Our attorneys have access to cutting edge medical diagnostics and treatment for car accident victims with delayed billing.
Whether you have health insurance or not, you are potentially looking at a mountain of debt. Why should you have to pay for injuries someone else caused? The answer is simple – you shouldn’t.
THIS IS OUR BACKYARD™
Our car accident specialists can get you the medical attention you need and deserve. We’ve been doing business in North Texas for 39 years and have long-standing relationships with therapy clinics, chiropractors, medical doctors, diagnostic imaging facilities, pain management doctors, orthopedic surgeons, ambulatory surgical centers, hospitals and more. All of them are willing not to be paid until after you’ve healed as much as possible from your accident and your case has been resolved.
Our network of medical professionals are willing to offer their services at no up-front cost. This allows you to get the care you need and deserve without having to worry about drowning in medical bills. Also, proper treatment and documentation of your injuries is critically important to the success of your car accident case. You want to be working with people who specialize in accident injuries and know how to deal with the insurance company’s tactics to reduce or deny your claim.
YOU CAN TRUST OUR FAMILY TO FIGHT FOR YOURS
We Have Many 5-Star Reviews from North Texas Clients Injured in Vehicle Accidents
“After the auto accident I was unsure whether to retain an attorney. After speaking with Shane Mullen I was convinced that the only way to go was to use them as my attorney. I am more than satisfied with the outcome… he was straight up with me from the beginning to the end. If you need to retain personal injury council there’s none better than Shane Mullen.” -David White
Outstanding law firm, very attentive to their clients health & well-being. Shane Mullen is my lawyer and I couldn’t be more pleased… makes you feel like family… very caring outfit, highly recommend… I was in a serious car accident. They really step up for you. From the beginning… was working for me… followed through, above and beyond… answered my questions and concerns, even at odd hours. Thank you. -Samspace81
If You’re Looking for the “Best Accident Lawyer” Here are Some Reasons to Consider Us
What can possibly demonstrate “best” better than Mullen & Mullen having been recognized by Top Verdict™ for these five Texas “Top 10” settlements in 2020?
- Top 10 in Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Top 10 in Pedestrian Accidents
- Top 10 in Personal Injury
- Top 10 in Premises Liability
- Top 10 in Truck Accidents
Examples of Case Results Involving Serious Injuries
(GROSS SETTLEMENTS LISTED BEFORE FEES & EXPENSES)
- $2,050,000 for Child Injured in Car Accident Requiring Surgery
- $2,024,050.73 for a Drunk Driving Caused Accident.
- $1,350,751.60 for a Wreck Involving Multiple Surgeries.
- $1,330,000 for a Commercial Vehicle Accident Involving a Back Injury.
- $1,300,000 for an Auto Accident Involving a TBI & Fractured Jaw.
- $1,300,000 for a Car Crash Involving a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents We Represent
- Regular Car crashes – when two vehicles collide.
- Commercial Vehicle & Semi Truck Accidents – When someone gets into a collision with a commercial automobile or big rig while the driver is on the job.
- Rideshare (Uber & Lyft) Accidents – When a passenger or driver of a rideshare is involved in a collision.
- DUI / Drunk Driver Caused Accidents – When someone gets into a collision caused by an impaired driver.
- Distracted / Texting Driver Caused Accidents – When someone gets into a collision with a driver who was distracted while talking on the phone or texting.
- Motorcycle Accidents – When a motorcycle driver gets into a collision with another vehicle.
- Pedestrian Accidents – When someone on foot gets hit by the driver of a vehicle.
- Bicycle Accidents – When someone riding a bicycle gets hit by the driver of a vehicle.
What Do Our Car Accident Attorneys Do For You?
Insurance companies don’t care about how hurt you are or the impact the wreck 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 adjuster’s dream scenario is that you say something they can use against you to deny your settlement completely.
- Level the playing field with the insurance companies allowing you to focus your complete recovery;
- Set up all necessary insurance claims at the onset of your case to avoid any unnecessary delays;
- Send any necessary demands to preserve evidence to the at-fault party (or parties) so they won’t conveniently “lose” it;
- Interview witnesses and develop the evidence required to win your case;
- Collects police report(s) and other documents through information requests;
- Prepare you for (and participates in) a recorded statement.
- Assist you in making sure your car is repaired properly or that you receive fair market value for your car in the event it is totaled;
- Help you secure necessary medical treatment. Even sprain/strain injuries can take months to heal from.
- Verify any liens arising from your traffic collision case including hospital liens, health insurance liens, and workers’ compensation liens;
- Negotiate reductions on liens and bills to save you money;
- Retain any experts necessary to develop your injury case such as an accident reconstruction expert, vocational rehabilitation consultant, or economist.
