First, if you’ve been involved in any car accident, you need to make sure that you or anyone in your vehicle aren’t injured. If anyone is injured, seek medical treatment immediately. If there are injuries, it’s best to contact a Houston car accident lawyer to evaluate your case. Whether there are injuries or not, the following 12 tips for handling your own car accident property damage case will steer you in the right direction when dealing with the stress of a car accident. 1. Know the Texas Statute of Limitations for Property Damage You need to make sure you’re “still in the game” statutorily and that you haven’t lost your rights to receive compensation for your losses under Texas law. Note: the statute of limitations for Texas property damage cases is two years from the date of the accident. In uninsured / underinsured motorist property damage claims against your own insurance company, the statutes of limitation are more complicated, which include breach of contract (four years–generally), bad faith (two years); and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (two years). However, when these statutes start to run are different in every case and your insurance company may contract around them. So, it’s best to call a Houston car accident attorney to avoid losing your rights. 2. Get Your Texas Car Accident Police Report After you have been involved in a car accident, even a minor one, call 911 and have a police officer write a car crash report (Peace Officer’s Crash Report – CR-3 Form). This is important for several reasons: you need to document that the accident occurred; you’ll need information from the report to assist you in filing a claim with the insurance company; and usually the officer will assign fault by citing the driver responsible for the accident or will provide contributing factors based on their investigation, which will help with determining liability later. According to Texas Transportation Code Section 550.062, a Texas police officer is required to write a Peace Officer’s Crash Report whenever the accident resulted in injury or death or property damage of $1,000 or more. This report must be filed with the department no later than 10 days after the accident. If the accident doesn’t immediately involve injury or death or property damage that exceeds $1,000, then you should still fill out a Blue Form Crash Report (CR-2 Form), even though it’s not legally required. The CR-2 Driver’s Crash Form is for the driver’s records only and, as of September 1, 2017, is no longer turned in or retained by the Texas Department of Transportation. Drivers involved in a crash not investigated by a peace officer should retain this form for their records and fill them out as soon as possible so not to fail to put any important details that may be forgotten from passage of time. Find out how to get your crash reports below: Harris County Dallas County Fort Worth San Antonio 3. If your car isn’t drivable, keep track of where it is being taken and stored. Have it moved quickly to a repair shop of your choice or to the insurance company’s storage facility to avoid accruing fees. The whereabouts of your car will usually be given to you by the tow truck driver and will also be noted on the police report. However, it’s important to have this information up front so that you can accurately give this information to either your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company when you file your claim. The insurance company will need to know where the car is stored in order to send an adjuster to estimate the damages and move it to a repair shop. Keep in mind, that under Texas law you have the right to choose which repair shop your vehicle is repaired, as well as the replacement parts that are used. If your vehicle is stored at a storage lot, you will be assessed a daily fee, which can quickly add up. Even if it was the other driver’s fault, it is your duty under Texas law to “mitigate your damages.” This means that you must take reasonable steps to reduce the damages, cost, and to prevent them from getting worse. If you do not mitigate your damages and just let your car sit in the storage lot for an unreasonable amount of time, the insurance company will not be responsible for paying all the storage fees. If the insurance company is still investigating liability, try to have the insurance company move the vehicle to their storage facility to avoid accruing fees. For more information about Texas car accident storage fees, click here. 4. If the accident wasn’t your fault, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If you haven’t hired a Texas car accident attorney, make sure when you talk to the insurance representative that’s opening your claim, to stick to the facts of the accident and be consistent with what you told the police officer that investigated your accident and wrote your report. The insurance company will later have access to the crash report and will know whether there were inconsistencies in your side of the story you told the police and what you have told them when you filed the claim. Be concise, truthful, consistent, and try not to be emotional. You’ll be giving the insurance representative mostly basic information such as your name, address, date of birth, vehicle information, where your car is being stored, and location and time the accident occurred. They will also ask if you suffered any injuries as a result of the accident. If you feel any pain at this point, it’s best to contact a Texas car accident attorney to get their advice before speaking to the insurance company regarding your injuries. Most people don’t know how to properly approach these questions when asked by the insurance company. The insurance representative will then provide you with a claim number and claim adjuster’s name…
