If you were at-fault for an accident, your liability insurance coverage will cover the other driver’s or injured party’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and other losses.  Minimum Liability Coverage in Texas In Texas, the liability minimum coverage, if you injured the other driver or party is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.  The liability minimum coverage for property damage is $25,000.  The property damage limits include repair or replacement of the other driver’s vehicle, towing and storage fees, rental car coverage, and any other repair or replacement of property that was damaged in the accident (e.g., passenger compartment contents, fences, signs, trees, buildings, etc.). Additional Coverage Of course, you can always buy more than the minimum coverage, such as $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and $50,000 in property damage liability coverage, and that is highly recommended to protect your assets, if the other party chooses to sue you. If you were the at-fault party, your vehicle is damaged or totaled, and you have “full coverage” or collision coverage, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance company to repair or replace your vehicle.  Remember, if you use this coverage, there is a deductible (usually $500 to $1,000) that needs to be paid, which will need to be paid after the repair shop finishes repairing your vehicle or will be deducted from the amount paid to you to replace your vehicle if it’s totaled. Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle from a collision with another vehicle or other object while operating it. If You’re Not At Fault If you weren’t the at-fault party, and especially if you’re injured, it is highly recommended that you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case.  Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company, if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance can be very tricky.  It is recommended that you do not talk to the responsible party’s insurance company at all.  They will attempt to call you and send you letters to get information from you that they’ll likely use against you.  Remember, the insurance adjusters are not your friend even as nice as they can be while talking to you.  They will do anything they can to avoid paying your claim.  Avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company and DO NOT let them do a recorded statement with you.  If the other driver does not have insurance and you use your own uninsured motorist coverage to cover your bodily injury or property damage, they may require that you give a statement.  Many times, insurance companies will take their time investigating a claim when the parties do not respond to their requests for statements on how the accident occurred.  This can be frustrating. If you feel that you can handle your own case, it’s important to be as brief as possible and only give the facts of the accident. Tell the truth. Try not to speculate as to what happened and be consistent in telling your side to the story (refer back to your notes, as mentioned above). Be very brief and general in discussing your injuries, if you do not hire a lawyer. Since we aren’t trained medical professionals, it’s difficult to properly express our treatment status or injuries. It’s best to let the insurance company evaluate records from healthcare professionals in order to evaluate your claim.  Remember it’s the insurance adjuster’s job to pay as little as possible in any bodily injury or property damage claim. Also, keep in mind that if you accept an offer verbally from the adjuster, it’s binding.   You do not have to face a serious injury case alone. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation about how we can help you. Call (713) 489-4270 to speak to our Houston personal injury attorneys directly.

what to do after car accident

Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident or not, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your rights.  Even if you think the damage is minor or don’t immediately feel like you’ve been injured, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a Houston car accident lawyer.  If you end up seeking medical treatment for an injury that surfaces later on or the damage to your vehicle ends up being more than you thought, you want to make sure you can document the accident for insurance claim purposes. 1. Seek Medical Attention Immediately After you’ve been involved in an accident, seek medical attention immediately.  Call 911 and wait for the police and other first responders to arrive.  Your health should be your number one priority at this point.  If the fire department or ambulance arrives, it might be the best thing for you to go. Don’t be cheap and avoid going to the emergency room if you feel like you’ve been injured. Remember, even a minor impact can create substantial injuries.  To rule out any life-threatening conditions such as internal bleeding, broken bones or traumatic brain injuries, it may be smart to go to the emergency room even if you don’t think your injuries are serious.   If you decide to seek treatment at the emergency room, make sure you’re as thorough as possible in describing any of your symptoms to the emergency room personnel.  If the doctor doesn’t know your symptoms, they won’t be able to properly diagnose and treat you and these complaints will not appear in your emergency room medical records, which can later hurt your case down the road.  Also, always listen to the doctor’s orders. If they recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor or another healthcare provider, you should always do so. If you don’t immediately seek medical attention and you are injured, seek treatment as soon as possible.    2. Know the “Rules of the Road” – What are your Duties under Texas law? After assessing your overall health and safety, you should know the duties under Texas law after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident.  