Top Rated Dallas Car Accident Lawyers Who Win You More
Have you been involved in a traffic collision? The aftermath of such an event can be overwhelming and leave you dealing with physical injuries, emotional distress, and mounting expenses. At Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, our team of dedicated car accident attorneys is here to help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
As a matter of fact, we’ll win you the maximum compensation available for your injuries.
How can we make such a bold claim? According to TopVerdict.com, Mullen & Mullen represented 19 of the “Top 50” personal injury settlements in all of Texas in 2021. And every one of these cases were for motor vehicle accidents. Our lawyers obviously know what they’re doing and how to maximize compensation.
It’s true that no other law firm in Texas even came close to making the Top 50 list as many times as we did. One of our cases made the Top 10 list, eight made the Top 11-20 list, and ten made the Top 21-50 list. That’s why we can say with 100% confidence that we’ll win you more if injured in a car wreck.
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Why Choose Mullen & Mullen’s Attorneys for Your Accident Claim?
Expertise and Knowledge
We’ve been in business in Dallas for 40 years, and our three attorneys have 95 years of combined experience. Mullen & Mullen has won hundreds of millions in settlements for injury victims. With a proven track record of winning every type of accident claim you can imagine, our team offers the best legal strategies available to fight the insurance companies. Nothing demonstrates this better than our lawyers having won 19 of the “Top 50” car accident settlements in Texas in 2021 (2022 results not yet released). Our expertise allows us to build strong cases that are strategically designed to protect your rights.
Diagnostic & Medical Treatment with Delayed Billing
Unlike other law firms, Mullen & Mullen will get your medical billing delayed until after your claim is settled, even if you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible. For 40 years our attorneys have cultivated specially negotiated relationships with leading medical professionals and institutions in Dallas (and across the whole state of Texas) who specialize in treating people hurt in accidents. Many doctors won’t even treat car accident victims for fear of getting dragged into lengthy litigation.
We have built relationships with doctors of every type: healthcare facilities, diagnostic facilities, pharmacies, everything you could need, who will accept a letter of protection. And what that means is, they will wait for the case to settle before they get paid.
Don’t trust the insurance company when they call you up right after an accident to try and settle. First, you haven’t had diagnostic testing yet, and second, you don’t know how much medical care you’re going to require. Most people have a good attitude and think they’re probably fine and might just be sore for a few days, but that’s not always the case. If due to your optimism, you go ahead and accept a quick settlement, it might very well turn out that it’s nowhere near enough to cover the healthcare attention you may later realize you’ll need. And if your injuries turn out to be serious and permanent, it won’t be nearly enough to compensate you for pain and suffering, physical impairment, and possibly even disfigurement.
We understand that every car accident is unique, and each client has different needs. That’s why our attorneys take the time to listen to your story, understand the details of your case, and tailor our legal strategies to your specific situation. Our compassionate team is committed to providing you with personalized attention and support throughout the entire process.
Mullen & Mullen’s lawyers will help you navigate any medical bills you’ve already accrued so you can get billing and collectors off your case. We’ll deal with insurers so you don’t make a mistake and find yourself cheated out of thousands of dollars. And we’ll do all this so you can focus on working through the physical and emotional trauma of your accident.
At Mullen & Mullen, we employ our own accident investigator. Most other firms contract these services out. It costs less to employ our own investigator, and we know the quality of his work and always get the information needed to win the most money possible for your injuries! We leave no stone unturned when it comes to investigating your collision. We conduct a comprehensive analysis of the accident scene, collect evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals. By building a strong foundation for your case, our legal team strives to achieve the best possible outcome.
Insurance companies often try to minimize their payouts, leaving victims without adequate compensation. Our skilled car accident lawyers are adept at negotiating with insurance companies to ensure that your rights are protected. They know who we are and don’t like seeing we’ve become involved because we fight aggressively to pursue a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may be entitled to.
While in every case we strive to reach a favorable settlement through negotiations, we are always prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. Our trial-tested attorneys have a proven track record of success in the courtroom. We will not hesitate to litigate your accident case and fight for your rights in front of a judge and jury.
Our top priority is your satisfaction. We prioritize open and transparent communication, keeping you informed about the progress of your auto accident claim and promptly responding to your questions and concerns. We are dedicated to providing you with peace of mind during this challenging time.
