Why Hire an Accident Attorney?
You may think that you can handle the insurance claim yourself, but fighting for fair compensation without a lawyer is difficult. If you are without representation, insurance may very well try to take advantage of you and make a lowball offer. A lawyer can help you handle the paperwork and the negotiation process while you focus on healing from your injuries.
Where a lawyer can really be beneficial is if you miss work or your injuries leave you permanently disabled in some fashion. Medical expenses and lost wages from work are easily calculated, but your inability to provide for your family, accomplish tasks or any strain on your relationship are not. A lawyer can ensure that you receive payment for non-economic damages.
Get Legal Help From an Auto Accident Attorney Today!
If you’re the victim of a preventable car wreck in Dallas, you need to speak to a lawyer right away in order to protect your rights. Attorney Aaron Herbert is the Dallas accident lawyer who can help. Do not let the insurance company take advantage of you! You can count on us to negotiate with the insurance company to make sure you get fair value for your claim. Our office handles all automobile accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us nothing unless we recover money for you! Call us now for a free consultation and to find out how much your case is worth.
If you or a close family member suffered a serious injury in a car crash that was caused by someone else, you can’t help feeling the unfairness of your having to suffer when you did nothing wrong. It offends your sense of justice! You are suffering—physically, emotionally, and financially, for someone else’s wrongdoing. Fortunately, you have recourse against the party who caused your losses by filing a legal claim to recover money for your financial and quality-of-life damages. Although no amount of money is ever adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one, or of your health, making a claim against the responsible party is important in several ways:
- It can provide you with the means to obtain the healthcare you need.
- It can ease your financial burden by getting your medical bills paid and compensating you for your lost earnings, or those of a deceased family member whom your family relied on for support.
- It can provide a sense of closure.
- It can force the wrongdoer to face up to the harm done and possibly prevent a recurrence of the behavior that led to your losses.
- It can restore your sense of justice.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT
Take these steps immediately after an accident to help protect your right to a claim for compensation for your damages
- Get the ID and contact information for all owners, drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
- Get the plate numbers, registration, and insurance information for all vehicles.
- If you are physically capable, take pictures of the accident scene, showing all cars involved, including the point of impact on every vehicle involved and street signs or other geographical features that will identify the location of the accident.
- Call the police and request that an officer be sent to the scene. If you have been seriously injured, tell the police dispatcher that you need an ambulance.
- Make a report to the responding officer, providing only basic information about the accident. After several days, you should obtain a copy of the accident report from the law enforcement agency that wrote it.
- Do not apologize. While you simply mean to be polite, this could be wrongly construed as admitting you were at fault.
- Do not comment about how you feel physically, unless you are clearly badly injured and need someone to call an ambulance.
- Get medical attention without delay. You should still be seen in an Emergency Room or physician’s office.
- Do not allow any insurance adjuster to record a statement from you. The adjuster’s job is to minimize the company’s payout, not to help you get your claim paid.
- Do not sign any authorization, release, or anything else for any other car’s insurance company.
- Call a Texas Board Certified personal injury trial specialist. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, choose the law firm of attorney Aaron Herbert.
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP
To ensure that you recover an amount of money that reflects the full range of damages that you and your family have suffered, you should retain the best personal injury attorney you can find, preferably a lawyer who has been certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in personal injury trial law. You can find the experienced, specialized representation you need for an accident-related injury or death anywhere in the state at the Dallas-Ft. Worth law firm of attorney Aaron Herbert.
CHOOSING A LAWYER FOR YOUR TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT CASE
The qualifications and experience of the lawyer you choose to represent you can make an enormous difference in its outcome. Here are some tips for selecting the right lawyer for your car accident case:
- Choose a Texas Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with a practice devoted exclusively to personal injury law.
- Choose a lawyer who has significant courtroom experience and a demonstrated willingness to try a case in court with a high rate of success. (Insurance companies know which lawyers will go all the way for their clients and will usually offer better out-of-court settlements, to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial.)
