San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys
The feelings that often follow a San Antonio car accident involve a combination of terror, shock, numbness, pain, anger, and loss. The experience of dealing with an insurance company after a car wreck often serves to deepen the crisis for victims of auto accidents and car wrecks. The injuries suffered from auto accidents can range from death and incapacitation to spinal damage that does not manifest itself for days after the collision. The injury, pain, destruction, and devastation of a car wreck means that victims should immediately contact an aggressive and experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer to fight for them. The Law Offices of George Salinas has represented many car accident victims facing recovery from a wide range of injuries. One thing that many car crash victims have in common is that they are unsure where to turn or what to do next. Please do not hesitate to call our law office to discuss how our San Antonio auto accident attorney may be able to help you.
San Antonio Car Accidents can Change Your Life in an InstantEven if you practice safe driving behaviors, are always alert, and are defensive behind the wheel, you still cannot control the actions of other drivers to prevent a crash. One moment you may be driving along as usual and the next, your car may be mangled and you may be in shock. Many San Antonio car accident victims experience such shock and as a result, may not realize the extent of their injuries or that they were injured at all. For this reason, it is always important to have an emergency medical technician evaluate your condition and do not fight it if they want to transport you in an ambulance. If you do not require emergency transport, the scene of a car accident can be chaotic. Police officers may arrive and begin questioning parties involved and witnesses. You should always make sure the police have your side of the story to put in their report. Clean-up of the scene may begin relatively quickly - especially if the crash was blocking a road - and you should take as many pictures of the scene with your phone as you can before authorities begin clearing the vehicles. After things begin to settle down, you may simply feel like going home and resting. However, it is wise to go to the emergency department or to your doctor as soon as possible for a medical evaluation. Many accidents victims think they are merely “sore” or “stiff” as you may expect to be after a collision when in reality, they have suffered injuries that will only worsen without proper treatment. Medical professionals can diagnose less identifiable injuries such as concussions, whiplash, and soft tissue injuries. Other injuries may be more apparent, such as broken bones or severe traumatic brain injuries (which usually cause unconsciousness), and these injuries require immediate stabilization. In any case, it is critical that you not only receive the treatment you need but also have an accurate diagnosis of your injuries in your medical records. Finally, after your injuries have been addressed, you will likely want to take time away from dealing with the accident. However, soon you will be watching medical bills pile up as you lose income from taking time off work to heal. These losses can cause significant financial stress and in many cases, car accident victims have the right to seek compensation for all of their losses. It is important that you call an attorney as soon as possible so that you can identify your legal rights and begin working toward your financial recovery.
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Recovering Damages for Your San Antonio Car Accident LossesThe first step when you call an attorney is for them to evaluate what happened and what caused the accident. This is essential as you can only hold other parties liable for your losses if you can demonstrate that they were at fault for the accident due to negligence. In some cases, negligence may be quite obvious—such as when a driver stumbles out of their car, clearly intoxicated after the crash. Other times, however, our legal team will need to investigate further into the cause of the crash to identify any possible liable parties. Some examples of negligence in San Antonio car accident cases involve:
- Driving while intoxicated - Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is strictly against the law in Texas, and every driver should clearly understand the risks and possible consequences of this conduct. Consequences can include arrests and criminal charges, which can lead to penalties like driver’s license suspension, fines, and even jail time. However, there are additional consequences for DWI if a driver causes an accident and injuries, as that driver should be responsible for all the injuries and losses they caused.
- Using a smartphone or other forms of distracted driving - Texas prohibits texting and driving, and some cities even ban all handheld device use while driving. Not all distractions involve electronic devices, however, as even eating or drinking, paying attention to backseat passengers, grooming, or following a GPS can all be dangerously distracting. Even a few seconds of distraction can cause devastating crashes.
- Aggressive driving or road rage - No one likes traffic, especially when you are running late or are otherwise stressed. Impatience on the road can escalate to aggressive driving, which can lead drivers to tailgate, weave through traffic, make offensive gestures, unnecessarily honk or flashlights, and more. While aggressive driving is dangerous enough, this can become road rage, which can involve intentionally putting others at risk of harm on the road. There is no excuse for any type of aggressive behavior on the road.
- Running stop signs or red lights - Red lights and stop signs are necessary to keep order on our roads in San Antonio, especially at intersections. Without these signals, there would be chaos and collisions would happen all the time whenever two streets intersect. Drivers expect one another to follow traffic signals and stop signs and, when they do not, serious accidents can result.