Areas of Expertise
- Big truck and commercial vehicle accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Hit and run accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
Hundreds of 5-Star Reviews
I was hit by a commercial vehicle. Erica, my paralegal, and Shane, my attorney were wonderful. They made sure all my medical needs and expenses were taken care of. I have recovered from my injuries. Shane is a great attorney, and I was awarded the maximum. I highly recommend this law firm. They were very professional & Shane sincerely cared about me. -Josie Gonzalez
We were about to give up on an insurance claim, but we were lucky enough to contact Mullen & Mullen for their help. Without hesitation they gave us the help and support we needed. Joseph Morrison was so professional and patient along with the rest of the staff. The outcome exceeded our expectations. –Debra Neuls
I contacted Mullen & Mullen because the insurance company of the at fault company was impossible to deal with. The at fault party’s insurance company was very SLOW at everything they did. Very uncaring too. In fact, they were so slow, that if they were any slower, I would think the adjuster could possibly be in a coma. I contacted Mullen & Mullen. I told them what happened, and they immediately went into action. First getting me the medical help I needed, then contacting the at fault party’s insurance company. Boy did they change their tune when they found out I had Mullen & Mullen on board. The insurance company was very slow about getting me a rental vehicle. My F-250 truck was totaled from the impact. They had me a rental right away. No questions ask. The main thing was Mr. Mullen saw that I received the treatment I needed. They called periodically to check to see how I was progressing. They updated me with the status of my claim as things progressed. I couldn’t ask for any better treatment. They really care about their clients. That was very refreshing especially in the world we live in today. Mr. Mullen, I want to publicly thank you and your firm for everything you all did for me. I appreciate you guys more than words can describe. I highly recommend Mullen and Mullen if you ever are in a serious accident. –Clifford Arnett
Mullen & Mullen was very helpful in making sure I received the maximum amount of money for my claim. They consistently kept in contact with me and made sure I was kept at ease during a very overwhelming situation. They are very well versed and have all of the experience and knowledge necessary to negotiate your claim and get you the top dollar settlement! –Nnena Symone
My fiancé and I were hit by an uninsured motorist in July of 2020. We were recommended to Mullen & Mullen by a close friend. I am SO GLAD we went with Mullen & Mullen. They consistently updated my fiancé & I on our case. They also answered my numerous questions I had about this process, and they fought to ensure we got the compensation we deserved. I highly recommend Mullen & Mullen. –Chrissy Jackson
After the auto accident I was in, I was unsure as to 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 and all the way to the end. If you need to retain personal injury council, there’s none better than Shane Mullen. -David White
Contact Mullen & Mullen for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t delay seeking legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers will evaluate your case, explain your rights and options, and guide you through the legal process. Remember, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay any legal fees unless we win your case. Just call us at (214) 747-5240 or use the form below now to take the first step towards recovery.
Do You Really Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Motor vehicle collisions can be traumatic events that can cause significant physical, emotional, and financial harm to the victims. If you have been involved in one, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
One major insurance company’s report states that claims represented by a lawyer settle for 2-3 times more than those with no legal representation. Many of our claims yield 10-15 times more.
Here are some examples of accident claims we represented that made the Texas “Top 20” personal injury settlements list between 2019 and 2021, as reported by TopVerdict.com:
(GROSS SETTLEMENTS LISTED BELOW BEFORE FEES AND EXPENSES)
- $2,050,000.00 for client’s child who required surgery
- $2,024,050.73 for client hit by a drunk driver who sustained a TBI and multiple broken bones
- $1.3 million for client hit by commercial driver who sustained a TBI
- $1 million for client hit by inattentive commercial driver
- $1 million for client hit by negligent commercial motorist
- $978,569.77 for client hit by commercial driver
- $996,292.00 for client hit by truck driver
- $960,576.60 for commercial driver hit by another commercial driver
- $954,543.87 for commercial driver hit by another commercial driver
- $925,000.00 for client hit by an inattentive motorist
- $845,000.00 for client hit by truck driver
Our role, as your attorney, is to represent YOUR best interests. We assist accident injury victims in navigating the legal process and help them to pursue their legal rights. Here are some ways in which we will assist you:
As dedicated advocates, we are committed to:
- Initiating the filing of all essential insurance claims right from the start, ensuring a smooth process without any unnecessary delays.
- Assisting you in obtaining a loan for immediate financial relief, should you require it.
- Ensuring that you receive the necessary and deserving medical treatment without any upfront costs.
- Calculating your lost wages or loss of earning capacity resulting from your injuries (if applicable).
- Engaging experts, if required, with no upfront charges involved.
- Negotiating the most favorable settlement offer possible to maximize your compensation.