Title 7, Subtitle C, Chapter 550 of the Texas Transportation Code (“Rules of the Road”), which applies to accidents on most roads and highways, other than some residential property parking areas or garages/parking lots. When an accident involves personal injury or death, the parties involved are required to immediately: stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible; return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; determine whether a person is involved in the accident, and if a person is involved in the accident, whether that person requires aid; and remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of the duty to give information and render aid. This includes giving the operator’s name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operator’s motor vehicle liability insurance to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to any person injured or operator or occupant or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; and provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation. If there are injuries or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven the duty of the operators of the vehicle involved to immediately alert the police. Failure to stop or comply with these rules can result in a 2nd degree felony for accidents involving death of a person, 3rd degree felony for accidents involving seriously bodily injury, or up to five years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or up to one year confinement in the county jail do so can result in jail time, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.  When an accident only involves only vehicle damage, the parties involved are required to: immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary; immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements to give information and render aid. If an accident occurs on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of a freeway in a metropolitan area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move the operator’s vehicle as soon as possible to a designated accident investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location to give information and render aid, and minimize interference with freeway traffic. Failure to comply with this provision can result in a Class C misdemeanor. Failure to comply with this provision can result in a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200; or a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more. 3. Have a Police Officer Fill Out a Crash Report Make sure when the police arrive, have them fill out a crash report.  This is an important piece in dealing with your accident claim.  More information about crash reports is below. What is a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3 Form)? A Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report is a written summary of a motor vehicle crash.  It identifies the time, date, location,…

car accident pain and suffering

How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering? This question is extremely common for most car accident injury victims.  Actually, I’d say it’s as common as the “How much is my case worth?” question.  Similar to the overall case value question, the answer is the similar–the pain and suffering calculation widely varies. First let’s look at what Texas courts have said. According to the court in Green v. Meadows, 527 S.W.2d 496 (Tex. Civ. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1975, writ ref’d n.r.e.), the amount of damages necessary to compensate for pain cannot be determined by a set formula.  The court in Hernandez v. Baucum, 344 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. Civ. App. 1961), ruled that damages for physical pain are left to the sound discretion of the jury based upon their common knowledge and sense of justice.  So, we know from these two cases that there’s no exact formula to calculate pain and suffering. In addition, the court in Hernandez v. Baucum also stated that a jury may award zero damages when the pain is almost entirely subjective, based on the plaintiff’s personal reports of pain to doctors, supervisors and family members.  That’s why it’s important to have additional evidence of pain, which will be discussed below. Two Common Methods for Calculating Pain & Suffering Throughout your search online you will most likely find two common ways pain and suffering may be calculated: the “Multiplier” and the “Per Diem” methods.  Multiplier Method The Multiplier Method calculates pain and suffering by multiplying the injured party’s total medical bills and lost wages, also known as “Special Damages,” by some multiplier, such as 1.5 – 5. With 1.5 being the least minor injury and 5 being the most severe injury. This figure is then added to the Special Damages total. For example, if Paula Plaintiff has $5,000 in medical bills, $1,000 in lost wages, and she received minor sprains and strains in the car accident that was caused by Dexter Defendant, we may assign a 1.5 times Special Damages as her pain and suffering multiplier, or $9,000 ($6,000 x 1.5).  So, using the Multiplier Method, Paula’s pain and suffering would equal $9,000 and her total case value would be $15,000. Per Diem Method The Per Diem method is another method used to calculate pain and suffering in a car accident injury settlement.  The number of months, days, or hours are multiplied by a certain dollar figure that is either equal to the amount of pay the injured party receives in their job for that specific time period or some other arbitrary number.  For example, if Paula Plaintiff suffered pain for 200 days from the accident and made $200 per day as a construction worker, the pain and suffering calculation would equal $40,000.  The idea behind using a daily salary rate calculation as the daily rate of pain and suffering is that it could be thought that the pain associated with an injury is comparable to the effort of working a job.   Although the Texas court in Hernandez v. Baucum, 344 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. Civ. App. 1961) ruled that it was a “fair argument and a rational approach for pain the way it was endured, month by month, and year by year,” in proposing a pain and suffering calculation to the jury at trial, it is not an accurate estimate of what the value of pain and suffering will be assigned in a car accident settlement. The large misconception about these two methods is that insurance companies and juries actually use them to calculate pain and suffering.  Simple answer: they don’t.  Although insurance companies in the past may have employed some sort of multiplier to calculate a rough estimate of an appropriate settlement offer in cases involving soft tissue injuries (e.g., whiplash), insurance companies now use settlement software such as Colossus to arrive at an appropriate settlement range, based on prior settlements, localized medical charges, and other claim characteristics. If a case goes to a jury trial, juries are instructed to assign a sum of money that would fairly and reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past and future. Juries use their best judgment based on the evidence presented to them throughout the trial. For a more in-depth discussion on how pain and suffering is calculated, click HERE. You do not have to face a serious injury case alone. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation about how we can help you. Call (713) 489-4270 to speak to our Houston personal injury attorneys directly.