- Not yielding or merging properly - There are many times when drivers must respect the right-of-way of another driver. Failing to properly yield to someone else can result in collisions, and this happens regularly at intersections. In addition, if vehicles need to merge, they should always do so in line with traffic regulations. Drivers should never try to cut the line or cut off others to get ahead in merging traffic.
- Dangerous lane changes - There are specific guidelines for changing lanes in San Antonio, and drivers should always follow these rules to protect themselves and others. Some drivers might be impatient or otherwise careless, and they might change lanes without signaling, in no-pass zones, or even on the shoulder, which can be dangerous for everyone in the vicinity.
- Departing from a lane - When a driver suddenly departs from their intended lane, they can sideswipe vehicles traveling the same direction, or they can even veer into oncoming traffic and cause head-on collisions. There are many reasons why drivers might depart their lane, including drunk or drugged driving, distracted, falling asleep behind the wheel, losing control of a vehicle, or being forced out of a lane by another driver.
- Falling asleep at the wheel and fatigued driving - Fatigued driving is a more serious problem than many people might realize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 42,000 people suffered injuries in a single year due to drowsy drivers, and fatigue can cause impairments similar to the effects of alcohol. Anyone who keeps driving when they are overly tired should be responsible for the harm they cause if they crash.
- Speeding - Speed limits exist for important reasons. Transportation engineers know the hazards of every stretch of road in San Antonio, and they set speed limits accordingly. Unfortunately, too many drivers simply ignore or disregard speed limits and travel at whatever speed they wish. This can result in drivers losing control of their cars, failing to stop in time for hazards or traffic, and other issues that can lead to crashes and injuries to others.
- Tailgating - Tailgating happens when one driver follows another at an unsafe distance, which makes it difficult or impossible to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving, and it often occurs because one driver is moving slower than the tailgating driver wishes to travel. Tailgating often aims to intimidate drivers into moving out of the way, but in reality, it can result in severe and completely avoidable accidents and injuries.
- Medical expenses - All medical treatment can be costly, and you can seek compensation for emergency care, medication, hospitalization, surgical procedures, physical therapy, home health assistance, and more.
- Estimated costs of medical treatment needed in the future - If your medical treatment is not over when your claim resolves, you want to make sure that you obtain compensation for your future expenses, as well. Otherwise, you might be left paying for future medical bills.
- Wages lost from missing work - Many injured accident victims must take time off work while they recover from their injuries. This is especially the case if your injury required surgery or was disabling in any manner. If you lose income from missed work, you deserve to recover those lost wages.
- Future lost earning power - Some injuries cause impairments that prevent you from returning to work at all. This might happen following a severe traumatic brain injury, a paralyzing spinal injury, or other catastrophic injuries. You deserve to recoup the income you would have earned had you not suffered the injuries.
- Permanent disabilities caused by your injuries - If you have permanent disfigurement or impairments from your injuries, they can change your entire life in many ways. You might need medical equipment, accommodations to your home or vehicle, you might no longer play sports or engage in your favorite activities again, and you might even need help caring for yourself each day. All of this should be considered when seeking damages for your injuries.
- Pain and suffering - Pain and suffering is a non-economic loss from car accidents that you should never ignore. This loss does not come from medical bills, pay statements, or other concrete financial losses. Instead, the value of pain and suffering depends on your personal experiences and limitations due to your injuries. The right attorney can help you prove these non-economic losses as part of your financial recovery.
Crashes and Injuries In San AntonioSource: www.txdot.gov
- Lost wages due to time off work to recover from the injury or to care for an injured family member
- Lost future earnings of a victim who died
- Long-term care and rehabilitation services
- The pain and suffering resulting from the accident and the difficulty of living with injury or the loss of a loved one
- Property damage
Experienced Auto Accident Attorneys in San AntonioAt the Law Offices of George Salinas, PLLC, we can provide you with an auto accident attorney that has a strong background and list of credentials in the field of personal injury who will fight for you and stand with you as the journey to justice begins. We understand that you have many options following a car wreck. Many of our clients list our experience, personal communication from an attorney throughout their case, and the final result as the reasons why they would come back to us if needed or refer their friends and family, as many have done. If you would like to find out more about our services, please contact us today to speak with auto accident attorney George Salinas. When you bring in an car accident attorney in San Antonio, you’ll be bringing in a professional with the negotiation skills that will get results. While it might seem like a good idea to represent yourself, the truth is you simply won’t get a higher settlement amount because you’ll be bombarded with the complexities of the law. You have enough on your plate after an auto accident and should be focused on recovering. Let us handle the overwhelming amount of paperwork and legal jargon that must occur during this time.