- Prioritizing prompt response and return of phone calls. Unlike high-volume firms that prioritize quantity over each client’s well-being, we prioritize quality and your satisfaction at Mullen & Mullen.
- Offering a discounted attorney fee of 29% of the gross recovery for claims that do not require litigation, compared to the industry standard fee of 33.3%.
- Providing an in-house accident investigator at no additional cost to you. While many firms hire investigators and pass on the costs to clients, we have a dedicated accident investigator on our team who can offer their services without any charges. This approach allows us to maximize your compensation even further.
Other things we do include:
Investigating the accident: Our accident investigator will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine who was at fault. He will gather evidence, such as witness statements, police reports, and photographs of the accident scene, to build a strong case on your behalf.
Evaluating damages: Your lawyer will help you understand the full extent of your injuries and the potential costs associated with them. We will work with medical experts to evaluate the long-term impact of your injuries and ensure that you receive compensation for all of your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Negotiating with insurance companies: Our lawyers are skilled negotiators and can work with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries and losses. We can help you navigate the complex insurance claims process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Representing you in court: If necessary, our attorneys can represent you in court to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We will present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make persuasive arguments on your behalf.
Providing support and guidance: Your lawyer can provide you with the support and guidance you need during this difficult time. We will answer your questions, provide legal advice, and ensure that your case is handled with care and compassion.
Our Dallas car accident attorneys are an invaluable asset if you have been involved in a car accident. We will help you understand your legal rights, pursue the compensation you deserve, and provide you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.
The biggest mistake you can make is handling your accident claim on your own. Yes, we are going to get part of your compensation, but even so, we will put way more money in your pocket than you could ever hope to negotiate on your own. We work hard on your behalf to earn our cut and pay for ourselves. At Mullen & Mullen, we pride ourselves on achieving as many full policy limits settlements as possible.
Win More with Mullen & Mullen. Call (214) 747-5240 to Get Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today!
General Overview of Motor Vehicle Collisions
A car accident occurs when one or more vehicles collide with each other or with a stationary object, such as a tree or building. They can be devastating and cause significant injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Collisions can be caused by a wide range of factors, including driver error, vehicle malfunctions, road conditions, and weather.
Some of the most common types of MVAs that can occur include:
Rear-end collisions: These occur when a driver hits the vehicle in front of them.
Head-on collisions: These occur when two vehicles collide with each other from opposite directions. This type of collision has an impact double your driving speed. So, if you’re going 45 mph, you experience the consequences of a 90-mph accident. Drunk driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and unsafe passing frequently cause head-on collisions. Fatalities often result because the driver doesn’t have time to react. Drunk or fatigued drivers, for example, don’t swerve or brake. Spinal cord injuries, permanent paralysis, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, and knee, hip, and leg injuries result.
Side-impact collisions: Also known as T-bone accidents, these occur when a vehicle is hit from the side by another vehicle. This type of accident usually results from someone merging into another’s lane, running a red light, or making a driving error at an intersection and frequently causes serious injuries. Head, neck, chest, pelvis, abdomen, and limb injuries can result. Traumatic brain injuries can happen. Fatalities are also common.
Rollover accidents: These occur when a vehicle flips over onto its side or roof. Rollovers happen and don’t necessarily need to involve another driver. Something as simple as a pothole can be enough to cause you to lose control and roll your car. Another car running into you may cause you to swerve to dodge them and roll over your vehicle. You can suffer any type of injury, ranging from none to a broken spine or fatality.
Single-vehicle accidents: These occur when a vehicle crashes into a stationary object or goes off the road.
Multi-vehicle accidents: These occur when multiple vehicles are involved in an accident. While rare, you hear about these on the news because they’re so exceptional and they make for an attention-getting news story. They happen because of speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, drunk driving, failure to yield, road rage, negligent entrustment, and reckless driving. This type of accident is particularly deadly because of the entire mass of crumpled vehicles. This makes escape difficult. And if victims do escape, sometimes they get hit by more vehicles entering the pileup. A single car, for example, may get crushed by several collisions. Many fatalities and all the severe injuries you’ve read about in other accidents can happen in multi-car pileups.
Hit and Runs: Texas law requires you to stop and render aid if you find yourself involved in a car accident. Some motorists fear the consequences of their actions so much that they simply leave the scene and hope to never be caught. Maybe they don’t want to be arrested, can’t afford having their insurance rates going up, or maybe they just panicked. Hit-and-run accidents can have simply minor damage and may not cause you any physical or emotional harm. But they can also be quite severe and may result in injuries that take weeks or months to heal from. And they can result in fatalities too.
