Texas Auto Accident Lawyers
Have you been involved in an automobile or motor vehicle accident? Our skilled and dedicated Texas auto accident attorneys are here to help. Automobile accidents are the most common type of personal injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, someone in the United States is involved in a car accident every 10 seconds. 1 or 2 people may have been injured in the time it has taken you to read this paragraph. Unfortunately, this means that you will most likely be involved in a motor vehicle accident in your lifetime. Occurrences of motor vehicle accidents have increased in recent years for a variety of reasons, which we discuss below. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Texas, our attorneys may be able to help. Under the law, automobile accidents are typically considered “negligence”. When operating a vehicle, drivers should operate it responsibly and with “reasonable care under the circumstances”. Failure to do so results in automobile accidents, where the offender acting in negligence will be required to pay damages or losses to the injured party. If you have been the victim of a negligent driver, contact a Texas auto accident lawyer at our office immediately. We are always ready to help.
Causes of Auto Accidents:
Auto accidents are caused by drivers driving irresponsibly. The two largest causes of vehicle-related accidents are drunk driving and speeding. Knowledgeable automobile accident attorneys in our office would be the best resources in determining who is at fault in a collision. If you have been injured in an accident through negligence of another, call the experienced and aggressive attorneys at our firm for a free consultation. There are absolutely no fees or costs unless we win money on your behalf.
Negligence is essentially irresponsible driving behavior. 98% of accidents are caused by one distracted driver. Distraction may occur by watching the passing scenery, adjusting the radio, talking with passengers, fatigue from a long day at work, talking on cell phones, and rubbernecking (drivers slowing down cars to watch what is going on—ranging from public events to other car accidents).
Speeding is a common occurrence—especially on Texas highways. Speed limits are posted to make our roads safer, and driving faster could cause a painful and expensive collision with another car.
Weather may also be a factor in auto accidents. Driving too fast in formidable weather such as heavy rain, sleet, or snow may cause cars to skid or lose control on the road, causing an accident.
Improperly changing lanes and signaling is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. Other drivers will not know the negligent driver’s intent and possibly cause a collision.
Drunk Driving is one of the leading cause of fatal automobile accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 40% of total traffic fatalities are alcohol-related incidents. Victims of car accidents where the negligent driver is charged with “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) could be entitled to punitive damages. Statistics report that a person dies in an alcohol-related crash every 30 minutes in this country.
In some cases, auto accidents are caused by factors unrelated to the drivers involved. One factor may be defects in the operated vehicles; this may point blame at the automobile manufacturers. This is known as product liability. If a product (such as a vehicle) is defective or causes harm or injuries to the consumer, the manufacturer may be liable for such injuries caused. In addition, the driver operating a vehicle that was not repaired properly by a mechanic may not be at fault. The improperly repaired vehicle is the fault of the mechanic, who was negligent in his or her work.
Types of Accidents:
A head-on-collision is where the front ends of two vehicles collide. These resulting accidents are often fatal, since both vehicles were probably going very fast towards each other, increasing the impact.
A rear-end-collision is very common, and occurs when one vehicle’s front end collides with the rear-end of another vehicle. This may be caused by the rear car following the other car too closely, speeding, faulty brake lights, sudden deceleration, following a car that does not have enough time to brake, the rear car driving faster than the front car, or other causes. Injuries to occupants are usually greater to the vehicle being rear-ended, often causing whiplash among other injuries.
Side collisions occur when one car pummels into the side of another car. This type of accident is most frequent at intersections and parking lots. If both cars are traveling at a relatively fast speed, this type of accident may case one or both cars to flip over, causing further injuries to the occupants of the assaulted vehicle, pedestrians, or other objects. Side collisions also occur in passing lanes, where two cars brush alongside each other. These cases are less-likely to flip vehicles, but may cause additional harm if traveling at high speeds on the freeway.
A rollover occurs when a vehicle rolls over on its side or roof. Turning too sharply while moving too fast is the leading cause of rollover accidents. The higher the vehicle is from the ground, and the faster it goes, the more likely it is to topple. This kind of accident can be detrimental to the driver or passengers of the vehicle. Doors and windows may be blocked or jammed shut from the collision, making escape difficult.
A single-vehicle collision occurs when only one vehicle is involved. The biggest cause us excessive speed, and this term is only applied when only the driver is injured. If pedestrians or passengers are hurt in the collision, then the accident is usually given a different title.
