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What to Do if Someone Won’t Share Insurance Information at the Scene of an Accident

Monday, January 17, 2022

Emotions can run high in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Both drivers may be feeling the effects of adrenaline, as well as stress, tension and frustration about the situation. Some drivers may react to a car accident by getting defensive or hostile. This can result in a driver refusing to share his or her insurance information at the scene of the accident. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. You can still get the information that you need even if the other driver does not cooperate.

Is a Driver Legally Obligated to Provide Insurance Information?

Drivers often exchange information at the scenes of car accidents. This is the easiest way to resolve issues, such as who will pay for property damage. Many states even make it a legal requirement to stay at the scene of a car accident until certain information has been exchanged. In Texas, Section 550.023 of the Transportation Code states that all drivers must exchange the following information after a car accident that results in property damage, injury or death:

  • The operator’s name and address
  • The registration number of the vehicle being driven
  • The name of the operator’s motor vehicle liability insurer
  • The driver’s license, if requested and available

In addition, a driver is legally obligated to provide any injured person with reasonable assistance, such as calling 911 and requesting an ambulance or transporting the person to the nearest hospital. Note that the requirement to exchange information still exists if a driver hits a parked car. In this case, the driver must leave the required information in a note that is placed in a conspicuous location on the car. If the other driver refuses to obey this law, do not take it upon yourself to force him or her to comply. Instead, let the police handle it.

What to Do if the Other Driver Refuses to Give You Insurance Information

Ideally, the other driver at the scene of your car accident will be willing to cooperate and give you his or her name, contact information and insurance information. The other driver should also let you see his or her driver’s license, if you ask. Unfortunately, you cannot control how other drivers will react to car accidents or your requests for information. You may come across a driver who refuses to share information with you. In this scenario, take the following actions:

  1. Stay calm. While a lack of cooperation by the other driver is not the best-case scenario, it will not interfere with your insurance claim if you take the correct steps.
  2. Report the car accident to the police. The other driver will be much less likely to refuse to give information to a law enforcement officer. You can then obtain a copy of the police report to get the driver’s information later.
  3. Write down everything. Even if the other driver refuses to give you any information, you can still write down your observations, such as the make, model and color of the other driver’s vehicle; its license plate numbers; and eyewitness information.
  4. Get a copy of the police report. In the days following your accident, call the police department in the county where the crash took place and give them your police report number to obtain a copy. This report should have the other driver’s insurance information.
  5. Call your own car insurance company. Call your own car insurance provider to report the accident right away. Follow up to give them more complete information once you get the other driver’s insurance carrier and policy number from the police report.

From there, you should contact a car accident lawyer in Dallas to explore your legal options. Your lawyer can help you get the information that you need about the other driver involved in your car accident, including his or her insurance information. Then, your lawyer can take over the insurance claims process on your behalf to pursue fair financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for your injuries and expenses.

Posted by Legal Team at 6:44 am

Can a Low-Impact Accident Cause Serious Injuries?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

A car accident is a disaster that can give a victim injuries that may never fully heal, such as a traumatic brain injury or paralysis. While it is obvious that a high-speed or high-impact car accident can cause serious injuries, many people don’t realize that low-impact accidents can, as well. Even a collision referred to as a “fender bender” can give drivers and their passengers severe injuries. This is why it is critical not to talk about your injuries with an insurance company until you’ve seen a doctor.

How Can a Low-Impact Accident Lead to a Severe Injury?

If a car accident of any caliber exerts gravitational forces against a driver or vehicle passenger, the human body may not be able to withstand them – resulting in hard-tissue or soft-tissue injuries. A common example is a whiplash injury in a rear-end collision. A low-impact accident can still be enough to cause major injuries, including brain injuries, from the body being thrown around the car or from blunt-force trauma. For example, even a minor collision could break a window, resulting in lacerations. It could also trigger the airbag, which can cause bruising, facial injuries and skin irritation.

