Texas Car Accident Lawyers
Because of its widespread network of roads and wide-open spaces, Texas sees more than its share of car accidents every year. These car accidents can leave Texans badly hurt, injured, or even killed. If you or a loved one suffered injuries or death as a result of a Texas car accident, the Law Offices of George Salinas may help you seek justice. In the aftermath of a Texas car accident, you may experience pain, trauma, fear, and uncertainty. How will you recover physically and mentally? How will you pay your bills? You may not know your rights, or how to proceed. Our Texas car accident lawyers have helped people receive compensation for damages after car accidents. Whether your accident was caused by another driver, defects or issues in a vehicle, or something else, you may have a case. We have helped many clients with investigations into their accidents and in negotiations with insurance companies. Our initial consultation to discuss your case is free. Contact our Texas Car Accident Lawyers today.
What Injuries Could I Suffer in a Car Accident?Whether you were hit in a head-on collision, a side collision, a rear-end crash, or some other way, car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including the following.
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries (whiplash)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Limb amputation
- Scars and disfigurement
Who Could Have Caused My Car Accident?The person or party that caused the car accident typically bears the fault. For instance, if another driver runs a red light and hits your car, broadside, that car is likely at fault for the accident. This is the likely result because drivers in Texas should follow traffic laws and regulations and drive safely. The law requires drivers to stop at a red light, and safe drivers do so. Obeying laws, regulations, and safe driving practices are all part of the duty of care that licensed drivers owe to the public when on the road. Violating a duty of care can result in what the law categorizes as negligence. A driver who violates their duty of care may be deemed negligent. If so, they could be held liable for the injuries you suffered as a direct result of the accident. Liable means they would be financially responsible. Of course, not all accidents stem from other driver’s actions. But, the concepts of negligence and liability are common to all types of car accidents. Car manufacturers, for example, can indirectly cause accidents by failing to manufacture cars and components safely, or by failing to notify drivers of recalls that were made because of the defects in certain cars. These failures can be deemed to be violations of a duty of care. Why? Because manufacturers owe the public a duty of care to manufacture cars and components safely, and to issue recalls when required. They could be considered negligent if they violate these duties of care, and thus would be potentially liable. Similarly, repair shops owe a duty of care to properly and safely repair cars. They face potential negligence charges if they violate these duties of care, and are potentially liable.
What Damage Compensation Can Car Accident Victims Claim?Texas is a fault state for car accidents. The meaning of fault is simple: the party at fault should pay for damages resulting from the accident. Some states follow no-fault rules in car accidents, where each driver turns to their own insurance carrier for damage compensation first. Texas does not require that. Texas requires drivers to “show proof they can pay for the accidents they cause,” according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Car accident victims could either approach the at-fault driver’s insurance company or bring a personal injury case in civil court. In either scenario, they may seek compensation for:
- Current and future medical costs, including ambulance services, emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitative therapy, prescription medication, assistive devices, and more;
- Current and future wages lost from work, if the accident and injuries result in the victim losing time from work;
- Loss of earning capacity, if the injuries make it impossible for the victim to work at their former occupation or to take a lesser position;
- Property damage, for damages to the car and/or other property; and
- Pain and suffering.
What if the At-Fault Parties Maintain That They Do Not Have to Pay?Unfortunately, at-fault parties may try to get out of paying damage compensation. Their Insurance company may sacrifice just compensation for you, to maintain healthier profit margins for the company. Insurance companies and at-fault drivers may try to paint you as the at-fault party. They may try to argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident, but from some other event. They may argue you do not need the treatment that your doctor recommends. Contact an attorney to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Lawyers, frankly, are more likely to have heard all of these arguments before. They are part of a standard playbook in cases like these. An attorney could negotiate with insurance companies to help get you or your loved one the maximum amount of compensation practicable. Depending on the details of your matter, an attorney could bring your case to court. Insurance companies tend to disfavor court cases, because there is less certainty in the result that a judge or jury might come to and in the amount of damages awarded. Lawyers often keep investigators on retainer to investigate the causes of accidents. The attorney may pull surveillance footage, if available. If not, they could work with investigators and forensic specialists to determine how and why an accident happened. Forensic specialists deduce causes from the damage to vehicles and areas on the road. Your injuries themselves can provide investigators with many clues about how and why an accident has occurred. Please save all your medical records.
Texas Car Accident FAQYear after year, Texas ranks as one of the most dangerous states for drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 3,642 motor vehicle fatalities in the state in a recent year. To put that into perspective, that is 10 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in the United States. With the high number of accidents and fatalities, it is a good idea to know your rights and responsibilities after an accident. Below, we address some commonly asked questions regarding Texas car accidents.
What do I do after a Texas car accident?What you do after an accident can be important. Your actions can affect your health as well as the outcome of a potential personal injury case. That is why it is important to be intentional with everything you do after an accident. While the precise steps you should take may look slightly different than the ones listed below, depending on extenuating circumstances, keep the following steps in mind in the event of an accident:
- Check for injuries: Car accidents can be dangerous. In a recent year, 17,535 people sustained serious injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents in Texas. Check all occupants, both in your car and the other vehicle, to make sure everyone is okay. If there are any serious or life-threatening injuries, call 911 right away.
- Talk to the other driver: After an accident, the law requires you to stay at the scene and exchange insurance information with the other driver. This information can help you make an insurance claim and file a personal injury suit. When you receive the other driver’s information, make sure to write down their name, contact information, insurance policy, policy holder’s name, policy number, and contact number for the insurance agency. If you have a smartphone, the easiest way to document this information is to take a picture of both sides of the driver’s insurance card, and store their contact information in your phone.
- Collect evidence: Evidence could help you prove liability and the degree of damages. Once again, your smartphone is your most valuable tool. Try to take pictures of both vehicles, as well as any other property damage. It can be a good idea to get a picture of the other driver’s license plate to prove that the other driver was actually in the accident.
- Go to the doctor: After any accident, it is a good idea to go to the doctor for a thorough exam, even if you feel “okay.” Make sure to tell your doctor about any new symptoms. Now is not the time to tough it out. At the same time, do not try to exaggerate your symptoms, as your doctor’s impression of the appointment would become part of your car accident case.
- Contact an attorney: The law does not require you to hire an attorney to file a personal injury claim. However, it is not uncommon for some insurance companies to offer less money to non-represented parties. If you are unsure whether you may have a personal injury case, contact a personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation.
How much is my Texas car accident case worth?There is no way to predict how much any case is worth. Be skeptical if an attorney promises you a certain result. However, there are a few factors that insurance adjusters typically look at in every case. These include:
- Medical costs: This is often your biggest cost after an accident, and the most common reason most victims seek help from a personal injury attorney. The goal of a personal injury case is often to recover the full cost of all medical bills. While each insurance company may differ in regards to certain services, this typically includes doctor visits, medication, surgeries, hospital stays, medical devices, and rehabilitative services. If you are having difficulties paying your bills while you wait for a personal injury settlement, contact your attorney. They may help you defer payment until the end of your case.
- Lost wages: Serious injuries can interfere with your ability to return to work. This can quickly affect your ability to pay your bills and keep up with household responsibilities. If you miss work due to your injuries, your attorney may fight for lost wages. This benefit could cover wages lost for all the time you missed, from the date of your injury until you return to work. In the event you cannot return to work, you might receive future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering: Car accidents can cause substantial physical and emotional pain. Insurance adjusters typically consider the level of your pain and how much it affects you day-to-day. For personal injury matters, pain and suffering could cover physical pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD, loss of enjoyment, and loss of companionship.