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 – Patrick
Why you should hire an experienced attorney in auto accidents
Our legal team will examine every aspect of the incident to determine the strongest possible claim. This commitment and attention are the best way to get compensation, in settlement or at trial. 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. To learn more about your possible choices, contact our Dallas based law offices immediately for a free initial case consultation. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys will ensure that your case is as smooth as possible.
Claim adjusters and managers can use tactics and other methods to minimize the payout or get it denied. If a case goes to trial, then the legal department of the insurance carrier is called in. These teams of professionals are there to help reduce the amount that insurance carriers have to pay each year. 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. This is usually a bad idea.
Sometimes clients learn this the 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 make big mistakes that can be used to their advantage and reduce or eliminate their chances of winning a claim. It’s often too late by this point to assist.
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. 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 – Traffic collision – Texas
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 considered a “modified comparative blame state”, which means rear-end collisions are not always attributed to the driver. It is important to consider the potential contributing factors. Did your brake lights turn on? Did you bring traffic to a halt? Did you use turn signals? These cases require a finding to fact. Was the defendant’s vehicle following 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. It can sometimes be caused by circumstances or circumstances that are not known. An object on the road might have caused the defendant suddenly to stop and cause his/her car to crash into your vehicle. In some cases, a defendant may be following too closely and ran up on your bumper before slamming into you.
The courtroom will have questions from both sides. For example, what about weather conditions? What contributed to this collision? Was speeding a factor? It’s possible to argue whether or not your taillights worked. Last but not least, there’s the matter of contributory negligence. You might be argued that you contributed to the accident if you did not lane brake ahead of traffic.
As you can see, a rear-end does not guarantee a win for the claimant. This is where an experienced auto accident attorney can help you.
Head-on crashes are less common than rear-end accidents but are statistically more dangerous. The Texas Department of Transportation recorded 538 fatalities from head-on collisions in 2020. These accidents were responsible for nearly 14% of all traffic fatalities in Texas.
Distracted Driving Accidents
The distractions caused by personal devices aren’t limited to texting. Although texting while driving has been banned in Texas since 2017, it is still legal to use handheld devices for other purposes, such as GPS and 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. 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 responsible for 368 fatal traffic accidents in 2020, regardless of the laws. 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. These cases are less common in personal injury law firms because most of these accidents are caused by the fault of one party.
ROR collisions can also be caused by another driver. In these cases, you will need to take evasive measures 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.
You’ll need to prove the other driver was responsible for you being run off the road. If you allege that the accident was caused or contributed to by another driver, an insurance company will review your claim. If the other driver fled the scene, perhaps eye-witnesses can lend testimony. Many drivers now have dash cams in their vehicles.
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
Side impact and intersection collisions are major contributors to serious injury and death in Texas, just like head-on collision cases. In 2020, there were 865 fatalities that could be attributed to intersection accidents or related to intersections accidents.
Side impact collisions are more likely to result in serious injuries than those that occur at the front or rear. 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.
Like other Texas accident types, a broad-side incident can’t be treated as a straightforward case because of modified contributory negligence law. 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. It is crucial to have a Texas accident lawyer on your side.
Common Mistakes in 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. 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 mistake people make is to contact the at-fault insurer and record a statement. Many people believe they are being cooperative, which is wrong. They aren’t being looked out for by their insurance company. They are seeking information to assist their insured. The insured does not have to speak with insurance companies.
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 the time passes, so does the delay in receiving 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 carrier may also use a gap between treatment as a defense.
It is common for people to make mistakes by talking to the at fault insurance company, recording statements, trying to resolve their claims themselves, accepting an early settlement before they know the outcome, or not getting treatment immediately.
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. You may find yourself in a dispute with the negligent motorist. For your case to be successful, you will need strong evidence and the help 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.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of coverage that is included on many personal auto policies. PIP is optional for some drivers.
This form of personal auto coverage is designed to pay for any medical bills incurred in an accident. This means that you can get some medical costs for yourself and passengers regardless of the outcome of your case involving the liability of the other driver. PIP can also cover 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.
When an Accident Case Is Submitted to the Court
Most insurance claims settle before a lawsuit is filed.
However, not every vehicle accident can be fixed. Perhaps the issues that need to be resolved are beyond the parties’ abilities. Perhaps the plaintiffs and defendants could not agree on how much compensation should be paid because they couldn’t resolve their differences.
In a trial, witnesses and expert witnesses may be called, responding law enforcement officers, and possibly others for testimony in front of a jury. The jury will decide the extent (or non-extent) of liability held by the defendant. A trial case is more expensive and takes longer than a settlement. However, a jury could award more damages to a plaintiff 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 lawsuit, the defense side will want to hold a deposition. This is a formal conversation in which you will be sward in, both side’s attorneys will be present along with a court reporter. Both sides will ask you questions regarding the accident, who is at fault, your injuries, or 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 help defend you from answers that are misleading or harmful to your case. Your attorney may also ask you questions that shed a favorable 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
An expert witness can present their opinion to a jury in a court matter. Expert witnesses can offer their expert opinion to assist the hearings in drawing a conclusion, based upon the available information.
The most common example of an expert witness in a motor vehicle accident case are medical experts. These doctors or other medical professionals can give opinions about the likelihood of recovery, need to treat, and prognosis of an injury victim.
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. When this happens, an experienced motor vehicle firm will have resources to draw upon for finding 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. There are a lot of things that need to happen before you ever step into the courtroom. The lawsuit will need to be served on defendant. Next, the parties will 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 can see from the overview, it is not recommended to try and handle all motor vehicle accident cases alone. To learn more about your legal options, call us for a free consultation. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have helped many to recover after crashes for years.
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