Pre-existing injuries and conditions can increase the odds of a low-impact crash resulting in serious injuries. A motor vehicle driver who already had a slipped disk in his or her back, for example, may suffer a more severe back injury in the low-impact crash than an ordinary driver would have. A rule known as the Eggshell Skull Doctrine states that a defendant must take a plaintiff as-is – meaning the defendant must pay for the plaintiff’s full injury, even if a pre-existing condition made things worse.

Low-Impact Accidents and Delayed Injuries

The advice given to car accident survivors is not to answer any questions about their injuries until they’ve been to a hospital or doctor; specifically, not to answer questions asked by an insurance company. This is because many car accidents, including low-impact accidents, inflict injuries that have hidden or delayed symptoms. You may not notice that you have bleeding in your brain from a head injury right away, for example, until enough time passes that it causes noticeable symptoms. Saying that you are not injured can make it more difficult to change your answer and recover financial compensation from an insurer if you discover injuries later.

Delayed injuries that a low-impact car accident could inflict include whiplash, back injuries, brain injuries, pulled muscles and nerve damage. If you get into a low-impact crash, such as a low-speed rear-end collision, do not assume that you are uninjured just because you initially feel fine. Your injury may have delayed symptoms, or your adrenaline may be masking the pain. When asked about your injuries, say that you cannot answer these questions until you’ve seen a doctor. Then, go to a hospital without delay.

Do You Need an Attorney After a Low-Impact Crash?

Personal injury lawyers do not only represent victims with serious injuries. If a low-impact accident gave you minor injuries, you may still benefit from hiring a lawyer to represent you during the claims process. If the car accident gave you injuries that qualify as serious, however, such as injuries that will give you long-term symptoms, a disability, or permanent scarring or disfigurement, it is especially important to contact a car accident attorney in Dallas.

Without an attorney representing you during a serious injury claim, a car insurance company may take advantage of you in an attempt to save money on your payout. The insurer may claim that you could not possibly have suffered such a serious injury in a low-impact car accident, for example, or it may try to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition. An attorney can help you protect your rights and best interest during the claims process after a low-impact crash.

Posted by Legal Team at 6:12 am

Who Is Liable for Taxi Cab Accidents?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

If taking a taxi cab through Dallas, Texas ends in a car accident, you may not know where to turn for financial reimbursement for your medical bills. Unlike a typical car accident claim, you will have more than just the driver of the vehicle to contend with. You may also have the right to file a claim against the taxi company or other parties. Find out who is liable for your taxi cab accidents to better understand your legal rights.

Texas Is a Fault State

Determining liability, or financial responsibility, for an automobile accident starts with understanding the insurance law in your state. Texas, like most states, uses a tort-based insurance law. This means that the party responsible for paying for an auto accident is the one most at fault for causing the wreck.

In a no-fault state, on the other hand, all drivers seek reimbursement from their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the crash. Texas’s fault law means that you have the right to seek compensation from someone else’s insurance provider rather than your own. However, you or your attorney will need to prove fault using clear and convincing evidence to obtain compensation.

Who Is Responsible When a Taxi Cab Crashes?

A taxi cab accident is unique in that it involves more than just the driver of the cab. It also involves the taxi company. In the taxi industry, drivers are typically classified as employees. This means that the taxi cab company accepts responsibility (vicarious liability) for its drivers and the car accidents that they cause, in most cases.

An investigation will be necessary to determine who or what caused your taxi cab accident. If a taxi driver caused your crash, such as by distracted driving, speeding or violating a traffic law, you can most likely hold the taxi company liable. You may also be able to file a claim against the taxi company if its own mistake caused or contributed to the crash. For example, if the taxi company failed to properly background-check a driver, train a driver or maintain its vehicles and this caused the accident, the company is directly responsible.

