If you have been injured in a car crash, the Texas Car Accident Guide was created by Austin personal injury lawyer Daniel R. Smith to help residents earn the compensation they deserve.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Texas, you are probably feeling very stressed out. The injuries can be severe, you can be missing time at work, and your medical bills may be extensive. We want to say that we’re sorry that you’re going through this. Our experienced Texas car accident attorney is here to help you through this. We will be glad to sit with you and talk about your case, then get right to work on getting you the most compensation possible.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
There are a lot of ways collisions happen and they can cause a lot of damage. You might experience mild injuries that need minimal treatment, or you might need a big surgery that is going to keep you from getting back to normal.
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
Do not ignore pains that you feel after the accident. You might not immediately feel injured in the moment because of your adrenaline, but you should get to a doctor right away to check to make sure you are okay.
Important First Steps
Medical attention is the most important thing that needs to happen after the accident. You might have the ability to stay on the scene to collect evidence, which we will talk about later, but if you’re in serious pain or are in danger, you need to have someone else do that for you. Whether it is right away for a few hours later, you need to see a doctor, get to the emergency room, or go to an urgent care center.
Collecting evidence is so important to your case. If you’re unable to stay on the scene, a friend, family member, or your attorney can do this for you. You want to get pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident as well as the tire marks and your injuries. You should also gather contact information from both the witnesses to the accident as well as any other driver involved.
The next big step to take after the accident is getting in contact with an experienced Texas car accident attorney. You may think that you can take on this case alone, but it will almost always end with you having less of a reward than if you had an attorney on your side.
Statute of Limitations
In Texas, after a car accident, you have two years in which you can file a claim. This does not mean that you should wait those two years and call an attorney the day before the time limits run out. There are things that need to be done before you can successfully bring your claim. You will have to go over your case with your attorney then they will get to work. They will want to get an idea of your condition, your treatment plan, and how long you will be in the condition that you are. It is so important that you do not wait to call an attorney so that there is plenty of time to make this a highly successful claim.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Very shortly after your accident, you most likely have an adjuster for the insurance company reach out to you. This will be the insurance company for the liable party. They might seem very friendly and helpful, but you should be very careful of talking to them. They are not fully concerned with your best interests. They are only really looking out for themselves. They might even try to contact you while you are still in the hospital receiving pain medication. If they call you, they will be looking for a recorded statement. You should never give them one. It will not benefit your claim, even if they say it will. What you can tell them without risking ruining your case is that you were involved in the accident. That’s all they really need is a confirmation that it was you. You are in no way obligated to tell them details surrounding the accident. You may also want to tell them that they can ask any questions through your attorney and pass off communication to them.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Car Accident Guide
What Do I Do After My Accident?
The other day I got a call from somebody who had been in a car accident. They were injured and wanted to know what to do. The first thing I told them was they should go seek medical treatment immediately. I’m not a doctor, and they should listen to that doctor and follow the doctor’s orders so they have the best chance at a full recovery. If they don’t recover completely, at the very least they’ll recover to the maximum of their ability.
The next thing they need to do is hire an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence gets lost and witnesses forget things. An attorney is there to represent your best interest, protect that evidence, and investigate the matter.
Lastly, a person needs to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is an attorney who practices personal injury law, and doesn’t just do a little bit of everything, but has personal injury as large part of their practice, which should include car accidents. Beyond that, your attorney needs to be a trial attorney. Trial attorneys work cases differently, and that helps get you the best result possible. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to settle your claim for a fair amount, at the very least you’ll have an attorney who is ready to go to trial and represent your best interest.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The other day I got a phone call from a client who’d just been injured in Texas in a car accident, and he wanted to know how much his case was worth. Unfortunately, early on, that’s a really difficult question to answer. Every case is different and, beyond that, we don’t know how to value your case until we know the extent of your injuries. For that to happen, you have to complete your medical treatment.
As a good rule of thumb, the more injured you are, the more your case is worth. The types of compensation that you can receive are for past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, loss of wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
How Long Will This Case Take?
You may be worried about how long it will take for your case to be resolved. Unfortunately, there is no crystal clear answer to that early on. The first thing that has to happen is you have to finish your medical treatment or get to a stage in your medical treatment where we know what treatment you may need for the rest of your life, if you’re more seriously injured.