- Obtain a complete set of your medical bills and records;
- Review and evaluate your medical records;
- Prepare a settlement demand for review;
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf or advise you if litigation is necessary to obtain a more favorable result.
Tactics for Negotiating Your Insurance Settlement On Your Own
In this video, attorney Shane Mullen says, “After you’ve received all the health care you need, and you’ve gathered all your bills and records, and hired any experts you might need, it’s time to present your claim to the insurance company and attempt to settle it.
You need to expect that you are going to have to negotiate, so you must ask for more than you believe your claim is worth, because they are naturally going to come back and offer less than whatever you ask for.
The law in Texas says that a defendant who injures you (and/or their insurance company in their place) does not owe for all of your medical care. And, they also don’t owe for all the injuries you claim to have sustained in the car accident.
The law says they only owe reasonable medical bills for necessary health care. So, it should come as no surprise that these insurance companies, on nearly every case, will argue that quite a few of your bills aren’t reasonable. Then, they’re going to argue that quite a bit of your health care wasn’t necessary, and didn’t follow some type of guidelines or standardized procedures.
Not only that, but you have to be prepared to understand it’s a waiting game. The insurance companies, most of the time, are not willing after only one or two phone calls, to offer you their full settlement range authority.
They are going to start out offering a low amount. And no matter what you do or say during that phone call, or in-person meeting, it’s not going to change their mind, because there are policies and procedures in place.
And, they want people sitting around wondering, that might need money, if they should take it (the low ball offer). They want to wear you down. And if you think about it, that is a good negotiation strategy. If you contact an attorney, we can help you, we can give you a free consultation, or you can hire us and we can do it for you.
Here is an outline of the standard progression of a car accident claim, written by our attorneys.
The Scene of the Auto Accident and Protecting Your Case
What should you do at the scene of a car accident?
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 accident have been injured. If any has sustained an injury you should immediately call 911.
Should I move my vehicle?
If possible you should avoid moving your automobile or allowing the at-fault driver to move their vehicle until after law enforcement officials have had the opportunity to examine the accident scene. Sometimes how the cars made contact can make all the difference in whether the insurance company accepts or denies your car accident injury claim.
If the automobiles must be moved before law enforcement officials arrive, to protect your safety or the safety of others, be sure to take multiple photographs of all vehicles involved in the accident before they are moved.
I didn’t get photographs of the at-fault driver’s car. Could that hurt my car accident case?
Potentially. Often times the damage to your automobile 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 driver’s car.
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 automobile that hit you, to take photographs of it and the accident scene if needed.
In addition, one of our car accident 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 responsible party won’t tamper with or destroy evidence that is in your favor. This evidence might include any and all photographs, as well as other documents, that could be critical to your car accident injury claim.
Should you call Police or other law enforcement officials to the scene of the car crash?
Yes, you should always attempt to have the Police investigate the car crash. 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 to make you simply exchange insurance information with the other drivers, you should specifically request that the police officer complete a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report.
Remember: If the Police refuse to investigate the auto collision, you should exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver and obtain at minimum, the following additional information: their name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number. Also get contact information from any and all witnesses.
Also Remember: Insurance companies sometimes even attempt to deny car accident 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 auto accident claim they will. Do not assume, just because you were rear-ended, that you do not need to call Police out to investigate the wreck.
Our in-house private investigator can quickly request and obtain the Texas Police Officer’s Crash Report arising from your motor vehicle collision at no up-front cost to you.
What information should you get from witnesses?
Do not assume it’s okay to simply write down the name and telephone number of a witness. Some names are very common. Phone numbers change all the time.
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.
Our in-house private investigator has been trained in establishing fault on the other parties involved in your car accident. 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 automobile accident.
Should you tell people at the scene of the car wreck that you are injured, even if you are only a little bit sore?
Yes. This is 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.
Most people experience increased adrenaline and/or shock following an auto accident which 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.
Additionally, small children and infants can sustain injuries that are not readily apparent without professional medical attention. For instance, children under 1 year old are up to 4 times more susceptible to rib fractures in car accidents than older children and such injuries may only be found by a doctor.
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.
Our lawyers have 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.
Setting Up All Necessary Insurance Claims After a Car Accident
What potential insurance claims might be set up after an accident?
In the video above, attorney Shane Mullen says: After an accident, it’s important to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, there are quite a few other insurance coverages that might also entitle you to benefits. To find out, contact an attorney that offers a free consultation and ask them. Tell them your fact pattern/what happened, and ask if there any other policies of insurance that might entitle you to benefits. There are many fact patterns where different policies of insurance will apply.
