FORMER TEXAS ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Among Other Accolades, Ward Maedgen Has Been Named In D Magazine’s – The Best Lawyers In Dallas multiple years.
Lawyer – Traffic collision, Nearby – Anna
Why you should work with an experienced auto accident attorney
Our legal team will evaluate every part of the incident and develop the strongest possible case. You have the greatest chance for getting justice, whether it is through a settlement or jury award. A lawyer who specializes in vehicle accidents can help you determine whether you are eligible for no-fault compensation. This can include anything from financial recompense for any losses or hurt you have incurred, missed wages, and skyrocketing expenses. Our Dallas-based lawyers are available to help you learn more and provide a free consultation. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys will ensure that your case is as smooth as possible.
When an insurance claim is started, claims adjusters and managers use tactics and methods to mitigate the potential payout or even get it denied it altogether. The legal team of the insurance company can also intervene if a case is brought to court. The basic truth is that these teams of professional’s entire jobs are in place to reduce what the insurance carrier has to pay out every year. Needless to say, they are good at what they do.
This means, that regardless of how the outcome turns out, once you start talking to the other driver’s insurer, you will know you are working with people whose sole purpose is to reduce or keep claims to a minimum. This is usually a bad idea.
Sometimes clients discover this the hard and fast way. We’ve seen clients come to our office after they have recorded a statement. This is because they are now trying to work with the insurer. Normally they make huge mistakes that play to the advantage of the company and hurt or destroy their chances of a favorable claim. It is usually too late for us.
It’s critical that our potential clients don’t communicate with insurance companies. They’re looking for information that could be detrimental to the client, but potentially beneficial to the defendant and the insurance company. This is especially true for contributory negligence. It is possible to have misunderstandings when you speak with insurance companies. They aren’t looking out for you; instead, they are playing a game where they’re trying to get out of paying you what your claim is worth.
Common Case Types
Although Texas Department of Transportation is not able to collect data on the percentage of traffic collisions that are rear-end, we know from national statistics that they are around 28% and 29%. This type of accident is the most common across the nation and Texas is no different.
Texas is a “modified relative fault state” meaning that rear-end crashes do not just point the finger at the driver. You must consider mitigating circumstances. Did you have your brake lights on at all? Are you able to stop traffic flow completely? Was your use of turn signals evident? In all these instances, a finding must be made of fact. For example, was the defendant’s vehicle behind your vehicle? Your testimony may be refuted so there must be additional evidence to show that the defendant was following too closely.
Rear-end collisions may occur for a couple of reasons. Sometimes there are unseen circumstances or conditions that cause it. An object on the road might have caused the defendant suddenly to stop and cause his/her car to crash into your vehicle. Sometimes, the defendant may have been following too closely before running up to your bumper and then ramming into you.
In court, the questions will come from both sides of the aisle. Weather conditions are one example. They contributed to the collision? How about speeding? Even if your tail lights are working, there might be a dispute. Finally, there’s the question of contributory negligence. Some might argue that you contributed to the collision if you didn’t stop for traffic ahead.
Rear-ending is not an automatic win for a claimant, as you can see. This is where an experienced auto accident attorney can help you.
Although head-on crashes occur less frequently than rear-end accidents, they can be statistically more serious. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 538 people died in head-on collision accidents in 2020. These accidents accounted for almost 14% total traffic fatalities during the year in Texas.
Distracted driving accidents
The distractions caused by personal devices aren’t limited to texting. Texting while driving is illegal in Texas, but it is still allowed to use a handheld phone for other purposes such as GPS or music. The fact that someone was distracted driving at the time of an accident does not excuse them. A person can be charged for a Class A misdemeanor, including jail time of upto a year and a maximum $4,000 penalty.
Individual cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region have their own ordinances, which are more stringent than state laws.
Distracted driving was the reason for 368 traffic deaths in 2020. There were many more who could have been involved in non-fatal crashes or contributed to them.
Texas saw 1,354 car-related deaths in 2020. These are known by the NHTSA as “ROR” or Run Off-Road Crash.
ROR crashes most often involve one party. This includes factors like alcohol use, poor weather and distracted driving. Because these types of accidents usually occur without fault, they are not often handled by personal injury law firms.
ROR accidents can happen when another driver is driving, and you have to take evasive maneuvers to avoid being in a collision. Texas had 51% fatal accidents in 2020. These areas have often two-lane highways that are shared with opposing traffic. This makes it easy for drivers to drift into the oncoming lanes. A driver might also be trying to pass in an unsafe manner.
If another driver drove you off the road, like someone who is under the influence or someone who falls asleep, you will likely have to prove that they caused it. If you allege that the accident was caused or contributed to by another driver, an insurance company will review your claim. Eyewitnesses might be able to give testimony if another driver fled the scene. Many drivers now have dash cams in their vehicles.
For a Run-off-road case where another driver was negligent, you should contact a good personal injury lawyer to help you build a strong case.
Intersectional and Side Impact Collision
In Texas, serious injury and deaths are often caused by side-impact crashes. In 2020 there were 865 deaths that were directly related to intersections.