A wrongful death action allows certain family members to receive compensation when a loved one dies. There are many different examples of wrongful death, including accidental deaths in car accidents. If a family member has been killed in a crash, you might be interested in the average wrongful death settlement. However, there is no average wrongful death settlement in Texas. No one has kept that information, since settlements are usually private. Also, each case is different and must be understood based on its own facts. Below, we run down through the considerations that help a Houston wrongful death attorney estimate the amount a client can receive in a wrongful death settlement. Wrongful Death Damages Damages are awarded to family members to compensate for the loss of their loved one. Depending on the circumstances, you could be entitled to compensation for: Lost earnings Loss of support or services your loved one provided Loss of care the deceased provided Loss of comfort, companionship, society, and love Loss of an inheritance Calculating the amount you can receive in a settlement is difficult. For example, to calculate lost income, an attorney will need to know your loved one’s age, the amount he or she made while living, as well as education and experience. Other losses are harder to put a price tag on. No amount of money can make up for the loss of love and companionship that you have suffered. However, a jury cannot bring your loved one back to life, so giving an award of money is the only other option. Limitations on Settlements You can’t always get 100% of what you deserve after a car accident. One common reason: the driver did not carry enough insurance to fully cover your losses. For example, your husband might have died at age 26. This means he probably had 40 years (at least) of working life ahead of him. The amount of income he could have made during those four decades probably totals more than $1 million and sometimes much more. Unfortunately, few drivers have an insurance policy large enough to cover this amount of loss. Instead, Texas law requires that those registering a motor vehicle carry only the minimum amount of liability insurance, which is currently $30,000. If the defendant has other assets—such as investments or money sitting in a bank account—then it makes sense to sue to recover more money than the insurance policy provides. However, many people don’t have any other assets, so the insurance policy represents the maximum recovery. Questions about the Average Settlement for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? Contact Us At Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we have helped countless motorists just like you get the money you deserve after a devastating car accident. In your moment of grief, call us. We can handle all the legal issues and allow you to focus on what matters most—your family. To schedule a free consultation, please contact out firm today.
Getting your vehicle damaged in an accident can be frustrating in both your personal and professional life. You need a car to get to work, run errands, and do a number of other day-to-day tasks. In many cases after a car accident, the victim is entitled to a rental car, but who pays for a rental car after a car accident? An experienced Texas car accident attorney can ensure that the insurance company covers those costs following an accident, and at the Milano Legal Group our office is here to help. Call or contact the office today to learn more about your legal options after a car accident. Rights to a Rental Car Case law dictates that victims of a car accident are legally entitled to a rental vehicle after an accident. Furthermore, the costs of a rental vehicle can be included as part of an overall settlement in a car accident legal case. The insurance company should cover the costs of a rental vehicle, but you will need to follow specific steps in order to ensure that the insurer will pay for the rental car expenses. An experienced attorney will be able to help you through the process to make sure that you will not bear the burden of paying for your own rental vehicle. Steps for Getting a Rental Car After an accident, it is important that you collect the name of the other driver, their address and phone number, their insurance company information, and the policy number. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information, as well. Pictures and videos of the accident scene are also incredibly helpful to this process, so if possible, try to also document the scene. The next step is to contact both the insurance company as well as the police to report the accident. The insurance company will begin the claims process while the police will create an accident report that can be used as evidence later in a legal case. Many states legally require police notification if the damage is over a certain value or if anyone was injured as a result of the crash. Depending on the specific facts of your case, either your insurance company or the insurer of the other driver will cover the costs of your rental vehicle. If the other driver was clearly at fault, the other insurance company should cover the costs. If you have rental coverage as part of your auto insurance, your insurer may pay for the rental vehicle and go after the at-fault driver for compensation of the costs. Rental reimbursement coverage is an additional liability coverage you can purchase for your vehicle. A knowledgeable Houston car accident attorney will be able to communicate and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies as well as arrange your rental car so that you can focus on what is most important – your recovery. Call or Contact the Office Today To learn more about payment for rental vehicles or other issues that arise from car accidents in the Houston area, call or contact the Milano Legal Group today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
