other words, an attorney has little idea as to how much time a case will take at the time they take it. The case may make lots of money, or it could get nothing, and the lawyer will get no money for his or her time.

A client should always discuss a fee arrangement with the attorney at the start of the case, and it’s best to get the final agreement in writing.

It is common practice for the settlement check to be sent to the lawyer. When the settlement check is received, the lawyer will contact the client. The lawyer should also explain the amount he or she will be deducting from the settlement check to cover fees and expenses.

Most personal injury lawyers will also deduct any expenses that were covered by the lawyer. “Fees” and “expenses” do not mean the same thing.

Fees charged by lawyers are the charges for their time. Expenses are out of pocket expenses that lawyers pay in the furtherance of a case and may expect to be reimbursed for. Many personal injury lawyers will cover these costs and expenses and then deduct them from the client’s share of the settlement or judgment. Make sure it is understood whether the lawyer’s percentage is calculated from the total settlement, or whether costs are deducted before the calculation is made. In most cases, the lawyer fees are calculated based on the total settlement and then the costs are taken off after fees are deducted. Other lawyers charge for expenses as they become due. During an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney, be sure to inquire about all related fees and potential expenses.

Costs and expenses in a personal injury case may include:

  • Court costs, such as filing and deposition fees
  • Fees for investigators and expert witnesses
  • Research service fees
  • Trial exhibit preparation
  • Copying, fax, postage and other office expenses
  • Legal research costs
  • Medical and police reports
  • Travel costs

Some lawyers may charge lower fees, but keep in mind that a lower fee may mean a less experienced lawyer with less capital to fund a case. This means a higher percentage fee may be better if the lawyer obtains a higher settlement or verdict.

Some lawyers charge a tiered contingency fee that depends on how far a case goes before concluding. If the case settles before a lawsuit is filed, the contingency fee is lower than if the case goes to trial or beyond.

Most personal injury lawyers do not charge an hourly fee for their time. A number of lawyers will agree to take a personal injury case on an hourly basis, but a client needs available cash. A typical personal injury lawyer may charge anywhere from $250 to $500 or more per hour, plus expenses. This is why contingency fee arrangements are so attractive.

How long do you have to get a lawyer after an accident?

After going through a car crash in Texas, filing a claim for it might be the last thing on your mind. However, the statute of limitations in Texas means that you’ll need to think about filing your claim sooner than later. A statute of limitations (SOL) is a law that determines how long a person has to file a lawsuit in civil court.

After time passes as dictated by a SOL, a person loses their ability to file a claim, no matter how negligent the other party was to cause the accident. So, knowing the SOL could make a difference between recovering losses or having to pay for them on your own. Keep in mind that a SOL does not dictate when a claim needs to be settled. It only determines how long a person has to file their claim with a court.


In Texas, the statute of limitations (SOL) for car crash claims is the same one the state uses for most personal injury claims. So, the SOL for car crash claims regarding injuries in Texas is two years from the day of the crash. This limit also applies to those who want to make a claim for property damage resulting from the crash. However, you should always talk to an attorney about your case, even if you think that the SOL has passed for your claim.

If a person wants to file a claim on behalf of someone who was killed, this is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. While wrongful death claims have the same two-year limitation, they do not begin on the date of the accident. Instead, the “timer” for a wrongful death claim starts on the date of the person’s passing.


There is one important exception to the statute of limitations on car crash claims in Texas. If a person working for the state of Texas caused your crash, they’ll only have six months to file a claim. Filing this claim can also have more steps because it requires an injury claim to be submitted to the department of the Texas government that the person was working for when they caused the crash. This report should detail when and where the crash happened, who was involved with it, and other details that will help the state address your claim.


No one should ever settle with an insurance company before speaking with an attorney. At the core of every insurance company is a business that’s looking to protect profits. So, low settlement offers, delays, and denials are all strategies used by insurance companies to try and lose as little money as possible to a claim. Speaking with an attorney will help you determine if the insurance company is offering a fair settlement or if you should file a claim before the statute of limitations passes.

At The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC, we’re prepared to help you recover losses after a Texas car crash, dog bite, or slip and fall. We’ve helped obtain billions of dollars for customers, and we’re ready to fight for you. Car crashes can trigger years of struggle caused by medical issues, debt, and the loss of the ability to work. Our Texas car crash attorneys can look at your claim and help you obtain the full compensation you deserve instead of just a small portion of what’s fair.

