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Mullen & Mullen Law Firm has been serving North Texas for nearly 4 decades.
Our corporate office is in Dallas, TX and we also have satellite locations in Plano, Frisco and Fort Worth. We are no-win no-fee lawyers with 38 years of experience maximizing auto accident injury settlements.
We fight hard for the rights of victims hurt in car accidents in Dallas due to another’s recklessness or negligence. Our attorneys have assisted thousands of clients in securing necessary medical attention, navigating the personal injury claims process, and obtaining the financial compensation they deserved.
There is absolutely no cost to you unless our Dallas lawyers win your car accident injury case. Get medical treatment upfront with no out of pocket, even if you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible.
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About Dallas Car Accident Claims
Insurance companies don’t care about how hurt you are or the impact the car accident had on your life.
They exist to make profit for their executives and shareholders. The job of the adjuster is to get you to accept as little money as possible and to release your claims against the negligent driver. In fact, the claim adjuster’s dream scenario is that you say something they can use against you to deny your Dallas car accident settlement completely.
When someone else’s negligence behind the wheel injures you, you should retain the best Dallas accident lawyer you can get. We never charge a fee unless we obtain a settlement for your injuries. You have absolutely no financial risk. We will get you medical care upfront and the bills can be paid from your recovery.
A motor vehicle accident can be a life-altering event. Don’t short-change yourself by not hiring the best Dallas car accident lawyer available to represent your interests. Injured victims usually incur substantial medical expenses and are often forced to miss work while they recover from their injuries.
What does a Dallas car accident attorney do for you?
Here is a list of tasks a lawyer performs when handling an auto accident injury claim:
- Hiring a lawyer levels the playing field with the insurance companies and allows you to focus completely on recovering from your injuries.
- A Dallas car accident lawyer sets up all necessary insurance claims at the onset of the case to avoid delays;
- Sends any necessary demands to preserve evidence to the at-fault party (or parties) so they don’t conveniently “lose” the evidence;
- An accident lawyer interviews witnesses and develops the evidence needed to win your injury claim;
- Collects police report(s) and other documents through information requests;
- Prepares you for (and participates in) a recorded statement with the insurance company.
- A Dallas car accident attorney assists you in making sure your vehicle is repaired properly or that you receive fair market value for your vehicle in the event it is totaled; and
- Helps you secure necessary medical treatment. Even sprain/strain injuries can take months to heal from.
- A lawyer verifies any liens arising from your Dallas car accident case including hospital liens, health insurance liens, and workers’ compensation liens;
- Negotiates reductions on those liens to save you money; and
- Retains any experts necessary to develop your case such as an accident reconstruction expert, vocational rehabilitation consultant, or economist.
- A lawyer obtains a complete set of your medical bills and records;
- Reviews and evaluates your medical records;
- Prepares settlement demands for the insurance companies to review; and
- Negotiates a settlement on your behalf or advises you if litigation is necessary to obtain a more favorable result.
Many primary care physicians refuse to treat victims of car accidents.
This is because they don’t want to risk getting involved in a legal matter. Often times injured victims are left scrambling to even find a doctor willing to help them.
If you locate a doctor who is agreeable to treating you and you have health insurance, you could be on the hook for co-pays and deductibles that really begin to add up.
If you don’t have health insurance you’re surely looking at a mountain of debt. Why should you have to come out of pocket for injuries someone else caused you? The answer is simple – you shouldn’t.
Our Dallas car accident lawyers can assist you in getting the medical help you need and deserve. We have long-standing relationships with therapy clinics, chiropractors, medical doctors, imaging facilities (MRI facilities), pain management doctors, orthopedic surgeons, ambulatory surgical centers, and hospitals.
Our network of providers are willing to offer their medical services to our Dallas car accident clients at no up-front cost. This allows you to get the care you need and deserve since you don’t have to worry about drowning in medical bills. Proper treatment of your injuries and proper documentation of your injuries is very important to the outcome of your auto accident injury claim.
Why should you hire Mullen & Mullen to be your Dallas car accident lawyers?
Not all attorneys are created equal. Our Dallas law firm has a 38-year track record of assisting injured victims. We are a small family business that prides itself on client service – as evidenced by over 275+ 5 Star Ratings from prior clients. We handle every car accident case the way we would want our own case handled.