If an investigation finds that someone outside of the taxi cab is responsible for causing the crash, you may be able to file a claim against that third party. If another driver broke a roadway rule and crashed into your cab while you were riding as a passenger, for example, you may be able to bring a claim with that driver’s auto insurance policy. Other potentially liable parties include an auto part manufacturer and the city or state government, depending on the circumstances.

How to Prove Fault for a Taxi Cab Accident

During an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for a taxi cab accident, the burden of proof rests with you – the injured victim. It is your responsibility to prove that what you are claiming is more likely to be true than not true. You or your car accident lawyer will need to collect and present evidence that shows that the defendant committed a careless act or omission, and that this was the direct cause of your taxi cab accident. You can help support your case by taking the following steps:

  • Make sure someone calls the police from the scene of the accident.
  • Speak to eyewitnesses and collect their information.
  • Document the crash by taking photographs and videos at the scene.
  • Go to a hospital immediately for medical care.
  • Write down the name of the taxi company, the taxi number, the license plate number and the taxi driver’s name.

When it comes to time to file an insurance claim, a police report, photographs, copies of your medical bills and eyewitness statements can all serve as evidence to support your case and prove your losses. If you need assistance gathering evidence or fighting for maximum financial compensation for a taxi cab accident in Texas, contact an attorney.

Posted by Legal Team at 2:26 am

What to Do After a Car Accident in Dallas

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

What to Do After a Car Accident in Dallas Texas

The Odds are you will be involved in a collision.

The odds are driving in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex you will be involved in a car accident at some point in your life. In the state of Texas every year approximately 3,000 people are killed and 80,000 people injured in motor vehicle collisions. Whether you are involved in a relatively minor fender-bender or a serious collision, the crash will likely have a serious impact on your life and the life of your loved ones from that moment on. If your asking yourself what to do after a car accident in Dallas Texas, the information below can mean the difference between a fair and just recover, or no recover at all.

What you do after the crash is very important.

When you have been involved in a car accident, you need to protect both your physical health and your legal rights and options with regard to the accident. If you have been injured in a car accident in Texas you are likely entitled to compensation for your injuries if another party was at fault in the accident. Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Aaron A. Herbert has been helping car accident victims and their families in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and surrounding communities for over a decade.

Steps to Take After a Texas Car Accident

In an effort to ensure that car accident victims do not make an important mistake after an accident, we suggest taking the following steps immediately  after being involved in a collision:

