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 – Corral City
Why an experienced auto accident attorney is important
Our legal team will examine every aspect of the incident to determine the strongest possible claim. You have the greatest chance for getting justice, whether it is through a settlement or jury award. A vehicle accident lawyer can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation through no fault insurance. This could include financial recompense, lost wages, or other high-spending expenses. For a free consultation, call our Dallas-based law offices. 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. If the case moves to litigation, then the legal team from the insurance carrier steps in. This is because these professional teams are designed to lower the annual insurance carrier’s payouts. 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. Unarmed and without a lawyer is a terrible idea.
Sometimes clients learn this through hard work. We have seen people come to us after giving a recorded statement and trying to work directly with the insurance company. They typically make costly mistakes that are in their favor, which can reduce or even destroy their chances at a favorable claim. It is usually too late to assist them.
It is vital that potential clients refrain from communicating 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. There are many misunderstandings that can result from interacting with insurance providers. They won’t be looking out for your best interests, but instead they will try to make as much money as possible by trying to get you to pay what you claim is worth.
Common Case Types
While the Texas Department of Transportation doesn’t have data on rear-end accidents in traffic collisions, it does know that about 28% and 29% of all traffic collisions are these. 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. You should evaluate mitigating factors. Did your brake lights turn on? Are you able to stop traffic flow completely? Did you use turn signals? In these cases, there must be a finding that the defendant was behind you. Although your testimony could be disproven, you must provide additional evidence to prove that the defendant actually followed you.
Rear-end collisions may occur for a couple of reasons. Sometimes, it is not obvious circumstances that lead to the collision. A road object might cause the defendant’s vehicle to suddenly stop, causing it to collide with you. In some cases, the defendant may have been following you too closely, and ran up on your bumper before hitting you.
Both sides will be asked questions in court. For example, what can be said about weather conditions? Can they be blamed for this collision? How about speeding? It’s possible to argue whether or not your taillights worked. Last but not least, there’s the matter of contributory negligence. Some might argue that you contributed to the collision if you didn’t stop for traffic ahead.
As you can see, a rear-end does not guarantee a win for the claimant. An experienced auto accident attorney is invaluable in navigating these issues.
Although head-on crashes occur less frequently than rear-end accidents, they can be statistically more serious. In 2020 the Texas Department of Transportation reported 538 deaths from head-on collision accidents. These accidents constituted almost 14% of the traffic fatalities for the year in Texas.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Today, texting is no longer the only distraction from personal devices. 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. However, this does not make it any less possible for someone to cause an accident by texting while driving. A Class A misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and as much as $4,000 in fines.
Additionally to state laws and ordinances, cities in Dallas/Fort Worth have their own ordinances. Some are more restrictive than others.
Distracted driving caused 368 traffic accident deaths in 2020. Numerous others were likely to have contributed to or been involved in other non-fatal accident.
Texas saw 1,354 car-related deaths in 2020. These are called “ROR”, or Run-Off Road Crash by the NHTSA.
The majority of ROR crashes involve just one party in an incident with factors such as alcohol use, poor weather, and distracted driving, poor visibility, or other road conditions where loss of control of the vehicle is common. Personal injury lawyers aren’t as familiar with these cases because the majority of ROR crashes occur because of the fault of one person.
However, some ROR crashes are caused due to another driver forcing you to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Texas was home to 51% of all fatalities in 2020. These areas often have two-lane highways, with opposing traffic. Drivers could drift into the oncoming lane. Another reason a driver might be trying to pass dangerously is that he or she may not know how to do so.
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. An insurance company reviewing a claim involving a car which was not in contact with another vehicle will investigate the details of how and why you claim that an accident was caused by another person. 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.
Side Impact Collision and Intersection
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.
Side-impact collisions can result in serious injury. There is less impact protection on the side than there is on the 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.
A broad-side accident, like other types of Texas accidents, can’t automatically be considered a case due to Texas’ modified contributory negligence laws. 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. An accident attorney in Texas is a great resource for you.
