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Who Pays for Medical Bills After an Accident?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A car accident can cause serious injuries that require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs over a victim’s lifetime. Surgeries, treatments, physical therapies and medications can create a massive amount of medical debt for an injured victim. Knowing who is responsible for paying your medical bills after an accident could give you peace of mind during a difficult time as the victim of an accident. It could also prevent you from paying out of pocket for your own expenses, depending on the circumstances.

Texas Is a Fault-Based Insurance State

Most accident victims in Texas pay for their medical bills using a combination of insurance benefits and personal expenditures. If your injuries are minor and the at-fault party has insurance, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. In Texas, the party at fault for an auto accident will be legally responsible for paying a victim’s damages, which include medical bills. Bringing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver could result in payment for your past and future treatments and medical expenses. If the other driver does not have enough insurance, however, you may need to seek additional benefits from other sources. This could include your own insurance company.

What Is Insurance Subrogation?

Insurance subrogation is common during an accident claim. It refers to your own insurance company covering your medical expenses in the beginning, even if you were not at fault for the accident, then seeking reimbursement from somebody else’s insurance provider later. If you file a claim with your own insurance company for an accident you did not cause, your insurer may use subrogation to pay for your medical bills right away. After paying your bills, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from a third-party provider on your behalf.

What Is a Medical Lien?

In the beginning, your medical expenses will be your responsibility. If you cannot afford to pay your bills while you wait for a settlement or judgment award, the hospital where you sought treatment may place a medical lien against you. A medical lien is a legal claim to your property or assets if you fail to repay a debt you owe. If you do not pay off your medical bills within a certain amount of time, a medical lien could lead to consequences such as wage garnishment. If you have a successful insurance claim or lawsuit against another party, your lawyer can pay off your medical lien with money obtained from the defendant. Then, what is left will go toward legal fees and your personal expenses.

What If You Were At Fault for the Accident?

If an investigation finds that you caused the accident, you may have to pay for your medical bills on your own. If you have health insurance, this can bring your health care expenses down. Another type of insurance that could help you pay off your medical bills is personal injury protection (PIP) insurance if you were injured in an auto accident. PIP and medical payment insurance can pay for your bills up to your policy’s maximum after a car accident you caused. If you have the responsibility of paying your medical bills, you may be able to arrange a personal payment plan with your hospital.

If you are not the only person at fault for the accident, however, someone else may owe you partial compensation for your losses. Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means if you and the defendant share fault for an accident, the courts will diminish your financial award according to your percentage of fault. If you were 20% to blame for the accident, for instance, the courts would take away 20% of your settlement or verdict award. You would still receive 80% reimbursement for your losses from the defendant.

If you have serious injuries after an accident in Texas, contact a lawyer for advice about who will pay for your medical bills.

Posted by admin at 6:00 pm

Is Texas a No-Fault Accident State?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Recovering from a car accident in Texas often takes seeking money from one or more parties to pay for your medical costs, vehicle repairs and other crash-related losses. Which insurance company will take your claim depends on the fault laws in your state. Your state will use fault, no-fault or hybrid fault laws. Texas is a fault state, not a no-fault state.

What Is a No-Fault State?

A no-fault state does not place any significance on fault for a car accident. It does not require injured parties to determine fault, identify negligence or prove liability to recover damages. Instead, all injured drivers and victims will seek benefits from their own auto insurance companies through first-party claims, no matter who is to blame for the accident. In no-fault states, all drivers carry personal injury protection insurance. This type of coverage pays for the insured person’s medical bills and property repairs, whether or not the insured party caused the car accident.

If you live in a no-fault state, every car accident claim will be a first-party insurance claim unless your injuries are serious enough to qualify you to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party. No-fault states use serious injury thresholds to decide if a victim has been injured severely enough to enable him or her to sue the at-fault party. If so, the victim can bring a third-party insurance claim against the other driver instead.

Is Texas a No-Fault State?