Q: Should I call 911 if no one has any injuries?A: Yes. You should summon the police so that they can come to the accident scene and make an accident report. You might need the report to show proof of who was at fault in the accident to your insurance company. And if injuries manifest later, or if your vehicle has more damage than you first thought, you will have documentation of the accident.
Q: Should I move my car out of the road?A: It depends. If both drivers and passengers do not have serious injuries and both vehicles will drive, take pictures of the accident, and then, if it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road.
Q: Should I take pictures of the accident?A: Yes. The police will take pictures, but if you take pictures too, then you know that your car accident lawyer will have pictures to work from. Take photos from all angles. Be sure you capture any skid marks on the road, plus damage to guard rails, electrical poles, and road signs. If someone’s car damaged a homeowner’s yard, fence, or house, take pictures of the damage. A homeowner might try to claim that the damage is worse than it really is.
Q: Do I need to get the other driver’s contact information?A: Yes. While this information will be in the police report, you will have it sooner if you ask for it yourself. You should get the driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance information, and car registration information. You should give the other driver your information, too.
Q: Do I need to get witness information?A: Yes. You just need each witness’s name and a good phone number. If your attorney needs other information from the witness, they can contact the witness directly. The witnesses’ information and their statements should also be on the police report.
Q: Should I get medical attention?A: Definitely. Even if you think your injuries are minor, always get checked out. Tell the emergency room personnel that you were in a car accident. You may have internal injuries that you do not feel right away. Other injuries might seem minor, but could be major.
Q: Should I call my insurance company immediately?A: Yes. Most insurance companies give you very little time to file a claim. However, only give the insurance company your name, policy number and the location of the wreck. Ask the representative to open a claim and tell them that your attorney will contact the insurance company within the next few days.
Q: My vehicle does not have a lot of damage and my injuries are minor. Should I still call a San Antonio car accident attorney?A: Yes. Once you get your vehicle checked, the auto technician might find additional damage that you cannot see until they take the vehicle apart. As for your injuries, you could have injuries that show up hours or even days later. While you can file an insurance claim on your own, an attorney will almost always negotiate a better settlement.
Q: How do I find a good San Antonio car accident lawyer?A: You should have some questions ready to ask the lawyer at the initial consultation. Ask the attorney if they will take your case to court if the insurance company does not give you a fair and reasonable settlement, how many similar cases the attorney has settled, how many cases went to litigation (court), what kind of settlements and court awards the attorney secured, and how the attorney plans to communicate with you.
Q: What other questions should I ask a San Antonio car accident attorney?A: How much does the attorney charge if they settle with the insurance company? How much does the lawyer charge if they have to take your case to court? Fees may vary depending on your case and the agreement you make with the attorney. Also, you should ask if the attorney takes costs, such as postage, the cost for expert witnesses, depositions, mediation/arbitration, and other costs out of your settlement or if you need to pay those costs up front. In most cases, you pay those costs out of your settlement or the amount that the court awards you if you have to go to court.
Q: How much is my case worth?A: The value of your case depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries;
- The severity of the damage to your vehicle;
- Whether you will live with permanent disfigurement;
- Whether you need physical, cognitive or psychological therapy;
- If the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent or intentional; and
- Whether your doctor expects your injuries to be long-term or permanent.
Q: How long do I have to file a claim?A: You usually have just a few days to file a claim with your insurance company. However, in most cases, you have up to two years to file a court case if the insurance company does not offer a fair and reasonable settlement. This time frame is called the statute of limitations and is set by Texas law.
Q: What are “damages”?A: If you are injured in an accident, you might collect three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
- Economic damages include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, repair or replacement of personal property damaged in the accident, and the cost of any medical aids, such as walkers, wheelchairs, and other equipment prescribed by your doctor.
- Non-economic damages are usually awarded or included in a settlement if your injuries are long-term or permanent. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, inconvenience, disfigurement, and loss of use of a body part or function.
- Punitive damages are not to make you whole again, as are economic and non-economic damages. Rather, the court orders the defendant to pay you punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent or intentional.