Car Wreck Attorneys in Texas
Texas has some of the heaviest traffic in the nation. It also has one of the worst records for traffic accidents. Texas Department of Transportation statistics show there is not a single deathless day on Texas roads in the course of the year.
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our car accident lawyers understand the physical pain, emotional suffering and financial difficulties caused by a crash. We’re here to help. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.
The steps you take immediately after a car accident can have a great impact on your recovery from injuries as well as on your potential recovery of compensation for your losses
If you have been in an automobile accident, you should first call 911 to seek emergency medical attention for yourself and anyone else who has been injured. If you are not immediately transported by EMS, you should take the following steps if possible:
- Get the other driver’s information. This includes the driver’s name, address, phone number, license number and any insurance information.
- Get the names and contact information of witnesses. Often, other motorists or pedestrians will stay at the accident scene and leave once police or emergency responders arrive. Get their information quickly, if possible.
- Take photos. Use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage to your car and the other driver’s car, debris, skid marks, your injuries, etc. Get a wider shot that shows where the accident happened (for example, an intersection, showing the stop sign or stoplights), and photograph any environmental factors that may have contributed to the accident, such as an obstructed view, road construction or standing water.
- Get the police report. Cooperate with the responding police officer, but don’t admit any fault for the accident. Get the officer’s name and the police report number. You should be able to get a copy of this report within one or two days after the accident, and it may serve as primary evidence for your claim.
- See a doctor. Even if you do not need emergency care, see a doctor soon after a car accident. Some injuries do not cause symptoms until 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. In addition, undergoing a medical exam begins to document any injury you do have, in case you have a legal claim.
- Be wary of insurers. Insurance companies may contact car accident victims shortly after an accident occurs. They may offer a fast settlement, but it will invariably be less than you deserve. You should avoid speaking to any insurance representative until you have consulted an experienced Texas car accident attorney.
Here are some more dos and don’ts applicable to Texas car accidents.
Can I sue the driver who hit my car if I think he was talking on a cellphone at the time of the accident?
Talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel of a car is a common form of distracted driving. It is a type of negligent – even reckless – driving that may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Distracted driving caused by distractions within the vehicle contributed to more than 10,000 car accidents in Texas in 2013, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
A driver who has caused a car accident by actively engaging in distracted behavior may be held accountable for the harm he or she has done. A distracted driving personal injury lawsuit may seek compensation for an injured party’s medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. This applies to any form of distracted driving that leads to an accident, not just using a cellphone.
Personal injury lawsuits may seek compensation for those who have been injured in accidents caused by other forms of negligent driving, including but not limited to:
- Aggressive driving: Speeding, making dangerous passes or turns, and flying through red lights, stop signs or yield signs.
- Drunk driving: If a driver causes an accident while having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above, it is legally considered negligence per se (in or of itself). Liability may also be established if the driver is impaired by drugs, including controlled substances or prescription medication.
- Drowsy driving: Driving while fatigued or sleepy causes poor concentration and slowed reaction times, which may lead to following too closely, weaving between lanes and failing to brake when necessary. Drowsy driving causes thousands of car accidents in Texas every year.
Personal injury lawsuits over car accidents must prove the driver’s negligence and that his or her negligence led to the plaintiff’s injuries. This requires the work of experienced investigators to gather evidence and devlop a strong and persuasive case. You should contact The Bob Richardson Law Firm for a free evaluation of your accident and a discussion of how we can help you pursue a claim.
Yes, you may be able to obtain compensation through auto insurance that covers the at-fault driver. This may be a policy the driver holds and/or one that their employer holds.
The doctrine that would apply to this situation is known as “vicarious liability.” This means that the negligent driver who hit you may be held liable, and his employer also may be liable if the accident occurred during the course and scope of his employment. Additionally, if the driver’s employer either failed to investigate the driver’s record or knew that he had a history of accidents when it hired him, the employer may be held directly liable for its negligence.
Third-party cases like one based on vicarious liability can be complex, and a negligent driver’s employer may be a company with deep resources that will hotly contest your personal injury or wrongful death claim. That’s why it’s important to work with a skilled, experienced and dedicated Texas car accident attorney who knows how to develop these cases and seek out all potential sources of compensation.
What should I do if the negligent driver who struck my car doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for my damages?
Usually, if you are in a car accident that is the other driver’s fault, you rely on the at-fault driver’s liability insurance for compensation to assist you with injuries and damage to your vehicle. Unfortunately, many Texas drivers either don’t have liability insurance coverage or have just the minimum required to register their car. You may have insurance of your own to fill the gap or there may be other means
The current minimum auto liability limits in Texas are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage.