We have been featured in both Newsweek and Forbes and our Dallas car accident attorneys have the skill and experience to handle even the most complex cases. Our lawyers – not paralegals – personally oversee and develop each and every case. We offer free consultations and welcome the opportunity to let our family fight for yours.
What types of Dallas car accident cases do our attorneys represent?
At Mullen & Mullen Law Firm, our lawyers represent any and every type of auto accident in which you were injured, including but not limited to:
- Rideshare accidents (Uber & Lyft)
- Rear-end collisions
- Commercial vehicle & truck accidents
- Single car accidents
- T-bone wrecks
- Sideswipe/clipping when merging
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Parking lot
- Head-on collisions
- Texting while driving
- Distracted drivers
- Intersection wrecks
- Reckless driving
- Drunk or under the influence
- Dram Shop/Liquor Liability
- Pedestrian accidents
- Multi-vehicle / Multiple party
- Motorcycle Accidents
- We only handle auto accidents claims that involve injury.
What are common injuries people sustain in Dallas car accidents?
In the experience of our Dallas attorneys, spinal injuries are exceedingly common in car accidents. These injuries can be soft tissue in nature or more substantial, such as a herniated disc and/or extruded disc. Symptoms such as numbness, tingling, shooting pains, or weakness can indicate a possible herniated or extruded disc.
Of course, car accidents can also directly lead to broken bones, fractures, and muscle tears. Here are some of the common injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions:
- Herniated Disc (lumbar or cervical spine);
- Extruded Disc;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Facet Syndrome (lumbar or cervical);
- Torn meniscus;
- Shoulder injuries / torn rotator cuffs;
- Broken bones;
- Occipital neuralgia;
- Concussion / Traumatic brain injury;
- Other Muscle Tears;
- Scarring or disfigurement;
- Increased anxiety or depression;
- Joint injuries;
- Leg / Knee damage;
- Wrongful death.
What Are the Theories of Liability for Seeking Damages in Car Accidents
Our Dallas car accident lawyers will carefully analyze your case and determine the proper theory or theories of liability to assert in support of your auto accident injury claim. The most common theories of liability are:
The vast majority of Dallas car accidents occur due to the negligence of one of the drivers involved. Our attorneys will argue that the at-fault motorist failed to meet the standard of reasonable care. All motorists are expected to behave as any reasonable driver would under normal circumstances.
For example, a driver who is texting, inattentive, and fails to yield the right-of-way would not be exercising the duty of reasonable care. The adjuster could attempt to argue that you were comparatively negligent for causing the Dallas car accident. In other words, they could attempt to argue you were partially at fault – even if the police report is 100% in your favor. They could argue you had a chance to avoid the accident and weren’t paying attention either. It’s important to remember that you are entitled to damages if you are 50% or less responsible for the accident. The damages awarded, however, would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
This theory can be asserted if a defect in either vehicle involved in the accident caused the incident. This type of car accident case requires extensive use of experts and is usually only asserted when an injured party has suffered debilitating injuries or the accident results in the loss of life. Seatbelts, airbags, accelerators, brakes, and engines are the most common defective parts.
This theory can be asserted in cases such as a defective traffic signal, missing signage, unsafe guardrails, or special defects in the roadway. Most of these cases involve government entities and require that prompt notice of claims be filed with the applicable city, county, government agency, etc. In fact, sometimes the notice of claim must be asserted within 30 days of the Dallas car accident.
If your loved one was killed in a Dallas car accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to examine what family members have claims and to work with an attorney who can properly decide whether wrongful death or survivorship claims should be emphasized.
Texas recognizes the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. Employers are responsible for the negligent acts of their employee while the employee is in the course and scope of employment. For example, if you were involved in a Dallas car accident with an XYZ Construction vehicle, the employee operating the vehicle and XYZ Construction would both be proper Defendants and liable for your damages.
If the owner of a motor vehicle entrusts the vehicle to an unlicensed or incompetent driver the owner may be held liable for your injuries under the theory of negligent entrustment.
What Damages Are You Entitled to in a Dallas Car Accident?
Texas law allows you to be compensated for “economic” and “non-economic” damages. To start, learn about the economic damages you can recover when someone else is at fault for the injuries you sustained in your auto accident.