Multi-vehicle collisions are also called pile-ups. These usually occur on highways, and can be fatal for many victims involved. These usually begin as just one vehicle having a problem, usually during harsh weather conditions. The cars behind the problematic car cannot stop or avoid the problem in time, and create a multi-vehicle collision. These accidents range from 3 to 100s of cars involved. These are disastrous situations, as a crumpled mass of cars makes escape difficult. These can further damage roadways, and possibly disable highways for days.
Backup accidents are caused when a car drives in reverse into another vehicle. Because these generally occur at lower speeds, damage and injury is minimal.
Who Is At Fault for Your Austin Car Accident?
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident our attorneys can help to figure out your legal rights. Our law firm has been litigating personal injury claims for more than twenty (20) years. So put our experience and skill to work for you by calling us for a free legal consultation today.
What to Do If Involved in an Accident:
The first thing to do if involved in an accident is stop the car. Leaving the scene of an accident, even if you do not feel it is your fault, is illegal and called a “hit and run”. You are required by law to see if there are any vehicular damages or injuries to drivers and passengers.
Next, check for injuries. Do not move injured persons, but instead seek out medical attention immediately. Call an ambulance, the police, highway patrol, or fire department. If you do not have a phone, ask someone else. Often, good Samaritans will stop and see if everything is ok following an accident. Call boxes are usually available on major highways, and collisions occurring in residential or business areas will have access to personal or convenience phones. Remember, 911 is a free call from pay phones. When you report the accident, try to inform medical personnel of how many people are injured and to what extent. They will then send the appropriate amount of emergency personnel to respond to the scene.
Notifying oncoming traffic to proceed by the accident with caution may help prevent further injuries. Turn on hazard lights, set out flares, or raise your hood to bring attention to your vehicles.
Exchange personal information with the other driver or drivers, including:
- Phone number(s)
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance provider
- Policy number
- Insurance agent’s name and contact number
It is beneficial to obtain statements and information from and witnesses of the incident. Get a business card from the officer or officers on the scene, so you can later obtain a copy of the accident report for your records.
Keep a notepad and pen in your car to take notes at the scene. Observe weather conditions, environment, lighting, speed limits, what other cars were doing, how the incident occurred, what you noticed, time of day, and any other possibly pertinent information.
Even if you feel you were at fault, do not say so. Leave that decision to an experienced auto accident lawyer; multiple drivers may be at fault.
Once the police arrive, cooperate fully with their requests and questions. Remain at the accident scene until they allow you to depart. Do not draw conclusions or give opinions, but merely tell the officer the facts of the incident. Do not admit fault upon yourself or other drivers. Responsibility is a legal matter, and is not always a simple judgment.
Afterwards, take photos of the damage to your car and any injuries you may have. Send copies of your automobile insurance policies to your lawyer, including your notes from the scene, if applicable. Do not meet with an insurance representative or fill out insurance documents until after you have spoken with your attorney. Refrain from giving a statement, or signing a check for the other drivers’ insurance company until speaking with your lawyer.
Be sure to review your insurance policy. The entire process will be easier if you are aware of what your insurance covers. Know if your policy covers the cost of towing or getting a rental car before swiping your credit card. In many companies, you can add coverage for a rental car for only a few dollars a month.
Consult your doctor or physician as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be fully visible (bruises, head trauma, etc) until a period of time following the accident. See a doctor immediately to prevent a delay in treatment and potential aggravation to injuries sustained. Opposing insurance companies may try to argue that injuries were obtained from other, unrelated events if you do not seek a doctor immediately. Include memory loss, headaches, dizziness, ringing in your ears, nausea, disorientation, or confusion in your report to your doctor.
Be sure to document all losses, including transportation costs related to injuries or lack of vehicle (if damage is that severe), medical bills, rehabilitation treatments, future medical treatment, lost wages on account of the collision, estimated loss of future earning, and effect upon personal and home life.
File an accident report with the police station or DMV. Having this on file will speed the claims process with the insurance companies.
Information on Injuries, Compensation, and Insurance:
Engaging in a lawsuit over an automobile accident means you are pursuing to reclaim the actual expenses achieved in property damage, medical bills, economic compensation, and emotional distress. It is important to retain an experienced lawyer to assist you in this part of the auto accident experience, to ensure you achieve the recovery you deserve.
In cases involving negligence, the injured party may seek recovery for physical and mental pain and suffering, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and services, past and future loss of income due to impairment or missing work, permanent impairment, and possibly future medical bills and loss of enjoyment pf life. It is important to document your injuries and see a medical professional for a complete evaluation. Mental or psychiatry evaluations may also be conducted in more severe cases. Be sure to note how your injuries affect your work and relationship with friends and family.
