If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident We Can Help You Get Your Life Back on Track
The actions you take and the decisions you make in the days, weeks, and months following an auto collision will make or break your insurance claim/case.
Remember: The big insurance companies have already had the opportunity to plan for and strategize how to deal with your claim before you ever got hurt. They are businesses focused on earning money – not on paying you what you deserve or what is fair. They operate to delay and deny your claim.
We can help you level the playing field and get your life back on track if you have been injured in a car wreck. Here’s how we can protect you and help you obtain compensation for your injuries as demonstrated by the standard progression of just one of the thousands of car wreck cases our firm has handled in our 30+ years of representing injured victims. If you have a specific question you can click on one of the areas below to be taken to that section of this page instantly.
Q: What should your first steps be following a motor vehicle collision or car wreck?
A: Verify your safety and the safety of any passengers. Exit your vehicle when safe to do so and verify if any other person(s) involved in the car wreck or wrecks has / have been injured. If anyone involved in the automobile accident has sustained injuries you should immediately contact 911.
Q: Should I move my vehicle?
A: If possible you should avoid moving your vehicle or allowing the at-fault driver to move his or her vehicle until after law enforcement officials have had the opportunity to examine the scene of the accident. Sometimes how the vehicles made contact can make all the difference in whether the insurance company denies your claim or not.
Remember: If the vehicles need to be moved before law enforcement officials arrive – to protect your safety or the safety of anyone else – remember to take multiple photographs of all vehicles involved in the collision(s) before they are moved.
Q: I didn’t get photographs of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. Could that hurt my case?
A: Potentially. Often times the damage to your vehicle might only be moderate but the damage to the car that hit you might be more substantial. The insurance company loves to conveniently not take photographs of the at-fault motorist’s vehicle.
How We Can Help You: Our firm can help if you failed to take photographs of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. We have an in-house private investigator. We routinely send our investigator to locate the vehicle that hit you to take photographs of the vehicle as well as the scene of the collision if necessary. In addition, one of our attorneys will immediately send a demand to preserve evidence letter to the at-fault party or parties as well as their respective insurance companies so that the people responsible for your car wreck don’t tamper with or destroy evidence in your favor – which would include any and all photographs as well as other documents that could be critical to your case.
Q: Should you call Police or other law enforcement officials to the scene of the car wreck or car accident?
A: Yes, you should always attempt to have the Police or other responsible agency investigate the car wreck. The results of the Officer’s investigation will be documented in a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report that could aid in establishing liability against the at-fault party or at-fault parties. If they try and get you to simply exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) you should specifically request that the Officer complete a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report.
Remember: If the Police refuse to investigate the collision you should exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver and obtain at least the following additional information: his or her name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number. Don’t forget to obtain contact information from any and all witnesses.
Also Remember: Insurance companies sometimes even attempt to deny claims where people have been rear-ended. They can claim you stopped suddenly. They can claim their insured was faced with a sudden emergency. If they can find a reason to deny your claim they will. Do not assume just because you were rear-ended that you do not need to call Police to investigate the collision.
How We Can Help You: Our in-house private investigator can quickly request and obtain the Texas Police Officer’s Crash Report / Police Report arising from your motor vehicle collision or car wreck at no up-front cost to you.
Q: What information should you get from witnesses?
A: Do not assume it’s okay to only write down the name and telephone number of a witness. Some names are very common. Phone numbers change all the time.
Important: Don’t just get the name and phone number of a witness. You should get the witness to provide you with his or her date of birth and driver’s license number. If you have a recording function on your phone consider asking the witness to make a statement at the scene.
How We Can Help You: Our in-house private investigator has been trained in establishing fault on the other party and/or parties involved in your motor vehicle collision. This generally includes:
- Interviewing and obtaining legally admissible fact affidavits from witnesses to your collision;
- Running public records searches; and
- Utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to obtain relevant documents associated with your motor vehicle collision.
Q: Should you tell people at the scene of the collision you’re injured even if you’re only a little bit sore?
A: Yes – because the truth is you have been injured even if you are only a little bit sore. If you have any pain whatsoever make sure to let law enforcement officials as well as any emergency medical personnel know that you are experiencing pain and discomfort following the motor vehicle collision.
Remember: Most people experience increased adrenaline and/or shock following a motor vehicle collision that might mask pain or discomfort. In addition, many car accident victims do not start to experience increased pain until a day or two after the car wreck or motor vehicle accident. You should seek medical attention as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort whatsoever. The insurance company could attempt to deny your injury claim if:
- You do not report an injury at the scene of the car wreck and delay seeking medical treatment;
- You report an injury at the scene but do not follow-up with a medical provider;
- You seek medical treatment but miss appointments and/or therapy sessions; or
- You have gaps in your medical treatment.