What is the average settlement for a minor car accident? (Risky having this – can create expectations – reconsider this section)

Depends, some estimates put the average car accident settlement for a minor to moderate collision at $20,000 to $30,000. Severe cases could be worth much more depending on circumstances. Some victims in Texas have obtained six- and seven-figure settlements for their car accident damages.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, your insurance or the other driver’s coverage might be responsible for compensating you for injury and damages. Or you have collision coverage on your own vehicle and the crash was your fault, the insurance company will pay a certain amount to fix your car. If the cost to repair the damages is more than the value of your vehicle, the insurance company may consider your car totaled and give you a lump sum based on how much it’s worth.

When the wreck was caused by another driver’s negligence, his or her insurance company should compensate you for any losses, damages, pain and suffering. The sum that the company offers may be much lower than you expect. It’s easy to get reimbursed for funds that you’ve paid out. First, let’s be clear. We cannot give you an exact answer. It’s challenging to put a fair price on pain and suffering.

AVERAGE AUTO ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS (Risky having this – can create expectations – reconsider this section)

It is difficult to determine average settlements, as each case is unique. However, this is a basic guideline to expect, based on various circumstances.

  • $10,000 to $25,000 for minor injuries (soft tissue damage or whiplash)
  • $50,000 to $75,000 for long-lasting injuries that require surgery or physical therapy
  • $75,000 to $100,000 for spinal injuries (not resulting in paralysis)
  • $100,000 and $250,000 for brain injuries (cognitive impairment, loss of brain function, requiring surgery)
  • For debilitating injuries such as paralysis or severe brain injuries requiring daily assistance, settlements can cost well into the hundred-thousands or millions

Unfortunately, some insurance policies have limits. While the other driver may have had insurance, their company may not compensate the full amount you are due because of their limit. They will give you as much as they can to a point. If your settlement should be worth $20,000 but they will only give up to $10,000, that may be all you’re granted. You would have to sue the other person directly for the other portion of your due settlement.


The settlement amount you receive for your injury causing incident could vary based on several factors. Depending on

  • what or who has been harmed
  • damage solely to the car, if you sustained physical injuries
  • if you experienced further pain and suffering after the immediate event

You could either receive a settlement that only covers the cost of your vehicle’s damage, or you could be granted a higher settlement due to long-lasting injuries and/or compensation for the time you could not work due to your recovery.


Pain and suffering involve the emotional distress brought on after you’ve been injured in an incident. Several facets of distress fall under the pain and suffering umbrella:

  • Physical pain, both temporary and long-lasting
  • Emotional and psychological disorders (depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.)
  • Physical limitations (disabilities)

Calculating pain and suffering can be done through several means. The simplest option: Total your bills, between medical expenses, therapy bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage. These are considered Special Damages. However, this is not the only method you can use, as those bills are separate from your personal pain and suffering, which are General Damages.

To accurately calculate your pain and suffering, you must determine what category your pain and suffering falls under: Current pain and suffering, or current and future pain and suffering. The first includes your pain and suffering until the conclusion of your medical treatment. The second extends into the foreseeable future. As would be expected, your claim will be higher for current and future pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, there is no set calculation as each person’s injury, recovery, and impact on their personal life is unique. That is why it is critical to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can maximize your financial recovery for the pain and discomfort thrust into your life through no fault of your own.

Should I get a lawyer after a minor car accident?

While there is no requirement to hire a  lawyer for a minor collision , you should think about doing so to cover your bases.

Consider this scenario: While heading to work or leaving the grocery store parking lot, the unexpected happens. Another driver hits your car. You think, should I simply exchange insurance information with the other driver, and both of us can be on our way? Should I hire a lawyer for a minor accident?

Depending on how the crash happened, the damage to the vehicles, and any possible injuries, it might be in your best interest to hire a lawyer—even for a minor collision.


When another driver hits you in a minor car crash, you might think that you will just file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, get a check to repair the vehicle damage, and put all this in the rearview mirror.

The truth is, however, that it is not always that easy. What may seem like a minor car crash can turn into a major legal battle you may not feel equipped to fight on your own if you suffered an injury that does not present itself immediately after the crash.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle-related injuries send more than 2.3 million people to the emergency room annually. However, after a minor car accident, you may still feel an adrenaline rush, and you may believe you are not hurt, so you do not see a doctor right away.

Following a minor car crash, you might have suffered injuries that do not present until days or even a few weeks later. These injuries can result in chronic pain from disorders that might require long-term treatment and rehabilitation.


A soft tissue injury causes damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even low-speed crashes can generate a lot of force. Drivers may hit the brakes, causing the vehicle to come to a sudden stop that can jerk the neck back and forth in a forceful manner. This motion could cause a condition called whiplash. The Cleveland Clinic explains that symptoms may not manifest for several days after a crash and may include:

  • Neck swelling and stiffness
  • Neck pain with movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling or numbness in arms
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue


When the other driver hit you, you may have bumped your head on the steering wheel but barely noticed. If this happened during your car crash, you might have suffered a concussion. Concussions can be severe, although the symptoms may not show up right away. The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms of a concussion as:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion


Both soft tissue injuries and concussions are common ailments following even a minor car crash. Either may eventually require a hospital stay, doctor visits, imaging tests, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and more.

