Car accidents are a very common occurrence in Texas, and law offices are constantly receiving calls about personal injury cases. In order to ensure that you are prepared to call a lawyer, here are five things you need to know before you call a lawyer about a car accident.
Is a Lawyer Necessary?
Some car accidents are simple, cut-and-dry cases that don’t require legal intervention. Both parties could be insured, both file claims and both receive their requested amounts. Other times, the cases are more complicated and more complex and could require a lawyer. Examples of more complex cases include:
- One, or more, of the parties, is driving uninsured.
- The insurance company is refusing to pay the requested amount.
- Accident causes significant injury.
- The “at fault” party cannot be determined.
- Crashes involving a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
- Collisions in school or construction zones.
Many law offices in the state of Texas, work on a contingency basis for personal injury lawsuits/insurance claims lawsuits. This means that you do not pay them until they have won your case. However, when they win your case, you will have to give them a portion of the amount you won. This means that you could end up receiving less than what you thought in order to pay for legal expenses.
However, if you do not have a lawyer, insurance companies can take advantage of your limited knowledge and force you to settle with a significantly lower amount than you could have gotten with a lawyer.
Texas Is A Modified Comparative Negligence State
The state of Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that with any collision that occurs, both parties can be considered “at fault.” Because of this, if both parties are determined to be “at fault” for the accident, you will be given a percentage that corresponds to the amount “at fault” you are. You can still file a lawsuit for the car accident as long as you are deemed less than 50% responsible for the accident. Similarly, the amount of compensation you receive from the settlement will be directly related to the percentage of fault you are found to be in. For example, if you were deemed 10% responsible for the car accident and you suffered $10,000 worth of damage. The other driver would have to pay you 90% ($9000) of the total damages. In contrast, if you are determined to be over 50% responsible, you will not be able to file a personal injury case at all.
Make Sure You Have All The Documentation
Before you call a lawyer for a car accident, make sure you have all of the documentation to support your side of the story. The more documentation you have, the stronger your case and the more likely you are to win your case. Having all of the appropriate documentation prior to calling and speeding up the case. Documentation can include:
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Medical information
- Pictures and video evidence of the accident
- Estimates for repairs
- Date and location of the accident
Insurance Companies Are Looking After Themselves
Car insurance companies are more interested in protecting the company itself than they are in protecting you. That is why your claims adjustment manager is just looking out for themselves. They do not want to have to pay money to those they insure, and they also want to close the insurance claim as quickly as they can. In order to do this many car insurance companies can/will:
- Issue an offer before all medical treatments/car repairs are complete.
- Make an offer that is much lower than the value of your claim.
- Claim you are lying about your injuries or committing fraud.
- Delay your claim or start to ignore you.
- Threaten you with collection letters.
Don’t fall for these tactics. Because of the many ways that an insurance company will try to not pay you, you typically should not settle with the insurance company after your car accident.
Statute of Limitations
In the state of Texas, there is a time limit on filing personal injury lawsuits. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years after the accident. Once two years have passed, you are no longer able to pursue any legal action.
Car Accident Lawyer in Texas
Now that you have considered the five things you need to know before calling a lawyer for a car accident, you may be ready to find a lawyer. The attorneys at Paxton Law are ready and available for you to reach out to. The insurance and car accident laws in Texas can be tricky to navigate without an automobile accident attorney on your team. If you believe you may be entitled to compensation due to another driver’s negligence contact Paxton Law today for a free consultation.