What’s the big deal about classifications related to your car accident? Quite a bit. And this should greatly affect the personal injury lawyer you choose.
The State of Texas maintains an entire guide that defines every last aspect of a motor vehicle crash.
Yes. It’s boring reading. But it can greatly affect fault and how much you may or may not be able to win in an auto accident injury case.
You can check out the 2017 classification guide here if you want to see what it looks like.
For example, the guide defines a “school bus.” That doesn’t seem all that tricky at first. But the definition notes a “school-chartered bus” or a “mass transit authority” bus does not qualify as a “school bus.”
So, that can impact your injury claim, the final outcome, and how much compensation you may or may not get.
More on why this matters in a second. But first, take a look at another example.
Small Definitions Make a Big Difference
Traffic accidents happen on what you call “roadways.” A “roadway” in Texas includes the portion of a traffic-way “ordinarily used for motor vehicle travel.”
Bridle paths, bike paths, and shoulders are not part of a “roadway.”
Next, the term “road” includes the “roadway” and the shoulder. And it also includes designated parking areas on the roadway or between the roadway and the curb.
Clearly, when an accident happens and fault gets determined, and then the question of whether you’re owed compensation comes up, it makes a large difference where the accident happened.
If you don’t have a right to be in a certain place, it’s to the other party’s advantage to show that. And your personal injury lawyer will have to show you did have a right to be where you were when the accident happened.
Why All This Matters
The State of Texas 2017 classification guide goes on for 48 pages describing all the various aspects of motor vehicle accidents.
Yes. This is all nit-picky. But it’s the kind of little details your personal injury lawyer must take seriously if they’re worth their salt.
Some personal injury law firms (and frequently big ones) do not consider the finer details. That’s because some are in a rush and just want to slam your case through so they maximize their dollars per hour.
As you interview attorneys to handle your automobile accident claim, you may want to ask a question or two about the classification of your car accident to test your lawyer’s knowledge.
If they don’t seem to know or care what you’re talking about, you may want to ask another lawyer to see if any of the classifications matter.
They may. And they may not.
But the point is, it’s important to ask. That’s because the best Dallas injury lawyers understand legal aspects others have no clue about.
And that means they have a much better chance of getting you the legal outcome you want and fair compensation for your injuries.
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. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.