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 – Aubrey
Why you should hire an experienced attorney in auto accidents
As they build the strongest claim possible, our legal team will review every component of the incident. You have the greatest chance for getting justice, whether it is through a settlement or jury award. An experienced vehicle accident lawyer will help you determine if your injuries are covered by no-fault insurance. These can range from financial recompense of any losses or hurts you have sustained, missed wage, and skyrocketing expense. Contact our Dallas law offices for a free initial consultation to learn more about all your options. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys is committed to making sure your case proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Managers and claims adjusters use strategies and methods to try and reduce or deny the payout of an insurance claim. If a case goes to litigation, then the insurance carrier’s legal team steps in too. The bottom line is that these teams of professionals have their entire job to lower the insurance company’s annual payouts. Needless to mention, they excel at what they do.
This means that no matter what happens, if you speak with the other driver’s insurance company, you can be sure you’ll be dealing with people whose goal is to minimize claims in any legal way possible. To face these professionals unarmed and without the representation of your own attorney is usually a very bad idea.
Sometimes clients learn this the hard way. We have seen people come to us after giving a recorded statement and trying to work directly with the insurance company. They usually make major mistakes that work in the company’s favor and decrease or even eliminate their chances for a favorable settlement. By this time, it is often too late for us to help.
It’s crucial that potential clients never communicate with their insurance companies. This is because they seek information that might be harmful to their client but which may prove to be beneficial to both the defendants and the insurance company. This is especially true when it comes to contributory negligence. It is possible to have misunderstandings when you speak with insurance companies. They don’t look out for you, but they play a game to try and get out of paying 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 most likely the most common in the country and Texas is no exception.
Texas is a state with modified comparative fault. This means that rear-end collisions in Texas do not only point to the driver responsible for them. It is important to consider the potential contributing factors. Are your brake lights on? Did you stop traffic completely? Were you using turn signals? Then, the finding of fact must be made in these cases: Was the defendant’s vehicle behind you? Your testimony may be refuted so there must be additional evidence to show that the defendant was following too closely.
There are a few reasons rear-end collisions can occur. Sometimes it’s not apparent circumstances or conditions that cause them. One example is when a defendant might suddenly stop in front of you because there may be an object in the way. Sometimes, a defendant might be following you too closely and run up to your bumper before running into you.
In court, questions will be asked from both sides. Weather conditions are one example. They contributed to the collision? Speeding is another possibility. You might also argue about whether your tail lights worked. Finally, there’s the question of contributory negligence. Some may argue that you contributed the collision by not stopping for traffic ahead.
As you can see rear-ending is not an automatic win. These issues can be complicated and a skilled auto accident lawyer is your best friend.
Head-on crashes are less common than rear-end accidents but are statistically more dangerous. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 538 people died in head-on collision accidents in 2020. These accidents made up almost 14% the total traffic fatalities in Texas for the year.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distractions from personal devices are not limited to texting. While Texas has outlawed texting while driving since 2017, it is still permissible to use a handheld device for other things such as using GPS or playing music. This does not mean that someone who caused an accident due to distracted driving is excusable just because they were doing something other than texting on their device. But the law does say that a person can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor including jail time up to a year and as much as a $4,000 fine.
Out of state laws, each city in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area has its own ordinances. Some may be more strict than those created by the state.
Distracted driving was responsible for 368 fatal traffic accidents in 2020, regardless of the laws. There were many more who could have been involved in non-fatal crashes or contributed to them.
In 2020 there were 1,354 deaths recorded in Texas as being caused by single car accidents. These are called “ROR”, or Run-Off Road Crash by the NHTSA.
ROR crashes typically involve only one party. Factors such as alcohol, poor weather, distracted driving, poor vision, or other road conditions that cause loss of control are all factors. These cases are less common in personal injury law firms because most of these accidents are caused by the fault of one party.
ROR crashes can be caused by an accident involving another driver. You will have to take evasive steps to avoid collisions. Texas saw 51% of fatal accidents in rural areas during 2020. These areas commonly have two lane highways with opposing traffic and the potential for drivers to drift into an oncoming lane. Drivers may also attempt to pass unsafely.
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 an accident occurred between two cars, the insurance company will examine why. Witnesses who witnessed the accident may be able give evidence if the driver fled. More and more drivers are also equipping their cars with dash cams.
If your Run-off-road accident was due to another driver’s negligence, you’ll want to work with a good personal injury attorney to build a case properly.