- Medical Expenses: The at-fault driver is responsible for the reasonable and necessary medical expenses you incur as a result of their negligent behavior. This includes therapy sessions, adjustments, massage, medical devices, consultations with doctors, any necessary imaging (CTs and MRIs), pain management, surgery, or any other medically necessary services. Insurance companies often try to argue at least some of your medical expenses were “unreasonable” or “unnecessary.” They pay doctors to come up with elaborate explanations as to why. They may also try to say you have a “pre-existing” condition.
- Future Medical Expenses: You can recover the cost of any future medical care you will require over the course of your lifetime;
- Lost Wages: Based on the severity of your injuries, you’ll lose a certain amount of time at work. You can recover compensation for all that lost time.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: The Dallas car accident may leave you unable to perform your work to the full extent you did prior to the accident. For example, if you were a warehouse worker making good money and your injuries left you unable to lift 20 pounds you would have to transition to a new sedentary career – a desk job. If you had no prior experience in an office environment the new position would likely be at a significantly reduced salary. You are allowed to seek the difference in those earnings over the course of your lifetime as damages.
Non-economic damages are more subjective in nature and are designed to compensate you for the impact the car accident has had on your life. These damages include:
- Pain and Suffering: This compensation applies to the physical pain and suffering you receive from your injuries following your accident. You can seek damages for pain and suffering you experienced in the past as well as for pain and suffering you will continue to experience in the future. The severity of your injuries will be the prime consideration.
- Mental Anguish: This covers things like fright, worry, grief, self-pity, and any other mental suffering you experience as a result of your collision. Dallas car accident victims often experience emotional pain and emotional trauma following a serious accident. You can seek damages for mental anguish in the past as well as future.
- Physical Impairment: This compensation applies to physical limitations caused by the accident. For example, if a Dallas car accident left you physically unable to bend or stoop as you once could. Another example would be walking with a limp. You are entitled to recover for both past physical impairment and future physical impairment. It is usually wise to get an Impairment Rating from a doctor when you have concluded your treatment.
- Loss of Consortium: If your loved one was harmed or killed in the accident, this compensation covers the loss in relationship you experience. The feeling of companionship, sexual relations, affection, and comfort can be compensated.
- Punitive Damages: These damages punish the at-fault party or parties for their behavior. Generally, their actions must be malicious and egregious to the point where it makes sense to punish them severely so that they don’t engage in the behavior again. These damages are difficult to obtain but can usually be recovered in cases where the driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs. In DWI/DUI cases the driver’s actions are usually determined to have been reckless – not just negligent.
Additional damages you may be able to recover if your car accident involved a wrongful death.
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 their 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 in the accident.
What Are the Different Types of Insurance Claims in a Car Accident?
You may have several potential claims to set-up following your auto accident injury. 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 for negligently or recklessly operating a motor vehicle;
- Liability claim against the at-fault driver’s employer if the driver was in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the Dallas car accident;
- Liability claim against the at-fault driver if the owner negligently entrusted it to an unlicensed or incompetent driver;
- Property damage claim for the amount of money needed to repair or replace your vehicle;
- Diminished value claim for the loss of value your vehicle sustains following a Dallas car accident;
- Uninsured motorist claim through your auto insurance carrier if the at-fault driver did not carry liability insurance coverage as required by law. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) 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 driver made actual physical contact with your automobile. You are also able to file a bad faith lawsuit if your insurance company unreasonably denies your claim.
- Underinsured motorist claim through your own auto insurance carrier if your injury damages or property damages will potentially exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is first-party insurance meant to compensate Dallas car accident victims if the driver did not carry sufficient liability limits. Like Personal Injury Protection benefits, you may be entitled to coverage if someone in your household has underinsured motorist 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 prior to accepting any offer the liability carrier makes. A failure to do so could result in you not being eligible for underinsured motorist proceeds. Your auto insurance company owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing. If you present an underinsured motorist coverage claim and your carrier denies it you may be entitled to file a bad faith lawsuit.
- Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) / No Fault benefits through your own auto insurance carrier for reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages associated with your automobile accident; and
- MedPay / No Fault benefits through your own auto insurance carrier to cover medical expenses incurred (subject to repayment if you obtain third-party funds).
When should you start filing insurance claims after an auto accident injury?
You should begin setting up insurance claims with your carrier and the responsible driver’s carrier as soon as possible after the car accident.
Don’t assume, just because the other driver accepted liability at the scene, that you can delay setting up necessary insurance claims. Drivers sometimes “magically” change their stories when they contact their insurance companies.