One of the fastest growing options for transportation are rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Rideshare companies allow people to use their personal vehicles like taxis, driving passengers to their destinations for a set fee. However, with the advent of ridesharing comes rideshare accidents, and confusing questions can arise about who is liable in a rideshare accident as well as what a Lyft or Uber settlement amount is worth. With experience handling all types of auto accident cases in the Houston area, our office is here to represent you in your rideshare accident and help you understand what a rideshare settlement might be worth. Uber and Lyft Insurance Policies Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies carry auto insurance coverage for the vehicles operating under their company banner. Both Uber and Lyft carry third party liability coverage up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per accident. In addition, these companies maintain uninsured/underinsured coverage up to $1 million per accident. The policies only apply during a ride, from the time that a driver picks up a passenger to when the passenger is dropped off, and not in between rides. However, these policies only apply in certain situations when a rideshare accident occurs. What Insurance Coverage Applies? Determining what insurance coverage applies is based on the specific facts of your case. A typical auto insurance policy has an exception for business use, which means that the insurer will not cover damages that occur while the driver is using the vehicle in a for-profit way unless the driver has a commercial driving provision that covers their vehicle as a rideshare driver. In an accident where the rideshare driver is at fault, the insurance policy of the driver applies first, and the rideshare company’s third party policy kicks in if the total compensation exceeds the driver’s personal policy limits. If the accident is caused by the driver of the other vehicle and not the rideshare driver, then the insurance policy of the at fault driver will apply to your claims. All drivers in Texas are required to carry minimum auto insurance coverage while on the road. If the driver at fault is uninsured, underinsured, or is unknown due to a hit and run accident, the rideshare company’s uninsured/underinsured policy may apply to your case. You should only trust a knowledgeable car accident attorney with a case involving a rideshare company due to the potentially complex nature of your claims against multiple entities that could cover the damages caused by the accident. Talk to a Qualified Attorney Today Accidents involving rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft can be complex and fact-specific to your case. To learn more about Uber and Lyft settlement payouts as well as a free review of your claims, call the office or contact us today at the Milano Legal Group in Houston to speak with a knowledgeable Texas auto accident attorney now.
Texas law requires that all people who register a car carry a minimum amount of car insurance. In particular, a driver should have at least $30,000 in personal injury liability coverage to pay for a victim’s medical bills and lost wages, up to $60,000 maximum if two or more people were hurt. But many drivers fail to carry the required amount of insurance or any insurance at all. Indeed, according to Value Penguin, about 14% of drivers in Texas do not have insurance. What happens if you were hit by an uninsured motorist in Texas? Can you receive compensation for your injuries? Below are the key considerations. Should You Use Your Health Insurance to Pay for Care? Under Texas law, the driver responsible for the accident must cover your medical expenses. However, if the driver is uninsured, you need to consider other options. One option could be to use your health insurance. However, there are serious reasons not to rely on it. For example, you will be responsible for paying your deductible and your copay, which might be very expensive. If the other driver had insurance, you could get reimbursed in a settlement, but since the driver is uninsured there is no guarantee you will receive any money. Some health insurance plans also exclude car accident injuries from coverage. Read your policy to find out more. What Other Insurance Can You Use? Texas law also requires that insurers offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which is called “UM” insurance. If you don’t want it, you must reject it in writing. This insurance covers the situation where an uninsured motorist in Texas hits you and causes damage. You can receive compensation for the following using UM coverage: Medical bills Lost wages Property damage Check your insurance paperwork to see that you have UM coverage. You will end up making a claim with your insurer for compensation. Generally, you can receive compensation up to the maximum of your policy. Should You Consider a Lawsuit? Even if the driver who struck you doesn’t have insurance, you still can sue. If you win the case, the driver will need to use other assets to pay your judgment. Now, in some situations, this might not be practical. After all, a driver who cannot buy insurance probably doesn’t have a lot of cash sitting around in a bank account, so it may be difficult to have your judgment paid. You can also seize assets and sell them, but many assets will be exempt or the driver might not have any. Still, bringing a lawsuit is an option if you were hit by uninsured driver, and you should discuss it with an attorney. You might also want to sue if your losses exceed the maximum amount of your uninsured motorist policy. Will a Lawyer Help Me? Yes. At Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we have represented many people who were struck by an uninsured motorist in Texas who need compensation to help pay their bills. If you have questions, contact our Houston car accident lawyers. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation to those who were injured.
