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 – Prosper
Why an Auto Accident Attorney is an Expert in Your Area
Our legal team will evaluate every part of the incident and develop the strongest possible case. This commitment and attention are the best way to get compensation, in settlement or at trial. A lawyer for vehicle accident victims can help determine if you are eligible to receive compensation under no-fault coverage. This can include anything from financial recompense for any losses or hurt you have incurred, missed wages, and skyrocketing expenses. 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.
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 a case goes to litigation, then the insurance carrier’s legal team steps in too. The basic truth is that these teams of professional’s entire jobs are in place to reduce what the insurance carrier has to pay out every year. They do a great job.
This means that you are guaranteed to work with people who have the same goal as you: to reduce your claims and to keep the law in line. This is usually a bad idea.
Sometimes clients learn this through hard work. We have seen for example folks come to us after they have given a recorded statement, trying to work with the insurance company themselves. They usually make major mistakes that work in the company’s favor and decrease or even eliminate their chances for a favorable settlement. It’s often too late by this point to assist.
It is vital that potential clients refrain from communicating with 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 in light of contributory negligence. There are many misunderstandings that can result from interacting with insurance providers. They aren’t trying to protect you. Instead, they are playing a game in which they try to get out from paying you the amount of your claim.
Common Case Types: Traffic collision – Texas
Although Texas Department of Transportation does not collect data on the proportion of traffic collisions are rear-end accidents, nationally speaking, we know that they are about 28% or 29%. This kind of accident is likely the most common nationally and, based on our experience, Texas is no exception.
Texas is a “modified relative fault state” meaning that rear-end crashes do not just point the finger at the driver. Consider the possible mitigating factors. Did your brake lights turn on? Did you slow down traffic? You used turn signals. Then, the finding of fact must be made in these cases: Was the defendant’s vehicle behind you? Your testimony may be refuted so there must be additional evidence to show that the defendant was following too closely.
Rear-end collisions could occur for several reasons. Sometimes there are unseen circumstances or conditions that cause it. One example is when a defendant might suddenly stop in front of you because there may be an object in the way. 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. Weather conditions are one example. They contributed to the collision? What about speeding? You might also argue about whether your tail lights 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. An experienced auto accident attorney is invaluable in navigating these issues.
While head-on accidents are less common than rear end accidents, they are statistically much more dangerous. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 538 people died in head-on collision accidents in 2020. These accidents made up almost 14% the total traffic fatalities in Texas for the year.
Distracted Driving Accidents
The distractions caused by personal devices aren’t limited to texting. 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. 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. 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 responsible for 368 fatal traffic accidents in 2020, regardless of the laws. Hundreds more could have been involved or contributed in non-fatal traffic accidents.
Texas recorded 1,354 fatalities from single-car accidents in 2020. The NHTSA refers to these as “ROR” or Run-Off-Road crashes.
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. These cases are less common in personal injury law firms because most of these accidents are caused by the fault of one party.
Some ROR accidents are caused by another driver, requiring you to take evasive actions to avoid a collision. Texas was home to 51% of all fatalities in 2020. These areas commonly have two lane highways with opposing traffic and the potential for drivers to drift into an oncoming lane. A driver might also be trying to pass in an unsafe manner.
You’ll need to prove the other driver was responsible for you being run off the road. 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. More and more drivers are also equipping their cars with dash cams.
You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney if your Run-off road accident was caused by negligence.
Side Impact Collision and Intersection
Side impact and intersection collisions are major contributors to serious injury and death in Texas, just like head-on collision cases. 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.
Because Texas has modified contributory neglect laws, even a broad side accident cannot be automatically considered a 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. 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 because it makes photographic evidence less reliable and leaves the possibility for police to observe the vehicles after they have settled from the collision.
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 don’t have to look out for their insurance company. They are trying to find information that will benefit their insured. There is no obligation for the insured to speak to the insurance company.
People also sometimes make the mistake of waiting to seek treatment until they feel they can manage it. They don’t have the documentation required by a doctor to back up their claims. As time passes, there is a delay in getting treatment. If you delay in seeking medical attention, or if you wait too long to seek it, insurance companies can claim that you are not injured. 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
In order to decrease their payouts, insurance companies may wrongly accuse injured persons of causing a wreck. It is possible that the police report was incorrect and victim-blaming could 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 carefully examine the circumstances surrounding clients’ claims by reading police reports and gathering testimony.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of coverage that is included on 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 insurance protection is in place to cover medical expenses after an accident and it is a form of “no-fault” coverage. This means that you and your passengers can receive medical costs regardless of whether the case involves the liability of another driver. PIP can also provide coverage for lost wages.
However, Texas’ minimum policy limit for Personal Injury Protection (PPI) is $2,500. Not a 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 claim settlements are completed before a lawsuit is filed.
But not all car accidents can be resolved. It is possible that the parties cannot resolve all issues. 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, witnesses and expert witnesses may be called, responding law enforcement officers, and possibly others for testimony in front of a jury. The jury will determine the defendant’s liability. Although a trial case takes much more time and expense than a claim settled out of court, a jury can potentially award a plaintiff more than any settlement offered. Sometimes, your lawyer may be able argue for punitive damages. This is something that cannot be offered in a settlement.
The defense side will request a deposition after you have filed a lawsuit. 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. You’ll be asked questions by both sides to find out more about the accident, who was at fault, your injuries, and 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 assist you in answering any questions you may have. Your attorney may also ask you questions that shed a favorable light on your case. The process doesn’t have to intimidate you. 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
An expert witness can present their opinion to a jury in a court matter. A witness’s expertise can be used to help the jury draw a conclusion from the available information.
Most often, experts in motor vehicle accidents are medical professionals. 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 do not usually participate in cases and are only called when necessary. An experienced motor vehicle company will be able to tap into its resources to find the right expert witness when this happens.
What length of time does it take for a court case regarding an auto accident to be resolved?
The trial itself is actually not the only consideration when answering how long the process takes. There are many things you need to do before you step into the courtroom. The lawsuit must be served on the defendant. Each party will then have to exchange evidence and depose witnesses. The whole process can take up to a year, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of parties involved.
As you can see, it’s not wise to go it alone in Texas. Call us today for a free consultation and to discuss your legal options. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have been helping many people recover from crashes over many years.
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