The consequences of a vehicle collision can vary widely depending on the severity. Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. In some cases, accidents can even be fatal.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision, it’s important to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.
Common Types of Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
Motor vehicle collisions can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on factors such as the speed of the wreck, the position of the occupants within the vehicle, and the use of safety devices. Understanding the common types of injuries sustained in car accidents can help raise awareness about the importance of safe driving practices and the use of protective measures.
These are the most frequently encountered injuries:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, particularly in rear-end collisions. It occurs when the neck is forcefully jerked forward and then backward, causing strain or damage to the soft tissues in the neck. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and limited range of motion. Prompt medical attention and proper rehabilitation are essential for recovery.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: The impact of a car accident can result in fractures and broken bones. The most commonly affected areas are the limbs, ribs, collarbones, and pelvis. Fractures can vary in severity, ranging from hairline fractures to complete breaks. Treatment may involve immobilization, casting, or in severe cases, surgical intervention.
- Head and Brain Injuries: Head injuries are a significant concern in car accidents, especially if the occupants are not wearing seatbelts or helmets. These injuries can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and mood changes. Prompt medical evaluation is crucial to assess the severity of the injury and initiate appropriate treatment.
- Chest and Abdominal Injuries: The impact of a car accident can cause chest and abdominal injuries, even with seatbelt use. These injuries may include rib fractures, internal bleeding, organ damage, or trauma to the chest wall. Severe injuries may require immediate surgical intervention to prevent life-threatening complications.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Car accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, which can result in partial or complete paralysis. The severity of these injuries depends on the location and extent of the damage. Spinal cord injuries often require extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and adaptive equipment to support the affected individuals in their daily activities.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and bruises, are common in car accidents. These injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Depending on the severity, treatment may involve rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.
Car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, impacting individuals physically, emotionally, and financially. It is crucial to prioritize safety on the road by following traffic rules, wearing seatbelts, and avoiding distracted driving. Understanding the common types of injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions can encourage preventive measures and help victims seek appropriate medical care promptly. By promoting responsible driving practices, we can contribute to reducing the occurrence and severity of these injuries on the roads.
Legal Considerations in Car Accident Cases
There are several legal considerations that you should be aware of. Understanding these legal concepts can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Negligence: Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. In a car accident case, negligence occurs when a driver fails to act reasonably and causes an accident as a result. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits another vehicle, they may be considered negligent for failing to obey traffic laws.
Liability: Liability refers to legal responsibility for an accident. In a car accident case, liability is often based on negligence. The driver who is found to be at fault for the accident may be liable for the injuries and losses suffered by the other driver.
Damages: Damages refer to the losses suffered by the victim of a car accident. In a car accident case, damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is important to accurately assess the full extent of damages suffered to ensure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve.
Comparative negligence: Comparative negligence is a legal concept that can affect the amount of compensation a victim receives. If the victim is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. For example, if the victim is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced by 20%.
Statute of limitations: The statute of limitations is the time period within which a lawsuit must be filed. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time period can result in the loss of legal rights.
In summary, negligence, liability, and damages are important legal considerations in a car accident case. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you understand these concepts and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
What You Need to Know about Insurance Companies
No matter how much they might advertise it, insurers are 100% not “on your side.” In reality, they spend the second most amount of money lobbying Congress and the Senate to write laws in their favor (right behind the healthcare industry). In 2021, for example, they spent $111 million doing so.
And it’s no different right here in Texas. You have to remember that insurers spend a lot of time and money trying to get the rules of the game in their favor. What they do may not be right. But they can make it legal!So with that in mind, here’s what to know when interacting with insurance companies:
- They record your calls to use what you say against you later on. Yes, the recorded voice message says “Your call is being recorded for ‘quality assurance.” That might be partially true. But it’s also true that anything you say can and will be used against you.
Remember, insurers exist to make a profit. They have investors to report to. If they give those investors an unprofitable report, their stock price goes down. That could represent hundreds of millions of lost dollars.
And the CEO and upper-level execs might lose their jobs. They don’t want that to happen. So, they’ve created a system for getting as much money from you as they can.
- Never relax when talking with adjusters. Adjusters know that if they bully or intimidate you, it’s obvious what they’re up to. They know a more effective tactic is to appear super nice and honest, as though they’d never even hurt a fly.
