Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another party, you likely have many questions about your options for pursuing compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more. We’ve included answers to a number of questions we commonly receive about what to expect after a car accident. To learn more about pursuing a legal claim against those responsible for the crash, contact Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, today for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Houston car accident attorneys.
Car Accident FAQ
The length of time that any car accident claim will take depends on several factors. The severity of your injuries, the extent of your losses, and whether liability for the accident is being contested all play a part. If the other driver doesn’t challenge his or her liability for the crash and if your losses can be calculated at an early stage, it can take as little as a few weeks to settle your car insurance claim. However, if you will need long-term treatment and recovery, or if the other driver contests liability or argues for your partial or total fault for the accident, it can take many more months to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of your claim. This is especially true if your claim ends up in court or eventually goes all the way to trial.
The size of a car accident settlement will depend on the severity of your injuries and the policy limits of insurance. When you’ve suffered more serious injuries, you will likely require more extensive and, therefore, more expensive medical treatment. You may also miss time from work, missing out on income and facing lost earning capacity for the future. A car accident settlement should compensate you for these losses. In addition, when you’ve suffered more serious injuries, you have a stronger claim to compensation for personal losses, such as pain and suffering or lost quality of life. All of this can greatly increase the size of a settlement.
A “no-fault” state refers to those states where drivers are required to have “personal injury protection” (PIP) or medical payment (med pay) coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. When drivers get into an accident, they are expected to first look to their own policy’s PIP or med pay coverage. These policy benefits cover compensation for medical expenses or lost wages even before a claim is filed with the driver at fault for the accident. In addition, in many no-fault states, an accident victim’s ability to pursue compensation for pain and suffering may be limited.
However, Texas is considered an at-fault state, meaning that car accident victims may look to the at-fault party to pay for the full extent of financial and personal losses, including pain and suffering.
Texas’s statute of limitations on car accident claims typically requires you to file suit within two years of the date of the accident. This can be stretched in certain circumstances, such as for minor children injured in car accidents, or if the at-fault driver commits a hit-and-run or leaves the state of Texas during the two-year limitations period.
Comparative negligence is a legal concept that states that an injured accident victim is not prevented from claiming compensation just because he or she bears a portion of the fault for the accident. However, a partially at-fault injured accident victim will have his or her compensation reduced in proportion to his or her share of fault. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule, which only bars an injured accident victim from pursuing a legal claim if the victim bears more than 50 percent of the fault for his or her injuries.
Texas law prohibits most kinds of cellphone use while behind the wheel, including:
- No driver may receive or send electronic messages while driving.
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from any cellphone use while behind the wheel within the first six months of obtaining their permit.
- Drivers may not use any handheld devices while in a school zone.
- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
- School bus drivers are prohibited from any cellphone use when children are present.
If you were hurt in a crash that someone else caused, you should definitely speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear quickly after a car accident. Insurance adjusters will also swoop in to begin their work of minimizing the value of your claim. An attorney can review the details of your accident, launch an investigation, help you find medical providers, and manage all communication with insurers and the at-fault party. You can bet that the insurance companies will have attorneys looking out for their best interests from the start. You need a lawyer on your side to pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
After you’ve been involved in an accident in Texas, take the following steps to help protect your legal rights:
- Get medical care as soon as possible. In the days and weeks following your accident, make sure you attend all doctor appointments, follow treatment plans, and get the rest you need to help you fully recover.
- Contact a car accident attorney right away. A lawyer can review your case in a free consultation to discuss the accident and go over your legal options and next steps.
- Save copies of all pertinent documentation. This includes the police report, your medical records, bills, receipts for co-pays, estimates to repair your car, etc.
- Give your attorney any photographs or video you took at the accident scene. Let your lawyer know if you saw that anyone else had a dashcam, or if you noticed surveillance cameras in the area.
- Keep a daily journal about how the accident has affected you. Note any physical difficulties you’re having and any emotional distress you’re suffering as a result of the accident. This will help to show the extent of your pain and suffering.
- Stay off social media. Any updates that you post could potentially be found by the insurance companies or the lawyers on the other side and be used against you.
Texas requires all drivers to carry, at a minimum, bodily injury liability coverage of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident and property damage liability coverage of $25,000 per accident. Auto insurers in Texas are also required to include personal injury protection coverage in every policy, although policyholders may decline such coverage in writing.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Attorney Today
Don’t delay your pursuit of the compensation you deserve. Call Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, today for your free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney. We’ll discuss the circumstances of your accident, explain your legal options, and answer all of your questions so that you know what to expect. We’re ready to get started on your claim today.