  • Call 911: Even if you think you were not injured and the damage was minimal, call the police. If for no other reason, you should call the police so that an official accident report is filed.
  • Do not admit fault: Never admit to anyone at the scene of the accident that you were at fault, even if you think you were. This includes the other drivers, the police or even a bystander. In the initial aftermath, you are likely not aware of all of the factors that played into the accident.
  • Driver Information: If you are able, get contact information for the other drivers. Ask for a name, address and telephone number. Also ask to see a driver’s license and insurance card. Be sure to take down the license plate number of the vehicles as well.
  • Get witness information: If you are capable of doing so, get contact information for any witnesses to the accident. It can be very difficult to track down bystanders later if there is no contact information, and independent eyewitness testimony can be crucial.
  • Gather physical evidence: If there is any physical evidence that might have been the cause of the accident, try and gather it while you are there. For example, if a blown tire in the roadway caused you to swerve, point it out to the authorities or pick it up and take it with you if you are able.
  • Take pictures: Carrying a camera in your vehicle is always a good idea, although not always practical. Cell phones will usually do for taking photos of the scene if you are able to do so. Along with photos of the vehicles, take pictures of the surrounding area and any physical evidence that you are not able to pick up and take with you.
  • Remove your belongings: Remember to remove your personal belongings from your vehicle if it is towed from the scene. Ask a paramedic to remove them if you are not able to do so yourself.
  • Go to the hospital: Always accept the offer to be transported to the hospital. A car accident can cause serious internal injuries that you may not realize and that can only be identified by a physician. Along with protecting your own health, having a medical examination done immediately after the accident also helps from a legal standpoint. Your attorney will have to prove that any injuries you sustained were a result of the accident. The longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the harder it is to prove that your injuries were sustained in the crash.
  • Get follow-up care: Make sure to follow-up with any recommendations made as a result of your medical examination. Again, this protects both your health and your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
  • Summarize the accident: Shortly after the accident, sit down and write out a brief summary of the accident so that key details are not forgotten. When you are able to, return to the scene of the accident and take additional pictures or ask nearby neighbors or businesses if they witnessed the accident.
  • Report accident to your insurance company: Call your insurance company and report the accident as soon as possible. Not doing so could jeopardize your right to coverage. However, do not give a written or recorded statement, even to your own insurance company, without talking to a lawyer first.
  • Do not give a statement: Once you have legal representation, the defendant’s insurance company will have to communicate with your attorney. Before that time, make sure that you do not give a statement of any kind to the other driver’s insurance company or to anyone else.
  • Start a recovery journal: A car accident often results in injuries that are more subjective in nature, such as pain and suffering. In order to make a stronger case for compensating these injuries, you should begin a recovery journal. Make a note each day after the accident about the pain you are in, your inability to work and the emotional impact the accident had on you that day. This can be an invaluable tool when it comes time to negotiate a settlement or when your case is presented to a jury.
  • Get Repair estimates: Obtain at least three estimates for any repairs that will need to be done to your vehicle as a result of the accident. Make sure to get a written copy of each estimate.
  • Contact an attorney: Obtain legal representation as soon as possible after the accident. Important evidence and witnesses could be lost if you wait too long to obtain representation. In addition, your attorney will handle all communications with the defendant and any insurance companies involved in the accident. If you or a loved one has been in a car crash caused by another driver, our Texas car accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve. We hold careless drivers – and their insurance companies – accountable. To learn more, call us toll free at (214) 200-4878 or click HERE to use our online form. We can provide a free case evaluation and answer your questions. There is absolutely no fee unless we recover for you.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 5:42 am

What Is Gap Insurance and What Does It Cover?

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Financing a vehicle using a payment plan is a common occurrence among new car buyers in Texas. If you get into a car accident in a vehicle that you are still paying off, however, or if the car gets stolen, you are still responsible for paying your outstanding loan balance. In addition, you may be responsible for paying to purchase or rent another car if the first is damaged or totaled. Gap insurance can help you avoid paying out of pocket for the difference between the value of your loan and the actual cash value of your car.

What Is Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance gets its name from the acronym Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP). It is an optional endorsement that you can add to a car insurance policy in Texas. Gap insurance will pay the difference between your outstanding loan amount and the depreciated actual cash value of your vehicle. In other words, it will pay the “gap” between the amount that you still owe on a vehicle and its fair market value.

What Does Gap Insurance Cover?

If you get into a car accident in a new car that you are still financing, the insurance company responsible for paying for vehicle damage will only pay for its actual pre-crash value. This most likely won’t match what you originally paid for the car, even if you only drove it off the lot a few days before the crash. This can mean a gap in how much the insurance company pays versus how much you still owe on the vehicle loan. Gap insurance makes up this difference.

If you purchased a car using a loan for $30,000, for example, and a car insurance company only offers $27,000 in property damage liability insurance after a car accident, you will be on the hook for the other $3,000. If you have gap insurance, it will pay the $3,000. It is important to note that gap insurance does not pay for any repairs to the vehicle or medical bills. It also does not cover a new vehicle sale or trade off – even if the amount that you financed is higher than the actual value of the vehicle.

Should You Purchase Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance is an optional add-on in most states. In some, however, auto dealerships are required to offer this type of insurance during the sale of a vehicle. Whether or not to purchase gap insurance will depend on your financial situation, the value of the vehicle and your financing agreement with a lender. Note that gap insurance is typically only available for vehicles that are brand new or less than a year old.

