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 – Munson
Why an experienced auto accident attorney is important
Our legal team will examine every aspect of the incident to determine the strongest possible claim. Your best chance of getting compensation is to pay attention and be committed, regardless of whether you are settling or going to trial. A lawyer who specializes in vehicle accidents can help you determine whether you are eligible for no-fault compensation. This includes financial recompense for any injuries or losses you sustained, missed wages, and other skyrocketing costs. For a free consultation, call our Dallas-based law offices. 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 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. To face these professionals unarmed and without the representation of your own attorney is usually a very bad idea.
Sometimes, clients have to learn this hard way. For instance, people have come to us after having given a recorded declaration. They want to be able to work with insurance companies. They usually make major mistakes that work in the company’s favor and decrease or even eliminate their chances for a favorable settlement. It is usually too late to assist them.
It is crucial that potential clients do not communicate with insurance companies. This is because they’re seeking information that may be harmful to the client but beneficial to the insurance company and defendant. This is especially true when it comes to contributory negligence. Conversing with insurance providers can lead to misunderstandings. 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 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. Did your brake lights turn on? Are you able to stop traffic flow completely? Did you use turn signals? These cases require a finding to fact. Was the defendant’s vehicle following you? Your testimony may be refuted so there must be additional evidence to show that the defendant was following too closely.
Rear-end crashes can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s not apparent circumstances or conditions that cause them. You might be able to see an object on the roadway that caused the defendant’s vehicle suddenly to stop. Sometimes, a defendant might have been following too closely and ran into your bumper before smashing into you.
The courtroom will have questions from both sides. What can you say about weather conditions, for example? Can they be blamed for this collision? Is speeding an issue? It’s possible to argue whether or not your taillights worked. Last, but not least is the question about contributory negligence. Some may argue that you contributed the collision by not stopping for traffic ahead.
As you can see, being rear-ended is not an automatic win for claimant. 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 accounted for almost 14% total traffic fatalities during the year in Texas.
Distracted Driving Accidents
These days, the distractions from personal devices is not limited to just 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. Distracted driving can still be a cause of an accident. However, it does not mean that a driver who causes an accident through distracted driving is excused just because they were texting. 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.
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 caused 368 traffic accident deaths in 2020. Hundreds more were likely involved in or contributed to non-fatal accidents.
Texas recorded 1,354 fatalities from single-car accidents in 2020. These are referred to by NHTSA as “ROR” – Run-Off Road Crashes.
ROR crashes almost always involve one party. Because most of these accidents occur due to the fault of the single party, these cases are not as commonly handled in personal injury law firms.
ROR crashes can be caused by an accident involving another driver. You will have to take evasive steps to avoid collisions. Texas had 51% fatal accidents in 2020. These areas often have two-lane highways, with opposing traffic. Drivers could drift into the oncoming 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. An insurance company that reviews a claim involving a car that didn’t come into contact with another will scrutinize how and why if you claim the accident was caused by someone else. If the other driver fled the scene, perhaps eye-witnesses can lend testimony. Drivers are increasingly equipping their cars to have dash cams.
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
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.
Side impacts can cause serious injury. This is due to less protection on the sides of cars than the front and rear. 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.
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. There is a good chance that even if the other driver was negligent, their negligence may not be enough for their car insurance to pay out. A Texas accident attorney can help you if you lack the experience and expertise.
Common Mistakes in 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. It makes it difficult to get reliable photographic evidence and also leaves little opportunity for police observation of the vehicles once they are settled.
Another common error is when people contact their at fault insurer and make a recorded declaration. Many people think they’re being cooperative. They are not being looked after by the insurance company. They are trying to find information that will benefit 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 have the documentation required by a doctor to back up their claims. As time passes, the likelihood of getting treatment is greater. If you wait too much or don’t seek medical attention right away, the insurance company can claim that your injuries aren’t sustained. Insurance companies can also use gaps in treatment to defend their clients.
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.
Stopping Insurance Companies
In an attempt to reduce their payouts, insurance companies might unjustly accuse the injured person of causing a crash. The police report may be incorrect, and victim-blaming might follow. There is a possibility that you could find yourself in a conflict with the negligent driver. A professional can help you gather the evidence necessary to win your case.
We investigate the details surrounding our clients’ claims. We read police reports, gather testimonies and preserve electronic data from vehicles and surveillance video.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP), is a type coverage that is included in many personal auto policies. PIP can be removed in certain situations, like if you are eligible for Medicare. However, most drivers must have it.
This form of personal auto coverage is designed to pay for any medical bills incurred in an accident. This means you can pay for your own and your passengers’ medical bills regardless of how the case ends. PIP can also cover lost wages.
The Texas minimum policy limit for PIP is $2,500. This is not much. A good agent will have reviewed your coverages with you and recommended a higher amount. This will allow you to pay for short-term medical expenses while the case progresses.
The moment an Accident Case is taken to Court
Most insurance claims settle before a lawsuit is filed.
However, not all accidents involving vehicles can be solved. It is possible that the parties cannot resolve all issues. Perhaps the plaintiffs or defendants couldn’t agree upon how much compensation should go because they couldn’t resolve their differences.
Witnesses and expert witnesses, responding officers of the law enforcement, and others may be called to testify in front of a jury during a trial. The jury will decide how much (or not) liability the defendant is liable. 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.
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 get the other drivers’ perspectives, our attorney will depose them to gain insight into their testimony at trial. We will also learn about the finances of the defendant and their insurance coverage.
Your attorney will accompany you and help you refrain from answering questions that could damage your case. You may be asked questions by your attorney that will shed light on your case. 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 witnesses can offer their opinions to jurors in court cases. The expert witness can assist those who are hearing the case to draw a conclusion using their knowledge.
In motor vehicle accidents, medical experts are the most common expert witness. These medical experts and doctors can give an opinion on the likelihood of recovery, treatment needs, or prognosis for an injured party.
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.
How long does it take to get a court case for an auto crash?
When determining how long it takes, the trial is not the only factor. Before you can step foot in the courtroom, there are many things that must happen. The lawsuit must be served to 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. For a free consultation, please call us. We will help you determine your legal options. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys has helped many people to recover from accidents over the years.
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