Drunk drivers cause considerable damage on Texas roads. According to Department of Transportation statistics, over 1,000 people in Texas were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2017. Tens of thousands of other people are seriously injured by drunk drivers every year. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you are probably wondering what compensation you can receive. Read on for more information. Compensatory Damages If you were hit by a drunk driver, settlement negotiations will focus mostly on compensatory damages. These are the losses that you suffered as a result of the drunk driving crash. The purpose of civil lawsuits is to put the victim in the position she would have been in had no accident took place. In other words, the drunk driver should shoulder the fallout of the accident, not the victim. To this end, you can receive compensation for economic losses, such as: The cost of medical care and rehabilitation Lost wages or lost self-employment income Property damage, such as damage to your vehicle The settlement should ideally cover the entire economic loss. If your medical bills and lost wages total $30,000, then you should receive at least that much. However, you can also receive compensation for non-economic losses that don’t have an obvious market value; things like: Physical pain and suffering Inconvenience Loss of enjoyment of life Disfigurement Emotional distress or mental anguish How much can you receive in non-economic losses? There is no set standard or magic formula to use. A seasoned attorney can rely on his experience to estimate an amount that seems fair. Obviously, you would like your old body back, but receiving compensation for physical and mental anguish is the next best thing. And it’s the only thing courts can give you. Punitive Damages In Texas, punitive damages are called “exemplary” damages. These are not meant to compensate a victim but instead focus on punishing the defendant. Exemplary damages are available when there is clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Drunk driving usually qualifies as an example of gross negligence. However, an insurance company will not offer punitive damages in a settlement, so suing a drunk driver might be your only option. An attorney can help you bring a lawsuit in court. Texas does cap punitive damages, usually between $200,000 and $750,000. Speak with an Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer As a leading Houston personal injury firm, we receive questions from the public, one of which is, “A drunk driver hit me, what happens now?” Because every case is different, you should hire an attorney to help you. At Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we have worked on many drunk driving cases and know what it takes to win. We will do everything in our power to get the maximum settlement you are entitled to under the law, and we aren’t afraid to go into court if need be. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our Houston drunk driver accident lawyers today.
In the aftermath of a crash, even a minor one, obtaining an official accident report seems like a hassle on top of everything else you are dealing with. Obtaining a Dallas County accident report, however, is a very important and necessary step if you want to make sure that you and other involved parties get the justice they deserve. Fortunately, the Dallas County Sheriff offers several convenient ways to obtain a Dallas County accident report: either online, in person, or by mail. How to Get Your Dallas County Police Reports Online You can obtain a copy of your Dallas County police reports online from the Dallas County Sheriff’s website for $8.00. Under Texas law, only people directly concerned with the accident may obtain a non-redacted version of the crash report, so it’s good to have your driver’s license number or vehicle identification number (VIN) available when searching for your reports. Keep in mind that it may take up to 14 days after the crash before your report appears in the search results. How to Get Your Crash Report In Person A copy of your Dallas County accident report can also be obtained by visiting the Fiscal Department of the Frank Crowley Courts Building, located at: 133 North Riverfront Boulevard 1st Floor Dallas, TX 75207 The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. How to Get Your Crash Report By Mail Finally, you can also request your Dallas county police report by mail. To do so, you need to send a money order in the amount of $6.00 (no personal checks) payable to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department along with a self-addressed and stamped return envelope. The money order and envelope should then be addressed to: Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Attention: Fiscal 133 North Riverfront Boulevard, LB-31 Dallas, TX 75207 After Getting Your Report, Get Help with Your Case If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, a car accident attorney can make sure you are properly compensated for the pain and suffering endured. Contact Milano Legal Group today.
In the stressful time following an accident, it can be difficult to think about obtaining a police report. Doing so, however, is crucial to making sure you get what you deserve and hold the responsible party accountable. Luckily, obtaining San Antonio police reports is easy and can be done in a few simple steps. 1. Make Sure You Have the Right Information Before requesting an accident report, make sure you have the following information: The exact date of the accident The location of the accident The name of a person involved If you have a case number, it may make it easier to find your report, however, the Sheriff’s office does not require it. 2. Request the Report in Person or By Mail Once you have the required information, San Antonio police reports can be requested in person or by mail. Requesting Your Report in Person If you want to request your report in person, you need to visit the Bexar County Adult Detention Center at the following address: Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Central Records, Reports Desk 200 N. Comal Street San Antonio, TX 78207 The office is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The service fee for obtaining an accident report is $6.00. A certified accident report can be obtained for $8.00. Requesting Your Report By Mail If you want to request your report by mail, you need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope, along with a money order payable to “Sheriff, Bexar County” in the amount of $6.00, to Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Central Records, Reports Desk 200 N. Comal Street San Antonio, TX 78207 A certified accident report can be obtained for $8.00. Get Help with Your Case If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, getting you San Antonio police report is just the first step. Contact Milano Legal Group today to speak with experienced car accident attorneys about getting the compensation you deserve.
