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 – Marilee
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. Your best chance of getting compensation is to pay attention and be committed, regardless of whether you are settling or going to trial. A vehicle accident lawyer can assist you in determining whether your injuries are eligible for compensation through no-fault insurance. This includes financial recompense for any injuries or losses you sustained, missed wages, and other skyrocketing costs. 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.
The claims adjusters or managers of insurance companies use tactics and methods in order to limit the payouts, or even deny it entirely. If a case proceeds to litigation, the legal team at the insurance carrier will step in. These teams of professionals are there to help reduce the amount that insurance carriers have to pay each year. They are skilled at 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. A very bad idea is to go up against these professionals without an attorney.
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 make big mistakes that can be used to their advantage and reduce or eliminate their chances of winning a claim. We often cannot help you once it is too late.
It is crucial that potential clients do not 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. Misunderstandings can occur when insurance providers are contacted. They don’t care about you. They’re just trying to win your business by trying not to pay you as much as they can.
Common Case Types
The Texas Department of Transportation doesn’t collect data about the percentage of rear-end collisions in traffic accidents. However, they know that this number is around 28% to 29% nationally. This type accident is probably the most common nationwide and Texas is no exception.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means that rear-end accidents in Texas are not solely attributed to the person who caused them. Consider the possible mitigating factors. Have your brake lights been on? Did you slow down traffic? Was your use of turn signals evident? In these cases, there must be a finding that the defendant was behind you. Since your testimony is susceptible to being refuted, other evidence must be presented to support the claim that defendant followed you too closely.
Rear-end crashes can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it is not obvious circumstances that lead to the collision. One example is when a defendant might suddenly stop in front of you because there may be an object in the way. Sometimes, the defendant may have been following too closely before running up to your bumper and then ramming into you.
Both sides will be asked questions in court. How can we talk about the weather? Can they be blamed for this collision? Speeding is another possibility. Even if your tail lights are working, there might be a dispute. 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 see, rear-ending a claimant is not a guarantee of a win. This is where an experienced auto accident attorney can help you.
Although head-on collisions are statistically less common than rear end accidents, they are statistically more deadly. The Texas Department of Transportation recorded 538 fatalities from head-on collisions in 2020. 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. 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. However, this does not make it any less possible for someone to cause an accident by texting while driving. 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.
In addition to state laws, individual cities in the Dallas / Fort Worth area have created ordinances to varying degrees, some more strict 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 had 1,354 single car accident-related deaths in 2020. The NHTSA refers to these as “ROR” or Run-Off-Road crashes.
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. Because these types of accidents usually occur without fault, they are not often handled by personal injury law firms.
Some ROR accidents are caused by another driver, requiring you to take evasive actions to avoid a collision. In Texas during 2020, 51% of the fatal accidents occurred in what were called “rural” areas. These areas commonly have two lane highways with opposing traffic and the potential for drivers to drift into an oncoming lane. In other cases, a driver may be attempting 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. A car accident claim that was not in direct contact with another vehicle will be reviewed by an insurance company. They will look into the circumstances and determine if there were any other factors. Eyewitnesses might be able to give testimony if another driver fled the scene. Drivers are increasingly equipping their cars to have 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
Like head-on collision cases, intersection and side impact crashes are a major contributor to serious injury and fatalities 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. 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.
Because Texas has modified contributory neglect laws, even a broad side accident cannot be automatically considered a 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
Many times, the parties involved in an accident will not take photos of the scene or have police present. This is an error as it reduces photographic evidence’s reliability and makes it impossible for police to inspect the vehicles immediately after the collision.
Another common error is when people contact their at fault insurer and make a recorded declaration. People mistakenly believe that they are being cooperative. The insurance company doesn’t look out for them. They are trying to find information that will benefit their insured. The insured does not have to speak with insurance companies.
People can also make the mistake of not seeking treatment immediately, believing they can handle it. They don’t have the documentation required by a doctor to back up their claims. There is more time between getting treated and not getting it. 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 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 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. To win your case, you’ll need compelling evidence and the assistance of a professional.
We examine all aspects of our clients’ claims. This includes reviewing police reports, gathering witness testimony, preserving electronic data from automobiles, surveillance videos, and consulting crash reconstruction specialists.
Insurance for personal injury protection
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 type of personal insurance protection protects against medical expenses after an auto 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 may also be used to pay 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.
A case involving an accident goes to court
A majority of insurance claim cases are settled before a lawsuit can be filed.
However, not all automobile accidents can be resolved. Some issues may be beyond the ability of the parties. Perhaps the plaintiffs and defendants could not agree on how much compensation should be paid because they couldn’t resolve their differences.
Expert witnesses, witnesses, responding law enforcement officers and other witnesses can be called in a trial. The jury will decide on the defendant’s extent of liability. Even though a trial case can take longer and cost more than a settlement, a jury may be able to award plaintiffs 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.
After you file your lawsuit, the defense will request that you take a deposition. This is a formal conversation, in which both the plaintiff and defense side will participate. A court reporter will also be present. Both sides will ask questions to learn more about the accident, who caused it, your injuries and damages. Our attorney will also interview any other drivers in order to learn their stories, gain insight into their testimony at the trial and get an idea of the defense strategy and finances of defendant.
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. You may be asked questions by your attorney that will shed light on your case. The process doesn’t have to intimidate you. Texas’s deposition rules mean you won’t be intimidated, and your accident attorney will ensure that this happens.
Expert Witnesses in Texas Motor Vehicle Trial Cases
Expert witness can provide their opinions to the jury in court cases. A witness’s expertise can be used to help the jury draw a conclusion from the available information.
Medical experts are the most common expert witness in motor vehicle accident cases. These medical experts and doctors can give an opinion on the likelihood of recovery, treatment needs, or prognosis for an injured party.
Expert witnesses are able to help claimants build a stronger case but it is not always so. Further, expert witnesses are not always called and typically only participate in a case when required by the court. If this occurs, an experienced motor car firm will have the resources necessary to find the right expert witnesses.
What length of time does it take for a court case regarding an auto accident to be resolved?
In answering the question of how long the process will take, it is not just about the trial. Before you can step foot in the courtroom, there are many things that must happen. The lawsuit will need to be served on defendant. The parties then exchange evidence and take deposition witnesses. This process can take upto a year depending upon the complexity of each case and how many people are involved.
This overview of Texas motor vehicle accident cases shows that it is not a good idea to do everything yourself. Call us to setup a free consultation to find out what your legal options are. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have been helping many people recover from crashes over many years.
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