Don’t be deceived! They know that if they can convince you that they’re really here to help, you’re more likely to let your guard down and start sharing information that hurts your claim. Suddenly, later on, they say they’re going to pay you less (or nothing at all) because you told them this, that, and the other thing. Don’t be their next victim!
- Never sign anything fast, or without showing it to a car accident lawyer. Wow! The insurance company overnights you forms so you can sign them and get your check in just a few days. You’ve never seen them act so fast. Why is it that they’re acting so quickly now, but when it comes to paying at any other time, they take as long as possible?
Well, they’re trying to get you caught up in the excitement of getting paid fast so you overlook how much you should really get paid. Like we said earlier, in rare cases you should take the insurance company’s offer (such as when they admit fault or when you don’t have significant injuries).
However, nothing in Texas law obligates you to take their offer or to respond quickly to it. You have two full years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. And that’s all the law says. So, even if you’re pretty sure you have an offer you like, it may be worth your time to run the offer and its paperwork by a lawyer.
The worst that happens is that you learn you have a good offer and to accept it as-is. Conversely, you may find out you could actually get much more than the insurer offers.
How Does the Insurance Claims Process Work?
After a car accident, your first step is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. They’ll ask you for proof regarding the severity of your injuries and the medical treatment you have retrieved so far.
Once they get that information from you, the insurer does their own investigation. They’ll ask you for further information regarding your accident. They’ll ask for:
- Photos of the accident
- The police report
- Witness contact information
They may also ask you to see a doctor of their choosing. And you can guess what they’re looking for. Though called “independent medical examiners,” their examinations are anything but independent.
Because these doctors make a lot of money due to the sheer number of patients insurers refer to them, they tend to make findings that favor the insurers. And of course, the more findings a doctor makes in their favor, the more business the insurer sends their way.
There’s not necessarily a written agreement. It’s an unwritten understanding. And you can bet insurance companies know exactly which doctors help them out most.
Texas law does not require you to see the insurer’s doctor. So don’t feel any pressure to do so if the insurer asks you. You can see your regular family doctor or any one of your own choosing.
Insurers can require you to see their doctor after you file a lawsuit. However, they must show “good cause.” And your attorney can place restrictions on what type of doctor you see and how they conduct their exam.
Once the insurance company has done all the investigation, they feel necessary, they’ll come back at you with an offer. You have three choices at that point:
- Accept the offer
- Make a counteroffer
- Talk to a car accident lawyer to ensure you have a fair offer
Insurer Not Treating You Fairly? Call (214) 747-5240 to Get Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today!
How Do Money and Compensation Work?
You need a certain amount of money to maintain your quality of life. And the at-fault driver should have to compensate you for that. Because, if they had been driving responsibly in the first place, you wouldn’t have the injuries, pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life that you do.
How Much Can You Expect to Recover?
Make no mistake about it: much of this depends on the skill and personal concern of your lawyer. While you can interview dozens of car accident lawyers in the Dallas area, they generally fall into three categories:
- Settlement mills – These law firms advertise like crazy on TV, radio, billboards, and anywhere else they can find. They have fast, catchy advertisements. And they sell stories of clients who win big chunks of cash. They seem convincing.
But the problem is that, overall, they really just ram cases as quickly through the settlement and legal process as fast as possible. They’re more concerned with maximizing their own profit per hour than they are with getting you the full compensation you deserve.
Do some car accident victims get big settlements? Yes. But, on the average, the typical person gets much less than they should. Such firms also use a lot of high pressure to get you to act now.
- Large, impersonal firms – These firms aren’t as focused on processing your claim as fast as possible. But the nature of their process still puts you at risk. They’ll have you meet with an experienced senior attorney.
But then he hands off all the real work to inexperienced junior attorneys and paralegals. A junior attorney may even do the arguing in court, if it becomes necessary. Make sure to ask the lawyer who does all the real work on your claim and see how they answer your question.
- Small firms focused on personal relationships – These firms have just a few lawyers and a small team supporting them. Rather than focus on volume, these firms take on a limited number of cases. That means your case gets the specialized time and attention it deserves. Ultimately, that leads to you having the best chance possible of recovering the most compensation for your injuries.
In addition to the skill of your lawyer, you can recover compensation for all financial losses related to your accident. This includes:
- All past, present, and future lost income (as well as lost earning capacity)
- Medical bills in the past, present, and future
- In-home care costs
- Damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages
- Mental anguish
- Loss of body member or mental function
- Loss of household services performed by the injured party
- Loss of companionship (only if you’ve suffered severe injuries)
Of all these, mental anguish is the hardest to recover damages for. To show you have suffered “mental anguish,” as it’s legally understood, you must have evidence of one of the following:
- Disruption your daily routine
- A high degree of mental pain that is more than anger, embarrassment, anxiety, or worry
How Do Insurers Determine What They’ll Pay You?
