Austin Car Accident Lawyer
Texas insurance law requires drivers to be insured for a minimum of $30,000 per injured person – up to $60,000 per accident – and $25,000 of property damage per accident. But in a serious crash, that coverage may not be enough.
If you’ve been injured in an vehicle accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call a car accident lawyer today at (855) 414-1012 to find out if you have a case.
Understanding ‘Negligence’ in Crash Lawsuits
Negligence is a legal term that may describe action or inaction likely to cause harm. For example, a driver who causes a crash and flees the scene could be found negligent, due to inaction.
In some instances, those experiencing a personal injury in a crash may be partially at fault. That’s known as contributory negligence. Texas state law mandates modified comparative negligence when determining whether a driver is entitled to damages – if found to be less than 50 percent responsible for a crash, the driver may collect damages proportionate to his share of the blame.
Even if you share some fault for an accident, you might be able to recover damages. Contact a car accident attorney at our office at (855) 414-1012 for information that can help you understand your options.
Dangers of Driving in Texas
To stay safe on the road, it’s important to limit distractions and be alert. And there are some situations and locations where you may need to be especially cautious.
Most of those accident fatalities were not the truck drivers, but the occupants of other vehicles. Texas large truck fatal crashes accounted for 12.6 percent of all such deaths in the country – a significantly larger proportion than any of the other states.
Texas drivers should be cautious when approaching or passing large trucks and be aware of large trucks in oncoming lanes. Most fatal large truck crashes occur in rural areas, according to the NHTSA. But cities can be dangerous for drivers, too.
Dallas, Austin, and Houston received poor marks in Allstate Insurance’s 2014 America’s Best Drivers Report, ranked as 174, 159, and 158, respectively, out of 200 cities. But there’s some good news, if you live in Brownsville: Allstate ranks your city as the second safest in the United States.
Common Causes of Vehicle Accidents
Although vehicle accidents can occur for a number of reasons, the majority are caused by one of the following issues:
- Vehicles hit one another head-on because the at-fault operator drifts into the other operator’s lane.
- One vehicle smacks into the side of another vehicle, causing a “t-bone” or side crash.
- A vehicle hits the rear end of another vehicle. When damage is minimal, this can be referred to as a “fender bender.” When damage is more severe, significant injuries and fatalities can result.
- A vehicle crashes into an object, thus causing a “single-car crash.” This may be because of driver fault, but weather and poor road conditions may also be contributing factors. For example, a large object that fell off a truck may have contributed to the accident.
- A vehicle on a highway drifts to the left or right, hitting the side of another vehicle going in the same direction.
- A vehicle pulls out into busy traffic without correctly negotiating the speed of other vehicles.
- One vehicle is speeding and crashes into others, which may end up causing a chain reaction.
Emergency management personnel and police are trained to determine who is at fault in each incident. Sometimes, this will be obvious; other times, it will take some investigation on their part. Generally speaking, at-fault drivers will have trouble filing a lawsuit or claim unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Costs of Car Accidents
When you’re injured in a car accident, you might need surgery, require hospitalization, and need long-term rehabilitation care. You may also lose income, if you have to take time off work. Those financial losses can easily exceed the limits of a car insurance policy, especially if other family members were injured along with you.
We have successfully represented families who fell victim to negligent drivers on Texas roadways, including:
- A pregnant Fort Worth woman and her 4-year-old daughter, who were injured when a negligent driver struck their car head-on
- Three family members severely injured when a drunk driver crashed into their car in Austin
- A husband and wife who sustained major injuries in a Williamson County crash.
In 2013, the average cost for a visit to an emergency room was more than the average cost of a month’s rent. But that figure – $1,233 – was for common, relatively minor health problems, like a sprained ankle or upper respiratory infection. A few shockingly high figures were reported – such as $73,002 for treatment of a urinary tract infection.
