Serious car accidents typically cause serious injuries, whereas minor car accidents usually cause only damage to the vehicles, but if you’re injured in either type of accident, you should arrange as swiftly as possible to speak with a Texas car accident lawyer regarding your legal rights.
After a traffic collision, what are those legal rights? When should you contact a Texas car accident lawyer, and in what cases will a lawyer’s advice and services not be necessary? What should you know if you file a property damage claim without an accident attorney’s help?
If you’ll keep reading this brief introduction to the different types of car accidents and the best ways to deal with these accidents, you will find the answers to these questions, and you will learn more about your rights if you become the injured victim of another driver’s negligence.
How Should You Deal With a Minor Accident?
Texas is an at-fault state for auto insurance. The driver who is responsible for an accident must pay for the damages and the injuries that he or she causes. If no injuries are suffered in a minor accident, it may be easier and more expedient to handle a property damage claim on your own, without a lawyer’s help.
If a negligent motorist damages your vehicle in Texas, in order to be reimbursed for your repair costs, you may submit a claim for property damage to that driver’s car insurance company.
Vehicles aren’t necessarily the only property that gets damaged in a car crash. Buildings, fences, and mailboxes are sometimes damaged, and the items in your vehicle – computers, phones or golf clubs, for example– may also be damaged in an accident.
What Should You Do When an Accident Happens?
To put yourself in the best possible position to negotiate a property damage claim with a negligent driver’s auto insurance company, heed the following suggestions:
- When an accident happens, call the police. Their accident report will provide facts and details that your damage claim – or any subsequent legal action – will be based on.
- Exchange contact and car insurance information with the other driver. If witnesses saw the accident, try to obtain their names and contact information. Take photos – as many as you can – of the accident scene and the vehicle damages.
- Call your own car insurance company within 24 hours of the accident. Inform them that you have been in an accident, where the accident happened, and when. However, you should make no formal statement and offer no details when you make this initial call.
- Have a medical exam after the accident – within the first 24 hours if at all possible – to make sure you haven’t suffered a latent or difficult-to-detect personal injury.
When you have the facts on your side – and documents that verify those facts – it will be difficult for an insurance company to dispute your property damage claim.
How Can You Negotiate Effectively?
Don’t be stressed, hurried, or intimidated. Determine how much you will need for repairs and additional damages. First settlement offers from car insurance companies are usually “lowball” offers. Do not accept an offer that will not cover all of your damages.
Emphasize the facts. There is no need to embellish what happened or to exaggerate your damages. Take notes when you speak with the insurance company. Get the date, time, the name of the person you’re speaking with, that person’s title, and a summary of your discussion.
Property damage claims are almost always settled quickly and smoothly by car insurance companies in Texas. Most claims are resolved within eight weeks and many cases can be resolved within two weeks.
How Should You Deal With a Serious Accident?
Your vehicle can be replaced. You can’t. It is not usually difficult to negotiate a property damage claim, but if you are injured by a negligent driver, you must have a Texas traffic accident attorney handle your personal injury claim from the beginning.
If a negligent driver injures you, your health and your future will be at stake. Traffic accident attorneys in Texas are experienced negotiators who understand how insurance companies negotiate and know how to obtain the compensation you deserve and need after a serious injury.
Your attorney will investigate your injury claim, identify the liable party or parties, examine any evidence, speak to the witnesses, and aggressively negotiate for your compensation.
If liability for the accident is in dispute, or if no acceptable settlement offer is made when the attorneys for both sides negotiate privately, your attorney will take the case to court, explain to a jury how you were injured, and ask the jurors to award payment of your compensation.
Yes, You Can Afford an Attorney
A serious injury may keep you out of work for weeks, months, or even longer. How can you afford to hire a personal injury attorney if your medical bills are piling up next to your regular monthly obligations, and you’re not even able to work?
Do not let financial concerns stop you from pursuing justice. A Texas vehicle accident attorney typically represents his or her clients on a contingent fee basis, which means that injury victims pay their attorneys nothing upfront and nothing until and unless compensation is recovered.
If you have been injured in an accident with a negligent driver, your first consultation is offered with no cost or obligation. Your free first consultation allows you to learn more about your rights, where you stand legally, and how this state’s personal injury laws apply to your own case.
How Much Time Do You Have?
With only rare exceptions, the statute of limitations – that is, the deadline – for personal injury claims arising from traffic accidents is two years from the injury date, the date an injury is “discovered,” or the date an injury “should” have been discovered.
But if you have been injured, you should not wait two years – or even two weeks – to talk with an attorney. Your attorney needs to see the evidence while it’s fresh and talk with the witnesses before their recollections fade.
If you have legal questions after an accident, have those questions answered by an accident lawyer at once. It may be more expedient to negotiate your own property damage claim, but if you are injured by a negligent driver, you should contact a Texas injury lawyer immediately.