The sooner you begin setting up your Texas auto accident injury claim, the sooner your vehicle will generally be repaired or replaced, and the sooner you can recover initial medical expenses associated with your injuries.
What insurance claims should you file after a Dallas car accident?
You may have several potential claims to set-up following your auto accident injury. 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 at-fault driver if the owner negligently entrusted it to an unlicensed or incompetent driver (property damage as well as injury damages);
- Uninsured motorist claim through your auto insurance carrier if the responsible driver did not carry liability insurance coverage as required by law;
- Underinsured motorist claim through your own auto insurance carrier if your injury damages or property damages will potentially exceed the policy limits;
- Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) / No Fault benefits through your own auto insurance carrier to reimburse you for medical expenses and lost wages associated with your automobile accident; and
- MedPay / No Fault benefits to reimburse through your own auto insurance carrier to reimburse you for medical expenses (subject to recovery if you obtain third-party funds).
What are the minimum liability insurance limits in Texas?
The minimum auto insurance liability limits in Texas are only $30,000 per person and $60,000 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 an auto accident, and the at-fault party carried only minimum limits, the most any single person could get is $30,000, and the most the liability carrier would have to pay out in total is $60,000. Of course, some drivers will have an insurance policy with significantly higher limits.
Does it matter if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the Dallas car accident?
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 Dallas car accident 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, $500,000, or $1,000,000.
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 policy limits.
Our Dallas car accident attorneys will set-up all potential claims for you at the onset of your auto accident injury, so no delays exist as your claim progresses. Our lawyers will determine any and all potential sources of recovery for you.
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.
Both your own and the responsible driver’s insurance company, may require you to provide a recorded statement describing how the car accident occurred. Tricky adjusters can ask confusing questions, misleading questions, or questions with no real “right” answer. They are looking for a reason to deny your injury claim. Legal counsel can make sure you are asked fair and relevant questions.
Our Dallas car accident lawyers will still represent you, however, if you have already given a recorded statement, it may make it much harder.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage is first-party insurance meant to compensate Dallas car accident victims if the at-fault driver 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 carrier to settle with the responsible driver’s insurance carrier, before accepting any offer the liability carrier makes. A failure to do so could result in you not being eligible for underinsured motorist proceeds.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is important if the person that collided with your vehicle did not have auto 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 automobile.
Getting Your Car Repaired or Replaced After a Dallas Car Accident
We will help to make sure your vehicle is repaired or replaced quickly following your car accident. We know how important automobiles are to daily life, that you have obligations, and that an auto accident injury can throw your whole life into disarray.
Should you take your car to the body shop that the at-fault driver’s insurance company recommended?
No. In the experience of our Dallas car accident attorneys, the body shops recommended by the responsible 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 that they can argue that you were not involved in a substantial accident. Also, in our lawyers’ experience, some of the recommended body shops utilize cheaper parts.
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 automobile.
Does the at-fault driver’s insurance company have to provide you with a rental car?
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 car. If your vehicle is fixable, but is not drivable, then you are generally entitled to a like and similar rental car from the date of the Dallas car accident until your vehicle has been repaired. If your care is a total loss, then you may only recover the fair market value of your automobile, and they generally do not reimburse you for the cost of a rental car, although some will until it has been declared a “total loss”.
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 responsible driver’s insurance company to complete its liability investigation, or if the 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 driver’s vehicle eventually pays for the property damage or total loss.
What is a “Total Loss”?
If your car is rendered a total loss, “totaled”, following an automobile accident, then you may recover only the fair market value of it, as measured by what like and similar vehicles are being sold for on the open market. It is not measured by Kelly Blue Book or NADA Book Value.
Can our Dallas car accident attorneys help get you a rental car?
Yes, our car accident lawyers can assist you in getting a rental car while your motor vehicle is being repaired, or while the insurance company is determining whether your automobile is a “total loss”.
Can I recover the diminished value of my vehicle?
Yes, generally. If you have a new car that was involved in a collision. The car accident will obviously impact the amount you could sell that vehicle for in the future. Establishing diminished value often requires an Expert Report. Our Dallas lawyers have established relationships with experts who can quantify the amount of diminished value damage to your vehicle at no up-front cost to you.
Obtaining Immediate Financial Assistance After a Dallas Car Accident
Can I get a loan if a car accident has caused me immediate financial hardship?
Yes. Many organizations exist that will loan you money to purchase an interest in the settlement proceeds of your case.