lost wages

How Much Can I Get for Lost Wages? Before we can answer this question, we need to determine exactly what is included under “lost wages.”   The court in Strauss v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 67 S.W.3d 428, 435 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.), distinguished between “past lost earnings” and “loss of earning capacity,” both of which are under the umbrella of lost wages.  In the court’s analysis, “past lost wages are the actual loss of income due to an inability to perform a specific job…” On the other hand, the court explained, loss of earning capacity is not based on the actual earnings lost, but rather on the loss of capacity to earn money.  Past lost earnings are much easier to calculate than loss of earning capacity, since with loss of earning capacity we are forecasting what the future will bring as a result of the injury.  You can prove your past lost earnings with pay stubs, tax returns, bank deposits, or some other hard evidence that can substantiate the monetary loss.   Proving lost earning capacity is a bit more complex.  You’ll need an expert, such as a vocational economist, to estimate your future earning potential based on your disability, occupation, skill level and other factors.  In addition, you will need to prove that your injuries are long-term or permanent to recover lost earning capacity damages. Calculating Past Lost Earnings To calculate your past lost earnings, add up the total amount of hours you missed from work as a result of the injuries.  This can include down-time where you experienced too much pain to work and time you took to receive medical treatment, including commuting.  Include both the time where you were unpaid and the time where you were paid but used your sick or vacation time.  Next, multiply the total hours you missed by your hourly wage.  If you were paid a reduced wage as a result of being put on light-duty, include the difference in pay, as well.  You can also include any bonuses, commission, or tips that you may have received.  You’ll need to substantiate the reason for your missed time at work with something from your doctor ordering you to take time off.  If you have your own business or are self-employed, you can also claim past lost earnings.  In this case, you can provide tax returns, bank statements, or other financial statements that can show that your income has declined since the accident. Lost Past Earnings example: Paula Plaintiff works as a salesperson at the local mall.  She makes $15.00 an hour and receives 5% commission for her total monthly sales. She typically works 40 hours per week.  Paula averages about $10,000 per month in sales, on which her commission is based.  Paula was hurt in a recent car accident caused by Dexter Defendant.  Her doctor ordered that she take off two weeks from work to heal.  Based on these facts, Paul missed 80 hours of work, or lost $1,200 ($15.00 x 80) in hourly wages.  She lost $250 in commission (5% x $10,000 x .5).  Her total lost past earnings are $1,450. You do not have to face a serious injury case alone. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation about how we can help you. Call (713) 489-4270 to speak to our Houston personal injury attorneys directly.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident? Maximize Your Compensation. Were you injured in a car accident as either a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or on a motorcycle or bicycle? We will discuss 22 tips on how to maximize your personal injury case compensation.  Whether your injuries are relatively minor, such as whiplash, sprains, strains, or bruises or are major such as broken bones or paralysis, it’s important to identify how you can increase the value of your personal injury case. Before we go over the list of ways to maximize your compensation, let’s first discuss what are the categories of compensation or “damages” that you are allowed to recover under the law: Medical Expenses This is often the largest part of your “economic damages.”   Economic damages are those that are easily quantifiable into a dollar figure.  You are entitled to be compensated for all your medical expenses that you accrued as a result of the accident.  This includes past out-of-pocket medical bills such as prescription pain medication you paid for at the pharmacy, medical bills that your health insurance / Medicaid / Medicare paid for, and any outstanding medical expenses.  In addition, any future medical expenses that you can prove you need after you settle your case and beyond can also be included in your damages. Lost Wages Another part of your economic damages—past lost wages—include any lost time you missed from your job as a result of the accident.  This includes the time for which you didn’t get paid, vacation time you took, and sick time that you used. Lost earning capacity is also a subcategory of lost wages and is the lost earnings you will experienced in the future as a result of your injuries.  You’ll likely need proof from a vocational economist to prove your expected earning potential in the future. Physical Pain and Suffering Past and future physical pain and suffering are often the most well-known type of “non-economic” damages.  Non-economic damages are those damages that are not so easy to quantify.  Just think how difficult it is to place a dollar figure on someone’s pain.  Physical pain and suffering is the physical pain that you feel as a result of your injury. Sometimes this is bunched in with mental or emotional pain or anguish, but this is a distinct category of damages that is a recognizable part of your personal injury compensation.  