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 – Cross Roads
Why you should hire an experienced attorney in auto accidents
As part of their strongest possible claim, our legal team will investigate every component. That attention and commitment are your greatest hope for compensation, whether in a settlement or a jury award. A vehicle accident lawyer can assist you in determining whether your injuries are eligible for compensation through no-fault insurance. This can cover everything from financial recompense to any losses or injuries you have suffered, missed wages and skyrocketing medical expenses. Contact our Dallas law offices for a free initial consultation to learn more about all your options. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys will ensure that your case is as smooth as possible.
Claims adjusters and managers employ tactics and methods to reduce the payout, or get it denied altogether, when an insurance claim is filed. 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. They are, of course, skilled in what they do.
This means that, regardless of what outcome you get, as soon as your conversation with the insurance carrier for the other driver begins, you’ll be working with people whose purpose it is to reduce the claims however they can within the limits of the law. Unarmed and without a lawyer is a terrible idea.
Sometimes clients learn this the hard way. For example, we have seen clients come to us after recording a statement. They are trying to work with their insurance company. They typically make costly mistakes that are in their favor, which can reduce or even destroy their chances at a favorable claim. By this time, it is often too late for us to help.
It is vital that potential clients refrain from communicating with insurance companies. Because they are seeking information that is potentially harmful to the client but advantageous to the defendant and insurance company, this is why. This is particularly true when you consider 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
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 the most common across the nation and Texas is no different.
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. Consider the possible mitigating factors. Did your brake lights turn on? Did you bring traffic to a halt? Were you using turn signals? In these cases, there must be a finding that the defendant was behind you. Your testimony may be refuted so there must be additional evidence to show that the defendant was following too closely.
Rear-end accidents can happen for many reasons. Sometimes, there are unforeseeable circumstances or conditions that can cause rear-end collisions. For example, an object in the roadway might have caused the defendant to stop suddenly causing his/her vehicle to run into you. In some cases, the defendant may have been following you too closely, and ran up on your bumper before hitting you.
In court, questions will be asked from both sides. Weather conditions are one example. What contributed to this collision? Is speeding an issue? There might even be an argument about whether or not your tail lights were working. Then there is the issue of contributory negligence. If you didn’t brake in front of the traffic, then you might be considered to have contributed to the collision.
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.
Although head-on crashes occur less frequently than rear-end accidents, they can be statistically more serious. Head-on collisions caused 538 deaths by 2020, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. These accidents accounted for almost 14% total traffic fatalities during the year in Texas.
Distracted driving accidents
Distractions from personal devices are not limited to texting. Texas has made texting while you drive illegal since 2017. However, it is still legal for a handheld device to be used for other purposes like GPS and playing music. It does not necessarily mean that someone who causes an accident because of distracted driving is exempted from liability if they are doing something other than texting. A person can be charged for a Class A misdemeanor, including jail time of upto a year and a maximum $4,000 penalty.
Additionally to the state laws, the individual cities of the Dallas/Fort Worth area have adopted ordinances to differing degrees. Some are stricter than the state laws.
Distracted driving was the reason for 368 traffic deaths in 2020. Hundreds more were likely involved in or contributed to non-fatal accidents.
Texas’ single car accident deaths were responsible for 1,354 deaths in 2020. These are known by the NHTSA as “ROR” or Run Off-Road Crash.
ROR accidents involve just one person in an accident. These factors include alcohol use, poor driving conditions, distraction driving, poor visibility and other road conditions that can cause the driver to lose control. These cases are not usually handled by personal injury attorneys because they involve only one party.
However, some ROR crashes are caused due to another driver forcing you to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Texas’ 2020 fatalities were 51% in “rural” areas. These areas are often surrounded by two-lane highways and have the potential for drivers drifting into another lane. Drivers may also attempt to pass unsafely.
If another driver ran you off of the road, for example someone under the influence of alcohol or drug or someone who fell asleep at work, you will need to provide proof that the other driver caused the accident. If an accident occurred between two cars, the insurance company will examine why. Eye-witnesses may be able to testify if the other driver fled. Drivers are increasingly equipping their cars to have dash cams.
To prove that your Run-off-road accident occurred due to negligence of another driver, you will need to consult a personal injury attorney.
Intersection and Side Impact Collision
In Texas, serious injury and deaths are often caused by side-impact crashes. In 2020, 865 deaths were related to intersection accidents.
Side impact collisions are more likely to result in serious injuries than those that occur at the front or rear. While side impact airbags can be used to prevent injuries from occurring, such as curtains and impact pillars on modern cars, these types of accidents are still a serious danger in Texas.
As with other accident types in Texas, due to modified contributory negligence laws, even a broad-side accident can’t be automatically considered a clear cut case. Even if the negligent driver caused the accident, it is possible that their negligence will not be sufficient to make their car insurance pay. Experience and competence are crucial in Texas, as a Texas accident attorney will help you.
Common Mistakes following a traffic collision
Often, the other party to an accident will simply move the cars involved without taking photos or having the police present at the scene. This is a mistake as it prevents photographic evidence from being as dependable and misses the chance for police observation of the vehicles as they were immediately upon settling from the collision.
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 are trying to find information that will benefit 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 any documentation from a medical professional to support their claims. As time passes, there is a delay in getting treatment. If you wait too much or don’t seek medical attention right away, the insurance company can claim that your injuries aren’t sustained. An insurance company can also use a delay in treatment as a defense.
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.
Combating Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may falsely accuse the victim of causing a collision to lower their payouts. It is possible that the police report was incorrect and victim-blaming could follow. You may find yourself in a dispute with the negligent motorist. You’ll need convincing evidence and the support of a professional to win your case.
We carefully examine the circumstances surrounding clients’ claims by reading police reports and gathering testimony.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
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 form of personal auto coverage is designed to pay for any medical bills incurred in an accident. 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 cover 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. If so, this will come in handy to cover shorter term medical expenses while the case is progressing.
The moment an Accident Case is taken to Court
Most insurance claims can be settled without the need to file a suit.
However, not all automobile accidents can be resolved. Some issues may be beyond the ability of the parties. Maybe the defendants and plaintiffs couldn’t agree on the amount of compensation to be paid because they couldn’t settle 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 determine the defendant’s liability. A trial case is much more costly than one that is settled outside of court. However, a jury can award a plaintiff more than any settlement. Sometimes, your attorney can argue that punitive or other damages be awarded to you. This is something not offered in a deal.
Discovery & Deposition
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 accompany you and help you refrain from answering questions that could damage your case. Your attorney might also ask questions that are favorable to your case. 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 – Expert Witnesses
An expert witness is a person who can testify before a jury in a court case. 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 medical experts and doctors can give an opinion on the likelihood of recovery, treatment needs, or prognosis for an injured party.
Expert witnesses can contribute to a stronger case for a claimant, but this is not so every time. Expert witnesses aren’t always called. They typically participate only when requested by the court. If this occurs, an experienced motor car firm will have the resources necessary to find the right expert witnesses.
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 many things to be done before you even step foot into the courtroom. The defendant will have to be served with the lawsuit. Each party will then have to exchange 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.
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. For a free consultation, please call us. We will help you determine your legal options. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have been helping many people recover from crashes over many years.
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