These medical expenses can quickly add up. That is why it is essential to seek medical attention after your car crash, even if you do not think you were injured. If you quickly settle an insurance claim and accept an initial payment, you might waive your legal right to pursue compensation for your crash-related injuries in the future.

It is best to have a doctor document your injuries as soon after the crash as possible if you want to hold the at-fault driver responsible with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.


If another driver caused your injuries or vehicle damage in a minor car crash, you should not incur these expenses on your own. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You may be entitled to economic damages such as, but not limited to:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Loss of earning capacity

You may also receive compensation for noneconomic (less tangible) damages such as, but not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life activities

Keep in mind, if you choose to hire a car crash lawyer for a minor crash and file a personal injury lawsuit, you have a limited time to do so. Every state has its statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a case. If that time limit runs out, you might miss your opportunity to pursue compensation for your losses and injuries in court.

Why you should hire an attorney if you were injured through no fault of your own?

  • Working with a car crash lawyer can help you receive reasonable compensation that may exceed the amount that the insurance company would offer you on your own. A personal injury attorney will help you present every detail about your case to the insurance company or a judge. He or she might bring up information that you would have missed if you did the negotiations yourself.
  • Reimbursement for your car repairs and medical bills will almost always be determined by the amount that you paid. The lawyer will help you negotiate an adequate settlement for pain and suffering.
  • It’s the insurance company’s job to offer you the lowest acceptable amount for a settlement. That’s how the organization makes the most of their own income and profits. An insurance adjuster may try to prove that you underwent unnecessary treatment. They may attempt to say that you were able to go to work.
  • If you want to maximize your settlement, you’ll need to do more than submit a claim through an insurance company. An attorney will help persuade the insurance company that they should look into the matter further. A lengthy investigation may be initiated, and the personal injury lawyer will negotiate the settlement with the insurance company.
  • You don’t always have to file a lawsuit to get a settlement payout for whiplash or another auto injury. The insurance company and your attorney may reach a suitable agreement. If they don’t, you may need to take the matter to court. A personal injuryattorney can answer your questions about filing a lawsuit following a crash.

How long will my case last?

If you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness and are considering filing a lawsuit, you are probably asking yourself: “How long will my case last?”

Although there are many similarities, each person’s case is different and the amount of time to resolve can vary depending on certain factors. Specifically, the amount of time required to reach maximum medical improvement is different for each person – the amount of time needed to fully recover from the injuries thrust into your life through no fault of your own. Once you have reached maximum medical improvement the experience personal injury attorneys at the Bowen Law Firm, PLLC will work diligently and efficiently to move your case into settlement position to maximize your financial recovery as quickly as possible.

Contact our experience personal injury attorneys today to learn more about your case.



It is essential to understand that you only have one opportunity to sue for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other financial burdens you have experienced. Once a settlement is accepted, or a verdict is issued at trial, your case is over. If you settle too early and your condition worsens, and other medical bills pile up months or years down the road – from surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy and medical treatments – you will not be able to go back and sue for more money. Based on the nature and extent of your injury, an experienced attorney may advise you to wait before filing your lawsuit. While frustrating and potentially burdensome, this delay may prove critical in obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries. Filing a suit or settling your case too soon can cost you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.


During the various stages of a lawsuit, your attorney will be interacting frequently with an insurance company, either directly or through opposing counsel. If the insurance company responds to your attorney in a timely fashion, your case will move along at a quicker pace. At times, however, insurance companies are less than fully cooperative, taking weeks, if not months, to respond to your attorney. This will delay your case. A skilled personal injury attorney will keep your case moving forward through the legal process as quickly as possible and keep you abreast of significant developments in your case.


Most personal injury lawsuits are settled and do not go to trial. Should your case go to trial, it can sometimes take months to get the trial date set in court. Trials typically take two days to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the case. On occasion, an appeals court will be asked to review the trial proceedings, adding to the length of your case.


Some personal injury claims can be resolved quicker than others depending on the complexity of the claim. An example is a car crash case in which one party admits fault, and the insurance company readily agrees to pay the other party fair compensation for their injuries but cannot agree to the amount of damages. On the other hand, complex cases can take two or more years to resolve. An example of this is a multi-car collision involving many injured parties, disputes over who was at fault, complicated insurance issues, and lengthy court battles. Most personal injury lawsuits involving medical negligence, wrongful death, slip and fall, and defective products, involve some degree of complexity and may take an extended period of time to resolve.