An inexpensive procedure at one hospital may be unaffordable at another, because hospitals set their own rates. Even when you have insurance, your policy might not cover your total costs. There may be providers within a hospital that bill patients independently, so people may receive multiple bills, over a period of time.
How Much Money Can I Get from a Car Accident Lawsuit?
As you might expect, every car accident has its unique aspects. Accordingly, each settlement offer or lawsuit will be focused on and beyond the event. However, an attorney can help you understand what might be reasonable depending upon your injuries and the aftermath.
For instance, if you were in a “fender bender” vehicle accident and suffered only minor bruising, you might be entitled to a small settlement. On the other hand, if you or another family member suffered significant problems, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, your lawsuit could rise into the realm of five, six, or seven figures.
The most important point to keep in mind is not how much you can get from a car accident, but how to get something to help pay for your damages, as well as pain and suffering. According to information from the Texas Department of Transportation, vehicle crashes in 2016 and 2017 cost individuals roughly $38.4 trillion each year. Consequently, you should always consider your options if you have been hurt by someone else’s negligence or a malfunctioning vehicle.
How Do I Know If I Have a Car Accident Claim?
If you experienced a vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may want to file a claim. On the other hand, if you were found at fault for a car crash, you will be unlikely to recoup any settlement dollars.
Of course, you may not assume that it is “worth it” to pursue a lawsuit. While this is understandable, it can also be shortsighted. Even if people around you recommend not “bothering,” consider consulting a personal injury attorney. At your initial free consultation, plan to bring any documentation with you. The lawyer can then give you a better sense of whether or not you should pursue a claim.
Remember that if you do nothing, you may be giving up money that could help pay for vehicle repairs, lost wages, and medical bills. Even a minor accident can set the stage for months of physical therapy or other health problems. Usually, you’re better off talking to a legal professional than assuming you will never get a settlement.
What to Do After a Car Accident
The moments and days after a car accident are time that you can’t afford to squander. And they happen at least 17,500 times annually on Texas roadways, according to the Texas Department of Transportation’s figures.
At the scene, do everything you can to stay calm. If you are not seriously injured, you may be questioned by police. Answer everything as plainly and honestly as possible. If you have been somewhat or significantly hurt, you may be taken to the nearest medical center for immediate treatment. Be sure that someone, whether it’s you or the police, gets the information of the person at fault for the incident (if you weren’t to blame).
Following any treatment or care, document changes in your mental or physical state. For instance, if you discover bruising across your ribs or you feel anxious about driving, make a note of your issues. Talk to your family physician or mental health provider as needed. Don’t assume that you can’t have problems weeks later. Sometimes, symptoms arise days or weeks after an accident. Without documentation, you might have difficulty connecting your health issue with the car crash if you haven’t maintained good records.
If you need to take time off of work, be sure to talk with your human resources representative. In cases of short- and long-term leave or leave without pay, you may be entitled to recoup your lost wages if you pursue a legal case against the at-fault driver.
When you are ready, contact a legal advisor about filing a claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights, as well as give you guidance about your options. Initial appointments are free, so take advantage of the opportunity to get free, unbiased information from a professional personal injury attorney.
Getting Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
You’ve certainly seen ambulances along Texas’ highways after car accidents. After all, it’s protocol for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. However, not all crashes end with drivers or passengers going to the hospital.
Still, even if you are not taken for immediate treatment, you may wind up with short-term or chronic issues directly related to your accident. Traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and concussions aren’t always apparent at first; accordingly, they may take time to present themselves. For this reason, carefully monitor your own health as well as the health of anyone who was in your vehicle. If you see any changes in your own or others’ behavior or functioning, seek immediate medical attention.
Of course, you may be worried about paying for treatment and care, even if you have health insurance coverage. That’s where a visit to a personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to filing a lawsuit. Be sure to bring all your medical records to your initial free consultation with the attorney to promote a robust, comprehensive discussion about your potential case.