No, Texas is not a no-fault state. It uses a tort-based insurance system, meaning the driver at fault for the collision will be financially responsible for damages. Every driver in Texas lawfully must carry car insurance. Most drivers use their car insurance policies to pay for victims’ damages rather than paying out of pocket. After a vehicle collision, injured victims will seek financial benefits through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. A negligent driver’s bodily injury and property damage liability insurance will pay for victims’ losses.

Unlike a no-fault state, Texas always allows car accident victims to file lawsuits against others in pursuit of financial compensation. You do not have to meet an injury threshold to bear the right to file a lawsuit against another driver for speeding, drinking and driving, texting while driving, or another act of negligence or recklessness in Texas. You will, however, have to prove the other driver’s fault for your accident before his or her insurance company will pay for your damages.

In a no-fault state, you do not need to prove fault. Your own insurer will reimburse your losses without requiring proof of anyone else’s negligence. This is not the case in Texas if you file a third-party insurance claim. In a hybrid fault state, it is usually up to drivers whether they wish to purchase fault or no-fault car insurance policies.

What Is Texas’s Comparative Fault Law?

During a car accident claim in Texas, the at-fault driver may try to avoid liability for your damages by alleging that you are also to blame for the collision. This is the comparative fault defense. This defense tries to diminish the defendant’s liability for your damages by apportioning some of the fault to you. If the courts agree that you also contributed to the crash, you may receive less in financial compensation.

A successful comparative fault defense in Texas can reduce your settlement or judgment award by an amount equivalent to your percentage of liability. If the defendant’s lawyer proves you were 10% at fault for looking at your phone when the defendant ran a red light and crashed into you, for example, you might receive 10% less than if you had not contributed to the crash at all.

Texas’s fault insurance laws can be difficult to navigate on your own – especially if you are simultaneously dealing with serious and painful personal injuries. Hire a car accident attorney to help you with the claims process. Your lawyer can negotiate with a third party’s insurance company for you while you focus on healing.

Posted by admin at 5:44 pm

First-Party vs. Third-Party Insurance Claims

Monday, October 12, 2020

Filing an insurance claim will start a series of events that should end in you receiving financial compensation for your damages. The type of insurance claim you file will depend on liability for your accident. In Texas, the party that causes an accident will be the one responsible for paying for victims’ losses. Sometimes, however, this party is unavailable or uninsured. Whether you need to file a first-party or third-party insurance claim for benefits will depend on the coverage available.

What Is a First-Party Insurance Claim?

A first-party insurance claim is one you file with your own insurance provider. The law requires every driver in Texas, for example, to carry automobile insurance. You may also have homeowners insurance, renters insurance, health insurance and other types of policies. If you caused your own injuries in Texas, you will file a first-party insurance claim with your own provider for benefits.

You may also file a first-party claim if the at-fault party does not have insurance. You could file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own company, for instance, after a collision with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run accident. During a first-party insurance claim, you will negotiate a settlement award with your own insurance company. It can help to understand the language and details of your policy, including coverage types and limits. That way, you can be informed during negotiations with your insurer.

First, call your insurance provider to notify them of your accident. Cooperate with the insurance process, answering the questions asked and providing any additional information necessary. Then, ask the insurance company to pay you a fair amount for your medical bills, property repairs and other damages. Your insurer will respond with either a settlement offer or a reason for denying your claim. You will need to have the right type of insurance for a successful first-party claim.

What Is a Third-Party Insurance Claim?

A third-party insurance claim seeks compensation from another person’s insurance company. It is a claim against the policyholder, not the insurance company itself, that requests compensation from the individual for negligently causing the accident and injuries in question. Instead of paying out of pocket, the individual can turn to his or her insurance company to pay for damages, in most cases. Bringing a claim against a person or party for negligence is generally synonymous with filing a third-party insurance claim.