Intersection and Side Impact Collision
Similar to head-on collisions cases, fatalities from side impact and intersection accidents are a significant contributor to serious injury in Texas. 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. Side impact airbags have been proven to reduce the risk of serious injuries. As you can see in the Texas fatality stats above, side impact collisions are a very real threat.
Because Texas has modified contributory neglect laws, even a broad side accident cannot be automatically considered a case. There’s a chance that the negligence of another driver may not be sufficient for their car policy to pay. A Texas accident attorney can help you if you lack the experience and expertise.
Common Mistakes After a Traffic collision
Often, parties to the accident will move the vehicles involved without taking pictures or having police present 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 mistake people make is to contact the at-fault insurer and record a statement. Many people believe they’re being cooperative. The insurance company doesn’t look out for them. They are seeking information to assist their insured. There is no obligation on the insured to speak with the insurance company.
People can also make the mistake of not seeking treatment immediately, believing they can handle it. They don’t possess any documentation from a physician to support their claims. As the time passes, so does the delay in receiving treatment. If you delay in seeking medical attention, or if you wait too long to seek it, insurance companies can claim that you are not injured. An insurance carrier can also use a gap in treatment as a defense.
Common mistakes made by people include not seeking immediate treatment, talking to their at-fault insurer, recording a statement, trying and resolving their claim themselves, accepting an earlier settlement, refusing to accept the outcome of the case, and refusing to take action.
Fight the Insurance Companies
In an attempt to reduce their payouts, insurance companies might unjustly accuse the injured person of causing a crash. You might find yourself victim-blaming after the police report is wrong. It is possible that you will find yourself in a “he told, she said” dispute with the negligent driver. To win your case, you’ll need compelling evidence and the assistance of a professional.
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.
Insurance for personal injury protection
Personal injury protection (PIP), which is a type if coverage that is included with many personal auto policies, is an option. Although you can opt out of PIP in some cases such as if you have Medicare, for most drivers, the coverage is mandatory.
This type of personal auto insurance protection covers medical expenses following an accident. It is also a form “no fault” coverage. This means you can cover your medical expenses for yourself and your passengers, regardless of what happens in the case. PIP may also be used to pay lost wages.
That said, the minimum required policy limit for PIP in Texas is only $2,500 – not a whole lot. If you had a good insurance agent who went over the coverages with you, there’s a good chance that you may have opted for a higher amount. This will allow you to pay for short-term medical expenses while the case progresses.
A case involving an accident goes to court
Most insurance claims settle before a lawsuit is filed.
However, not all automobile accidents can be resolved. Perhaps the parties are unable to resolve the issues. Maybe the defendants and plaintiffs couldn’t agree on the amount of compensation to be paid because they couldn’t settle their differences.
Expert witnesses, witnesses, responding law enforcement officers and other witnesses can be called in a trial. The jury will decide how much (or not) liability the defendant is liable. Although a trial case may take more time and money than a settled claim, a jury might be able to award a plaintiff higher 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.
After you file a suit, the defense side will ask for a deposition. This is a formal conversation that you will have with the defense side. The court reporter and both attorneys from each side will also be present. Both sides will ask you questions regarding the accident, who is at fault, your injuries, or damages. To learn more about other drivers, the attorney will ask them questions.
Your attorney will sit with you to defend you against answering questions in a way that may hurt your case while abiding to truthful answers. Your attorney may also ask you questions that shed a favorable light on your case. The process doesn’t have to intimidate you. 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
In a court case, expert witness can give their opinion to a jury. Using their expertise, the witness can help those hearing the case draw a conclusion based on available information.
In motor vehicle accidents, medical experts are the most common expert witness. These doctors or other medical experts can render an opinion about an injured party’s probability of recovery, need for treatment, or prognosis.
While expert witnesses can make a claimant stronger, it is not always possible. Expert witnesses aren’t always called. They typically participate only when requested by the court. This is when an experienced motor vehicle business will have the resources to locate the right expert witness.
What length of time does it take for a court case regarding an auto accident to be resolved?
How long it takes to get through a trial isn’t the only factor. There are many things you need to do before you step into the courtroom. The lawsuit must be served on the defendant. Then there is a period where each party exchanges evidence and depose witnesses. This whole process can take as much as a year depending on how complex the case is and how many parties are involved.
This overview of Texas motor vehicle accident cases shows that it is not a good idea to do everything yourself. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn about your legal rights. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have helped many to recover after crashes for years.
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