The difference between the two is that physical pain and suffering strictly concerns the actual physical pain that an injured party feels from a physical injury and mental or emotional pain or anguish is the mental effects that the pain has on the injured party. Mental or Emotional Pain or Anguish Past and future mental or emotional pain or anguish, as mentioned above, is strictly the negative mental effects that the injury has on the injured party’s mind.  This could include the feelings an injured person has when they think they may never be able to walk again without a cane or limp. Loss of Consortium / Loss of Companionship & Society Loss of consortium / loss of companionship and society are the damages that the family of the injured party can recover from losing the benefits of the relationship from the injured party.  This claim piggybacks onto the underlying personal injury claim of the injured party, but is strictly the spouse’s or family member’s claim, not the injured party’s him/herself. Disfigurement Disfigurement damages is the compensation for the scarring and the lasting physical traces of the injury left behind on your body.  This includes scars, loss of limb or other body part, burns, and skin grafts.  The disfigurement can be from the primary injury or from the effects of the required medical intervention on the injured body part, such as scars from scalpel cuts or stitches. Physical Impairment Physical impairment is another type of non-economic damages recoverable in a personal injury case.  Physical impairment damages provide compensation to an injured party for the loss of the ability to do certain activities that the injury party had done prior to the accident, but now are performed with physical limitations.  Physical impairment damages is usually limited to those injured parties that have suffered a permanent injury. Loss of Enjoyment of Life Compensating the injured party for losing the ability to enjoy certain aspects of their life as a result of their injuries is the purpose of loss of enjoyment of life damages.  Not being able to take part in hobbies they once enjoyed or playing with their kids are some examples of situations where this type of damages are recoverable. Punitive Damages Think of gross negligence when you think of punitive damages.  Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party for their bad behavior.  These damages are available to those injured parties that are the victims of the egregious acts of the liable party that caused their injuries.  Acts such as drunk driving or excessive speeding are some of the examples that may reach the level of gross negligence. 22 Tips on How to Maximize Your Compensation Now that we know what damages are recoverable under the law, we can now discuss how to maximize your compensation in your personal injury case. 1. Get Medical Treatment Immediately Getting medical treatment immediately after your accident is not only a smart way to avoid bigger problems down the road with your health, but also help with the value of your personal injury case.  Insurance companies and juries both will take your case more seriously if you seek immediate medical attention after an accident.  In most instances, going to the emergency room immediately after the accident will improve the value of your case.  Going by ambulance doesn’t hurt either. Remember, don’t go to the emergency room just because you think it will help your case.  Faking your injuries is never a good strategy and will only hurt your case in the long run.  If you feel you need emergency medical treatment, then go to the emergency…

Obtaining fair financial compensation for your damages after a car accident in Texas can already be difficult enough when the at-fault driver stops to give you his or her information. If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, however, it can be even harder to recover compensation. Learn how to handle a hit-and-run accident and the processes that come with it for your best chance at securing compensation. What Is a Hit-and-Run? All drivers have a duty to remain at the scene of a car accident. Under Texas Transportation Code Chapter 550, a driver involved in a car crash must stop as near to the crash scene as possible, see if anyone has injuries, call for help (if necessary), report the accident if it involves injuries or property damages, and exchange information with the other driver. Breaching this duty by leaving the scene before fulfilling the required duties of care is a hit-and-run.  In a hit-and-run accident, the at-fault driver flees the scene before giving his or her name or offering aid to those injured in the crash. Hit-and-run accidents can be especially dangerous for victims, as it may take a while before someone else finds the scene and calls for help. Hit-and-runs can also make it more difficult for victims to obtain financial compensation, as they will not have the at-fault driver’s information available to file a claim. Criminal Penalties for Hit-and-Run Causing an accident and fleeing the scene is against the law in Texas. If the police catch the culprit and charge him or her with a hit-and-run crime, the criminal penalties can be severe. In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident prematurely could be a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the severity of the damages. A defendant could face jail time, up to 10 years in state prison, fines of $500 to $5,000, driver’s license revocation and other penalties for committing a hit-and-run crime. Civil Penalties for Hit-and-Run In addition to criminal penalties for fleeing the scene of a car accident in Texas, a driver could also face civil penalties. Civil penalties refer to the outcome of an injured victim’s civil case against the at-fault driver. Civil penalties aim to rehabilitate the injured victim and restore him or her to the victim’s pre-accident state. Civil penalties against a hit-and-run driver could require that driver to pay for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, property repairs, inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional damages, and more. Many hit-and-run cases also result in additional punitive damages to punish the defendant for gross negligence.  