Car and Truck Accident Questions
I’ve just been in a car or truck accident – what should I do?
The first thing you should do after any motor vehicle accident is seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you might have injuries – even serious ones – that you’re not aware of. Sometimes the shock and confusion of being in an accident can make it hard to know whether you’ve been injured, or how badly. And sometimes the nature of certain serious, accident-related injuries means that you won’t be aware of them until later, even though a doctor could detect them right away with routine tests. Prompt treatment is important to minimize your recovery time and to document how badly you were hurt in the accident.
If you can, get information from other drivers involved in the accident and from any witnesses on the scene. This should include their names and contact information and insurance information from the other drivers. Note details about the other vehicle(s) involved, such as license plate number, make and model. Likewise, if it’s safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene and get pictures of your vehicle to show the damage.
Next, as soon as you’re able, write down everything you can remember about the accident. Record details about how the accident happened and what happened afterward. Try to remember details such as: What time of day was it? Where did the accident happen? What was the weather like? How did the accident happen? What did the other drivers, or people who saw the accident happen, say and do after it happened? It’s important to put down as much as you can remember because the longer you wait, the easier it is to forget details that could be important later. If you suffered obvious injuries, take photographs to show how you were hurt.
Finally, don’t sign any documents from any insurance company until you’ve first spoken with an experienced car accident attorney. You might be signing away important rights in exchange for getting less from the insurance company – in some cases far less – than you’re entitled to.
After a car or truck accident, who can sue for injuries that they suffered?
To have a valid personal injury claim after a motor vehicle accident, someone must have been hurt in the accident because of another person’s negligence. The other “person” sued could be (for example) another driver involved in the accident, or it could be the manufacturer of the automobile or one of its components if a defect in the car caused the accident.
If I file a personal injury lawsuit after a car or truck accident, what do I have to prove to get compensation?
A plaintiff in a personal injury action based on a motor vehicle accident usually claims that they were injured because another driver or some other person was negligent. That means they have to show that:
- the other person owed a legal duty of care (such as a duty not to speed, or drive recklessly, or drive while texting, for instance);
- the other person breached the duty; and
- the breach caused the plaintiff to be injured.
What kinds of compensation can I recover if I win an car or truck accident claim?
Victims of serious motor vehicle accidents in Texas, along with their families, may be entitled to recover damages that include:
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish
- Medical costs
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Physical Impairment
- Exemplary damages.
What if the car accident was partly my fault?
Even if you are partly at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries. A qualified personal injury attorney can discuss the facts of your accident with you and advise you about your concerns.
How long does someone have to file a lawsuit after being in a motor vehicle accident?
In Texas, in most cases you must file a lawsuit for injuries that you suffer in a motor vehicle accident within two years after the accident happened. Even within that time, it’s important not to delay filing a lawsuit based on your accident. Your injury claim stands the best chance of succeeding when the evidence is fresh. With time, physical evidence can be lost or destroyed, and memories fade.
An insurance adjuster keeps asking me to provide a recorded statement – do I have to?
No. You should not give a statement to any insurance company, or sign any accident-related documents presented to you by an insurance company, until you’ve met with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
The other driver doesn’t have any liability insurance. Am I out of luck?
Absolutely not. You may have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) with your own insurer. That coverage pays benefits when you’ve been in an accident because of another person and that person doesn’t have insurance at all, or not enough, to provide you with compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your coverage and advise you about your rights. And while in most cases someone who doesn’t have automobile liability coverage also doesn’t have much property that you could recover against in a successful lawsuit, a personal injury attorney can advise you about that, as well, in your specific case.
How much does it cost to have a lawyer represent me on my personal injury claim after my auto or truck accident?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. That means the attorney gets paid only if you get a recovery on your lawsuit. Most often, the amount of the fee will be a percentage of your recovery. The fee percentage and the handling of costs and expenses to represent you will be set out in a fee agreement when the attorney takes your case. Generally, if you don’t win anything on your case, you won’t owe anything to your attorney.