Because even a minor car accident can result in expensive medical treatment and costly car repairs, it is very likely that a car accident will end up exceeding those minimum limits.
You may have uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage. It is intended to pay your expenses from an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, a motorist who did not have enough insurance, or a hit-and-run driver who is not caught. It also pays for personal property that was damaged in your car.
You might also have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or medical payments coverage, which each pay medical expenses, but are both optional.
Insurance companies must offer UM/UIM and PIP coverage in Texas, and if they are rejected the car owner must decline the coverage in writing.
In some cases, an investigation will show that a third party may be held liable in a car accident, such as a local government or contractor responsible for poor road conditions, or a manufacturer responsible for an automotive defect.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. The more claims they pay out, the more it hurts their bottom line. So, even if you have been paying UM / UIM or PIP premiums for years, your insurance company may try to deny your claim or pay only a partial amount.
As car accident attorneys, we pursue auto insurance claims in Texas on behalf of our clients. In most cases, by thoroughly documenting our client’s losses, we can obtain a settlement through negotiations, but we are always ready to go to court if necessary.
If your negligence contributed to a car accident, Texas law says the amount of blame you bear can be counted against the compensation you are awarded for your losses. Having a car accident attorney at your side during a claim keeps attorneys for the at-fault driver from exaggerating your role in the accident.
Several years ago, Texas adopted a comparative responsibility rule for personal injury claims. The concept is also known as “proportionate responsibility” and “comparative negligence.” Under this rule, the actions of both drivers in a collision are weighed to decide how much negligence on the part of either driver contributed to the accident.
For instance, if you were in an accident caused by a driver who pulled out in front of you, but you were speeding, you may both be seen as negligent. A jury would consider how much blame for the accident each of you deserved.
If you had $100,000 in damages from your accident but were found to be 30 percent at fault, your recovery would be limited to $70,000. But if you were found to have contributed 51 percent or more of the negligence in an accident, you would be barred from recovering anything.
In Texas car accident cases, it’s common for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to try to shift blame to the victim. At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, we believe the only way to determine the true cause and percentage of fault in an automobile crash is to engage in a thorough investigation that involves the use of technology and highly qualified experts. Once we have analyzed your accident, we can protect your rights to the compensation you deserve.
Every automobile accident case involves different parties, facts and circumstances. No two cases are the same, and that means no two recoveries will be the same. Our objective as your attorney is to ensure the compensation you recover meets the costs of your losses since the accident occurred and into the future.
Only after extensive investigation and consultation with experts will we be able to arrive at the final amount to be sought in a claim arising from your car crash.
In most personal injury cases, we would expect to seek compensation (“damages”) for:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost income.
- Pain and suffering.
In a wrongful death claim, a car accident victim’s family may seek slightly different damages, such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of the care and companionship of a loved one and compensation for their own unique pain and suffering.
To recover, you must have suffered demonstrable losses and be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your losses. In some cases, punitive damages may be available. These damages are aimed at punishing egregious wrongdoing and deterring future similar misconduct.
It is important that a lawsuit is preceded by a thorough investigation that documents not only the defendant’s liability, but also the full extent of the plaintiff’s losses. For instance, this includes projecting an injury victim’s likely medical recovery and calculating expenses for medical care that will be required down the road. A disabled client’s injuries may require us to work with consultants to develop a full life-care plan.
Similarly, income loss must be projected for an injured client who must take a lesser-paying job or whose career will not progress as it should have because of his or her injury.
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our primary goal is to make sure that injured and disabled Texans receive the compensation they rightfully deserve if they have been in a car accident. Just because you lack money at this point in time shouldn’t mean that you and your family should be denied justice.
We pursue most car accident cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means our fee is contingent on what we recover for you. If we cannot recover money through a claim, you won’t have to pay for our legal services.
This protects you in three ways. First, there is no upfront cost to you for our investigative work, negotiations with insurers and other legal work. Your financial situation will not keep you from pursuing a claim.
Second, our final legal fee will be an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or court award we obtain for you, plus certain expenses required to process your claim. Because our fee is determined by how much money we recover for you, it gives us an incentive to fully identify all compensation available to you and work as hard as possible to obtain it.
Third, because we are only paid if we recover compensation for you, it assures you that if we have accepted your case we expect to recover money for you. If we don’t believe we can win your case, we will decline to take it and explain why. We won’t fill you with false hopes.