Do some math to find out if gap insurance is worth the investment in your situation. Research how much your type of vehicle typically depreciates when you drive it off the lot and in the first two years. Compare what the actual cash value of your vehicle will be in the future to the value of your vehicle loan. If the difference in value is more than you can afford out of pocket, gap insurance is worth considering. It is also a good idea to purchase gap insurance if you have a vehicle that is a popular model for auto theft.

How to Use Gap Insurance

If you purchase gap insurance and your vehicle does get damaged, totaled or stolen, the first step to getting coverage is to determine fault. Under Texas’s fault-based insurance law, you will file a claim with the insurer of the at-fault driver. The other driver’s property damage liability insurance will pay the actual pre-crash value of your vehicle, up to the policy’s maximum (the minimum required amount in Texas is $25,000).

If you caused the crash, you must have collision or comprehensive coverage to file a claim with your own insurer for property repairs. Either way, once the claim is underway, your own insurance company will apply your gap coverage, as needed. This will pay for the difference between what you receive from an insurance company and what you still owe on your car loan. If you need assistance negotiating a settlement involving gap insurance with an insurance company, consult with an attorney in Dallas.

Posted by Legal Team at 2:11 am

Do Insurance Companies Pay for Rental Cars?

Monday, December 20, 2021

If you get into an accident, your car may be out of service for a few days, weeks or even longer while it’s being repaired – but you will still need to get to work, doctor’s appointments, school and other places in the meantime. If you choose to rent a car, find out if and when an insurance company will pay for the rental or reimburse you for this expense in Texas.

When Does Insurance Cover a Rental Car?

First, you will need to determine which insurance company you are using for financial benefits after an automobile accident. Texas uses a fault law, meaning you will file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash after an investigation determines fault. If you caused the crash, you will turn to your own policy for coverage. In Texas, if you only have the minimum required amounts of car insurance, it may not pay for your rental car. The required types of insurance in Texas only pay for the other driver’s expenses, not your own. Call your insurer to find out if you purchased rental car coverage.

If the other driver caused your crash, your rental car costs will most likely be covered. Rental car coverage is included in property damage liability insurance, as this pays for all of a victim’s expenses connected to an accident. The other driver’s liability coverage will pay for your travel costs and the price of renting a car while you wait for yours to get out of the shop. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, however, you may have no choice but to use your own insurance or try to hold a third party responsible for your rental car costs.

How to Get Your Rental Car Costs Paid

If you get into a car accident, collect as much evidence as possible. Search for evidence to prove that the other driver is at fault and proof of your losses. Take photographs while you are still at the scene of the car accident. Write a detailed description of what happened, what direction you were traveling, how fast you were going, what the weather was like and any other pertinent details. Call the police to report the accident immediately and tell the officer your side of the story.

Further along in the recovery process, you will need to provide evidence documenting your losses to the insurance company that is receiving your claim. If you had to rent a car after your car accident and used your own money, submit the receipt for the rental car with your insurance claim. If the insurance company accepts the claim, it will reimburse you for the price of the rental. The car that you choose must be similar or equivalent to the car that was damaged, however; an insurance company will not pay for a sports car rental, for example, if the damaged car is an economy vehicle.

In other cases, the insurance company handling your claim will contact you and tell you to rent a car from a specific provider and pay for it ahead of time. Many car insurance companies partner with rental car companies for this purpose. In this scenario, the insurance company would arrange for you to pick up a rental car that it has already paid for. The insurer will work directly with the rental car company to pay for your rental rather than you paying upfront and getting reimbursed later.

Get Help From an Attorney

Getting all of your expenses paid after a car accident in Texas can be difficult as a crash victim. You may have to deal with bad-faith insurance tactics meant to take advantage of you. If you need assistance collecting financial compensation to pay for a rental car in Dallas, contact a car accident attorney. A lawyer can take over negotiations with an insurance company for you in the pursuit of fair and full reimbursement.