Example 1: I had a young lady who contacted me for a second opinion. The law firm that she initially hired had told her they couldn’t find any insurance and so they dropped her case. Turns out the at-fault driver had no insurance. She was a passenger in her friend’s car; her friend had no uninsured motorist coverage either. She, my client, did not even have a car, so no one thought to look on her side for insurance. Of course, I asked, do you live in the same household with any relatives that have a car with uninsured, under insured motorist coverage? Turns out, the answer was yes and we settled her case for over eighty thousand dollars.
Example 2: I had a boating accident case where the driver was not the owner, so we were able to go to the driver’s home owners insurance to get them to pay that claim. That ended up being an additional five hundred thousand dollars. Most people wouldn’t think to go to the boat driver’s home owners’ policy to pay the claim. Contact me, or contact another attorney and ask: “what are all my options with filing claims?”
What are the 3 types of auto accident claims?
In the above video, Attorney Joseph Morrison explains about the three different types of types of auto accident claims:
1) Liability claims
2) Potential first party claims
3) No-fault coverage claims
He says, “Let’s start with liability claims. When we’re talking about liability, we’re obviously referring to the at-fault party. In the context of an automobile collision, that would be the negligent driver. Remember though, you may also have a liability cause of action against the drivers employer, if the driver was in the course and scope of his or her employment. And in some cases you may also have a liability claim against the vehicles owner, if the owner of the vehicle negligently entrusted it to the driver. The other type of claims that we typically see in the context of an auto accident is first party claims. That’s going to be underinsured motorist claims and uninsured motorist claims. Uninsured motorist claims are seen in the context of a hit and run accident, where a driver hits you and flees the scene. Requirement in Texas is that there be actual physical contact between the vehicles. An underinsured motorist claim may be available if your damages exceed the at-fault parties liability limits. The final type of claim that we typically see in the context of an auto collision is a no-fault claim, which is primarily personal injury protection and med-pay. What we commonly refer to as PIP benefits, or something you carry on your own policy as a no-fault coverage, that generally entitles you to reimbursement of your medical expenses and wages in the amount of twenty five hundred dollars. The only difference with med-pay, is that your insurance carrier will have a subrogation right if you have a recovery against the at-fault party.”
Here is a list of the specific insurance claims you may be able to file after an auto accident?
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 it to an unlicensed or incompetent driver (property damage as well as injury damages);
- Uninsured motorist claim through your car insurance carrier if the at-fault driver did not carry liability insurance coverage as required by law;
- Underinsured motorist claim through your own car 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 car 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 car insurance carrier to reimburse you for medical expenses (subject to recovery if you obtain third-party funds).
When should you begin setting up any necessary insurance claims after a car accident?
You should begin setting up insurance claims with your automobile insurance carrier and the at-fault driver’s car insurance carrier as soon as possible.
Don’t assume, just because the at-fault driver accepted liability at the scene, that you can delay setting up necessary car accident insurance claims. At-fault drivers sometimes “magically” change their stories when they contact their insurance companies.
The sooner you begin setting up auto accident claims, the sooner your car will generally be repaired or replaced, and the sooner you can recover initial medical expenses associated with any injuries sustained in the accident.
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 car wreck, 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.
Does it matter if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the collision?
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 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 $250,000.00, $500,000.00, or $1,000,000.00.
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.
Our attorneys will set-up all potential claims for you at the onset of your case, so no delays exist as your claim progresses. Our law firm will determine any and all potential sources of recovery for you following your car wreck.
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.
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 car accident 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, it may make it much harder.
What is Underinsured Motorist coverage?
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. 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 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.
Getting Your Car Repaired or Replaced After an Accident
Should you repair or replace your car after an accident?
We will help to make sure your vehicle is repaired or replaced quickly following your car wreck. We know how important automobiles are to daily life, that you have obligations, and that a car accident 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 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 that they can argue that you were not involved in a substantial collision. Also, in our 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 auto 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 insurance companies 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 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 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 we help you get a rental car?
Yes, our auto accident attorneys can assist you in getting a rental car while your motor vehicle is being repaired following a car accident, or while the insurance company is determining whether your vehicle 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 wreck will obviously impact the amount you could sell that vehicle for in the future.
Establishing diminished value often requires an Expert Report. Our car accident lawyers have established relationships with experts who can quantify the amount of diminished value damage to your vehicle following a collision at no up-front cost to you.
Obtaining Immediate Financial Assistance After a Vehicle Collision
Can I get a loan if a car wreck or 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 car crash 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 Until Your Auto Accident Case Concludes
(And Other Medical Issues)
Can your law firm help me get medical care?
Yes, our lawyers have established relationships with medical providers who specialize in helping victims of 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 but don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible?
Our injury law firm has relationships with surgeons who will perform a variety of procedures and delay billing you until your car accident case settles. In addition, we also have relationships with anesthesiologists, surgical nurses, and surgical facilities willing to delay payment until your accident injury case has concluded.