Do’s & Don’ts of Handling a Hit-and-Run Recovering compensation after a hit-and-run car accident in Texas requires several actions on your part as a victim. First, always report a hit-and-run to the police. Call 911 from the scene of the accident. Explain that the at-fault driver fled. Stay where you are until paramedics and investigators arrive. Give your side of the story to the police. Provide as much information about the other driver as you can, such as a description of the vehicle, where it came from and where it went. Get medical care for any injuries right away and keep copies of your medical records. Then, call your own insurance company to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. Do not leave the scene of a hit-and-run accident without gathering as much evidence as you can. Any information you collect could help the police identify the at-fault driver. It could also help with an insurance claim. While on the phone with your auto insurance provider, do not admit fault for the hit-and-run accident. Do not answer any questions about your injuries until you have seen a doctor. Do not accept a settlement before talking to a lawyer. Most importantly, do not try to handle your hit-and-run accident claim alone if you have serious injuries. Hire a car accident lawyer to help you negotiate with your insurance company instead. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, this should cover your damages for a hit-and-run. If you do not, your lawyer may need to search for other recovery options. An accident attorney can help you with what to do and what not to do after a hit-and-run in Texas. 

Car accidents occur in Texas for many reasons, including distracted driving, speeding and following too closely. One of the most common types of accidents, however, is the lane-change accident. A car accident while changing lanes can lead to a complicated insurance process. Determining fault and liability for a lane-change accident may require an in-depth investigation into which driver was in the wrong. Assigning Fault in a Car Accident Involving Changing Lanes If you live in a no-fault state, you may not need to determine who is at fault for a car accident while changing lanes. In no-fault states, all injured parties will seek benefits from their own insurance providers, no matter who was at fault. Texas, however, is a fault state. This means you must assign fault before you can file an insurance claim.  Lane-change accidents are notoriously complex when it comes to determining fault. In general, the fault will go to the driver who broke a roadway rule, breached his or her duties of care to the other driver, or failed to yield the right-of-way. These are common mistakes that commonly cause auto accidents in Texas. Determining fault in a lane-change accident takes investigating who bore the right-of-way at the time of the crash. One driver had the right to be in the lane while the other driver did not.  Determining the Right-of-Way Right-of-way refers to the legal authority to proceed along a specific route. What establishes the right-of-way in a particular situation is Texas law. When it comes to merging or changing lanes, Texas Transportation Code 545.060 gives the right-of-way to the driver already occupying the lane. It states that all operators must keep to single lanes, and may only move from the lane if they can do so safely.  The driver in the destination lane (Driver A) will always bear the right to proceed over a driver trying to switch lanes into the destination lane (Driver B). It is Driver B’s responsibility to make sure he or she can change lanes or merge onto a highway in a way that is safe. Driver B must take due care to safely complete the maneuver, such as using a turn signal, checking rearview mirrors and ensuring the lane is clear before moving. The right-of-way going to the existing driver means the Driver B will be liable for a lane-change accident, in most cases. Did the Driver Obey Texas Laws for Changing Lanes? In determining fault for a lane-change accident in Texas, investigators will need to figure out who broke a roadway law in making an illegal or unsafe maneuver. Investigators may look at police reports, photographs, video surveillance footage, eyewitness statements and testimony from experts to determine fault. In general, the driver making the lane change will be responsible for the wreck for not making sure the lane was clear before moving. In some cases, however, the driver in the destination lane could be at fault. Driver A could bear fault for a lane-change accident if he or she intentionally sped up or hit the brakes to prevent Driver B from changing lanes. Speeding, weaving through traffic, motorcyclist lane-splitting and not using headlights at night are also examples of negligence that could make Driver A responsible for a lane-change accident. If Driver A was lawfully in a lane and had the right-of-way, however, Driver B would most likely be liable for making an unsafe lane change.  Sometimes, two drivers merge into the same lane at the same time, causing a collision. In this case, fault could go to one or both drivers. The driver who entered the lane last would most likely take responsibility; however, both drivers may bear a percentage of fault for the crash. Since lane-change accident claims can be especially difficult to navigate in Texas, contact an attorney to help you determine fault. A Houston car accident lawyer can help you fight for fair compensation.