Posted by Legal Team at 2:04 am

What to Say to an Insurance Claims Adjuster After an Accident

Friday, December 17, 2021

It is normal to feel confused, stressed or overwhelmed after a car accident. It is critical, however, to realize that what you say after a crash can make a major difference to your claim. Saying the wrong thing to an insurance company can significantly decrease or even eliminate the financial compensation that you are offered for your medical bills and property repairs. Learn what to say and what not to say to an insurance claims adjuster to protect your rights.

What Are Insurance Claims Adjusters? What Are Their Goals?

An insurance claims adjuster is a person assigned to assess a claim by an insurance company. This person might work for the insurance company or have been hired from a third-party company. The claims adjuster is not on your side. The adjuster has been hired to try to save the insurance company money by minimizing client payouts. This is important to know when dealing with the claims adjuster or other representatives from the insurance company – they do not have your best interests in mind.

What to Say When Speaking to a Claims Adjuster After a Car Accident

You may receive a phone call from an insurance claims adjuster the day of or day after your car accident. Insurance adjusters often try to contact victims early, before they fully understand what happened and how the crash will impact them in the future (e.g., the severity of their injuries and the cost of necessary medical care). This is a tactic often used to get the claimant to say something early on that could hurt his or her ability to recover compensation.

Use the following tips when talking to a claims adjuster:

  • Prepare ahead of time by collecting copies of your police report and writing down everything you can remember about the accident.
  • Ask for the adjuster’s name, phone number and the name of the insurance company at the beginning of your conversation.
  • Proceed with caution. Give short and simple responses.
  • Only answers the questions asked; do not offer any additional information.
  • Stick to the truth. Do not embellish or speculate.
  • If you think saying something might incriminate you, don’t say it.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess – simply say you don’t know.
  • If you don’t wish to answer a question, say this. You are not obligated to tell the adjuster anything that you don’t want to.
  • Mention that you plan on hiring an attorney.

Record your conversation with the adjuster or take notes immediately afterward. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the insurance claims adjuster on your own or don’t want to deal with the stress of these conversations after a car accident, hire a car accident lawyer to do so for you. Having a lawyer represent you during negotiations with an insurance company can guarantee that your rights are protected.

What Not to Say to an Adjuster

The adjuster will most likely be friendly and polite during your conversation – a tactic to get you to trust them. Be polite, but firm. Always put yourself and your legal rights first. Never say any of the following things, as it could hurt your right to recover compensation:

  • “The car accident was my fault,” or, “I’m sorry.”
  • “I think I’m partially to blame.”
  • “I wasn’t wearing a seat belt.”
  • “I feel fine,” or, “I’m doing well.”
  • “I don’t think I have any injuries.”
  • “Yes, you can record me,” or, “Yes, I’ll give a recorded statement.”
  • “You have my permission to access my medical records.”

It is also important not to accept the very first settlement offer. There is a high likelihood that the offer is less than you deserve. Instead, hire a personal injury attorney to help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance provider on your behalf. An attorney can help you with every stage of the insurance claims process, from beginning to end.

Posted by Legal Team at 1:59 am

Texas Car Insurance Laws

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Automobile insurance is required in all 50 states. Car insurance is proof that a driver is financially capable of paying for a crash victim’s medical bills and property repairs. Making minimum amounts of car insurance mandatory for all drivers is a way to protect citizens from having to pay out of pocket for damage that they didn’t cause. Learn Texas’s car insurance laws to make sure you have enough coverage.

