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 – Westminster
Why you should work with an experienced auto accident attorney
Our legal team will examine every aspect of the incident to determine the strongest possible claim. 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 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 are committed to helping you get the best outcome 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. 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 are skilled at what they do.
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. It is generally a bad idea to face these professionals unarmed without the assistance of your attorney.
Sometimes clients discover this the hard and fast way. 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 typically make costly mistakes that are in their favor, which can reduce or even destroy their chances at a favorable claim. It is usually too late for us.
It is important that potential clients do away 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 when it comes to contributory negligence. Conversing with insurance providers can lead to misunderstandings. They don’t look out for you, but they play a game to try and get out of paying what your claim is worth.
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 of accident is most likely the most common in the country and 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 stop traffic completely? Were you using turn signals? Then, the finding of fact must be made in these cases: Was the defendant’s vehicle behind you? Although your testimony could be disproven, you must provide additional evidence to prove that the defendant actually followed you.
Rear-end accidents can happen for many reasons. Sometimes there are unseen circumstances or conditions that cause it. A road object might cause the defendant’s vehicle to suddenly stop, causing it to collide with you. Sometimes, a defendant might have been following too closely and ran into your bumper before smashing into you.
In court, both sides of an aisle will ask questions. How can we talk about the weather? They contributed to the collision? What about speeding? It’s possible to argue whether or not your taillights worked. Last but not least, there’s the matter of contributory negligence. Some may argue that you contributed the collision by not stopping for traffic ahead.
As you see, rear-ending a claimant is not a guarantee of a win. A skilled attorney in auto accidents is invaluable for helping you navigate these issues.
Although they are statistically safer than rear-end collisions, head-on crashes are more common than rear-end ones. 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
These days, the distractions from personal devices is not limited to just texting. Texas banned texting while driving in 2017. However, it is still possible to use a handheld device to do other things like GPS or play 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.
Individual cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region have their own ordinances, which are more stringent than 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. 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 have often two-lane highways that are shared with opposing traffic. This makes it easy for drivers to drift into the oncoming lanes. Other times, drivers may try to pass unintentionally.
You’ll need to prove the other driver was responsible for you being run off the road. If an accident occurred between two cars, the insurance company will examine why. 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.
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, 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. This type of accident is very dangerous in Texas, despite the fact that modern cars come with side impact airbags, impact pillars, and curtains.
A broad-side accident, like other types of Texas accidents, can’t automatically be considered a case due to Texas’ modified contributory negligence laws. 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 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 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.
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’re looking for information that will assist them and their insured. The insured is free to not speak with the insurance company.
People sometimes make the wrong decision to not seek immediate treatment. They believe they can handle the situation. They don’t have the documentation required by a doctor to back up 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. A gap in treatment can be used by an insurance company 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 could falsely accuse a wounded person of causing an accident in order to reduce payouts. The police report may be incorrect, and victim-blaming might follow. It is possible that you will find yourself in a “he told, she said” dispute with the negligent driver. For your case to be successful, you will need strong evidence and the help of a professional.
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 of coverage that is included on many personal auto policies. PIP can be omitted in certain cases, such as Medicare, but for most drivers it is mandatory.
This form of personal auto coverage is designed to pay for any medical bills incurred in an accident. This means that you and your passengers can receive medical costs regardless of whether the case involves the liability of another driver. PIP may also be used to pay lost wages.
It should be noted that the Texas minimum policy limit to cover PIP is $2,500. 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 be useful to cover medical expenses for the short term while your case is developing.
An Accident Case goes to Court
A majority of insurance claim cases are settled before a lawsuit can be filed.
But not all car accidents can be resolved. Some issues may be beyond the ability of the parties. Perhaps the plaintiffs had difficulty agreeing on the amount of compensation due to 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.
The defense side will request a deposition after you have filed a lawsuit. You will be asked questions by both sides during this formal conversation. Both the attorneys on each side will be there as well as a reporter. Both sides will ask questions to learn more about the accident, who caused it, your injuries and 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 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 doesn’t have to intimidate you. Texas law for depositions ensures that you will not be intimidated. Your accident attorney will also ensure that you aren’t.
Texas Motor Vehicle Trial Cases Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can offer their opinions to jurors in court cases. 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 doctors or other medical professionals can give opinions about the likelihood of recovery, need to treat, and prognosis of an injury victim.
Although expert witnesses can help to strengthen a claimant’s case, this is not always the case. Expert witnesses are rarely called and usually only take part in court cases when the court requires. This is when an experienced motor vehicle business will have the resources to locate the right expert witness.
How Long Does a Court Case Take For an Auto Accident?
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 will be served on the defendant. Each party will then have to exchange evidence and depose witnesses. This entire process can take between one and twelve months depending on how complicated the case is, as well as how many parties 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. Call us to setup a free consultation to find out what your legal options are. Ward Maedgen Accident Attorneys have helped many people recover after accidents for many years.
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