Damages to Family Members:
If you or your spouse are injured badly in an auto accident, there may be additional damage to your marriage. The claim, called “loss of consortium”, is any negative effect upon a marital relationship caused by an accident. This may include lack or loss of love, affect, support, comfort, sexual relations, and even ability to have children. This may be temporary or permanent.
Insurance policies will usually cover the cost of the victim’s damages. However, the driver at fault may have limited or no insurance. In this case, you may be entitled to compensation from your own insurance provider under the “uninsured motorist provision”. The law may still permit recovery if you were partially at fault in the incident. Check with family members’ insurance for additional coverage if your own insurance plan is limited. You may have some support. Contact an attorney to help inform you of your legal rights under your insurance policy.
Amount of Recovery:
The amount of money you receive from an automobile accident case depends upon a number of factors. Some of these include who takes the majority of fault in the accident, how the accident happened, the types of medical treatment that resulted, the seriousness of the injuries, and the amount of insurance coverage available. Other factors are future medical bills, scarring, vehicular damage, and the effect of the collision upon your ability to work and generate income. All cases are unique, so it is imperative to seek the professional legal advice of an automobile accident attorney.
However, it is also important to realize that many injuries caused by a car accident will typically not begin to show symptoms until a day or several days after the initial impact. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor immediately after your accident, but it is just as important to follow up and see the physician again after several days have passed.
All About Insurance Claims:
Call your insurance agent immediately upon getting home from the accident. If you are seriously injured and taken to the hospital, have a family member report the collision to your insurance, with your assistance.
Review your coverage with a lawyer prior to speaking with your agent. Become familiar with its terms and policies.
Take detailed notes on your conversations with insurance agents and representatives. Be sure to note names, contact numbers, and information on supervisors.
Review all insurance policies—you may have coverage in multiple policies. Homeowner policies may have “umbrella” clauses that could assist you in recovery.
Keep a disposable camera in your car to snag pictures of your car, injuries, and if possible, the accident scene.
Be open with your insurance agent, and retell all facts of the event. Even if you felt you were doing something silly, like flirting with a potential mate while driving, which made you lose your concentration, it is important to get all facts across.
Keep records of all expenses, including lodging, car rentals, and meals in relation to time spent pursuing your claim or recovering from injuries sustained in the accident. You may get additional funds in your settlement if this is recorded and submitted to your lawyer.
Don’t accept the first appraisal for losses sustained from the accident. Insurance agencies generally estimate on the lower end of the spectrum, so try to seek a second opinion. Obtain legal advice before signing any waivers or releases issued by the insurance provider. Be sure to read all fine print.
Check with your attorney before accepting any check labeled “final payment”.
Pay attention to time limits set by your policy. Meet the terms of these limits to avoid any conflict later on. Most insurance companies will accept legal action and claim adjustment within one year of the incident. It is in your best interest to act immediately, however, especially if serious injuries are sustained.
Dealing With Underinsured and Uninsured Motorists:
Although insurance is a requirement to operate a motor vehicle, not all drivers adhere to these laws. If you are injured physically in a collision with an uninsured or uninsured motorist, you may be entitled to uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. You will be entitled to compensation for bodily injuries sustained in an accident caused by a responsible drive who has no coverage. It is imperative to contact an attorney immediately if you have been in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist to ensure you receive all compensation available to you.
Frequently Asked Questions– Insurance
In most cases, yes. The insurance adjustors will take you more seriously, and an auto accident attorney may be able to argue a better claim in your behalf. The cost to the insurance companies jumps once an attorney appears on the scene. Most insurance agents do not want to see a case taken from their hands and taken to court—they have less power and will probably get a settlement that benefits the accident victim more than the insurance company. In addition, their insured (the motorist who is considered at-fault in this incident) will not want to get involved in a lawsuit. Adjustors will be more akin to appeal to your demands with the presence and expertise of an attorney.
Absolutely. The larger the medical bills, the larger your claim. Keep detailed records of all bills and medical services and treatments related to the accident. Insurance adjustors and opponents’ attorneys will go out of their way to justify your “pain and suffering”, so try to find records that describe the length of time of partial disability or total disability. Make copies and keep the originals.
Medical bills arising out of the accidents are paid for through this coverage, no matter who is the faulty party. It would be beneficial to speak to an attorney so you understand your rights in this matter.
Yes, and you should be reimbursed for each penny lost due to the accident. This is also known as “Lost Earning Capacity”. Even if you were able to take sick leave or get some sort of compensation from your own insurance, you are entitled to compensation for lost time and earnings.