One of the main differences between a first-party and third-party insurance claim is the fiducial duty owed to the policyholder. With a first-party claim, your insurance company owes you a duty to act in good faith. As an insured policyholder, you have a contract with the insurance company that creates a fiduciary relationship under the Texas Insurance Code. You do not, however, have this fiduciary relationship with someone else’s insurance company. Instead, the insurance company will owe a duty of care to its insured.

If your insurance company breaches its fiduciary duties to you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the provider for a violation of the Insurance Code. A bad-faith insurance lawsuit alleges that the insurance company did not handle your claim according to the rules of your contract. A successful bad-faith insurance claim for a violation could result in financial compensation for your losses. You could recover treble damages – three times the amount your insurance company originally would have paid – if you can prove an intentional code violation.

Tips for Negotiating an Insurance Claim

Whether you need to file a first-party or third-party insurance claim in Texas, hire an attorney for assistance going up against the insurance company. Insurers often put their bottom lines over their clients. An insurance provider may intentionally make it difficult for you to recover fair financial compensation for your past and future losses. Having an attorney negotiate your first-party or third-party insurance claim for you can improve your chances of a positive outcome.

Posted by admin at 5:34 pm

Can I Sue an Insurance Company for Denying My Claim?

Friday, October 9, 2020

Dealing with an insurance company is not easy after an accident in Texas. Insurance companies have a financial interest in the outcomes of claims. An insurer will benefit from avoiding client payouts. For this reason, insurance providers often violate the terms of insurance policies or engage in bad-faith claims practices for their own financial gain. If you are the victim of insurance bad faith in the form of denying a valid claim, you may be able to sue the insurance company in Texas.

What Is Insurance Bad Faith?

Insurance companies deny claims all the time. Not all denials are illegal, invalid or in bad faith. Valid reasons for denying insurance claims include missing information, false information, missed deadlines, liability disputes and lack of insurance coverage. The insurance company receiving your claim must give you a reason if it denies coverage. If it doesn’t, call the insurance company to ask why it denied your claim.

If the insurance company cannot give you a reason, or the reason does not seem valid, you may be the victim of insurance bad faith. Common examples of insurance bad faith are inadequate investigations, requests for excessive proof of losses, unfounded claim denials, lowball settlement offers, delayed payouts and refusal to handle a claim reasonably. No insurance company is going to admit to bad faith. It will be up to you to identify signs of a wrongful denial.

What Are Your Options After an Insurance Claims Denial?

If you suspect the insurance company of handling your claim in bad faith, you have legal options. One is suing the insurance company. Before you file an insurance bad-faith lawsuit, however, talk to an insurance claims attorney in Texas for advice. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a different case outcome without a lawsuit. Requesting an internal review of your insurance claim, for instance, may be enough to achieve a change in the outcome of your case. This is especially likely if your lawyer submits further evidence to support your claim.

Another option is to request an external review. You can contact the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to complain about insurance bad faith. The TDI will review your insurance claim and how the insurer responded. If the TDI agrees that the insurer is in the wrong, it may force the company to pay you benefits. Simply hiring an attorney may be enough to convince an insurance company to handle your case better. If not, you and your lawyer can bring a lawsuit against the insurance company for denying your claim instead.

How Do You File a Lawsuit Against an Insurance Company in Texas?

If your lawyer believes suing the insurance company is the best way to resolve your case, he or she can file the paperwork for you. Your lawyer will start by organizing the evidence related to your case. This may include a copy of your insurance policy, letters from the insurance company, summaries of your phone calls with claims adjusters, the denial notice, a police report and your medical records. Then, your lawyer will file a lawsuit with the civil courthouse in your county in Texas, naming the insurance company as the defendant. The lawsuit will describe the legal issue – an insurance bad-faith claim denial – and request an amount in compensation to resolve the case.