Obviously, this is a heavily biased process. As you’ve learned, insurers make every effort to write the law in their favor in the first place. That gives them the basis for paying you less than what’s right. And, of course, they’ll do everything in their power to minimize what they should pay you, hoping they can get away without paying anything at all.
Each insurer has their own method that uses complex computer algorithms to determine what they’ll pay. In general, they use some variation of the “multiplier method.” This method looks at easily quantifiable damages (like medical bills for specific treatments) stemming from more serious car accidents and, as a result, require a multiplier to determine the accident’s true cost.
For example, let’s say you experience $7,000 in medical bills and $1,500 in lost wages from your accident. That totals $8,500. Multipliers range from 1 to 5. 3 is the most common. Then you multiply $8,500 by 3 to get $25,500. That $25,500 then factors in the pain and suffering you experience from your accident.
The more serious the accident, the higher the multiplier used. For a minor fender bender, the multiplier might be 1-2. For a nasty head-on collision, that multiplier might be 3-4. The multiplier can also go higher than 5 if an “aggravating circumstance,” such as driving drunk, is present. And, if you were partially at fault for your injuries, the multiplier may adjust down slightly.
Of course, when the insurer uses a multiplier, they tend to come up with a lower number than a car accident attorney. It is somewhat of an inconsistent system. But it is the system we have.
In theory, here’s roughly how they determine what they’ll pay you:
- Car damages. Insurers do market research to see roughly what it costs to replace your car right now. Remember that depreciation comes into play. Every day you drive your car, it loses value.
And that affects the final amount the insurance company pays for your car. You can dispute the insurer’s estimate. The best way to do so is to find similar makes and models with similar wear and tear and mileage. Just use Craigslist or Facebook to do your estimate.
- Lost wages from work and any other income. Texas law entitles you to compensation for your past, present, and future lost income. The same happens for any other sources of income you have. If you can’t produce the same income because of your injuries, the insurance company is supposed to pay you for it.
- Pain and physical suffering. For minor injuries, insurance companies tend to use a multiplier of 1 to 3. If your injuries are more severe, they may use a multiplier of five or more. This is usually just a starting point for negotiations.
- Permanent physical disability and disfigurement. The same formula just described for pain and suffering will be used to figure your compensation if you are permanently disabled or disfigured. However, the multiplier will likely be on the higher side because these injuries are more severe.
- Emotional pain and suffering. The insurance company’s claims adjuster will also figure in your emotional pain and suffering if it applies. This can be an extremely difficult, and a highly subjective, number to figure.
Defenses Insurers Might Use to Reduce Your Claim’s Value
The largest insurance companies are worth billions. And they don’t get there by writing checks. They work hard on writing the rules of the game by lobbying lawmakers at the state and national levels. And short of that, they’ll push you around as much as they can, so they pay as little as possible.
These are the common defenses they’ll use to reduce what they owe you:
- You had some fault for your injuries. Texas follows the “comparative negligence” rule. That means you can be held partially at fault for your injuries. And, if you are more than 50% responsible for your injuries, you don’t get any compensation at all.
So, for example, if you are found to be 25% of the reason you were in a car accident, then your compensation is reduced 25%. If this is the case, then you can’t do much about it. However, as you might expect, insurers may try to say you had partial fault when in fact you had none.
- Some other party was responsible. Insurers will try to place some or all the fault on someone other than their driver. This could be another driver. It could be the manufacturer of an auto part they claim to be defective. Or it could be a government entity who they claim didn’t maintain the street properly. They’ll check every possibility to try to dodge payment.
- You had a pre-existing condition. The insurer may also try to say that the car accident didn’t cause your injuries. In fact, they claim, you have a pre-existing condition. You can’t recover compensation for a pre-existing condition. However, if the car accident exacerbated your injuries, you can get compensation for the extent to which it did so.
- You failed to minimize damages. Legally, this is called “failure to mitigate damages.” The insurer may try to show that you failed to take actions that would have led to the least losses possible.
For example, you failed to see a doctor at all. And if you would have, your injuries would not be as severe as they are. As a result, the insurer shouldn’t have to pay you for how much you made your injuries worse.
- Expired statute of limitations. In Texas, you have two years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. If you fail to do so, you cannot pursue that claim ever again. Even if you’re in the middle of the negotiations process, this could pass and come in as a viable defense for the insurer.