Contacting a Car Accident Lawyer
In Texas, there is a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so if you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to get legal help from a passionate Austin car accident lawyer like Chip Evans. It may take more time than you anticipate to reach a settlement, which could cause financial hardship for you and your family. Find out whether you have a case, and how we can help you. Fill out our contact form now, so your future is not jeopardized by the passing of a deadline.
Common Types of Car Crash Injuries
Car crashes can result in a variety of injuries, including some that are regularly seen and treated by medical personnel.
- Bruises and contusions. Although the human body is notoriously durable, it cannot handle the physics of being in motion and suddenly stopping. Consequently, many people who have been in car accidents wind up with bruising.
- Broken bones. Along with bruising, broken bones are frequently reported from car crash victims. The bones could be anywhere in the body, from arms to legs to ribs.
- Whiplash. Whiplash, or damage to the neck, happens when the head is forced forwards, backwards, sideways, etc. Whiplash may be mild or severe and can even lead to loss of work for people who can no longer perform physical labor.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions. The brain isn’t immune to the forces of a crash and can swell and bruise. For this reason, many people experience TBIs and concussions, which can lead to long-term issues like brain damage, memory loss, and personality changes.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. Broken backs are one of the top car accident injuries treated by hospitals and medical centers. The result can be a lifelong struggle with chronic discomfort or even difficulty ambulating.
- Internal bleeding. When a car accident is violent enough, the driver and any passengers can experience bleeding, both externally and internally. Internal bleeding demands immediate surgical intervention to reduce the chances of death.
Of course, even if your injuries are very subtle, you should always document any medical changes. Having a record will assist you if you decide to pursue a settlement for your bills, damages, and pain and suffering.
A single-car crash might not seem like the type of crash that would warrant a claim. Yet some instances could warrant a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, a single-car accident that was caused because of negligent road care or something that fell from another vehicle onto the highway might not be deemed the driver’s fault. This is especially true if the driver was operating his or her vehicle within accepted speed limits and was not under the influence of any substances.
The best way to determine whether a single-car crash deserves a claim is to speak with an attorney with expertise in personal injury cases. Again, always bring any documentation and images (if applicable) to the appointment.
How We Can Help After a Vehicle Accident
At the Evans Law Firm, our lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of helping clients with personal injury cases. Even if you are hesitant to file a claim, we encourage you to sit down with us for a no-obligation conversation about your car crash. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of how you want to proceed.
Remember that personal injury lawsuits are meant to assist you and your family financially. Why struggle to pay your bills after a devastating car accident injury? You may be entitled to a lump sum settlement that can allow you to offset those unexpected expenses, not to mention your personal pain and suffering.
If you’ve been wronged in an accident in Austin, look no further than hiring Chip Evans and his amazing staff. After my car accident, i had no idea where i could turn or who I could trust. He has great reviews on AVVO, I reached out and within 24 hours his office was in contact with me to set up a consultation- other law firms took much longer to get in touch with me. Chip and his staff were extremely personable, and answered every single question I had; I felt very comfortable calling and asking questions as they came up- no one pushed me aside or made me feel like I was being ridiculous. Being seen as a human being in this situation is important, because when you come in during the lowest point of your life, a nice group of people that truly know what they’re doing is essential for moving forward. I never felt like I had to worry about anything. As another reviewer mentioned, he went to great lengths to get all of my medical bills together AND had them taken care of- this alone was worth hiring him. Long story short, it was finished in an awesome time frame and I can move on with my life. A better job couldn’t have been done by anyone else. Abby R. The Evans Law Firm
5 / 5
Car Accident Publications and Resources
Are you looking for more information on car accidents in Texas and throughout the country? Be sure to head to any of these links prior to your upcoming visit with one of our personal injury lawyers.
- The Texas Department of Transportation – latest crash statistics
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – motor vehicle fatalities
- Association for Safe International Road Travel – accident statistics and information
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute – state-by-state general statistics
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – vehicle crash resources