The insurance company will receive notice of your intent to sue. It will then have the chance to respond. If the company reconsiders its decision and agrees to offer a fair settlement, this could be the end of your lawsuit. If the insurer continues to deny benefits, however, you and your lawyer may need to proceed to trial. If your side of the case can prove insurance bad faith, the courts will order the insurance company to pay out your original claim, plus additional compensation to penalize the provider. Work with a car accident attorney near you for assistance going up against a company for wrongfully denying your claim.

Posted by admin at 5:33 pm

The Rise in Roadway Fatalities in Texas During COVID-19

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

One of the biggest changes COVID-19 brought to Texas was stay-at-home orders. Many cities enacted mandates requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities. As a result, traffic volume on some of Texas’ busiest streets drastically decreased. Law enforcement officers assumed this would correspondingly decrease the number of fatal car accidents. Unfortunately, it did not.

Death Rate in Texas Stays High Despite Decrease in Traffic

 In theory, a dramatic dip in the number of cars on the road should lead to the same type of drop in the number of fatalities from traffic accidents. Yet in Texas and many other states around the country, this was not the case during COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the most recent updates by the Texas Department of Transportation, the month of March 2020 saw 241 traffic accident fatalities. This was a decline of only 21% from March of 2019. This death rate is alarming since there was about half the number of cars on the road in March 2020 compared to 2019. The death rate should have also been cut in half, yet this was not the case.

What Is Causing Fatal Car Accidents During COVID-19?

 The explanation for the high number of deaths on the roads in Texas during a stay-at-home order is simple: drivers are being more reckless on emptier roads. A Facebook update from Ed Gonzalez, Sheriff of Harris County, stated that many of the fatal accidents during COVID-19 lockdown orders were during nonessential trips. Furthermore, he said that most of the deadly collisions involved reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding. Reports from around the country reiterate Sherriff Gonzalez’s sentiments, finding that most fatal accidents during stay-at-home orders occurred due to one or both drivers’ reckless actions behind the wheel.

  • Traveling at excessive speeds
  • Racing
  • Running red lights
  • Rolling through stop signs
  • Ignoring rights-of-way
  • Driving while drunk
  • Texting and driving
  • Driving while fatigued 

 Reckless drivers appear to be taking advantage of less traffic on the roads in Texas during COVID-19. They are speeding, racing and breaking other roadway laws, either with the belief that it is safe to do so due to less traffic or that they will not get caught due to fewer police officers on patrol. Breaking roadway laws, however, is just as dangerous as it was before the pandemic. Reckless drivers are the reason crash rates remain high despite fewer people being on the road. 

roadway fatalities during covid-19

Pedestrians Are Especially at Risk in Texas 

 The disparity between low traffic volume and a high number of fatal accident rate is also apparent in Austin, where police reported 381 car accidents and 111 injuries in March 2020. March 2019, in contrast, had 450 accidents but only 99 injuries. Significantly, only one pedestrian died in March 2019, while three victims in March 2020 were pedestrians. This shows an increased risk of fatal accidents for pedestrians during COVID-19 conditions in Texas. 

 Pedestrians may be more at risk than others for fatal collisions during the COVID-19 pandemic due to driver inattention. Drivers may be paying less attention to the roads because of a decreased risk of encountering other drivers. There has also been an increase in the number of pedestrians walking, jogging and running in Texas during the pandemic. Gym closures due to COVID-19 have led to many people getting out and exercising on their own, in the streets. 

How to Stay Safe on the Roads in Texas During COVID-19

 Do not assume your risk of being in a vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian accident is lower because of less traffic in Texas during COVID-19. According to the most recent crash statistics, your risk of being in a fatal accident remains almost the same – and they may have even increased for pedestrians in Texas. 

 Do your best to avoid an accident by always paying attention when driving or walking around Texas. Obey traffic laws, including speed limits, even if you appear to be the only one on the road. Look both ways before turning, entering an intersection or crossing the road. If you get into an auto accident during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact a Texas car accident lawyer for a consultation about your legal options.