- You knew, or should have known, the situation was dangerous. This is called “Assumption of Risk,” the insurer may say you entered an obviously dangerous situation. As a result, you, and not the insurer, are responsible for your injuries. For example, you choose to drive in an area marked with a “No Trespassing” sign.
- You experienced minimal property damage. Insurers may look at the extent of the damages to your vehicle and then claim that there’s no way the accident could have caused the injuries you’re experiencing. We can come back with the counterargument that your body, not the vehicle, absorbs most of the damage in an accident.
- Gaps in medical treatment. This one has become especially popular because of COVID-19 making consistent medical treatment more difficult to get. However, we can easily counter it by saying that you were trying to “tough it out.”
- Intentionally misleading questions. The insurance company’s claims adjuster asks questions with the intent of gleaning information to use against you. They may ask questions with no “right” answer. They may also ask questions in intentionally confusing or misleading ways.
Insurer Making You an Unfair Offer? Call (214) 747-5240 to Get Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today!
What if You Had an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?
If you’re involved in an accident with one of the 4 million uninsured vehicles in Texas, or one of the many underinsured motorists, you don’t have to panic. More than likely, you have insurance coverage for this situation. Texas law does allow you to sign a waiver saying you don’t want this type of coverage. But few people do that (for obvious reasons).
In some cases, the uninsured driver will have enough personal assets to cover the damages they caused. Sometimes, they simply forget to renew their auto insurance.
But in most situations, the uninsured driver has such little money available that they can’t afford their car insurance. And even if you were to win a lawsuit against them, they’d never pay. So, the best thing you can do is file a claim with your own insurance company because they offer some uninsured motorist coverage.
However, your insurance company doesn’t want to pay any more than they have to either. And so, they’ll put you through all the same difficulties the at-fault driver’s insurer would.
This is where an experienced car accident attorney becomes valuable. One can help you uncover the financial situation of the other driver. And they can help you figure out how to navigate the situation should they not have the money necessary to compensate you for your injuries.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement Offer?
Many car accident claims can be resolved within a few months. However, the specific facts surrounding your situation affect just how long it will take to recover financial damages.
- Your injuries – It’s wisest to wait until you have reached a point of “maximum medical improvement” before accepting a settlement. This is the point where your doctor says your injuries will not improve further.
The reason to wait this long is because it’s important to know the full value of your medical expenses, as well as the potential value of your future medical expenses. Otherwise, you could be trapped in a situation where you have high medical expenses you can’t pay.
- The insurer – Different insurance companies negotiate your claim in varying ways. This can be longer or shorter, depending on the company.
- If you have a lawyer – If the insurer knows you don’t have a lawyer, they may wait if they can to make an offer. They do this because they know that more than likely you have rising expenses you can’t pay. This slowly puts more pressure on you to accept whatever offer they make, even if it’s way lower than what you should get. Therefore, it makes sense to involve a lawyer as fast as you possibly can.
Recover Fair Compensation! Call (214) 747-5240 to Get Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today
What About Car Accidents Involving City or Government Officials?
Do legal processes and rules change when you get in an accident with a government official?
They do. And unfortunately, things become a little more difficult. For example, instead of having two years from the date of your accident to file your claim, you now may have just 6 months. Some municipalities have even shorter time-frames.
In addition, Texas law restricts what you can collect to $300,000 per occurrence of bodily injury and $100,000 per person involved.
This sounds unfair, but it is the way that it is. When our nation was first formed, it adopted England’s policy of “sovereign immunity.” At its most basic level, this means that a land’s ruler cannot be sued. In 1969, the Texas Tort Claims act was passed to allow lawsuits for accidents involving government vehicles or ones which happen on government land.
Common Myths & Misunderstandings About Accident Claims
You probably understand that law doesn’t always work the way you think. That’s one of the reasons why you’re looking for a lawyer representing you. That’s a wise move on your part. Here are some things that many of our clients commonly misunderstand when first approaching us about their claim:
- The at-fault party doesn’t necessarily owe you money for all your medical care. Texas law says someone owes you for “reasonable” medical bills and healthcare. And of course, insurance companies work hard to use this to their advantage.
- You’ll need to spend a lot of time in court. More than likely, you’ll never set foot in court. That’s because Mullen & Mullen settles 90% of all claims before going to court. And in the rare event you do have to go to court, a lawyer with decades of experience does most of the talking. If you do have to testify, you’ll be coached on exactly what to say.
