After a Traffic Accident, Will You Need an Attorney?

In the State of Texas, if you are injured in an accident with an at-fault driver who was negligent, you have the right to be compensated for your medical costs, lost wages, and other losses, but to recover that compensation, you will need to be represented by a Texas personal injury lawyer.

It is not difficult to get into a traffic accident in Texas. More than 22 million motor vehicles are registered in this state, and more than 634,000 accidents were reported in 2022. What happens if you are the driver at fault for an accident, and someone who was injured sues you for damages?

In most cases, after you show your auto insurance company a copy of the lawsuit, the company will hire an attorney to represent you. However, your insurance company is only responsible for payment up to your policy’s limits. If an injury victim sues you and prevails with a claim that exceeds the limits of your policy, you may be personally liable for any amount over those limits.

What Does Texas Require for Automobile Insurance?

The current law in Texas requires drivers in the state to carry automobile insurance coverage with the following minimum limits:

  1.  Bodily injury to others: $30,000 per person; $60,000 per accident
  2.  Damage to another party’s property: $25,000 per accident

Drivers in Texas who can purchase more liability coverage should do so for added protection in case they are at fault in a serious crash. If you cause an accident and the other party files a claim against your insurance company, the company may agree to a settlement and issue a payment.

But your auto insurance company could also deny liability for the accident and refuse to negotiate a settlement. And even if the insurance company issues a payment, that is not always the end of the matter.

Could You Be Sued Personally After Your Insurance Company Issues a Payment?

Will Texas courts consider a lawsuit for a claim that has already been settled? It depends. In some circumstances, even after a settlement, an injury victim could sue for more. To receive a settlement, a victim usually agrees to not seek more compensation and to not take further action.

But if the victim sustained a latent injury that was not discovered until later, or if an accident-related injury develops into a permanent disability, in some cases, that victim may be allowed to bring a second lawsuit and seek additional compensation.

A personal injury victim could also claim that he or she was coerced into accepting an insufficient settlement amount, or a victim could claim that his or her attorney did not accurately describe the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement.

If You Are Sued, What Steps Should You Take?

If you are sued in this state after a traffic accident for an amount that exceeds the limits of your automobile insurance coverage, you should seek the advice and services of a Texas car accident attorney.

Injured victims of negligence, in car accidents and other accidents, are entitled to compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, and related losses. A court could enter a default judgment – that is, find against you – if you don’t respond promptly to a lawsuit.

Unless a government agency is involved, Texas does not limit the compensation that an injury victim may recover. If a government agency is at fault in a personal injury case, damages are capped at $250,000 per defendant or $500,000 per case for injuries and other damages.

Can You Reduce Your Chances of Being Sued?

If you’re at fault, there is no way for you to keep the injured victim of a traffic accident from filing a lawsuit against you, but you can substantially reduce your chances of being involved in an accident by taking some additional safety measures:

  1.  Always adhere to the traffic rules and regulations whenever you are driving.
  2.  Avoid speeding, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driving while intoxicated.
  3.  Routinely check your tires, brakes, and wipers. Keep your vehicle maintained at all times.

If it’s possible, you should also purchase additional automobile insurance coverage. If you are sued after a traffic accident, and if you were the at-fault driver, you reduce the risk of personal liability if your automobile insurance coverage is sufficient to cover the victim’s damages in full.

What if You Are the Victim?

Injuries caused by another driver’s recklessness or negligence can happen to almost anyone. If you’re injured in Texas by a reckless or negligent driver, contact the offices of a Texas personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you have been examined and treated for your injuries.

In most cases, the deadline – the statute of limitations – for filing a personal injury claim in Texas is two years, but you’ll need to contact an attorney right away. Evidence can deteriorate or disappear over time, and the recollections of the witnesses can fade quickly.

Your lawyer will determine how you were injured and identify any party with liability. Your lawyer will then negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company for the maximum possible compensation amount. Most injury claims in Texas are resolved in out-of-court negotiations.

But if the other party denies liability, or if no reasonable settlement offer is made in the private negotiations, your Texas car accident attorney will take your claim to trial, explain to a jury how you were injured, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.

How Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

Whether you are suing or being sued after a traffic accident in Texas, there’s no need to search extensively for the right personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney at Mike Massey Law will evaluate your case without cost or obligation.

You will receive sound, personalized legal advice. You’ll learn how the law applies to your own case, and you will be able to make an informed choice about whether you should proceed with a lawsuit. We aim to settle your case quickly and win the best possible result on your behalf.

If you are injured by a negligent driver, or if you are sued for an amount that exceeds your auto insurance coverage limits, contact Mike Massey Law at once – at 512-400-4430 in the Austin area or at 713-489-7360 in the Houston area – and let us fight for the justice you need.