Posted by admin at 5:34 pm

What Happens If You Get in an Accident With a Suspended License?

Friday, June 5, 2020

A car accident case in Texas can involve many different factors. One is the invalidity of one of the drivers’ licenses. Driving with a suspended license can lead to serious penalties in Texas. If a driver gets into an accident with a suspended or revoked license, the consequences for breaking the law can be even more severe. Learn the potential consequences of driving without a valid license and causing an accident with a suspended license in Texas.

What Is a Suspended License?

 A suspended driver’s license means the driver lawfully cannot operate his or her motor vehicle until driver’s license reinstatement. Some license suspensions are definite while others are indefinite. Definite suspensions have set timeframes, at the end of which the driver will be able to pay for reinstatement and start driving again. Indefinite suspensions can last as long as is necessary for the driver to complete the required actions, such as passing a safety course or satisfying a judgment. 

 In Texas, the Department of Public Safety may suspend a driver’s license for committing traffic infractions or crimes while operating a motor vehicle. Common reasons for license suspensions are excessive speeding, racing, drunk driving, reckless driving, red-light running, causing an accident and accumulating too many points on a driver’s record. Driving without insurance at the time of a car accident could also lead to license suspension under the Texas Safety Responsibility Act, as can causing an accident that results in personal injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages.

 If the state suspends your driver’s license, it will notify you by mail to the address on record. It will explain the reason for the suspension, in most cases, and provide the option for a hearing. If you wish to schedule a hearing, you have 20 days from receiving the notice to do so. You may be able to argue the suspension at a hearing, with or without help from a traffic violation attorney. Reinstating your driver’s license after suspension takes fulfilling all the requirements and paying a $100 fee. 

What Are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License?

 You cannot drive on a suspended license in Texas. Doing so could result in a Class C misdemeanor charge. A conviction for driving on a suspended license in Texas can come with a fine of up to $500. You may also need to satisfy other fines, such as a $250 surcharge to reregister your license for the following three years. 

 You could face steeper penalties – a Class B misdemeanor – if you have a previous conviction for driving without a license, driving while intoxicated or similar offenses. A Class B misdemeanor conviction could result in heftier fines, as well as up to six months in county jail. Finally, driving with a suspended license can increase the timeframe of your suspension or lead to driver’s license revocation. Revocation is the permanent removal of your driving privileges.

What If You Cause an Accident in Texas on a Suspended License?

 Causing an accident while driving on a suspended license can lead to severe penalties. You may face criminal charges depending on the situation. In addition to a traffic citation and hefty fines, you could also face civil liability for causing an auto accident. Civil liability will not depend on whether you were driving on a suspended license, although the victim may be able to hold this against you to make you a less reliable witness. Instead, your liability will depend on whether you were negligent or reckless in causing the car accident. 

 Proof of your fault for causing the crash could make you civilly liable for the victim’s damages. This will mean your auto insurance company must pay for the victim’s losses related to the crash, such as medical expenses and vehicle damages. Your insurance premiums will most likely increase if found guilty of causing an accident on a suspended license. Your insurance company may even drop you as a customer. You may also have to pay a significant amount more for SR-22 insurance – auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Hire a Dallas car accident attorney if you cause an accident while on a suspended license in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:30 pm

Can I Have a Case If I Was in an Accident But Suffered No Injuries?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

It may seem counterintuitive to file a personal injury claim in Texas if you do not have any personal injuries. If you consider the other potential ramifications of an accident, however, such as property damages, lost wages and emotional distress, you will understand how some clients can file claims without physical injuries. It may be possible to bring a claim to damages if you were in an accident that did not physically injure you. Consult with a Dallas personal injury attorney for more information about your specific case.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Suit in Texas

 Emotional distress is common damage sought during personal injury claims in Texas. It refers to damages other than a physical injury that arose from a traumatic accident. Living through or witnessing an accident such as a car crash could inflict many nonphysical injuries on a victim. The defendant at fault for causing the accident may be legally responsible for a victim’s emotional distress in Texas even if the victim did not have a physical injury.