How We Can Help You: Our firm has well-established relationships with medical doctors, chiropractors, surgeons, diagnostic facilities, hospitals / surgical centers, and pharmacies who can provide you with medical services and treatment at no initial cost to you. These medical providers – who typically specialize in treating car accident victims – will delay billing you for the services until your case has concluded.
Q: When should you begin setting up any necessary insurance claims?
A: You should begin setting up insurance claims with your motor vehicle insurance carrier and the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance carrier as soon as possible.
Remember: Don’t assume just because the at-fault driver accepted liability at the scene that you can delay setting up necessary insurance claims. At-fault drivers sometimes “magically” change their stories when they contact their insurance companies.
Also Remember: The sooner you begin setting up claims the sooner your automobile will generally be repaired or replaced and the sooner you can recover initial medical expenses associated with your wreck.
Q: What insurance claims should you file?
A: You may have several potential motor vehicle accident claims to set-up following your car wreck. You may be unaware of some sources of potential recovery following your loss. Listed below are a few of the insurance claims that may be available to you:
- Liability claim against the at-fault driver (property damage as well as injury damages);
- Liability claim against the at-fault driver’s employer if he or she was in the course and scope of employment (property damage as well as injury damages);
- Liability claim against the owner of the at-fault motor vehicle if the owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to an unlicensed or incompetent driver (property damage as well as injury damages);
- Uninsured motorist claim through your own automobile insurance carrier if the at-fault driver did not carry liability insurance coverage as required by law;
- Underinsured motorist claim through your own automobile insurance carrier if your injury damages or property damages will potentially exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits;
- Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) / No Fault benefits through your own automobile insurance carrier to reimburse you for medical expenses and lost wages associated with your motor vehicle accident; and
- MedPay / No Fault benefits to reimburse through your own automobile insurance carrier to reimburse you for medical expenses (subject to recovery if you obtain third-party funds).
Q: What are the minimum liability insurance limits in Texas?
The minimum car insurance liability limits in Texas are only $30,000.00 per person and $60,000.00 per occurrence. That’s why it is so important to discover all available first-party insurance proceeds you may be entitled to.
Example: If you and four passengers are injured in a motor vehicle collision and the at-fault party carried only minimum limits the most any single person could get is $30,000.00 and the most the liability carrier would have to pay out in total is $60,000.00. Of course, some at-fault drivers will have an insurance policy with significantly higher limits.
Q: Does it matter if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the collision?
A: Yes. Texas recognizes the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. Employers are responsible for the negligent acts of their employee(s) while said employee(s) are in the course and scope of employment. For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle collision with an XYZ Construction vehicle the employee operating the vehicle and XYZ Construction would both be proper Defendants. Commercial insurance policies usually have policy limits of $250,000.00, $500,000.00, or $1,000,000.00.
Remember: The company’s insurance liability limits don’t matter if they have sufficient resources to satisfy any judgment. For example, if you were paralyzed by a Wal-Mart vehicle being driven by a Wal-Mart employee in the course and scope of his or her employment you could seek damages well in excess of their liability insurance limits.
How We Can Help You: We will set-up all potential claims for you at the onset of your case so no delays exist as your case progresses. It is important to remember that some first-party insurance coverage might be available to you even if you didn’t have the coverage on your own insurance policy if you live in a household with someone who does carry the additional coverage. Our firm will determine any and all potential sources of recovery for you following your motor vehicle collision or car wreck.
Your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company may require you to provide a recorded statement describing how the car wreck occurred. Tricky insurance adjusters can ask confusing questions, misleading questions, or questions with no real “right” answer. They are looking for a reason to deny your claim. Legal counsel can make sure you are asked fair and relevant questions. We will still represent you, however, if you have already given a recorded statement.
Q: What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
A: Underinsured motorist coverage is first-party insurance meant to compensate car wreck victims if the at-fault driver or at-fault drivers did not carry sufficient liability limits. Like Personal Injury Protection benefits you may be entitled to coverage if someone in your household has this coverage on their automobile policy. It is exceedingly important that you obtain permission from your own insurance carrier to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier before accepting any offer the liability carrier makes as a failure to do so could result in you not being eligible for underinsured motorist proceeds.
