distracted driving by texting

Negligence has a specific legal meaning, but the idea behind it is that a person did not act the way a reasonable person would have in a similar situation. It is a legal concept commonly applied to personal injury cases when a party acts negligently and, as a result, causes injury to another. However, different types of negligence may apply in certain Texas cases. Elements of Negligence It is essential to understand the elements of negligence before learning the different types. To prove another party acted negligently, you and your attorney must demonstrate the following: Duty:  the other party had a duty to act reasonably. For example, a driver owes a duty to others on the road (including pedestrians) to drive safely and to follow the rules of the road. Breach: the at-fault party violated that duty. In the case of a driver who struck a pedestrian, the driver may have violated his or her duty of care by being distracted while driving. Causation: the at-fault party’s breach of their duty of care directly caused your injuries. An added component is that this breach must be the proximate or “but for” cause of injury. In other words, you would not have been injured but for the other person’s actions. Damages: you must prove you suffered actual financial losses and the amount of those losses. Types of Negligence in Texas Negligence is a blanket term, as there are many types. Each one must be handled differently, making it critical to know which kind you are attempting to prove. The most common types of negligence in Texas are: Modified Comparative Negligence Texas courts follow the rule of modified comparative negligence. An injury victim who is somewhat at fault may receive compensation, but their percentage of fault will reduce the settlement or court ruling. However, the victim must be 50% or less responsible for the incident than the other parties involved. Also known as the 51% bar rule, if the claimant is found 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover compensation. Example: in a car accident case, if the jury awards you $10,000 and determines that you are 30% responsible for not wearing your seatbelt, you will receive 70% of your award or, in this case, $7,000. On the other hand, if the jury determines you are 51% percent responsible since you didn’t wear a seatbelt, you will not receive an award. Vicarious Liability This form of negligence holds a defendant liable for the actions of another person or animal. Vicarious liability is often used in cases involving: Minor children between the ages of seven to 17, as their parents, can be held responsible for their actions. Teenagers over the age of 18 are considered adults, whereas children under seven are legally defined as being incapable of negligence. Negligent actions of employees, since their respective employers can be vicariously liable if they cause injury to another while working. Animal bites or attacks, as owners can be vicariously liable for their pets’ actions. Gross Negligence In these cases, the act of negligence was so careless or reckless it showed a complete disregard for the safety of others. Gross negligence is a much more severe form of negligence that goes a step further than simple carelessness or failure to act—it is willful behavior. Examples include a driver speeding in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic or a physician prescribing a drug to a patient whose medical records clearly list that they are allergic to. Another type of negligence in Texas is criminal negligence. However, it is not used in civil law or personal injury cases. Contact Milano Legal Group If you believe you have been injured due to the negligence of another, speak to an experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyer. We are dedicated to the wellbeing of our clients and will make sure you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Call (713) 489-4270 today to schedule a free consultation.    