  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Shock 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lost quality of life
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Loss of someone’s love or companionship
  • Grief or bereavement

 If someone was negligent, reckless, or malicious in causing an accident that gave you emotional injuries or distress, that person may owe you compensation. Although most personal injury claims in Texas involve physical injuries as well as emotional distress, some claimants can recover mental anguish damages without physical injuries. If you lost a loved one in an accident, for example, you could seek damages for your emotional distress through a wrongful death lawsuit.

How to Prove Emotional Distress

 If you wish to bring a claim for your emotional injuries alone, you will need to prove that the defendant negligently or intentionally caused your emotional distress. Hiring a personal injury lawyer could help you with this burden of proof. Your attorney will know what elements are necessary to prove to obtain compensation for emotional distress, as well as what evidence to gather on your behalf.

 In a claim for emotional distress alone in Texas, it is not enough to prove the defendant was negligent. You or your lawyer will need to prove that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. You must prove the defendant guilty of particularly outrageous or horrific behaviors to qualify for emotional distress damages alone in Texas. Additionally, if another tort applies to your claim, such as harassment, you may only be able to recover under that claim. In other words, you cannot file a separate emotional distress claim in addition to your harassment claim.

 Although it can be difficult to fulfill the increased burden of proof during a claim only for emotional distress, it is possible. Claimants in Texas have and do successfully obtain compensation for claims that do not involve physical injuries. Evidence that could help a plaintiff prove this type of case include psychological evaluation records, letters from therapists, eyewitness reports and testimony from mental health experts. A lawyer could help you identify sources of evidence for your particular emotional distress claim.

Contact a Lawyer About an Emotional Distress Claim

 In general, hiring a personal injury attorney could increase your odds of having a successful emotional distress claim in Texas. An attorney can let you know if you qualify to bring this type of claim, as well as what it will take to win compensation. Then, your lawyer can take over the legal process on your behalf. A lawyer could also be an asset if you wish to file a claim for other damages not related to physical injuries, such as lost wages from having to miss time at work or property damage repairs. Contact an attorney as soon as possible if you suffered emotional injuries in an accident in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:53 pm

I Was in an Out-of-State Car Accident, What Do I Do?

Monday, May 4, 2020

No one can predict an auto accident. Collisions can happen when you least expect them – such as while on an out-of-state road trip or vacation. The insurance claims process can look different than it does in your home state after an out-of-state collision depending on the laws. Knowing what to do and how to handle these types of crash claims may take assistance from a local Dallas personal injury lawyer.

out of state car accident

What Happens When You Get in an Accident in Another State? 

 The rules you are familiar with in your home state may not apply in a car accident in another state. If you live in Texas, for example, you might be familiar with the state’s fault-based car insurance laws. These laws state that the person who caused the car accident will be liable for victims’ damages. If you were driving in a no-fault state such as Florida or New York, however, fault for the collision may not matter. In no-fault states, all drivers seek compensation from their insurers regardless of fault, with exceptions for serious injuries. You may need a car accident lawyer in the state where your crash occurred for legal advice about how to proceed with a claim.

 First, take the steps you normally would after an accident in your home state. All states have similar hit-and-run laws that require drivers involved in collisions to stop and provide contact information. Pull your vehicle over and ask if anyone has injuries or requires medical assistance. Call 911 if the crash appears to have caused expensive property damages ($500 to $1,000 or more), injuries or deaths. Give your full name and contact information to the other driver. Provide proof of insurance if asked but do not admit fault for the car accident. Take photographs of your vehicle and the crash scene for use during an insurance claim.

 Complicated out-of-state car accidents often require assistance from attorneys. Hire a car accident lawyer if your crash involves expensive property damages, debilitating injuries, liability disputes, or a crime such as a hit-and-run or drunk driving. You may also wish to consult with a lawyer for an overview of the state’s car accident laws, including fault and comparative negligence statutes that may differ from your home state. A lawyer in the state where your crash occurred could assist with the insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuit process.

