Texas Car Accident FAQ
Galveston Car Accident Lawyer
After a motor vehicle accident, it can be difficult to know what steps you are supposed to take. From dealing with insurance companies and law enforcement to determining who was at fault, the personal injury claims process can be frustrating. To help clear some of the confusion surrounding the legal process, below we answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to car accidents and personal injury claims. If you have a question that is not addressed below or would simply like more information on the services we offer, we encourage you to contact our firm or request an initial consultation online.
- What Should I Do After An Accident?
- I Was In A Minor Accident. Do I Need To Call The Police?
- What Information Should I Collect Ater An Accident?
- I’m Not Injured; Should I Still See A Doctor?
- Should I Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
- I Have Been Offered A Settlement; Should I Accept?
- Can I File A Personal Injury Claim If I Was Partially At Fault?
- What Happens If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?
- Is There A Deadline For Filing A Lawsuit?
- Do I Need An Attorney?
1. What Should I Do After An Accident?
After an accident occurs, your first concern should be your safety as well as the safety of anyone involved in the collision. Find a safe location to pull over and contact medical services for those who have been injured. Contact the police as well as your insurance company to inform them that you have been in an accident. You will also need to speak to the other driver regarding insurance and contact information. During your communications with all parties, do not admit fault for an accident. A comment as seemingly innocent as “I’m sorry” can be used as evidence of guilt later on in the claims process. You should also consider contacting an attorney as soon as possible. Return to Questions
2. I Was In A Minor Accident. Do I Need To Call The Police?
Yes. No matter how small the accident is or if any visible damage occurred, you must call the police and stay at the scene until they arrive. What you do in the time following an accident can greatly affect the outcome of your claim. The police will document what happened and take the statement of all parties involved. You should be sure to collect the report number as well as the identifying information of the responding officers. Return to Questions
3. What Information Should I Collect After An Accident?
The period after an accident is perhaps the most important for gathering evidence to support your claim. You will need to exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers as well as any passengers. If there were any witnesses, see if they are willing to provide a statement. Pictures and video of the accident and the surrounding area can also go a long way towards substantiating your claim. There can be an overwhelming amount of potential evidence and our firm can help you to understand what information may be important.
4. I’m Not Injured; Should I Still See A Doctor?
Anytime that you are involved in an accident, it is critical to visit the doctor as soon as possible. This is true even if you do not believe that you have been injured. On one hand, not all symptoms will be immediately apparent and only a doctor will be able to discover the true extent of injuries. Additionally, the value of your claim can be greatly influenced by your ability to show how an accident has affected you. Having doctors records early on can provide powerful evidence of your damages. Furthermore, delaying medical treatment may be used by the opposing side to argue that your accident was not serious.
5. Should I Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
No. While it is important to remain polite and to be honest, you can and should also refrain from speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. They may appear friendly, but they may not have your best interest in mind and any information you provide them can be used against your claim. In the event that you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, get in touch with our firm immediately. We can deal with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure that you are treated fairly.
6. I Have Been Offered A Settlement; Should I Accept?
You should not accept a settlement before consulting with a car accident attorney. It can be difficult for the average person to know what a fair claim will look like and often, an adjuster will offer a settlement anticipating that negotiations will occur. You will have only one chance to accept an offer and it is vital that you do everything you can to maximize your compensation. If the claims process breaks down completely, it may be time to file a lawsuit.
7. Can I File A Personal Injury Claim If I Was Partially At Fault?
While sharing a portion of the fault in an accident does not exclude drivers from collecting damages, it can vary for each situation. Texas operates under the rule of comparative negligence, sometimes called proportionate responsibility, which states that compensation available to a driver is proportional to the responsibility they share for an accident. For example, if your claim is potentially worth $100,000, but you are determined to share 10% of the responsibility for an accident, you may only be eligible to claim $90,000. Return to Questions
8. What Happens If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?
While Texas law requires that all drivers possess a minimum amount of car accident liability insurance, the reality is that not all drivers will follow the law. In the event that you are involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, recovering compensation can be complicated. Drivers may be able to collect restitution through their own insurance company if they have uninsured driver coverage. If your policy does not include this coverage, it may still be possible to seek compensation through a lawsuit, assuming the at-fault party has funds to cover your damages.
9. Is There A Deadline For Filing A Lawsuit?
Yes. In the state of Texas, anyone involved in a car accident must file a lawsuit seeking damages within two years of the date on which the accident occurred. This deadline covers personal injury cases and is known as the statute of limitations. Missing this deadline can result in a victim’s inability to take legal action, no matter how much evidence they possess in support of their case.
10. Do I Need An Attorney?
While you are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim, it often makes sense to do so. The truth is that the average person may only experience an accident and go through the claims process a few times in their life. Our attorneys deal with personal injury and car accident claims on a daily basis. We understand how to deal with law enforcement, insurance companies, and other drivers in order to maximize the strength of your claim. You will have only one opportunity to collect restitution and a knowledgeable attorney can help you to negotiate a claim, fight unfair treatment, protect against self-incrimination, and see that your rights are upheld.