Minimum Required Amounts of Insurance in Texas

If you register a vehicle in Texas that you plan on driving, you legally must purchase at least the minimum required amounts of insurance under state law. The required types and amounts of insurance vary from state to state. If you have moved to Texas from a different state, you must update your address and coverage to match the required amounts. As of 2021, Texas’s minimum liability coverage is 30/60/25, meaning the following amounts of insurance are required:

  • Bodily injury liability per person: $30,000
  • Bodily injury liability per accident: $60,000
  • Property damage liability per accident: $25,000

You may also opt to pay for greater coverage limits, as well as optional types of coverage. The minimum amounts of insurance in Texas only pay for the other driver’s losses, not yours. For first-party coverage, you could purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist, medical payment, rental car reimbursement, and/or personal injury protection insurance.

How Does Liability Insurance Work?

Texas is a fault state, not a no-fault state. It requires all drivers to have liability insurance to pay for other drivers’ bills and losses. After a car accident in Texas, an injured victim will file a claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. As long as the driver has the required amount of insurance, his or her insurer will pay for the victim’s losses, up to the policy’s maximum. No-fault states, on the other hand, require personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for a policyholder’s own medical bills, regardless of fault for the crash.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance/Proof of Insurance

If you break the law by driving without the required amounts of insurance in Texas, you could face multiple penalties. These penalties can be severe, depending on the circumstances. The State of Texas takes car insurance requirements seriously, as insurance can decide whether or not a crash victim will recover compensation for his or her losses. The penalties for driving without insurance may include:

  • A fine of $175 to $350 for a first offense, or up to $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense
  • Mandatory SR-22 certificate (higher-cost car insurance).
  • Suspension of your vehicle’s registration.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle.

It is also a requirement to carry proof of insurance. This can take the form of an insurance card in your vehicle or wallet, or a digital version on your smartphone. If you are unable to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop, you will receive a ticket and have to pay a fine. Recently, Texas ended its Driver Responsibility Program, which imposed an additional $250 fine per year for three years after being caught driving without insurance. Even after the end of this program, however, the potential penalties are significant.

What Happens if You Get Into an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

Unfortunately, many drivers in Texas are guilty of driving without the required amounts of car insurance. If you get into a crash with one of these drivers, contact an attorney right away. It can be more difficult to obtain the financial compensation that you deserve in this scenario. You may be able to file a claim with your own insurance provider if you have more than the minimum required amounts of car insurance in Texas. Another option could be a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or another party, depending on the circumstances. An attorney can review your case and list your legal options.

Posted by Legal Team at 1:56 am

Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Texas?

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A lot may be going through your mind after a car accident. It can be easy to forget what you are required to do by law, such as reporting the accident to the police, in some cases. Although you do not need to report every car accident in Texas, you are legally obligated to report serious collisions. Learn the law so that you know when to call 911 after a crash.

Reporting Requirements in Texas

It can be important to report any car accident in Texas, even if it is minor. The police report can serve as an important piece of evidence. In Texas, however, you are only legally required to report a car accident if it is serious enough to meet the state’s threshold. This threshold is:

  • Property damage valued at least $1,000 to any one vehicle.
  • Any physical injuries.
  • One or more fatalities.

If your car accident is serious enough, you must call 911 as soon as possible – typically from the scene of the car accident using a cell phone. Tell the police that a car accident has taken place and report any injuries, if applicable. Although state law in Texas no longer makes reporting a crash to the Texas Department of Transportation a requirement, you should still fill out the CR-2 Crash Report for your own records.

What Happens if You Don’t Report Your Accident?

Failing to report a car accident when the law requires you to could result in legal penalties or even an arrest for an alleged hit-and-run. The typical penalties are a fine of up to $5,000 and/or jail time. You may face pressure from the other driver involved in your car accident not to involve the police – especially if the other driver knows that he or she caused the crash. Do not give in to this pressure, even if the driver offers to pay you directly for your medical bills and vehicle repairs.

What Will the Police Officer Do?

Some drivers wish to avoid reporting a car accident to the police for fear of facing penalties, tickets or fines connected to the collision. While it is true that an officer may ticket a driver who violated a traffic law – such as driving recklessly or running a red light – it is still important to tell the police. Even if you were partially at fault for the crash, you may still be eligible for some financial compensation from the other driver.