Q: What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
A: Uninsured motorist coverage is important if the person that collided with your vehicle did not have insurance or if you were involved in a “hit-and-run”. It is important to remember that uninsured motorist coverage is only applicable if the at-fault driver made actual physical contact with your motor vehicle.
We will help to make sure your vehicle is repaired or replaced quickly following your car accident. We know how important cars are to daily life. We know you have obligations. We know an automobile accident throws your whole life into disarray.
Q: Should you take your car to the body shop the at-fault driver’s insurance company recommended?
A: No. In our experience the body shops recommended by the at-fault driver’s insurance company are recommended for a reason, i.e. the cost of repairs are lower. Insurance companies want the damage to your vehicle to be as low as possible so they can argue that you were not involved in a substantial collision. Also, in our experience some of the recommended body shops utilize lower cost parts.
Remember: You have the right to have the dealership or a body shop of your choice complete an estimate on the amount of damage to your vehicle.
Q: Does the at-fault driver’s insurance company have to provide you with a rental car?
A: Yes, but generally only if your car can be repaired and is not deemed a “total loss”. If your vehicle is fixable and drivable, then you are generally entitled to a like and similar rental vehicle for the amount of time it would take to fix your vehicle. Of your vehicle is fixable but is not drivable, then you are generally entitled to a like and similar rental vehicle from the date of the auto accident until your vehicle has been repaired. If your vehicle is a total loss then you may only recover the fair market value of your automobile and insurance companies generally do not reimburse you for the cost of a rental car – although some will do so until your vehicle has been declared a “total loss”.
Remember: You can submit a property damage claim to your own insurance company and request a rental car if you have that coverage on your policy. Sometimes this is the best course of action if it is going to take a long time for the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier to complete its liability investigation or if the at-fault driver is not cooperating with his or her insurance carrier. You will likely pay a deductible but your insurance company will refund your deductible if the at-fault driver’s vehicle eventually pays for the property damage and/or total loss.
Q: What is a “Total Loss”?
A: If your vehicle is rendered a total loss – “totaled” – following an automobile accident then you may recover only the fair market value of your vehicle as measured by what like and similar vehicles are being sold for on the open market – not measured by Kelly Blue Book or NADA Book Value.
Q: Can your office help me get a rental car?
A: Yes, we can assist in helping you get a rental car while your motor vehicle is being repaired following an automobile accident or while the insurance company is determining whether your vehicle is a “total loss”.
Q: Can I recover the diminished value of my vehicle?
A: Yes, generally. If you have a new car that was involved in a collision, however, than the wreck will obviously impact the amount you could sell the vehicle for in the future.
How We Can Help You: Establishing diminished value often requires an Expert Report. Our firm has established relationships with experts who can quantify the amount of diminished value damage to your vehicle following a motor vehicle collision at no up-front cost to you.
Q: Can I get a loan if a car wreck or car accident has caused me immediate financial hardship?
A: Yes. Many organizations exist that will loan you money to purchase an interest in the settlement proceeds of your case.
How We Can Help You: Companies that provide “law loans” require you to have legal representation in order to obtain a loan. Our firm has well-established relationships with several law loan companies including a new organization that charges a set interest charge as opposed to loans that escalate every month.
(And Other Medical Issues)
Q: Can your office help me get medical care?
A: Yes, we have established relationships with medical providers who specialize in helping victims of car wrecks recover from injuries. These providers will defer payment until your case has resolved. We have relationships with medical doctors, surgeons, pain management facilities, diagnostic facilities, pharmacies, and surgical centers. If you do not have health insurance or can’t afford the high cost of co-pays and deductibles we can assist you with getting the medical attention you need and deserve at no up-front cost to you.
Q: What if you need a surgery but don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible?
A: Our firm has relationships with surgeons who will perform a variety of procedures and delay billing you until your case concludes. In addition, we also have relationships with anesthesiologists, surgical nurses, and surgical facilities willing to delay payment until your case has concluded.
An Example: We represented a gentleman without health insurance who was rear-ended by a commercial vehicle. His doctors determined he needed a spine fusion. Our office was able convince a renowned spine surgeon, surgical nurse, anesthesiologist, and Medical Center of Plano to perform the procedure and delay billing our client until his case was concluded.
Q: Should you schedule an appointment with your family doctor if you were injured in an automobile accident?