Will My Car Insurance Cover Me in Another State?

 Yes, your car insurance covers you while driving in another state. In general, auto insurance policies do not have restrictions when drivers are out of state. If you permanently move to another state, however, your auto insurance company may have the right to deny your claim if you fail to update your address on your policy. Most states require you to update your insurance and acquire a state driver’s license within the first few weeks of residency. You will not need to change your insurance if you are simply visiting or driving through another state.

 After a car accident in another state, call your insurance company to report the wreck. Your insurance provider will explain the claims process and investigate the crash. If your insurance company believes the other party is at fault and liable for your damages, it may file a claim on your behalf. You might receive a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company within a few days after the collision in this case. Be careful when talking to the insurance claims adjuster, as he or she will want to minimize your recovery. Do not admit fault and do not accept a settlement offer without first consulting with a lawyer.

If you were at fault for the car accident or the crash occurred in a no-fault state, your own insurance carrier may cover your damages up to your policy’s maximum. It should not matter if your collision occurred out of state. Your insurance provider will still be liable for your damages according to the language of your insurance policy. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and/or property damages through a first-party insurance claim. Discuss your insurance options and rights after an out-of-state car accident in more detail with a personal injury lawyer.

 

Posted by admin at 6:32 pm

Can No-Fault Insurance Cover Vehicle Damages?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

 No-fault insurance is a type of auto insurance that restricts a driver’s ability to hold someone else responsible for a car accident. It covers the policyholder’s medical expenses for injuries from an auto accident, regardless of fault, using personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Mandatory PIP insurance in no-fault states offers benefits for medical care after a car accident. It does not, however, cover property or vehicle damages.

no fault insurance

What Is No-Fault Insurance? 

 No-fault insurance is a type of car insurance that is mandatory in only 12 states. It places financial responsibility on the policyholder after an auto accident regardless of whether he or she caused the crash. PIP insurance covers the policyholder’s medical bills without having to prove fault. Most states, however, exclude property damage coverage in no-fault insurance requirements. Therefore, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for property damages in a no-fault state unless you purchase comprehensive or collision coverage.

 No-fault insurance aims to make the claims process more efficient by restricting litigation, reducing costs and avoiding delays in payouts. Since a driver does not have to prove fault, he or she can receive insurance benefits sooner than with fault-based insurance. The driver also does not have to pay for an investigation or litigation. In exchange for a faster and easier claims process, however, a driver in a no-fault state gives up the chance to hold the at-fault party liable for damages. This often means no payments for vehicle damages in no-fault states.

What States Are No Fault?

 Most states in the U.S. use fault-based auto insurance laws, with only 12 exceptions. These 12 states use pure no-fault laws, meaning all drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance. Living in a no-fault state means drivers file accident claims with their respective insurance companies, regardless of who might have caused the collision. In pure no-fault states, drivers will not have the option of filing fault-based car accident claims unless their injuries qualify as serious under the state’s threshold.

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

 Other states are not true no-fault states but offer no-fault insurance add-ons to drivers. These states are Arkansas, Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Drivers in add-on states have the option to add no-fault insurance to their regular fault-based policies. After an accident, these drivers can decide whether to file no-fault or third-party claims depending on which would foreseeably result in greater compensation.

What Is the Serious Injury Threshold?

 No-fault states bar most crash survivors from filing third-party claims unless their injuries are serious enough to qualify as an exception under the state’s injury threshold. This threshold differs from state to state. In general, serious injuries include broken bones, disabilities, or permanent scarring or disfigurement. If your accident is serious enough to meet the threshold in a no-fault state, a claim against the at-fault driver could pay for your vehicle damages as well as your medical bills. Otherwise, you might only qualify for vehicle repair compensation if you have the correct type of add-on insurance. 