driver taking video evidence after an accident

In personal injury claims, video camera footage can be vital evidence to prove who is liable for your injuries. It is common for liability to be heavily disputed by insurance companies and the parties involved. If you believe that another party’s negligence was the cause of your accident and you have video evidence, it can help set the record straight. How Video Footage Can Prove Negligence Video cameras are everywhere today, from red light cameras at intersections to security cameras in stores, office buildings, parking lots, dash cams, doorbells, and of course, on phones. Camera footage can be a powerful piece of evidence if it shows the actual incident as it occurred and supports your claim regarding the type of injuries you sustained. When proving a personal injury claim, you must be able to establish that the at-fault party was negligent or breached their duty of care by failing to keep you safe from harm. For instance, a driver breaches their duty of care by driving while intoxicated; a business owner breaches their duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors by failing to maintain sidewalks, etc. Whether a duty is owed to an injured person is fairly straightforward in most cases and typically isn’t contested.  However, whether a party was negligent or breached their duty is almost always challenged. Evidence of negligence often hinges on the injured person’s testimony and credibility. However, video camera footage of the accident can support your claim that the other party is responsible for damages due to their negligent actions or lack thereof. How To Obtain Video Camera Footage of Your Accident If you believe there is video camera footage of your accident, any evidence captured on those cameras is owned by either public or private entities. They are typically only kept for a short time, possibly as little as 72 hours, before being deleted or copied over. Since it is essential to collect video evidence as soon as possible and you need to seek medical attention immediately, a personal injury attorney is the best person to coordinate the request process before the footage of your accident is erased. They can assist you with: Determining where and if there are any traffic cameras or businesses with security cameras near the accident scene. Contacting the parties who own and operate the cameras. Completing any forms and information required to obtain the video footage. Reviewing, storing, and sending the correct video files, as well as determining if they will support your injury claim. Police are not required to disclose the location of traffic or security cameras that are near where your accident took place. They also do not have to provide evidence for your personal injury case, other than a police report. Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ready to Help Liability in Texas personal injury cases is rarely cut and dry. Don’t wait to speak with one of our Houston personal injury lawyers so we may begin investigating immediately and collect any video camera footage that is available to support your claim. Call (713) 489-4270 and schedule a free consultation today.

Move Over Slow Down Law in Texas

The Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas requires motorists to change lanes and take caution on the road when approaching an authorized emergency or service utility vehicle and personnel while they are stopped on the side of the road. It is designed to keep first responders, police officers, and TxDOT workers safe. Any driver who violates this law can face steep penalties. What To Know About the Move Over/Slow Down Law in Texas The Texas Move Over/Slow Down law (TTC § 545.157) specifically requires drivers to: Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or Slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph) The original Move Over/Slow Down law was passed in 2003 and did not include service utility vehicles. As of September 1, 2019, service utility vehicles have been added, such as TxDOT vehicles, tow vehicles, power utility vehicles, and garbage and recycling vehicles. Along with police, fire, and EMS that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Violations of this law can result in a fine of up to $200, and the fine increases to $500 if there is property damage. If violators cause bodily injury, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000. Between 2016 and 2020, Texas DPS Troopers have been in 65 stationary crashes where either the Trooper or their vehicle was struck while stopped on the side of the highway doing their job. How a Violation of the Move Over/Slow Down Law Can Impact a Car Accident Claim While a Move Over/Slow Down violation can seem minor, it can cause significant repercussions in the event of an accident. If you are involved in a collision and cited for a Move Over/Slow Down violation, it will be particularly challenging to deny liability. If the other party can prove the accident would not have occurred if not for your negligence, then you will most likely be held responsible for the crash. Under Texas’ rule of comparative fault, you cannot recover compensation after an accident if you are found 51% or more at fault. Common Defenses to the Move Over/Slow Down Law Many times, factors like weather or traffic may prevent you from being able to safely move a lane away from vehicles parked on the side of the road. This has long posed a problem, as the specifics about what a driver should do in this scenario aren’t directly addressed. If you can prove that you were unable to move over or slow down, it may limit your liability for an accident. Contact Us Today If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident that involved the Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas, call the Milano Legal Group. Our Houston car accident lawyer is here to help and fight for the compensation you deserve. Reach us online or call (713) 489-4270 today to schedule your free consultation.