Companies that provide “law loans” require you to have legal representation in order to obtain a loan. Our Dallas car accident attorneys have 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.
Medical Treatment With Delayed Billing After an Auto Accident Injury (And Other Medical Issues)
Can your Dallas car accident lawyers help me get medical care?
Yes, our Dallas attorneys have established relationships with medical providers who specialize in helping victims recover from auto accident 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.
What if you need a surgery after a car accident but don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible?
Our Dallas car accident attorneys have relationships with surgeons who will perform a variety of procedures and delay billing you until your injury claim settles. In addition, we also have relationships with anesthesiologists, surgical nurses, and surgical facilities willing to delay payment until your case has concluded.
Our Dallas accident lawyers represented a gentleman without health insurance who was rear-ended by a commercial vehicle.
His doctors determined he needed a spine fusion. Our law office was able to convince a renowned spine surgeon, surgical nurse, anesthesiologist, and Medical Center of Plano to perform the procedure and delay billing until our client’s case was settled.
Should you schedule an appointment with your family doctor if you were injured in an auto accident?
Yes. But many family doctors choose not to treat patients who have been involved in a Dallas car accident 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 are able to get examined, the insurance company is likely to argue you were not really hurt in the auto accident. Try and see your family doctor if possible, but consider utilizing medical providers who have experience specifically treating patients who have been injured in auto accidents.
What happens if your health insurance carrier pays some of your medical bills following an auto accident injury?
If your health insurance company or Medicare or Medicaid pays any bills regarding injuries related to your claim, 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 Dallas car accident lawyers can secure a reduction of any lien amount from your health insurance company to facilitate settlement of your case.
Did you receive notice of a hospital lien?
If you received medical treatment at a hospital within 72 hours of a Dallas car accident, the hospital can file a lien against the proceeds of your case. We have vast experience in negotiating with hospitals to reduce hospital liens, in order to achieve settlement of an auto accident case.
Establishing Your Lost Wages and Other Economic Damages After an Auto Accident Injury
Can you recover damages for the income you lost because of the Dallas car accident?
Yes. But proving-up lost wages can be difficult and requires proper medical 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 car accident.
An Example: Our Dallas car accident attorneys 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. We sought and recovered lost earnings damages for her.
Can you recover damages for money you will lose in the future because of the car accident?
Yes. These damages are referred to as “loss of earning capacity.” 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 Dallas car accident lawyers routinely advance money to our clients to obtain these expert reports if warranted by the case.
What other economic damages might you be entitled to from your Dallas car accident?
If you have been involved in a Dallas car accident 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;
Our Dallas car accident lawyers 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.
- Car repair costs;
- Replacement vehicle cost; and
- Diminished value of your vehicle.
Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver?
What additional damages can you potentially recover if the at-fault driver was driving while intoxicated or under the influence?
If you were injured due to the negligence of a drunk or drug impaired driver, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the at-fault party. In the context of a car accident, these damages can usually only be recovered if the responsible driver was reckless or grossly negligent.
Recklessness or gross negligence, in the context of a car accident, can usually be established, if the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs 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.
The potential for punitive damages should be examined on a case-by-case basis. For example, if the driver had not slept for 24 straight hours, for example, a jury could easily determine they were grossly negligent or reckless.
Negotiating Your Auto Accident Injury Settlement
Our Dallas car accident attorneys will negotiate passionately on your behalf to secure the best possible settlement for you and your family. We know how to do it. Our lawyers have been advocating for Texas injury victims for 38 years.
What is your Texas auto accident injury claim worth?
Many auto injury lawyers will tell you what you want to hear and throw around numbers right out of the gate. The simple truth is though, your claim value is directly impacted by the nature of your injuries and various liability factors.
We do not discuss claim value with our clients until we have examined all documents related to their case, namely medical treatment records and medical bills.
Our Dallas car accident lawyers also listen to the arguments raised by the liability insurance carrier first. 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 they had not yet talked to their materials supplier?
Are there some guiding principles?
Certainly. If you have suffered an objective injury, your Dallas car accident claim will likely have a much higher settlement value than a claim 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.
The insurance company says you are comparatively negligent in your auto accident injury claim. What does that mean?
The insurance company is attempting to argue you were also at fault for the car accident. In the past, our Dallas lawyers have seen them 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 in damages, but determined you were 20% at fault, the final award would be adjusted to $80,000.