Common Mistakes after a Traffic Collision
Many times, the parties involved in an accident will not take photos of the scene or have police present. 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.
People make another common error when they contact their at-fault insurance company and give a recorded statement. Many people think they’re being cooperative. The insurance company doesn’t look out for them. They’re looking for information that will assist them and their insured. The insured is free to not speak with the insurance company.
People make the common mistake of not seeking treatment immediately and believing that they can handle it. They don’t have medical documentation to support their claims. As time passes, there is a delay in getting treatment. The insurance company can then claim that you have not been injured if you don’t seek medical attention immediately or if the wait goes on too long. An insurance carrier can also use a gap in treatment as a defense.
There are many common mistakes that people make. These include failing to get treatment right away, not getting immediate treatment, not talking to the insurance company at fault, making a claim, recording a declaration, and trying to resolve the claim yourself.
Fighting the Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may unjustly accuse the wounded person of causing a collision in an effort to reduce payouts. The police report might be wrong, and victim-blaming may follow. The negligent driver might cause you to be in a “he said/she said” situation. A professional can help you gather the evidence necessary to win your case.
We review the facts surrounding each client’s claim, including reading police reports, collecting testimonies, conserving electronic data from cars and surveillance videos, as well as consulting with crash reconstruction specialists.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of coverage that is included on many personal auto policies. PIP can sometimes be turned off, such as if your Medicare is not available, but it is required for most drivers.
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 you can pay for your own and your passengers’ medical bills regardless of how the case ends. PIP can also provide coverage for lost wages.
However, Texas’ minimum policy limit for Personal Injury Protection (PPI) is $2,500. Not a lot. You may have selected a higher amount if your agent was knowledgeable and had reviewed all the coverages. This will help you cover your short term medical expenses while the case is advancing.
A case involving an accident goes to court
Most insurance claim settlements are completed before a lawsuit is filed.
However, not all accidents involving vehicles can be solved. Some issues may be beyond the ability of the parties. Perhaps the plaintiffs had difficulty agreeing on the amount of compensation due to their differences.
In a trial witnesses and expert witness may be called. Responding officers from the law enforcement agency and others could also be called. The jury will decide the extent (or non-extent) of liability held by the defendant. 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 lawyer may be able argue for punitive damages. This is something that cannot be offered in a settlement.
Discovery & Deposition
After you file a suit, the defense side will ask for a deposition. This is a formal conversation where you will be sworn in. Each side’s lawyers will be present, as will a court reporter. Both sides will ask questions to learn more about the accident, who caused it, 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 accompany you and help you refrain from answering questions that could damage your case. You might be asked questions that help to shed light on your case by your attorney. However, the process does not have to make you feel uncomfortable. You won’t feel intimidated by the Texas deposition rules. Your accident lawyer will also ensure this.
Texas Motor Vehicle Trial Cases
An expert witness is a person who can testify before a jury in a court case. Witnesses can use their expertise to help the jurors reach a decision based on the information available.
The most common example of an expert witness in a motor vehicle accident case are medical experts. These doctors or other medical experts can render an opinion about an injured party’s probability of recovery, need for treatment, or prognosis.
Although expert witnesses can help to strengthen a claimant’s case, this is not always the case. Expert witnesses aren’t always called. They typically participate only when requested by the court. When this happens, an experienced motor vehicle firm will have resources to draw upon for finding the right expert witness.
How Long Does a Court Case Take For an Auto Accident?
The trial itself is actually not the only consideration when answering how long the process takes. There are a lot of things that need to happen before you ever step into the courtroom. The lawsuit will be served on the defendant. Then there is a period where each party exchanges evidence and depose witnesses. This entire process can take between one and twelve months depending on how complicated the case is, as well as how many parties involved.
As you’ve seen from this overview of the ins and outs of motor vehicle accident cases in Texas, going it alone is never recommended. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn about your legal rights. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys has helped many people to recover from accidents over the years.
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