 If you live in a fault-based car insurance state, the driver who caused your accident will be liable for your medical bills and any property damages. In Texas, for example, you may receive insurance benefits from the other driver if you or your car accident lawyer can prove his or her fault. All drivers in Texas must carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. This will pay for your vehicle repairs in an accident the other driver caused. If you caused the accident or live in a no-fault state, you may only receive coverage for vehicle damages if you have more than the minimum amount of insurance. The best way to ensure a fair insurance process after a car accident in any state is with help from a personal injury lawyer.

Posted by admin at 6:38 pm

Who Is At Fault in a Blind Spot Accident?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Even the most prudent driver cannot prevent blind spots. Blind spots are areas of the road that are impossible to see in one’s mirrors due to the design of the vehicle. It is possible, however, for a driver to mitigate the risks of blind spots and avoid accidents through maneuvers such as glancing over his or her shoulder before merging or changing lanes. When a blind spot does cause a car accident, it can be difficult to determine fault. The car accident may require an investigation of fault before victims can file personal injury lawsuits.

blind spot car accident

How Can Blind Spots Cause Accidents?

 A blind spot can be deadly at the wrong time and place. The inability to see surrounding vehicles when making a turn, backing up or changing lanes, for example, could lead to a collision between a vehicle and another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian. All vehicles have blind spots. Longer vehicles, such as pickup trucks and semis, have larger blind spots than compact cars. Blind spots can lead to car accidents in many ways in Dallas.

 

  • Accidents while reversing. Safely reversing a vehicle requires being able to look in a driver’s mirrors and see obstacles, pedestrians or children. Unfortunately, blind spots can prevent a driver from noticing objects directly behind the vehicle. This can lead to devastating collisions while reversing.

 

  • Merge accidents. Merging onto a highway or road takes checking to make sure the way is clear before completing the maneuver. Although surrounding drivers should be courteous and allow the driver to merge, the merging driver has the responsibility of yielding the right-of-way and only merging when it is safe to do so. A blind spot could interfere with this ability. 

 

  • Unsafe lane changes. Lane-change accidents are some of the most common car accidents in Texas. Many of these collisions occur due to blind spots impeding the driver’s view of the destination lane. A blind spot could hide a vehicle hovering next to the driver, for example, resulting in a serious lane-change collision.

 A driver often has the power to prevent blind spot accidents. First, the driver should do everything he or she can to prevent blind spots. This includes adjusting side and rearview mirrors correctly to see more of the road. A driver should be able to see both sides of the road and the rear fully in the mirrors. Then, the driver should be aware of potential blind spots when making turns or merging. A driver should look over his or her shoulder rather than relying on mirrors alone to see obstacles a blind spot may hide.

Why Is Your Blind Spot Especially Dangerous?

 Most drivers have blind spots. As a driver in Dallas, it is your legal responsibility to drive safely despite these blind spots. You must take measures to minimize your blind spots and ensure the safety of a maneuver before its execution. Your blind spot is especially dangerous due to the risk of striking a bicyclist or pedestrian. When driving around downtown Dallas, a blind spot could lead you to merge, collide, or turn on top of an oncoming bicyclist or pedestrian. Pay special attention to turn signal lights, bicycle lanes, and your blind spots in areas with vulnerable road users.

Liability for a Blind Spot Accident

 In most cases, liability for a blind spot accident will go to the driver that had the blind spot. A blind spot is typically not a suitable defense for crash liability since the victim could argue that another reasonable and prudent driver would have been able to work around the blind spot and prevented the accident. If two vehicles merge at the same time and collide, however, liability can be more difficult to determine. In this situation, an investigation may be necessary to determine which driver was in the wrong. The at-fault driver will be the one who did not have the right-of-way, in most cases. A portion of liability for a blind spot accident may go to both drivers depending on the situation. Speak with our Dallas injury lawyer if you were in an accident and need legal advice.

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