Liable in a Ridesharing Accident in Houston

A ridesharing accident is different from a typical car accident since liability isn’t always straightforward. Normally, an at-fault driver is responsible for resulting damages, but that can change if they were working at the time the accident occurs. Who Can I File a Claim Against? Both Uber and Lyft require drivers to have their own personal auto insurance policy and will only provide coverage themselves under certain conditions. Proving liability in these cases can be challenging since rideshare companies consider their driver’s independent contractors rather than employees. Because of the various factors that add complexity to rideshare claims, immediately contact a car accident lawyer who can help you determine liability and which party to file a claim against. Uber Insurance Coverage Uber provides coverage for their drivers, as follows: Offline or the Uber App is Off: only the driver’s personal insurance will apply to the accident. App is On, and the Driver is “Available” or Waiting for a Ride Request: Uber’s contingent liability coverage applies, but only to the losses sustained by others who were injured or had their property damaged. This includes: $50,000 in bodily injury per person $100,000 in bodily injury per accident $25,000 in property damage per accident The Uber driver must access their personal policy for their own injuries or vehicle damage. Driver Has Accepted a Ride or Until Passenger is Dropped Off: Uber’s commercial insurance coverage applies, which includes: $1,000,000 per accident for property damage and bodily injury, and another $1 million if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, limits will vary by state. Contingent comprehensive and collision: Up to the actual cash value of the car with a $2,500 deductible. (Effective 3/1/21) Certain vehicles offered through the Vehicle Marketplace are subject to a $1,000 deductible. Lyft Insurance Coverage Lyft policies are similar to Uber, and they apply in the following situations: Offline or Lyft App is Off: only the driver’s personal auto insurance applies. App is On, Lyft Driver is Waiting for a Ride Request: the driver’s private insurance will apply unless their insurance company refuses to cover it. In that situation, Lyft’s policy will cover: $50,000 per person for bodily injury $100,000 per accident for bodily injury $25,000 per accident for property damage. Driver Has Accepted a Trip or Until Passenger is Dropped Off: Lyft’s $1 million policy will apply to the collision. What If Another Driver Hits Your Uber or Lyft Car? When another driver crashes into your Uber or a Lyft vehicle, the at-fault driver’s insurance will apply. If you are injured as a passenger, you can file a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company to cover your medical bills and lost income. What If You Are Driving and An Uber or Lyft Car Hits You? If an Uber or Lyft driver causes an accident, you may be entitled to compensation from both their personal auto insurance and the rideshare company. However, it will depend on if the driver was considered working at the time, and Uber or Lyft may be quick to deny responsibility in an injury claim. Speak to a Qualified Attorney If you have been injured in a Houston rideshare accident, contact the Milano Legal Group. We’ll help you decide the best course of action in your case. Call (713) 489-4270 for a free consultation today.

Liable in an Accident Caused By A Recall

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a recalled part, you may be able to pursue compensation from multiple parties, including the manufacturer. In Texas, product liability laws make any person or entity involved in creating or marketing a dangerously defective product legally responsible for injuries that occur. Who’s Responsible? When a part or system failure results in an accident, you may have a viable case against the manufacturer. Recalls are issued to protect consumers from vehicle defects that endanger motorists or limit a car’s proper operation. However, a product recall does not protect them from being held liable, and defects often cause accidents long before the designer or manufacturer takes responsibility. To have a viable case against the vehicle manufacturer, you must establish that the defective part caused your injuries. The most critical piece of evidence is the vehicle or part itself. Preserving it immediately after the crash is vitally important. In many cases, you may be able to hold more parties accountable for the crash. The chain of distribution for cars, from designers and parts manufacturers to assembly plants and distributors, means that several parties have a responsibility to protect consumers from the effects of defective parts or design. How a Vehicle Recall can Impact Your Injury Claim Before an attorney can say whether your accident caused by a vehicle recall entitles you to compensation, some relevant questions must be answered. Did you know about the recall?  The first question is whether you even received notice of the recall. If not, then you cannot be responsible for not knowing that your vehicle needed to be serviced to correct the defective part. When did you know about the recall?  Assuming you did receive notice of the recall, the next question is when you received it in relation to the crash.  If the notification came the day before, then it is less likely that you can be at fault for failing to correct the defect. On the other hand, if you’ve known for months, you may be partially responsible for the accident, which can ultimately reduce your compensation. How clear were the instructions?  When you receive a recall notice, it should be accompanied by instructions telling you what must be done in response. In most cases, you will need to contact the local car dealership and schedule an appointment to have the defective part repaired or replaced.  A recall notice that does not provide clear directions may offset your failure to respond appropriately. How reasonable were your actions?  If you took appropriate action and the accident still occurred, then the failure to fix a defective part should not impact your case. For instance, if the dealership tells you to continue driving your car until the necessary parts arrive, then it may be difficult to place blame on you for an accident. We Can Help If you or a loved one has been injured in a Texas car accident caused by a defective part, contact Milano Legal Group. Our Houston Car Accident Lawyer can discuss your legal options in a free consultation. Message us online or call today (713) 489-4270.