One reason why side impact collisions tend to involve serious injury is because there is less barrier to impact on the side of the car as compared to the rear or front. Although side impact airbags, curtains, and impact pillars in modern cars have helped cut down these injuries, as you can see from the fatality statistic above, this kind of accident is a real danger in Texas.
Due to Texas’s modified contributory negligent laws, even a broad-side collision can’t always be considered a straight case. It’s possible that even though the other driver was negligent, there may not have been enough negligence to allow their car insurance policy to pay. Experience and competence are crucial in Texas, as a Texas accident attorney will help you.
Common Mistakes After a Traffic collision
Parties to an accident often move the vehicles involved in the collision without taking photos or having police on the scene. This is a mistake, as it stops photographic evidence from being as reliable as possible and prevents police from being present on the scene to observe the vehicles.
Another common error is when people contact their at fault insurer and make a recorded declaration. People mistakenly believe that they are being cooperative. They aren’t being looked out for by their insurance company. They want to help their insured. The insured is not required to contact the insurance company.
People can also make the mistake of not seeking treatment immediately, believing they can handle it. They don’t have any documentation from a medical professional to support their claims. As time passes, the likelihood of getting treatment is greater. If you do not seek immediate medical attention or wait too long, your insurance company could claim that you were not injured. Insurance companies can also use gaps in treatment to defend their clients.
Talking to the at-fault insurance company, recording a statement, trying to resolve their claim themselves, accepting an earlier settlement before they know the outcome, not getting treatment immediately are all common mistakes people can make.
The fight against the insurance companies
In an attempt to reduce their payouts, insurance companies might unjustly accuse the injured person of causing a crash. It is possible that the police report was incorrect and victim-blaming could follow. You might find yourself in a “he said, she said” conflict with the negligent driver. A professional can help you gather the evidence necessary to win your case.
We thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding our clients’ claims, reading police reports, gathering testimonies, preserving electronic data from automobiles and surveillance videos, and consulting with crash reconstruction specialists.
Personal Injury Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP), a type insurance coverage, is included on many personal automobile policies. Although you can opt out of PIP in some cases such as if you have Medicare, for most drivers, the coverage is mandatory.
This form of personal auto insurance protection is in place to cover medical expenses after an accident and it is a form of “no-fault” coverage. This means that regardless of the outcome of the case involving the other driver’s liability, you can still get medical care for yourself and your passengers. PIP can also provide coverage for lost wages.
That said, the minimum required policy limit for PIP in Texas is only $2,500 – not a whole lot. It’s possible that you would have selected a higher sum if you had a competent agent who explained the coverages to you. This will help you cover your short term medical expenses while the case is advancing.
When an Accident Case Is Submitted to the Court
Most insurance claim settlements are completed before a lawsuit is filed.
However, not all automobile accidents can be resolved. Perhaps the issues to be resolved are beyond both parties’ capabilities. Perhaps the plaintiffs and defendants could not agree on how much compensation should be paid because they couldn’t resolve their differences.
In a trial, expert witnesses and witnesses may be called. Responding law enforcement officers can also be called and could testify before a jury. The jury will decide how much (or not) liability the defendant is liable. A trial case is more expensive and takes longer than a settlement. However, a jury could award more damages to a plaintiff than any settlement. Sometimes your attorney may even be able to argue that you be awarded punitive damages which is something that would not be offered in a settlement.
A deposition is required by the defense side after you file a lawsuit. This is a formal conversation in which you will be sward in, both side’s attorneys will be present along with a court reporter. Each side will ask you questions about the accident and who was responsible, as well as your injuries and damages. Our attorney will also depose any other drivers to get their side of the story, get insight into what they may say in their testimony at the trial, learn more about the finances and insurance coverage of the defendant, get a feel for the defense strategy of the defendant, and more.
Your attorney will help defend you from answers that are misleading or harmful to your case. You might be asked questions that help to shed light on your case by your attorney. The process is not intimidating, but you don’t have the right to feel afraid. Texas regulations for depositions make it clear that you will not feel intimidated. And your accident lawyer will confirm this.
Texas Motor Vehicle Trial Cases – Expert Witnesses
Expert witness can provide their opinions to the jury in court cases. Using their expertise, the witness can help those hearing the case draw a conclusion based on available information.
Expert witnesses in motor vehicle accident cases are most commonly medical experts. These doctors or other medical professionals can give opinions about the likelihood of recovery, need to treat, and prognosis of an injury victim.
Although expert witnesses can help to strengthen a claimant’s case, this is not always the case. Expert witnesses are not always called, and they typically only assist in cases where required by the court. If this occurs, an experienced motor car firm will have the resources necessary to find the right expert witnesses.
What is the average court case time for an auto accident?
In answering the question of how long the process will take, it is not just about the trial. There are many things that have to occur before you can ever enter the courtroom. The lawsuit will need to be served on defendant. The parties then exchange evidence and take deposition witnesses. The whole process can take up to a year, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of parties involved.
As you can see from the overview, it is not recommended to try and handle all motor vehicle accident cases alone. Call us to setup a free consultation to find out what your legal options are. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys has helped many people to recover from accidents over the years.
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