Can you recover money for your injuries in Texas if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt when the auto accident happened?
Getting in an automobile accident causes a thousand questions to race through your head. And you know law is complex. So it’s possible many things will come up that you didn’t even know to think of.
Here are some Plain English answers to 6 common questions:
Can I still recover money if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt and the other driver was at fault?
Yes you can. Some states don’t let you recover money at all. But in Texas, the Supreme Court is more sensible than that and ruled in 2015 the amount you can recover, but it can be reduced.
There are no guarantees on how that will actually work out for you. But make sure you wear your seatbelt anyway… you don’t want to have traumatic injuries (or death) when you could have escaped with minor ones.
Should I give the other driver’s insurance adjuster my medical records if they ask?
No way. Remember, their job is to read every single word of your medical records to find any way possible to reduce or eliminate what they should pay to you. Talk to a personal injury lawyer before taking any actions like this.
Will my case go to court?
Probably not. Some of this depends on the skill of your injury lawyer. Some can argue a settlement successfully, while others might have to go to trial to obtain a recovery.
Our lawyers are able to get personal injury claims resolved without the necessity of filing a lawsuit approximately 90% of the time.
Should I see a doctor after my auto accident?
Of course. It’s best to at least get checked out following a collision. It’s far easier to successfully negotiate your claim with proven medical evidence from a doctor backing you up. Judges and juries also believe truly injured people seek medical help right away.
Plus, many injuries show up a few days or weeks after the car crash.
The only case where you shouldn’t go to a doctor is one where you are 100% sure you have no injury whatsoever. If you are bruised or even in slight pain, it would be wise to at least get an exam.
What if I think the wreck was at least partially my fault?
Don’t worry! In Texas, we have “comparative fault.” And if you’re less than 50% responsible for your injuries, you can still recover damages. Your recovery, however, would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Personal injury lawyers have free consultations, so there’s no risk in at least checking the facts of your case with one.
What if how I remember things now is different than what I said at the time of the car accident?
Don’t worry. This happens. You’re highly emotional and frantic immediately after an auto accident. And so are many other victims. So it’s not unusual to say things you don’t mean and remember facts differently later on.
It’s important to tell the truth to the best of your (perhaps imperfect) recollection. And an attorney for personal injury can help you sort this situation out.
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years (since 1983). Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.