texas property damaged in car accident

Öncelikle, herhangi bir trafik kazası geçirdiyseniz, sizin veya aracınızdaki kişilerin yaralanmadığından emin olmalısınız. Eğer yaralanma söz konusu ise, derhal tıbbi yardım almalısınız. Eğer araçtaki herhangi biri yaralandı ise, hiç vakit kaybetmeden bir Houston Kaza Avukatı ile görüşerek somut durumu ve ilgili hukuk çerçevesindeki haklarınızı değerlendirmek sizin için en iyisi olacaktır. Ancak, yaralanma olsun olmasın, aşağıdaki 12 öneri araç hasarınızı hallederken trafik kazası sebebiyle uğradığınız stres ile mücadele ederken size büyük fayda sağlayacaktır. 1. Araç Hasarınızı Hangi Zaman Dilimi İçinde Talep Edebileceğinizi Belirleyen Texas Zamanaşımı Süresini Bilmelisiniz. Yasal olarak “hala oyunda” olduğunuzdan ve Texas yasalarına göre kayıplarınız için tazminat talep etme hakkınızı kaybetmediğinizden emin olmanız gerekir. Texas’da meydana gelen araç hasarı ile ilgili zamanaşımı süresi kaza tarihinden itibaren iki yıldır. Peki kazaya sebep olan aracın zorunlu trafik sigortası yok ise veya sizin aracınızdaki hasar miktarı, karşı tarafın sigorta limitlerini aşıyorsa durum ne olacak? Eğer, kendi sigorta poliçenizde bu gibi durumları kapsayan bir teminat var ise, araç hasarınızı tazmin edebilmek adına kendi sigortanıza başvurabilirsiniz. Araç sigorta poliçelerinizde bu teminatın olup olmadığını teyit edebilmeniz için, bu teminatın ingilizce karşılığını da veriyorum: “uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage.” Ancak, bu teminata başvurabilmeniz için söz konusu trafik kazasında sizin kusurunuzun bulunmaması gerekmektedir. Sigorta poliçenizdeki “uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage” kapsamında kendi sigortanıza başvurduğunuzda zamanaşımı süreleri biraz daha karmaşık bir hal almaktadır: Sözleşmenin ihlali dört yıl, kötü niyet iki yıl ve Texas Eyaleti Tüketiciyi Aldatıcı Ticaret Uygulamaları Kanunu ihlalleri iki yıllık zamanaşımı sürelerine tabidir. Ancak, bu sürelerin ne zaman işlemeye başladığı vakadan vakaya değişmektedir. Bu nedenle, haklarınızı kaybetmemek için bir Texas Kaza avukatı ile irtibata geçmeniz en iyisidir. 2. Texas Trafik Kazası Polis Raporunuzu Temin Edin. Trafik kazasına karıştığınızda, ufak bir kaza bile olsa, hemen 911’i arayın ve polis olay yerine geldikten sonra muhakkak kazaya dair rapor yazmasını isteyin. (“Peace Officer’s Crash Report – CR-3 Form). Polis tarafından kaza raporunun hazırlanması birçok açıdan önem arz etmektedir. Şöyle ki: Söz konusu trafik kazasının gerçekleştiğinin kayıt altına alınması açısından kaza raporunun hazırlanması önemlidir. Sigorta şirketi nezdinde talepte bulunurken kaza raporunda yer alan bilgilere ihtiyacınız olacaktır—karşı tarafın sigorta bilgileri, ehliyet numarası, açık adresi, gibi. Polis memuru ayrıca kazaya sebebiyet veren kişiye ceza kesti ise bu hususu ve kazaya sebep olduğunu düşündüğü etkenleri de raporunda belirtir. Bu nedenle, polisin hazırladığı rapor, sigorta şirketinin sorumluluk araştırması yaparken değerlendirdikleri bir veridir. Texas Taşıma Kanunu Bölüm 550.062’ye göre, Texas polisi, eğer trafik kazası sebebiyle bir yaralanma veya ölüm meydana geldiyse veya araçta meydana gelen hasar $1,000 veya üzerindeyse Kaza Raporu hazırlamakla yükümlüdür. Texas polisi ayrıca hazırlamış olduğu söz konusu kaza raporunu kazanın olduğu tarihten itibaren en geç on gün içinde Texas Ulaştırma Departmanı’na elektronik olarak sunmakla yükümlüdür. Eğer söz konusu trafik kazası yaralanma veya ölüme sebebiyet vermedi ise veya araç hasarı $1,000’in altında ise, yine de Mavi Form Kaza Raporu (CR-2 Form) (Blue Form Crash Report) veya Sürücü Kaza Raporu da denilen (Driver’s Crash Report) formun doldurulması sizin yararınıza olacaktır. Sürücü tarafından bu raporun hazırlanması ve tutulması hukuken bir yükümlülük değildir. Bu rapor sadece sürücünün kendi kayıtları için faydalıdır ve 1 Eylül 2017’den itibaren ise Texas Ulaştırma Departmanı’na sunulmasına veya departmanda kayıt altına alınmasına gerek yoktur. Trafik kazasına karışan sürücülerin polisin gelmediği veya rapor tutulmasına gerek olmadığı durumlarda, sıcağı sıcağına, bir önceki cümlede belirtilen Sürücü Kaza Raporu denilen formu doldurmaları ve kazaya dair tüm detayları bu rapora yazmaları, zaman içerisinde kaza ilgili bilgilerin unutulması ihtimaline karşı, çok önemlidir. 