How you must handle an insurance claim after getting injured in a car accident will depend on whether the state where the accident occurred uses a fault or no-fault insurance law. Your state’s fault law will determine who is financially responsible for your crash-related losses – either your auto insurance company or that of the other driver. Texas is not a no-fault accident state. It is a fault state. What Does Being a Fault State Mean? A fault state uses a car insurance system that centers on fault for the accident. Rather than each party involved seeking compensation from his or her own insurance company – as is the case in a no-fault state – all injured victims will seek compensation from the insurer of the negligent or at-fault party.  Every driver should have adequate insurance to pay for victims’ losses based on Texas’s liability laws. These laws make it mandatory for motor vehicle operators in Texas to purchase at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance, as well as $25,000 in vehicle damage liability insurance. Auto insurance protects both parties after a crash. It prevents both the at-fault driver and the victim from having to pay out of pocket for damages.  Living in a fault state such as Texas can have pros and cons. One of the pros is that, in general, a third-party liability claim will result in higher compensation than a first-party insurance claim. The main con of a fault-based state, however, is that before you can recover compensation for a car accident in Texas, you will need to identify the at-fault party and prove his or her fault. How Should You Handle an Insurance Claim in Texas? It is important to take the correct steps during your car accident insurance claim if you wish to recover fair compensation in Texas. The insurance company that receives your claim will look for any reason to deny benefits. It may not be easy to prove the other driver’s fault during the insurance process. You can improve your chances of a successful claim, however, by taking the right steps after your accident. Call the police. Call 911 after any car accident that causes personal injuries or property damages. An official police report could provide evidence of the other driver’s fault, such as speeding or drunk driving. Take photographs. The insurance company will ask for proof of your losses, such as photos of your vehicle’s damages. Taking photos can also help crash reconstructionists re-create how the accident happened. Go to the hospital. Failing to receive medical care is a red flag for an insurance company. The insurer will want to see that you obtained immediate medical care for any injuries. File your claim as soon as possible. Do not delay in notifying the other driver’s insurance company about the car accident. Most insurers require initial report submissions within 24 to 72 hours of the crash. Before an insurance company will give you benefits in a fault state, you will have to establish its policyholder’s fault for your collision. Photographs, video footage, police reports, medical records, injury documentation and eyewitness testimony could all help you prove your car accident case in Texas. You may also need a lawyer’s assistance with your insurance claim depending on the circumstances. Do You Need to Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Texas? Texas’s fault accident law could mean collecting more money in damages from the driver at fault for your car accident and injuries. It also means you will need to prove fault. You may have to combat defenses such as comparative negligence allegations as well. If found more than 50% responsible for causing the crash, Texas law will bar you from any financial recovery. Hire a car accident attorney for professional assistance with your insurance claim in Texas. A lawyer can help you navigate Texas’s fault law, prove the other driver’s negligence and negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf.