If you had some fault in the car accident are you barred from a Texas injury claim settlement?
No. Unless the jury assigns you more than 50% of the fault for the Dallas car accident, you can still obtain a settlement. You can still recover damages even if the jury determined you and the at-fault party were each 50% responsible. Keep in mind, however, that any damages awarded would be reduced by 50%.
Does the damage to your vehicle matter in an auto accident injury claim?
Yes. Our Dallas car accident attorneys know that property damage does not directly correlate with injuries people suffer. That being said however, insurance companies pay special attention to property damage and vehemently fight injury claims in which property damage is not substantial. They attempt to label these accidents as “minor impacts” and attempt to make this argument even when the damage to the other vehicles involved is substantial.
It is important to demonstrate the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident, not just yours. Also remember to have your car repaired at the auto 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.
What are “reasonable and necessary” medical bills after a Dallas car accident?
Under Texas traffic 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 car accident. The medical bills must be both reasonable and necessary. 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 that you should be reimbursed the full amount of the incurred medical bills.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Insurance companies love to argue that people involved in Dallas car accidents 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.
It is important to have counsel with experience in arguing aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and that you were what is commonly referred to as an “Eggshell Plaintiff”. Our Dallas accident attorneys can request that your medical providers review prior medical records to determine if the collision aggravated your pre-existing condition.
What is a “Gap In Treatment?”
If you wait an extended period of time before seeking medical attention following a Dallas car accident, 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 then start back up after weeks or months have passed, they will also likely argue that a gap in treatment exists.
It is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following a Dallas car accident, if you experience any pain or discomfort whatsoever.
What does it mean to “mitigate” your damages in a car accident?
In Texas you have a duty to mitigate, or attempt to lessen, your damages. Insurance companies often argue someone failed to do so. For example, if the injuries you sustained in a Dallas car accident 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 them so that it can be moved to a neutral storage facility that will not charge the insurance company for storage while the property damage is being evaluated.
What if Multiple Drivers are Responsible for my auto accident injuries?
If multiple drivers are responsible for your injuries, you can make a claim against each responsible driver in a lawsuit 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%.
Does the at-fault driver’s insurance company owe me any duties?
No. The liability insurance carrier for the driver who caused the Dallas car accident can tell you to get lost. They can, and usually do, attempt to delay and deny your injury claim.
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. Our Dallas car accident attorneys can deal with them directly and make them take your case seriously.
Does my own insurance company owe me any duties if I’m in a car accident?
Absolutely. They owe you duties of good faith and fair dealing. In the past our Dallas car accident lawyers 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.
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. We can deal with them directly and make them take your case seriously.
Settling Your Auto Accident Injury Claim vs. Filing a Lawsuit
What happens if you choose not to accept the at-fault driver’s insurance company’s final offer?
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.
Should you settle your Dallas car accident claim or file a lawsuit?
This depends on each individual case. Sometimes a $20,000.00 offer before the filing of a lawsuit will put 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 contingent attorney fee percentage almost always increases at least 7% – 12% after a Dallas car accident lawsuit has been filed.
- Case expenses almost always substantially increase in litigation. The filing of a lawsuit, having it served, depositions, records and bills by affidavit, mediation, and trial all cost money.
- Litigation also takes time, usually between 6-10 months if your car accident case settles before trial. It usually takes 12-15 months if a trial is necessary.
- If you received a law loan it could continue to increase every month until your auto accident injury 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.
There’s a reason why our Dallas car accident attorneys have been representing injured Texans for 38 years, and why so many clients refer their friends and family.
We advise 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. We work for you!
What happens if your child was injured in a Dallas car accident?
If your child has been injured in an auto accident 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.
Car Accidents with City or Government Vehicles
What if you were involved in a car accident with a city, county, or government vehicle?
If you have been injured in a Dallas car accident 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 agency. Failure to timely and properly file a Notice of Claim could cause you to lose your ability to obtain a financial recovery from your accident.
Car Accidents & Worker’s Compensation Claims
Will your auto accident injury claim interfere with your Workers’ Compensation claim?
No. Your Workers’ Compensation carrier will likely place a lien on the proceeds of your settlement, but will generally work with your lawyer to reduce their lien amount and aid in achieving a settlement.
Call (214) 747-5240 now or use the quick contact form on this page to request a free consultation. There is never a fee for our legal services unless we obtain a financial recovery for you.