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 law office was able convince a renowned spine surgeon, surgical nurse, anesthesiologist, and Medical Center of Plano to perform the procedure and delay billing until our client’s car accident case was settled.
Should you schedule an appointment with your family doctor if you were injured in an automobile accident?
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 are able to get examined, the insurance company is likely to argue you were not really 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 car accidents.
What happens if your health insurance carrier pays some of your medical bills following a car wreck?
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 auto accident law firm 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 motor vehicle collision, the hospital can file a lien against the proceeds of your case. Our car wreck attorneys have vast experience in negotiating with hospitals to reduce hospital liens, in order to achieve settlement of an auto accident case.
What are some of the common injuries people sustain in car accidents?
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 crash victims often require extensive physical therapy to make a full recover from their injuries. Often times pain management doctors can perform epidural steroid injections and/or facet injections to provide relief to the injured victim. Of course, car accidents 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.
Establishing Your Lost Wages and Other Economic Damages After a Car Accident
Can you recover damages for the income you have lost because of the wreck?
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 wreck.
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 law firm sought and recovered lost earnings damages for her.
Can you recover damages for money you will lose in the future because of the auto 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 car crash 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?
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;
Our attorneys 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 car accident 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.
Non-Economic Damages You May Be Able to Recover After a Collision
What are non-economic damages?
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.
The nature of your car accident 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.
Our lawyers often produce “day in the life” videos as part of our settlement demand, on auto accident 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 collision 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 has had on your life, if we believe it will impact the settlement offer.
Additional Damages You May Be Able to Recover if You Were Hit 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 motor vehicle collision, these damages can usually only be recovered if the at-fault driver was reckless or grossly negligent. Recklessness or gross negligence, in the context of a car wreck, can usually be established, if the at-fault 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 at-fault driver had not slept for 24 straight hours, for example, a jury could easily determine they were grossly negligent or reckless.
Additional Damages You May Be Able to Recover in a Collision Wrongful Death Case
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 car accident.
Negotiating Your Car Accident Settlement
Our 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 law firm has been advocating for car accident injury victims for over 39 years.
What is your auto accident case worth?
Many accident attorneys will tell you what you want to hear and throw around numbers right out of the gate. The simple truth is though, 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. We 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 car accident case will likely have a much higher settlement value than an auto accident 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.
The insurance company says you are comparatively negligent. What does that mean?
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.
If you had some fault in the car wreck are you barred from recovery?
No. Unless the jury assigns you more than 50% of the fault for the car wreck, 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 for the car accident. Keep in mind, however, that any damages awarded would be reduced by 50%.
Does the damage to your vehicle matter?
Yes. Our auto accident attorneys know that property damage does not directly correlate with injuries people suffer in the collision. That being 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 auto collisions as “minor impacts”. Insurance companies attempt to make this argument even when the damage to other motor 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?
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 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 a car accident 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 auto accident attorneys can request that your medical providers review prior medical records to determine if a motor vehicle 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 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 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 motor vehicle collision, 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 car 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 storage while the property damage is being evaluated.
What if Multiple Drivers are Responsible for my 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 at-fault driver in the auto accident can tell you to get lost. They can, and usually do, attempt to delay and deny your car accident 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 car accident law firm can deal with them directly and make them take your case seriously.
Does my own insurance company owe me any duties?
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.
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. Again, our law firm can deal with them directly and make them take your case seriously.
Settling Your Auto Accident Case 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 car accident case 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 car accident 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 also takes time, usually between 6-10 months if your auto accident case settles before trial. It usually takes a twelve to fifteen months if a trial is necessary.
If you received a law loan it could continue to increase every month until your collision 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 our injury law firm has been representing injured Texans for over 39 years, and a reason why so many of our clients refer their friends and family members to us. 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.
Injured Children / Collisions with City or Government Vehicles / Miscellaneous
What happens if your child was injured in a car wreck?
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.
What if you were involved in a collision with a city, county, or government vehicle?
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 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 auto accident.
Will your accident injury case 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 car accident 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. Take action now and contact our car accident attorneys for a free consultation, if you were injured. You have nothing to lose, considering we don’t ever charge a fee unless we obtain a recovery for you.
We offer a discounted 29% contingency fee (if you mention this ad) on any auto accident injury cases that settle without requiring litigation. This special offer could potentially put thousands more in your pocket over the standard contingency fee of 33%, which is what most personal injury lawyers charge.
Talk for free to a skilled car accident lawyer now.
Call (214) 747-5240 or use the form below to request your free consultation.
Joseph R. Morrison is the Senior Associate Attorney at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX, where he represents people personally injured due to the negligence of others. He was recognized by VerdictSearch for obtaining a Top 5 Premises Liability verdict in the State of Texas, and has been quoted in the ABA Journal.