You are faced with many important decisions as the victim of a personal injury accident in Texas. Many different people may be asking things of you, such as bill collectors, hospitals and insurance claims adjusters. Deciding to retain a legal professional could be the best thing you can do for your case. If you have a case that could benefit from a personal injury lawyer, hiring one can be crucial for your future. Does Your Case Warrant the Hiring of an Attorney? The first question to ask is whether your case is one that requires assistance from a personal injury lawyer. While you technically always have the option of going pro se (representing yourself), this might not be the best decision if you have a complicated case. Pro se litigation could set you up for mistakes such as accepting a lowball settlement from an insurance company or missing important information on your initial claim. If you have serious injuries from your accident, hire a personal injury lawyer. A serious injury case demands attention from an attorney. An insurance company may try to dispute liability or use other tactics to avoid paying you a fair and full amount for a serious or catastrophic injury. Hiring a lawyer can be the most effective way to secure the compensation your injuries demand. It can also be important to hire a lawyer if your case involves complications such as multiple defendants, comparative negligence or lack of available insurance coverage. What Are the Laws in Your State? The next thing to consider is whether you will need to prove someone else’s negligence. If not, you may not need to hire an attorney, as you will be negotiating with your own insurance company instead of the company of an at-fault party. A first-party claim is generally easier to resolve. A third-party claim, on the other hand, will require you to prove fault. This can make it more important to hire a lawyer. Texas is a fault state. If you are injured in an auto accident in Texas, the fault law means you will seek financial compensation from the at-fault party. Hiring a lawyer could enable you to gather evidence of the negligent party’s fault. If you live in a no-fault state, you may need to hire an attorney if your injury is serious enough to allow you to step outside of the no-fault system. Could a Lawyer Obtain Better Results for Your Case? The decision to hire a lawyer takes analyzing how much you could make alone versus how much money an attorney can obtain for you. Statistically, plaintiffs who hire attorneys generally recover greater compensation than pro se plaintiffs. This is because attorneys have the negotiation skills and resources to obtain better results. If necessary, a lawyer can go to trial to fight for higher compensation on your behalf.   If you know you are already recovering the maximum amount available under the defendant’s insurance policy, however, hiring a lawyer may be unnecessary. You may be able to accept the settlement and know that you achieved a fair outcome. When in doubt, talk to a lawyer about the value of your personal injury case. Then you will have more knowledge about your claim to use during settlement negotiations. How Much Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost? Finally, ask how much your personal injury lawyer will cost. If you choose a firm that operates on a contingency fee basis, your lawyer will not get paid unless you do. This can ensure you always have the ability to afford your lawyer since the legal fees will come directly from the settlement or judgment won. Plus, this type of attorney will be motivated to obtain maximum compensation, as the amount you receive determines the amount the lawyer receives as payment. Most attorneys do not take more in legal fees than their clients make. Ask your lawyer for more information about his or her fee system to make an informed decision.

Whether you were injured in a car accident or dog attack in Texas, you deserve representation from a personal injury attorney. A lawyer will know exactly how to handle your case to secure you the best possible results. If you are on the fence about hiring an attorney to represent you as a personal injury claimant, schedule a free consultation with a lawyer near you where you can learn how he or she could help your case.  Answers to Your Legal Questions The civil justice system can be complicated and difficult to understand for the average victim. You have probably never had to go up against a negligent party in pursuit of financial compensation before. Hiring a lawyer can give you answers you can trust to all of your legal questions. Your lawyer can explain your rights and help you understand what to expect from the process moving forward. Your lawyer can give you peace of mind about legal matters so you can focus more on healing.  Support for Your Legal and Personal Needs Yes, a lawyer serves as a legal professional, but he or she will also provide support for your personal needs during what could be the most difficult time of your life. For example, your lawyer can connect you to the best doctors for your injury or condition in Texas. Your attorney and the entire legal team will be there for you when you need it the most. From answering questions about your case 24/7 to looking out for your best interests in and out of the courtroom, your lawyer can help you through a hard time. Important Legal Resources Your personal injury case could benefit from the resources the average law firm has to offer. A law firm will have connections to investigators and accident reconstructionists, for example, who can reconstruct how your accident happened and who is to blame for causing your losses. The law firm may also have special technology to demonstrate your losses to an insurance company or jury, such as visual diagrams explaining your injuries. Finally, a lawyer will know subject-matter experts in your region who can testify on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer could give you access to many resources that could improve your claim. An Advocate Against the Insurance Company One of the most critical reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer is for protection from insurance company bad-faith tactics. Insurance companies will stop at nothing to protect their own interests and make a profit. They will even resort to bad-faith maneuvers to save money on your claim, such as offering less than they know your case is worth or unfairly delaying your payout. Hiring a lawyer will give you a trained professional who can negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf. Your lawyer will not allow an insurance provider to take advantage of you during a personal injury claim.  The Ability to Go to Trial Most injury cases in Texas settle. However, some require trials for fair outcomes. If your lawyer believes you could receive more money for your injuries and damages than an insurance company is offering, your lawyer can represent you at trial in Texas instead. A personal injury attorney can make a trial much less daunting. Your lawyer can take care of difficult legal processes in the pursuit of full compensation while you recuperate. Better Results for Your Personal Injury Case Overall, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you achieve better case results. When your future rests on the outcome of your personal injury claim, invest in an attorney. An attorney can accurately estimate the value of your claim. Then, your attorney can go up against the defendant and his or her insurance company to demand the maximum amount of compensation possible for your past and future losses. Having a lawyer handle your case could lead to a higher settlement than you could obtain alone.