3. Eğer aracınız sürülebilir durumda değil ise aracınızın nereye çekildiğini ve nerede saklandığını kayıt altına alın. Aracınızın saklanması için günlük depolama ücretinin her geçen gün artmasının önüne geçmek adına ise, aracınızı bir an önce seçtiğiniz bir araba servisine getirin veya ilgili sigorta şirketinin kendi deposuna getirilmesini sağlayın. Aracınızın bulunduğu yerin bilgisi genellikle çekici aracın sürücüsü tarafından size verilir ve aynı zamanda polis raporunda da belirtilir. Bu bilginin belirli olması, kendi sigorta şirketiniz veya diğer sürücünün sigorta şirketi nezdinde talepte bulunurken ilgili sigorta şirketine aracınızın bulunduğu yeri doğru olarak iletmeniz açısından önemlidir. Sigorta şirketinin aracınızdaki hasar ile ilgili bir değerlendirme yapabilmesi adına yetkili bir çalışanını göndermesi ve aracınızı servise çektirebilmesi için aracınızın nerede olduğunu bilmeye ihtiyacı vardır. Unutmayın ki Texas Hukukuna göre, aracınızın hangi serviste tamir edileceğini ve değiştirilen parçaları seçme hakkınız vardır. Eğer aracınız bir araç deposunda muhafaza ediliyor ise, aracınızın muhafazası için günlük ücret işler ve depolama ücreti çok kısa sürede artabilir. Trafik kazası karşı tarafın kusuru ile gerçekleşmiş bile olsa, Texas hukuku çerçevesinde hak sahibi olarak zararlarınızı aza indirgeme yükümlülüğünüz bulunmaktadır. Bu, zararlarınızı ve masraflarınızı azaltmak ve daha da kötüye gitmelerini önlemek için makul adımlar atmanız gerektiği anlamına gelir. Eğer zararlarınızı aza indirgemez ve aracınızın depoda makul olmayan bir süre beklemesine izin verirseniz, sigorta şirketi saklama ücretinin tamamını ödemekten sorumlu olmayacaktır. Eğer sigorta şirketi kaza ile ilgili sorumluluğun kimde olduğunun tespiti için henüz araştırma aşamasında ise, daha fazla depolama ücretinin tahakkuk etmemesi için sigorta şirketinin, aracı kendi depolama tesisine çekmesini sağlayın. 4. Kazada sizin kusurunuz yok ise, diğer sürücünün sigorta şirketi nezdinde talebinizi oluşturun. Eğer Texas kaza avukatı tutmadıysanız, tazminat talebinizi açan sigorta temsilcisiyle konuşurken, kazanın oluş şekline bağlı kaldığınızdan ve kazanızı araştırarak rapor tutan polise anlattıklarınızla tutarlı olduğunuzdan emin olun. Sigorta şirketi sonradan polis raporuna ulaştığında polise anlattıklarınız ile talebinizi oluştururken onlara anlattıklarınız arasında tutarsızlık olup olmadığını bilecektir. Konuşurken az ve öz konuşun, dürüst ve tutarlı olun ve duygusal olmamaya çalışın. Sigorta temsilcisine çoğunlukla adınız, adresiniz, doğum tarihiniz, araç bilgileriniz, arabanızın nerede depolandığı ve kazanın meydana geldiği yer ile saat gibi temel bilgileri vereceksiniz. Ayrıca, kaza sonucu yaralanıp yaralanmadığınızı da soracaklardır. Eğer kaza sebebiyle yaralandıysanız, sigorta şirketiyle yaralanmalarınızla ilgili olarak konuşmadan önce, Texas kaza avukatıyla görüşüp tavsiye almak en iyisi olacaktır. Çünkü çoğu kişi, sigorta şirketi tarafından sorulan bu tarz sorulara nasıl doğru bir şekilde yaklaşacağını bilmemektedir. Sigorta temsilcisi daha sonra size, açmış olduğunuz talep numarası ve talebinize atanan sigorta çalışanının kontak bilgilerini veya araç hasarı talepleri ve/veya pert araç talepleri ile ilgilenen departmanın numarasını verecektir. 5. Kaza sizin hatanız değil ise veya bir vurup-kaçma söz konusu ise ve diğer sürücünün sigortası yok ise, kendi sigorta şirketiniz nezdinde sigortasız sürücünün sebebiyet verdiği mal hasarı (“uninsured motorist property damage”) talebinizi açın. Kazadan diğer sürücü…

