According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 14,282 serious injury crashes in Texas in 2017 alone, with 17,535 people sustaining a serious injury. These harrowing statistics translate into the following: One person was killed every two hours 21 minutes, one person was injured every two minutes four seconds, and one reportable crash occurred every 59 seconds that year. Even the safest of drivers can not control the actions of other motorists, and when someone else’s negligence causes a car accident, the physical and financial aftermath can be devastating. Contacting the Milano Legal Group will help you understand your rights.
Texas Legal Requirements
If you have been injured in a car accident in Texas, you should follow these steps to ensure your rights are protected.
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health is your greatest asset, and needs to be protected first. Call for emergency medical services at the scene if anyone has been injured. If you do not believe you have been seriously injured, you still need to have an official medical evaluation done by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. This is not only important for your own health, but this official medical evaluation can be important and significant to your legal case. Additionally, it is important for you to document any symptoms starting from the initial car accident through to the present. Documentation of your injuries and keeping a file of your medical visits is important if you decide to file a personal injury claim.
- Contact the police: Get the police to the scene of the accident so they can create a police report. If you do not contact the police immediately, you are required by law to file an accident report with the appropriate police department. Texas law requires you to file a Crash Report within 10 days after the accident if the police were not called to the scene of an accident and the accident resulted in either the injury or death of a person or property damage that is greater than $1,000. That police report may prove valuable to your future personal injury case.
- Exchange Information: Attempt to obtain the personal identification, vehicle identification, and insurance information of all other drivers involved. Additionally, exchange information with any witnesses, if possible.
- Document the Accident: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, any injuries you may have suffered, the weather and road conditions, and any other pertinent information. This documentation can prove useful later if you choose to file a lawsuit.
Texas Car Insurance
Texas is considered a “fault” insurance state, which means that you do not file with your own car insurance first, but rather, you may file an insurance claim directly with the other driver’s insurance if he or she was at-fault in the accident. This law allows every driver to be held personally liable for any damage that he or she may have caused. You should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as is reasonably feasible.
Filing an Insurance Claim
According to the Texas Insurance Code Section 542.003, Texas law requires that insurance companies not engage in inappropriate or unfair claim settlement practices. Insurance companies are not allowed to misrepresent any facts or parts of your insurance policy or attempt to negotiate a settlement with you in bad faith.
However, even with this law in place, insurance companies have teams of people working hard on their side and do not have your best interests in mind as they create settlement agreements. Take an abundance of caution before signing a settlement that waives your rights to future compensation that you are owed. Working with an experienced car accident attorney who can compile accident reports, witness statements, police reports, medical claims, and other evidence can help strengthen your case and prevent you from accepting low-ball settlements from the insurance companies.
Car Accident Settlement Amounts
There is no specific amount or actuarial table that can directly calculate the amount that your car accident will ultimately be worth, but hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you understand your rights regarding how much compensation you may be owed. There are many factors that are involved in the determination of a settlement, including:
- The severity of the car accident, and the severity of your personal injuries
- The cost of medical expenses, both already incurred and possible future expenses
- Lost wages, and potential future loss of wages
- Insurance coverage of both parties
- If you were partially at fault for the accident (Texas follows a “modified comparative negligence” doctrine.)
- Amount and quality of documentation
- The ability of your attorney to successfully negotiate your settlement or argue your case in court.
Texas Statute of Limitations
A “statute of limitations” refers to a law that limits your time to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a personal injury claim by this deadline established by Texas law, then the Texas courts will not hear your case and potentially dismiss it. Texas statute of limitations laws are quite strict, and according to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003, the deadline to file a claim in a personal injury case related to a car accident is within two years of the date of the accident.
Contact an Attorney
If you have suffered personal injuries due to a car accident in Texas, contacting an experienced car accident attorney should be one of your first steps. The statute of limitations laws in Texas is short and quite strict. Filing your claim within that time limit is vital to ensure that you do not lose the ability to obtain the compensation you are owed due to the negligence of another.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney at the Milano Legal Group will help you understand your rights. Our legal team can compile accident reports, witness statements, police reports, medical claims, and other appropriate evidence to not only help strengthen your case and ensure that you file in a timely manner, but also help you obtain the compensation you are owed. Car accidents are guaranteed to affect you emotionally, physically, and financially. The laws governing car accidents in Texas are complex and challenging to navigate without any type of legal assistance. Call the Milano Legal Group today at 713-489-4270 for your free consultation and to find out how our legal team can help you.