- Check the attorney’s AVVO rating. Look for a rating of 10 out of 10.
- Select a lawyer who has successfully handled high value cases. An attorney who is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum has recovered settlements and verdicts for individual clients in excess of a million dollars.
- Make sure that the lawyer you hire has access to traffic safety engineers and accident reconstruction experts who can provide support and expert testimony to help prove your case.
- Choose an attorney you feel comfortable with, who is focused on your needs, and who is committed to keeping you informed about the progress of your case.
Accidents in Dallas
Take one look at the interactive map here and you’ll see that accidents in Dallas happen all over the county. The map above shows all accidents in Dallas in 2015. Areas where you see red are zones where accidents happen more frequently. Feel free to zoom in on the map and hover over any dot for more information.
How Do I File a Police Report In Texas?
Texas requires that a police report be filed in the event of injuries or a fatality at an accident, or if there is more than $1,000 in property damage. If a police officer does not show up to the scene for whatever reason, you can file a report online. After giving a report to police, you’ll need to take down as much information as you possibly can from the other driver and about the accident in general.
Should I File an Insurance Claim?
The minimum coverage allowed for car insurance in Texas is $30,000 per injury, $60,000 per accident and $25,000 to account for property damage. After an accident, it’s crucial to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. You’ll need:
- Your full name and policy number, along with its start and end date.
- Date and time of the accident, along with a complete description.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of all other involved drivers.
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers of the other driver.
This information is usually acquired at the scene, either by yourself or police if you are unable. You should also get witness statements, and document the scene as much as you can. Take pictures of the damage, note any signs or lights, and describe the actions of the other driver as clearly as you can to the police officer on scene.
Before all else, the first thing you need to do after an accident is seek medical attention, even if you only suspect you might have been injured. If you wait a while to get treatment, the other driver’s insurance may try to say that your injuries must not have been that bad, and therefore don’t need compensation. Never admit fault and keep your cool; car accidents can get tempers flaring, but you should try to stay calm and assess the situation.
The Statute of Limitations for Auto Collisions
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years after the accident which caused the injury. However, if those injuries then lead directly to the person’s death, the two year statute starts from the time of the death. If you are under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, then you would have until two years from the time you turn 18 to file a claim.
Texas Car Accident Statistics
In 2015, motor vehicle accidents took the lives of more than 38,000 people nationwide, which is the highest total in 50 years. This could be due to a 3.5 percent rise in total vehicle miles traveled during 2015 compared to the previous year. Others have attributed it to increased cell phone use. Following the national trend, motor vehicle fatalities are on the rise in Texas as well. In fact, there were 3,531 car accident fatalities on Texas roads in 2015, a five percent increase from 2013 data. Approximately 27 percent of these fatalities were due to DUI.
The chart above breaks down the age and sex of drivers involved in fatal accidents. As the chart shows, male drivers in their 20’s are the group most commonly involved in fatal accidents in Texas.
Age of Drivers in Fatal Accidents
Here in Dallas, there were a total of 31,000 accidents in 2015, more than 6,900 of them involving injuries. These accidents lead to a staggering 173 fatalities in Dallas, second only to Houston’s 203.
Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics by City: Dallas-Fort Worth Area
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Texas
Many motor vehicle crashes can be attributed to driver negligence in one form or another. Whether their action – such as getting behind the wheel after drinking – or inaction – such as not signaling a lane change – leads to the accident, it is their fault. The most frequent causes of car accidents in Texas are:
- Distracted driving – Being distracted while driving does not just mean being on your cell phone. Eating, talking, grooming, playing with the radio or looking for an object in your car all qualify as well. There were 105,000 accidents related to distracted driving in Texas in 2015, nearly 20 percent of which involved injuries.