Who Pays for Medical Bills After an Accident

After a car accident, figuring out how to handle medical bills is often a tremendous concern. Unfortunately, you will bear the responsibility for paying your medical bills, but only at first. If another party is at fault for your accident, they are responsible for paying your treatment. However, their insurance company is only going to make one payment to you once your claim is resolved, rather than reimbursing you on an ongoing basis for every appointment or procedure.  Potential Sources of Payments for Your Medical Bills You are responsible for your medical bills after a car accident, but that doesn’t mean the payments have to all come out-of-pocket. There are a few potential sources that may cover your treatment.  Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage PIP is the most common source of payment for medical bills in Texas. It is a form of auto insurance coverage and will pay for your medical bills up to your policy limits. It will also pay for other things like lost wages and other non medical costs. Auto policies in Texas will automatically come with PIP, unless you inform your insurer in writing that you are opting out.  Health Insurance Personal health insurance coverage is also a common source of payment for medical bills. It can be used on its own, or to cover the remaining expenses after your PIP has reached its limit, but you will still have to pay for any deductibles or copayments. Oftentimes, people make the mistake of not wanting their health insurance provider to cover their bills that arise from a car accident. However, more often than not, you should have all of your medical bills go through your health insurance provider if possible. Doing this can save you a lot of money in the long run. Even though your health insurer is entitled to recoup the payments made on your behalf from your settlement or judgement, your attorney can negotiate how much will come out of your award.  Medical Payment Coverage (Med Pay) Med Pay is similar to PIP, as it is an optional form of auto insurance coverage, but it only pays for your medical bills after an accident. It does not come with stipulations, meaning it will cover fees from any licensed doctor, ambulance, hospital, etc. The one restriction is your policy limit. Policies often range from $1,000 to upwards of $100,000, but it will depend on the type of coverage you bought. Any costs for treatment beyond your coverage limit will be your personal responsibility.  When to Expect Payment for Your Medical Bills  Resolving your case with the at-fault party can be a long process, especially when it comes to obtaining payment for medical bills related to your injury. How quickly you recover payment will depend on the severity of your injuries and your requirement for ongoing care, as well as whether you settle outside of court or take the case to trial. Settling fast, however, might mean you will receive an amount of compensation that is 60 to 70 percent less than what you might be offered if your case makes it to trial.  Speak to a Highly Qualified Houston Car Accident Attorney It can be incredibly frustrating to have to deal with medical bills after being hurt in a car accident that someone else is responsible for. To discuss your options and for help with your claim, call (713) 489-4270 or contact Milano Legal Group online. We offer free consultations, schedule one today. 