Obtaining a police report can go a long way toward strengthening your insurance claim. The reporting police officer will take notes about the accident. Later, back at the police station, the officer will fill out the Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). The police report will contain important facts and information about the crash, such as the name of the other driver, a description of his or her vehicle, license plate numbers, and the date and location of the crash. It may also contain the officer’s opinion of who caused the crash.

About 10 days after your crash, you should be able to request a copy of the police report to use during the insurance process. While still at the scene of your car accident, ask the police officer for your report number. Use this number and your personal information to request a copy of the report. Do so by calling the police station in the county where your crash took place. You may have to pay a small fee for the copy.

For assistance using your police report as part of a car accident lawsuit in Texas, contact a car accident attorney in Texas. A lawyer can help you get a copy of your report and collect other evidence to support a car accident claim. Then, your lawyer can protect your rights and take steps to collect maximum financial compensation on your behalf.

Posted by Legal Team at 1:48 am

The Importance of Police Reports After a Car Accident

Monday, November 29, 2021

Getting a police report is one of the most important steps you must take after getting into a car accident in Texas. A police accident report can serve as a key piece of evidence during the financial recovery process. For example, a car insurance company will examine a police report to help establish the other driver is at fault for your accident, as well as to prove your losses. There are many reasons why you should always call the police after an automobile accident in Dallas.

When Does the Law Require You to Report a Car Accident to the Police in Texas?

In some cases, state law will require you to involve the police after a car crash. Failing to call the police in these scenarios could qualify as a hit-and-run, resulting in penalties such as fines and even jail time. As a general rule, you should always report a car accident to the police in Texas if you see:

  • Confirmed or apparent injuries
  • Deaths or unconsciousness
  • Damage to the property of any one person in excess of $1,000

Even if your car crash qualifies as minor, calling 911 from the scene of your accident is an important step. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.062 requires law enforcement officers to report any accidents that result in injuries, deaths or expensive property damage to submit a written report to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days of responding to the scene. This report will create a piece of evidence that can be used during your case.

The Importance of Police Reports

What Information Will You Find on the Police Report?

When the police arrive at the scene of your car accident, be sure to give them your version of events to be put in writing. Explain details such as where you were headed, how fast you were going and what you believe happened. Do not admit any fault or guilt for the accident, even if you believe you contributed to the crash. Instead, wait for an official investigation to determine fault. The police officer will create an official accident report that documents key information about the collision, including:

  • The exact time, date and location of the crash
  • The names of the drivers involved
  • Descriptions of all vehicles
  • Whether the other driver violated a traffic law
  • Insurance information
  • The directions that both vehicles were traveling
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Official photographs and bodycam footage
  • The officer’s opinion of what caused the accident
  • Driver drug or alcohol test results

It is important to give the responding police officer accurate information while he or she is creating your crash report. If a police officer includes erroneous information in the report, it can make the recovery process more difficult. Before the officer leaves the scene, write down your police report number. You will need to give this number to your car insurance company so that it can access a copy of the accident report.

Why Do Insurance Companies Need Police Reports?

When you contact a car insurance company to report a car accident, it will ask for a police report. It needs the police report to gather key information about the crash and to aid in its investigation of fault. Texas is a fault-based state, meaning that the driver who caused the car accident will have to pay for related bills through his or her insurance company. An insurance company will ask to see evidence that its policyholder is at fault, in most cases, before it will accept a claim and offer benefits. This evidence can include a police report.

In many cases, a car insurance company will make it difficult for an injured victim to recover financial compensation by refuting fault. In this scenario, you could potentially use a copy of your police report to establish the facts of the crash. You or your car accident lawyer can use the report and other evidence to reconstruct the accident, prove the other driver is at fault, search for other defendants and demonstrate your losses. This is why it is important to obtain a police report immediately after a car crash in Texas.

Posted by Legal Team at 4:34 am