A: Yes, but many family doctors choose not to treat patients who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision because they are weary of billing issues and the potential of getting sucked into a lawsuit. In addition, many times it takes a significant amount of time to schedule an appointment with a family doctor. If too much time passes before you’re able to get examined the insurance company is likely to argue you weren’t hurt in the car wreck. Try and see your family doctor if possible but consider utilizing medical providers who have experience specifically treating patients who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Q: What happens if your health insurance carrier pays some of your medical bills following a car wreck?
A: If your health insurance company or Medicare or Medicaid pays any bills regarding injuries related to your case, they are entitled to be reimbursed if you receive monies from a third-party. This is referred to as the right to subrogation. The amount they are entitled to be reimbursed is based on various factors but generally our firm can secure a reduction of any lien amount from your health insurance company to facilitate settlement of your case.
Q: Did you receive notice of a hospital lien?
A: If you received medical treatment at a hospital within 72 hours of a motor vehicle collision the hospital can file a lien against the proceeds of your case. Our firm has experience in negotiating with hospitals to reduce hospital liens in order to achieve settlement of a case.
Q: What are some of the common injuries people sustain in car accidents?
A: In our experience spinal injuries are exceedingly common in motor vehicle wrecks. These injuries can be soft tissue in nature or more substantial such as a herniated disc and/or extruded disc. Car wreck victims often require extensive physical therapy to make a full recover from the injuries they sustained in the automobile accident. Often times pain management doctors can perform epidural steroid injections and/or facet injections to provide relief to the injured victim. Of course, car wrecks can also directly lead to broken bones, fractures, and muscle tears. We routinely represent clients who have suffered a torn meniscus, torn rotator cuff, broken ribs, etc.
Q: Can you recover damages for the income you have lost because of the wreck?
A: Yes, but proving-up lost wages can be difficult and requires proper medical documentation and documentation. These damages can be established via affidavit, a letter from your employer, a loss of earnings form, past tax returns, and/or other documents indicating the amount of money you earned prior to the motor vehicle accident.
An Example: We represented a middle-aged female whose job was classified as “Medium” by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. She received treatment from a medical doctor who referred her to a diagnostic facility to have a Physical Performance Examination (PPE) completed. The PPE results indicated she did not have the functional capacity to perform Medium level work. The medical doctor took her off of duty until she was able to perform her duties safely. Our firm sought and recovered lost earnings damages for her.
Q: Can you recover damages for money you will lose in the future because of the auto accident?
A: Yes. These damages are referred to as “loss of earning capacity.”
How We Can Help You: Proving-up damages for loss of earning capacity requires proper medical documentation and usually also requires an expert report by a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant or Economist. Our firm routinely advances money to our clients to obtain these expert reports if warranted by the case.
Q: What other economic damages might you be entitled to?
A: If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision that was not your fault you could be entitled to the following economic damages in addition to lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity:
- Past reasonable and necessary medical expenses;
- Future reasonable and necessary medical expenses;
How We Can Help You: Our firm will retain a Life Care Planner at no up-front cost to you if you have suffered traumatic injuries and will need changes and/or revisions made to your home or business to accommodate your injuries. The Life Care Planner can establish these damages and review medical records from your treating medical provider to compute your future medical expenses over the remainder of your life.
- Vehicle repair costs;
- Replacement vehicle cost; and
- Diminished value of your vehicle.
Q: What are non-economic damages?
A: If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision that was not your fault you may be entitled to damages for:
- Pain and suffering in the past and future;
- Mental anguish in the past and future;
- Physical impairment in the past and future; and
- Loss of consortium.
Remember: The nature of your injuries will primarily determine the amount of recovery you obtain for the damages above. A person injured in a motor vehicle collision who is diagnosed with a strain/sprain or whiplash injury will likely not receive the same amount of non-economic damages as a person who required a spine surgery and/or who suffered a more objective injury, such as a herniated or extruded disc.
How We Can Help You: Our firm often produces “day in the life” videos as part of our settlement demand on cases where clients have suffered traumatic injuries. These videos allow the attorney to ask you questions to illustrate the impact the car wreck has had on your life and the impact it will have on the remainder of your life. These videos allow the adjuster to see the world through your eyes and the impact the motor vehicle wreck has had on your body, mind, and spirit. In our experience these videos can be the difference between a $500,000.00 settlement and a $1,000,000.00 settlement. Even on cases involving soft tissue injuries we will assist you in obtaining affidavits from family members and friends discussing the impact the car wreck had on your life if we believe it will impact the settlement offer.
Q: What additional damages can you potentially recover if the at-fault driver was driving while intoxicated or driving while under the influence?
A: If you were injured due to the negligence of a drunk driver you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Q: What are punitive damages?