Compensation for a Whiplash Injury

Hundreds of car accident victims suffer whiplash injuries every day. If it happens to you, you are entitled to compensation. A whiplash injury can be debilitating for a long period of time, disrupting ordinary life.  What Types of Compensation Can I Recover in a Whiplash Claim?  The types of compensation available to whiplash injury victims will likely include:  Current and future medical bills related to the injury Current and future lost wages if the victim is unable to work Pain and suffering Loss of enjoyment of life Any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury How Much Compensation can I Receive for a Whiplash Injury?  There are many factors taken into account when whiplash compensation is being calculated. The severity of the injury, your financial losses, and how the injury has impacted your way of life will influence your claims’ value.  The majority of whiplash injuries are classified as minor, with an average recovery time of around 4-5 weeks. Ninety percent of people fully recover within three months. For these cases, the approximate range of compensation is between $2,500 and $10,000. Most of the other 10 percent or so of cases, where there is permanent or recurring pain that lasts for years, the amount may escalate to around $30,000. At the other end of the scale, a small minority of car accident victims suffers permanent cervical spine damage. This type of whiplash injury can result in chronic pain, headaches, and a variety of other symptoms. For these cases, there may be a six-figure settlement or more.  What are the Symptoms of Whiplash? Whiplash neck injuries occur when the impact of a car accident causes the head to violently and abruptly be thrown backward and then forward. Symptoms can include:  Stiffness in the neck – soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. Blurred vision – a lack of sharpness of vision resulting in the inability to see fine details. Headaches – a tightening around the head and neck, followed by aches. Lower back pain – any pain between the bottom of your rib cage down to the top of your legs. Dizziness – a sensation of spinning and losing one’s balance. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) Sleep disturbances Irritability Tingling or numbness in the arms Difficulty concentrating Rear-end car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.  Do I Need a Lawyer for My Whiplash Injury Claim?  Insurance companies will typically offer an amount of compensation for a whiplash injury that is a fraction of how much you may legally be entitled to claim. Speaking to a car accident lawyer before accepting any type of settlement offer will protect you from recovering less than what you’ll need for the injury’s impact on your life. Although whiplash injuries typically heal, they leave victims in pain with reduced mobility, and a decreased overall quality of life. As a result, they may require ongoing medical care and may also miss days, weeks, or even months of work. Most Houston car accident lawyers offer free consultations to discuss your case and learn its value. 

Should I Sign a Release After My Car Accident?