- Drunk driving – The legal limit in Texas is 0.08, and penalties for a DUI are strict. Even a first offense could lead to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine, not to mention the potential of losing your license for an extended period of time. In Dallas, there were 17,520 crashes related to DUI.
- Teenage drivers – Drivers aged 16-20 are the most susceptible to car accidents, and many believe this to be due to cell phone use. Texas has enacted a no-tolerance law, meaning if you are under the age of 21, cell phones cannot be used in any capacity.
- Weaving in traffic and making unsafe lane changes
- Failing to drive appropriately for weather conditions
- Ignoring stop signs, red lights, and other traffic signals
- Improper vehicle maintenance – often on the part of vehicle fleet management or bus companies.
- Unsafe road conditions: potholes, debris, tire de-treads, and other obstacles in the road
Fatal Crashes by by of the Week
TYPES OF CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES
A serious car accident can cause horrific damage to the human body that is all too often fatal or life-changing. These are some of the many types of injuries that often occur in Texas motor vehicle crashes:
- Brain trauma – Car accidents are the cause of 14 percent of traumatic brain injuries every year. These can take months or years to recover from, if recovery is possible at all.
- Spinal cord damage – This can be anything from simple bruising to a fracture causing paralysis. Car and motorcycle accidents account for 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries in a year.
- Paralysis – Spinal cord injury is the second-leading cause of paralysis, at 23 percent (a stroke is the most common). So if a person suffers spinal cord damage in a car accident, there’s about a one-in-four chance that they will suffer from paralysis to some degree.
- Internal bleeding
- Neck and back injuries – Whiplash is a common occurrence in a car accident, and can limit your mobility for weeks at a time, depending on the severity of the accident.
- Torn and damaged tendons and ligaments
- Facial disfiguration
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological damage
- Death – Of the nearly 2.5 million injurious car accidents in the U.S., fewer than two percent of them resulted in death. However, that still amounts to 38,000 fatalities, and that number is rising in recent years. Fatal crashes increased by seven percent from 2014 to 2015.
Texas Liability Laws
In order for someone to be proven negligent in a car accident in which an injury occurs, five things would have to be true.
- Duty – The other person, a.k.a the defendant, owed a duty of care to you, the plaintiff. This is true every time a person drives a car. A duty is owed to all the other drivers that you drive as safely as possible.
- Breach of Duty – By failing to exercise reasonable care, the defendant put you in jeopardy. If the defendant was speeding, inattentive or under the influence, these would all qualify as actions which breached the duty of care.
- Cause in Fact – The actions of the defendant directly caused harm to you and/or your property, and would not have happened otherwise if the defendant wasn’t careless.
- Proximate Cause – This means that the potential harm caused by the plaintiff should have been foreseeable, which may be the most difficult aspect of negligence to prove, depending on the situation.
All four of these things would have to be true in a negligence claim stemming from an injury accident. Deciding how much they were at fault may be another issue.
Texas uses the modified comparative fault rule to determine payments for damages. This means that if you are awarded $10,000, but are found to be 25 percent at fault, you would only receive $7,500 of that. The “modified” portion of the law means that if you are found to be 51 percent (or more) at fault, then you won’t receive any payments at all. Some factors that may affect your percentage of fault are: whether you were wearing a seatbelt, if you disobeyed a traffic sign or light, or if you were distracted.
FREE CASE CONSULTATION
At the Law Offices of Aaron Herbert, we offer a complimentary consultation in which we will examine the facts of your case and advise you on how to proceed. With 14 years of experience, Texas Board Certification, a client-centered practice focused exclusively on personal injury law, the highest possible AVVO rating, more than 50 jury verdicts, and membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. You will incur no attorney fees, court, or legal expenses unless you recover. Time to file is limited by state law, so call today at (214) 200-4878 to protect your right to a monetary recovery.
“Second time having Attorney Herbert represent me in an auto accident. I am very satisfied with his service and the firm staff was extremely professional. I highly recommend this law firm.” – Christine Silva