A: Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the at-fault party. In the context of a motor vehicle collision these damages can usually only be recovered if the at-fault party was reckless or grossly negligent. Recklessness or gross negligence in the context of a car wreck can usually be established if the at-fault party was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Accordingly, if the other party was cited for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Remember: The potential for punitive damages should be examined on a case-by-case basis. For example, if the at-fault driver hadn’t slept for 24 straight hours, for example, a jury could easily determine the at-fault driver was grossly negligent and/or reckless.
If your loved one was killed as a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of a person or business certain family members may be entitled to wrongful death damages for the financial harm the passing directly caused as well as for emotional harm associated with the tragic loss. In addition, your loved one’s estate may have a survival cause of action for damages suffered by your loved one prior to his or her untimely passing.
Please click on link to learn more about Wrongful Death and Survival actions.
Our Promise to You: We will negotiate passionately on your behalf to secure the best possible settlement for you and your family. We know how to do it. Our firm has been advocating for injured car accident victims for over 30 years.
Q: What is your case worth?
A: Many attorneys will tell you what you want to hear and throw around numbers right out of the gate. The simple truth is your case value is directly impacted by the nature of your injuries and various liability factors. We do not discuss case value with our clients until we have examined all documents related to their case – namely medical treatment records and medical bills – and listened to the arguments raised by the liability insurance carrier. Would you want your doctor to make a recommendation without reviewing your medical records? Would you want a sub-contractor to guarantee you a price if he or she hadn’t talked to the materials supplier?
Q: Are there some guiding principles?
A: Certainly. If you have suffered an objective injury your case will likely have a much higher settlement value than a case involving soft-tissue or whiplash injuries only. Objective injuries would include fractures / broken bones / herniated discs and extruded discs (especially if they require spine surgery), torn muscles, etc.
Q: The insurance company says you are comparatively negligent. What does that mean?
A: The insurance company is attempting to argue you were also at fault for the motor vehicle accident. In the past we have seen insurance companies attempt to argue comparative negligence even when their insured failed to yield the right of way turning left into an intersection. If you are found to be comparatively negligent your percentage of fault will be deducted from any jury verdict. For example, if a jury awarded you $100,000.00 in damages but determined you were 20% at fault the final award would be adjusted to $80,000.00.
Q: If you had some fault in the wreck are you barred from recovery?
A: No, unless the jury assigns you more than 50% fault for the car wreck. You can still recover damages even if the jury determined you and the at-fault party were each 50% responsible for the car accident. Keep in mind, however, that any damages awarded would be reduced by 50%.
Q: Does the damage to your vehicle matter?
A: Yes. Our attorneys know that property damage does not directly correlate with injuries people suffer in a motor vehicle collision. That said, however, insurance companies pay special attention to property damage and vehemently fight claims in which property damage is not substantial. Insurance companies attempt to label these collisions as “minor impacts”. Insurance companies attempt to make this argument even when the damage to other motor vehicles involved in the car wreck(s) is substantial.
Remember: It is important to demonstrate the damage to all vehicles involved in the motor vehicle collision – not just your vehicle. Also, remember to have your vehicle repaired at the car dealership or a body shop of your choosing. The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will recommend a body shop with low repair costs because they want your property damage to be as low as possible.
Q: What are “reasonable and necessary” medical bills?
A: Under Texas automobile accident law you are generally entitled to recover the amount of money you paid or incurred to medical providers as a result of the injuries you sustained in the motor vehicle accident. The medical bills must be both reasonable and necessary, however. Insurance companies almost always argue at least some portion of your medical treatment was unnecessary or that at least some of your medical bills were unreasonable. They will often hire “hired gun” doctors to discount your bills. It is important you have legal representation with familiarity in medical billing and terminology to advocate you should be reimbursed the full amount of the paid and/or incurred medical bills.
Q: What is a pre-existing condition?
A: Insurance companies loved to argue that people involved in a car wreck were not injured and that the injury claimed was a pre-existing condition. For example, if an MRI shows you have a herniated disc but also indicates you suffer from degenerative disc disease the insurance company is likely to argue that the degenerative disc disease was a pre-existing condition and the real source of your pain or discomfort.
How We Can Help You: It is important to have counsel with experience in arguing aggravation of a pre-existing condition and/or that you were what is commonly referred to as an “Eggshell Plaintiff”. Our attorneys can request that your medical providers review prior medical records to determine if a motor vehicle collision aggravated your pre-existing condition.
Q: What is a “Gap In Treatment”?