Car accidents can be expensive. In addition to needing your car repaired, you also might need medical care. If your injuries were serious, you might have missed work and lost out on income. It is not unusual for even a relatively minor fender bender to cost thousands of dollars. If you were injured, you should get the at-fault driver’s insurer to pay you. You can submit a claim to the insurer without a lawyer’s help, but you must take the right steps. Below, we explain how to get money from a car accident without a lawyer. Keep in mind that generally, settlements are significantly higher if a lawyer is on your side. You can file yourself, but car accident insurance claims are complex, especially if injuries are involved. You may also have to go to court, and in that case especially, it is in your best interest to be represented by a lawyer. Note How Much Time You Have Texas has a statute of limitations that gives you 2 years from the date of the crash to bring a claim. If you miss the deadline, an insurer will not negotiate with you. Take careful note of the amount of time you have left. You probably won’t make a claim right away with the insurer. Instead, you will wait until you reach maximum medical improvement. This is the point at which you can’t get any better, and the full extent of your losses will be known. Of course, even if you are recovering slowly, you need to get a claim in before the statute of limitations expires. Collect Important Documents The at-fault driver’s insurer needs certain information from you before they can agree to a settlement. You should pull together the following: Medical records that show the full extent of your injuries. Medical bills and receipts for prescription drugs or medical equipment. These bills help show how much your care costs. Even if you used your health insurance to pay, you should submit the full amount of all your medical bills. A copy of the crash report. You should have called the police to come out to the accident scene. Evidence of missed work. You can receive compensation, even if you used sick or vacation days to recover from your injuries. Bills for repairs to your vehicle or other damaged property. Pictures of the accident scene, including pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash. These pictures help “set the scene” for the insurance adjuster to understand what happened. Submit a Demand Letter You should add up the amount of money the accident cost you. These are your economic losses, and you should expect to receive 100%. Also remember to include money for any pain and suffering or emotional distress. Submit your evidence and a demand to the insurer. They might immediately reject your offer and make a lower counteroffer. You will need to negotiate until you hit a number that works for you. Of course, many people do not know how much to request. In particular, they do not properly value their pain and suffering or other intangible losses. This is where Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys can be helpful. Based on our experience, we can properly value your injuries and then negotiate a tough but fair settlement for your injuries. Please contact our Houston car accident lawyers today to get started. We offer a free consultation.
One of the most common questions our clients involved in auto accidents ask is how much their settlement is worth, and how often auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits in Texas. The answer, like many questions asked about the law, is that it depends. While it is possible for a settlement to exceed the policy limits, it does not happen very often. There are complex rules about collecting personal injury settlements that exceed insurance policy limits that only an experienced auto accident attorney should handle. For perspective on your case, schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney at the Milano Legal Group in Houston today. Texas Auto Insurance Policy Limits Texas law requires that all drivers maintain auto insurance on their vehicles that includes liability coverage in case of an accident. The minimum limits for liability coverage are $30,000 for bodily injury to a single person, $60,000 for bodily injury for any one accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage. It is possible to obtain more coverage than the minimum coverage amounts, but it is completely dependent on the driver. In a typical car accident case, an insurance company will pay up to the policy limits for their at fault driver in an accident. In order to collect more than the policy limits in an accident, the victim must go after the personal assets of the at fault party. Civil Judgements for Accident Cases For cases that exceed the policy limits in compensation, Texas law allows for a victim to go after the personal assets of the person at fault for the accident. However, property is split into two categories: exempt and non-exempt assets, and civil judgements may only collect on non-exempt property. Exempt property includes the primary residence, car, wages, vehicles and equipment used in that person’s trade, personal furnishings, some retirements accounts, and other items of property. Non-exempt assets refer to items such as a vacation home, additional cars, certain retirement accounts, and a few other limited assets. As such, it can be difficult to collect compensation for settlements that go beyond the policy limits in an auto accident. One exception to this rule is the Stowers doctrine. Under this rule, if your attorney offered a reasonable settlement within the policy limits that was rejected, and the court awards you with compensation beyond the policy limits, the person at fault for the accident can go after their own insurance company for the money owed to the victim beyond the auto policy limits. These issues can get incredibly complex, so it is critical that you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side to ensure that you receive the full compensation owed for your injuries. Call or Contact the Office Now For a free consultation of your car accident case, call the office or contact us at the Milano Legal Group to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney in Houston about your claims today.