A damage repair person and an insurance adjustor will agree upon an “Agreed Cost to Repair” for your vehicle. Be sure to note other property losses, such as clothing, jewelry, items that bay have been ruined in the crash (like laptops, briefcases), and include written proof of their individual costs and date purchased.
Evaluating a personal injury claim may take some time and effort. A number of factors play into getting a complete estimate. There is no formula, but the end result will take into account the extent of your physical injuries, medical bills, property damage, how your injuries have affected your ability to work and gain income, if you are disabled, if you have preexisting injuries, your age, and how your family was affected by the auto accident. It is best to consult with an attorney early on in the negotiation process.
While it is encouraged to begin early, give your injuries enough time to surface so you know the full extent as a result from the crash. If you begin assessing your claim too early, and more injuries appear, the insurance company may say they were caused by another incident unrelated to the auto accident.
Our law office does not take any money until the case is won. There are no contingency fee or hourly charges. Clients generally have to pay for litigation costs, but these can be avoided if the case does not go to trial.
In general, the negligent person is responsible for only the injuries sustained in the auto accident. To make a claim, you must prove negligence n their part, and that same negligence caused your injury. You should prove that their negligence worsened your previous injury.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving accident in Texas, the experienced and aggressive attorneys in our law office are here to help. Over 17,000 people are killed each year as the result of drunk driving accidents. Through their negligence, our loved ones suffer—regardless of age, sex, race, and nationality. By obtaining a committed lawyer, you can convict the guilty party and get a claim to help overcome the physical and mental trauma of such an incident. If you are a victim of such an incident, please call the drunk driving victim attorneys in our office as soon as possible.
Under the influence of alcohol, drivers have impaired judgment, and are unsafe on the road. Swerving, inability to stay in lanes, changing lanes without signaling, ignoring red lights, speeding, driving way under the speed limit, and even driving on the wrong side of the road are behaviors performed by a drunk driver. Accidents caused by drunk driver are often fatal, and detrimental to both parties. Injuries caused by drunk drivers include spinal injuries, severe traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, skull fractures, disfigurement, bone fractures, and death.
Just as in other auto accidents where you are not at fault, you are able to make claim to cover property damages, medical bills, injuries, rehabilitation services, transportation costs, pain and suffering, and other related expenses caused by the incident.
Auto Accident Prevention:
Auto accident prevention is the first step in being safe on the road. Whether or not you have been in an accident in the past, it is never too late to start practicing safe driving habits like wearing a seatbelt, obeying the rules of the road, and driving defensively.
It is essential to remove any and all distractions from driving performance. These distractions include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Changing CDs
- Dialing and talking on cell phones
- Picking up fallen items from floor of car
- Eating or drinking
- Personal activities like applying makeup
- Reading maps or newspapers
Doing these activities immediately takes your mind away from driving, focusing your attention upon the immediate task at hand. You will be less likely to respond effectively to a problem on the road or quick change in flow of traffic if preoccupied.
It is also essential to be courteous on the road. Angering other motorists will only raise tension and create problems. You don’t know who that person was who cut you off, but angrily gesturing will not aid you. They could be violent or mentally unstable, and you could be in a greater problem than merely getting cut off. Drive defensively to save lives. Drive at least one car length away from the person in front of you for every 10 miles an hour you are driving. If you turn your blinker on to change lanes and another car speeds up to cut you off, let them pass to avoid an accident. In addition, slow your usual speed in harsh weather. The roads become more unsafe in rain, sleet, and snow, and it is best to slow down and be more aware of your surroundings.
10 Tips for Safe Driving:
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Reduce or remove distractions like reading maps or chatting on your cell phone.
- Avoid encouraging aggressive drivers.
- Maintain a constant speed
- Keep your car running smoothly. Get it checked at the mechanics often.
- When approaching intersections, exercise caution.
- Be aware of road and weather conditions.
- Check rear-view mirrors every 15 seconds and make sure your mirrors are adjusted appropriately.
- Leave a safe distance between your car and others.
- Take a class in defensive driving
Contact Our Austin Law Offices and Let Us Take Care of the Rest
If you or someone you love has been injured in a personal injury accident, then you need the help of an experienced lawyer. Statutes of limitations exist for filing personal injury claims, so it’s essential that you act quickly to determine the best course of action.
Call our Austin personal injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation – we want to help so you can focus on your recovery. Put our lawyers to work so you can get the compensation you and your family are entitled to.