A: If you wait an extended period of time before seeking medical attention following a car wreck the liability insurance carrier is likely to argue that a gap in treatment existed. They will argue that if you were really hurt you would have sought medical attention sooner. Likewise, if you stop attending therapy and than start back up after weeks or months have passed they will also likely argue you that a gap in treatment exists.
Remember: It is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following a motor vehicle collision if you experience any pain or discomfort whatsoever.
Q: What does it mean to “mitigate” your damages?
A: In Texas you have a duty to mitigate – or attempt to lessen – your damages and insurance companies often argue someone failed to do so. For example, if the injuries you sustained in a motor vehicle wreck prevented you from doing your job in heavy machinery but you could perform a desk job you would have an obligation to do so while recovering. Another example would be agreeing to release your vehicle to the insurance company so that it can be moved to a neutral storage facility that will not charge the insurance company for vehicle storage while property damage is being evaluated and considered.
Q: What if Multiple Drivers are Responsible for my Injuries?
A: If multiple drivers are responsible for your injuries you can make a claim against all of them and/or include all responsible drivers or parties in a lawsuit as Defendants if necessary. You can recover from an insurance company even if their driver is only 10% at fault provided your own fault does not exceed 50%.
Q: Does the at-fault driver’s insurance company owe me any duties?
A: No. The liability insurance carrier for the at-fault driver in the motor vehicle collision can tell you to get lost. They can – and usually do – attempt to delay and deny your claim.
How We Can Help You: The liability carrier may not take you seriously if you are unrepresented because they will not fear the possibility of a lawsuit against their insured.
Q: Does my own insurance company owe me any duties?
A: Absolutely. Your automobile insurance carrier owes you duties of good faith and fair dealing. In the past we have alleged multiple violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act against insurance companies who fail to exercise good faith to their customers.
How We Can Help You: The first-party insurance carrier may not take you seriously if you are unrepresented because they will not fear the possibility of a lawsuit being filed against them.
Q: What happens if you choose not to accept the at-fault driver’s insurance company’s final offer?
A: You have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and his or her employer if he or she was in the course and scope of employment. In the context of an uninsured motorist you would have the option of filing a lawsuit against your own insurance company if you had that coverage under your policy and they made an offer you chose not to accept.
Q: Should you settle your case or file a lawsuit?
A: This depends on each individual case. Sometimes a $20,000.00 offer before the filing of a lawsuit will net you more money in your pocket than a $30,000.00 offer after a lawsuit has been filed. A number of factors need to be considered:
- The attorney contingency fee percentage almost always increases at least 7% – 12% after a lawsuit has been filed.
- Case expenses almost always substantially increase in litigation. The filing of a lawsuit, having the lawsuit served, depositions, records and bills by affidavit, mediation, and trial all cost money.
- Litigation takes time…usually between 6-10 months if your case settles before trial and usually a year to fifteen months if a trial is necessary.
- If you received a law loan it could continue to increase every month until your case settles.
- Lienholders – such as your health insurance company or workers’ compensation carrier – may be more willing to reduce their liens prior to the commencement of litigation.
Our Promise to You: There’s a reason we’ve been representing injured Texans for over 30 years and a reason why so many of them refer us friends and family members. We advise our clients the same way we would advise our own family members. We don’t recommend the course of action that will make us the most money. We don’t recommend the course of action that will make doctors the most money. We recommend the option that will make you the most money.
Q: What happens if your child was injured in a car wreck?
A: If your child has been injured in a motor vehicle collision the liability insurance carrier may require a Minor Prove-Up Hearing so that a Judge can approve any settlement reached. In that scenario the Judge will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to verify the settlement reached is in the best interests of your child.
Q: What if you were involved in a collision with a city, county, or government vehicle?
A: If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision with a city, county, or government vehicle such as a school bus or police vehicle it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Cities and municipalities have requirements regarding filing a Notice of Claim with the city, county, or government unit/agency. Failure to timely and properly file a Notice of Claim could cause you to lose your ability to obtain a financial recovery.
Q: Will your personal injury case interfere with your Workers’ Compensation claim?
A: No. Your Workers’ Compensation carrier will likely place a lien on the proceeds of your settlement but will generally work with your attorney to reduce their lien amount and aid in achieving a settlement.
As stated above, the actions you take and the decisions you make in the days, weeks, and months following an auto accident will make or break your insurance claim/case. Take action now and contact our car accident lawyers in Dallas, Plano and Fort Worth for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose, considering we don’t ever charge a fee unless we obtain a recovery for you.