Whether or not you should sign a release after a car accident depends on the specifics of your case. Any time you are injured in a collision caused by the careless or reckless behavior of another person, the insurance company for the at-fault party will ask you to sign a release of liability. However, it could be a mistake to do so before consulting with an attorney.  What is a Release of Liability?  Signing a release form basically means you are letting go or releasing the responsible party from further liability. In other words, you are giving up your right to sue for any future damages resulting from the accident. For instance, you may not be compensated for future medical bills, lost income, or pain and suffering.  Do Insurance Companies Require a Signed Release Form?   The at-fault driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release form before paying you any compensation, or paying the body shop you have chosen to repair your vehicle. It is a final payment, so you must review the form carefully to make sure that you are only releasing liability for the aspects of your claim which you have settled. For instance, if your claim has not been finalized with regard to your injuries suffered in the accident, make sure the form does not release liability for your injury. If your own insurance company is paying you for the accident, they will also require a signed release of liability.  What To Do Before Signing a Release of Liability Before signing a release of liability, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. Insurance companies will often pressure car accident victims to sign a release and accept a quick settlement offer. They do this in an attempt to minimize payouts on a claim. A car accident attorney can advise you on if you are recovering the maximum amount of compensation allowable for your claim.  Additionally, you may need permission from your own car insurance company before signing a release of liability. This is typically the case when your insurer must pursue a subrogation claim. Subrogation refers to the process by which your insurance company recovers money from the at-fault party or their insurer for funds they, or you have already paid. For instance, if you are hit by an underinsured driver whose policy limits aren’t enough to fully compensate you for your losses, your own insurer may be able to make up the difference under your underinsured motorist coverage. Your insurer will then use your legal right to go after the other driver or their insurer to recover the money they paid you.  If you sign a release without your insurer’s permission, they will not have the ability to go after the other driver for reimbursement. Your insurer may then try to deny your claim for benefits under your underinsured motorist coverage.  We Can Help Our Houston car accident attorneys have extensive experience helping injured victims navigate their claims. Contact us today through our website or by calling (713) 489-4270 to schedule a free consultation. 

man taking photos of damage after car accident

When you have been involved in a car accident, certain evidence will be particularly important for your personal injury or property damage claim. This evidence varies in form, and will help protect your right to compensation. Here are the types that can strengthen your case: Photo and Video Evidence If you can, take pictures and/or video of the following from varying distances and different directions:  The damage to all cars involved (external and internal) Final position of the vehicles after the collision Road conditions Weather conditions Skid marks Road signs and/or traffic lights  Your injuries These photos/videos can corroborate and support your version of how the accident occurred. They may contain clues about the direction from which your vehicle was struck, the speed of oncoming vehicle(s), and possibly the distance to a traffic sign or signal. Any debris, such as shredded tires or brake lines could indicate a manufacturer defect or other contributing factors. The top priority after an accident, however, is seeking medical care. If you are seriously injured you may need to ask someone else or hire an attorney to document the scene for you. Police Reports Calling the police to the scene is vital to proving who is at fault. Texas law also requires you to report an accident to the police when someone is injured or if there is more than $1,000 in damage to one or more of the vehicles involved. A police report will provide an official record of the accident and will contain details of their investigation. The officer will speak to each party, take notes, possibly draw a diagram of the scene, and will give their opinion as to what, where, and when they believe the collision occurred. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, they may also arrest a driver or ticket them for a moving violation.  Witness Statements Witnesses can give honest accounts of exactly what they saw, demonstrating your lack of fault to an insurance company or a court. Write down the details of and contact information for as many witnesses as you can find. This information will also likely be found in the police report.  Medical Records Ongoing medical evidence pertaining to your injury will establish how the accident has impacted your life. The most important proof is regular consultations with medical professionals and completing the ongoing treatment they advise. Doctors will keep detailed records on your visits, condition, and advised treatment plan. These records are key pieces of evidence for an insurer or at trial. If you do not seek medical care or stop treatment, you may not receive the compensation you need and deserve for your injury.  Speak to an Experienced Houston Car Accident Attorney If you were recently injured in a car accident, contact Milano Legal Group for a free consultation. We will help you collect the evidence you need to prove that the accident was not your fault, that you were injured, and how your life has and will be impacted as a result.