Once we know that, we can submit a demand package to the insurance company asking for fair compensation. If we don’t know the extent of your injuries and we submit something to them, and it turns out you’re injured worse than we thought, then you won’t get fair compensation. At that point, the insurance company has a deadline to respond, normally within a month, and if they make an offer that is close to fair, we’ll begin negotiating. Unfortunately, in most cases, that doesn’t happen. What we have to do after that is file a lawsuit.
Once we file the lawsuit, we will serve the defendant. Once the defendant is served they have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Once there’s an attorney representing them and there’s a response on file, the first thing we do is we try to get a trial date scheduled with the court. Then there’s an end in sight for your case. If, for whatever reason, we have to go to trial, we know when that trial is.
Who Is the Right Attorney for Me?
You may be wondering, “How do I choose the right car wreck attorney?” Firstly, you need to choose someone you’re comfortable with. In that initial phone call or meeting at our office, we’ll explain to you the process and you’ll establish a comfort level.
Next. you need to hire someone who has experience in personal injury law, specifically in car wrecks. Every car wreck is different and if you hire someone who’s just dabbled in it, they won’t be able to represent you as well as someone with more knowledge.
Lastly, you need to hire a trial attorney because insurance companies know who the trial attorneys are and they treat those attorneys differently, and that means they’ll treat you differently. You’re more likely to get a fair settlement offer, and if you don’t, you’re represented by a trial attorney who is ready to go to trial and fight for your rights.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
The first most common mistake is people give a recorded statement to the insurance companies. That recorded statement is designed to try to trick you and trap you. Insurance adjusters are taking that statement to try to pay as little as possible.
The next mistake that people make is they take a first offer. The first offer is almost always a lowball from the insurance adjuster, and they’re just trying to get the case done quickly and for as little as possible.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
The first most common mistake people make is delaying in seeking medical treatment. You need to go seek medical treatment to make sure that you can recover. Next, people don’t follow what the doctor orders. If you don’t do what the doctor says, you might not fully recover.
Moreover, the insurance company isn’t going to think that your claim is very serious if you won’t listen to the doctor and they will assume that you must not be in that much pain. They don’t realize that you have a family to take care of or other responsibilities. People will also give recorded statements to the insurance company. Don’t ever do that. Insurance companies and adjusters are there to limit their exposure. They are not there to fairly compensate people who make claims.
Next, people make the mistake of delaying in hiring an attorney. It’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible so they can investigate your claim. Witnesses will forget or move, and the attorney is there to help with protecting evidence. People also often hire the wrong attorney. You need to hire an attorney who has a large part of their practice devoted to personal injury law. Personal injury law is very different than other practices of the law. If you don’t hire someone that focuses in personal injury, they might miss something, and that can mean that you won’t be fairly compensated.
What If I Have a Preexisting Condition?
Recently, I was contacted by a client who had a preexisting back injury before he was in a car accident, and he wanted to know how that would affect his case. That is a complicated scenario. The person who hit him is legally responsible for any change in his condition. For example, if his back condition was mostly stable and then became very unstable due to the accident, they would be responsible for that change. If he was living with a pain level of a four in his back, and now he has a pain level of seven, they would be responsible for that.
Whenever you’ve had a preexisting condition and you’re in a car accident, your personal injury case is a lot more complicated and to know how your case is going, that discussion needs to be happening with your details laid out in front of an attorney.
Will My Car Accident Case Go to Trial?
Most cases don’t go to trial. At the end of the day, you get to be in control of whether or not we go to trial. If the insurance company on the other side makes an offer that you are willing to accept, and believe is fair and just compensation, then you get to say yes. If you feel that the insurance company is not making a fair offer, then we can go to trial instead, but that is always the client’s decision.
If we’re in a situation where we do go to trial, there’s nothing to worry about. That is an opportunity for you to tell your story to a jury of your peers and a judge about what happened and what you’ve been through, and you will be prepared to do so.
Contact Our Office Today
Experienced Austin car accident attorney Daniel Smith is here to help you fight for what is right. We will protect your rights, keep your case on track to succeed, and work to get you the fullest and fairest amount of compensation possible. Please call our office as soon as you can to set up a free initial consultation.