- You’re wasting your time talking to a lawyer if you have minor injuries. Some car accident injuries don’t show their full effects for days or weeks. Whiplash and traumatic brain injuries, for example, can fall into this category.
Even if you have seemingly minor injuries, you’re wise to talk to a lawyer. The worst you’ll find out is that you do in fact have just minor injuries and won’t need to proceed with action against the at-fault party’s insurer. But you could also find out that you should get much more compensation than you initially thought.
- You’re greedy or filing a frivolous lawsuit. The news media love to only bring forth the most sensational legal stories because they garner the most attention. And so, when it comes to legal claims, you frequently only hear about completely ridiculous cases.
This then leads many accident victims to believe that all legal claims are based on greed or frivolity. While a tiny fraction of cases are insane, the vast majority simply seek fair compensation for injuries and damages caused by another party. If someone else’s negligence causes you harm, why shouldn’t they take responsibility and pay for it? It’s only fair that you get compensation for someone else’s poor choices.
- Your claim will take years to resolve. It’s true that some claims get that complicated. However, many resolve within just a few months. It really depends on the facts surrounding your claim and the evidence the insurer thinks they must dispute the amount of compensation you’re seeking.
- Insurers won’t pay. It’s true that insurers don’t like to pay. And they don’t want to pay any more than they have to. But they still must pay. And a big factor in what they end up paying lies in the skill and experience of your lawyer.
- The other party doesn’t have enough money to pay. In most cases, at-fault parties do not have the cash available to pay. But that’s why they carry insurance, which does have the money to pay. It’s rare, but it does happen when the other party doesn’t have the cash or the insurance in place to pay. However, that’s where your uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage applies.
- You shouldn’t file a claim against a family member or friend. No one wants to put intense strain on a close relationship. But, if you’re injured and have costs, who should have to pay for your injuries? A lawyer can make dealing with the issue a lot less stressful for you because they can take care of all the communication.
- You should wait until your injuries heal before filing a claim. This is about the worst thing you can do if you want to recover full compensation. Evidence can be lost or destroyed. The insurer can question how injured you really are or the true source of your injuries. It’s always wisest to talk to a car accident lawyer in Dallas as soon as you possibly can.
- The insurer has already agreed to pay. You don’t need a lawyer. Insurers will happily agree to pay quickly as a strategy for not paying any more than they must. For example, they know you may also be entitled to payment for co-pays, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more. It’s true. You may not need a lawyer. But you’re wise to at least run your situation by one so that you know you’re compensated.
- Can’t I just take my claim on by myself? In rare situations, you can. In most situations, it will be more beneficial to let a lawyer handle your case. For example, our lawyers recover on average 10-15 times more than what you would get on your own.
- What if I already settled my claim with the insurer and suddenly realize I have more medical expenses I can’t afford? Unfortunately, more than likely, nothing can be done at this point. When negotiating with the insurer, you likely signed a form that waived your rights to any further action or compensation.
- I’m too busy. Can I wait to file my claim? While technically you can, it’s not in your best interest. The longer you wait, the more evidence that becomes lost or destroyed.
- Insurers can use any delays in action against you to question the true extent of your injuries. You also run the risk of running past the statute of limitations. This gives you two years from the date of your accident to file your claim. If you wait longer than that, you can no longer pursue compensation for your injuries.
Life will never be calm enough such that it feels like the right time to file your claim. And besides, our legal team does most of the real work for you so you can focus on your life and recovering from your injuries. Don’t trick yourself into never getting compensation for your injuries.
- I already got an offer from the insurance company. I don’t need a lawyer. Why is it that insurers suddenly can rapidly figure out how much money to pay you when they usually make payments of any kind as difficult and lengthy as possible?
They want to sucker you into taking a much lower amount than you would get if you hired a lawyer. There’s a small chance you did get a fair offer. But more than likely, it’s much less than you could get.
And it may not even cover the expenses that result from your accident. At least run your offer by a lawyer. The worst you can find out is that the offer is fair and that you should accept it.
- If you have insurance, you don’t need a personal injury lawyer. Make no mistake about it, your insurer doesn’t want to pay more than the at-fault party’s insurer. Let’s say the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance at all. Then you must file a claim under your own insurer’s uninsured / underinsured driver policy.
Just because you pay for that protection doesn’t mean that it covers what you think. You may still need a lawyer to get fair compensation from your own insurance company.
- Holding out will get you a larger settlement. Sometimes, this might be the case. Others, it may not be the situation at all. If you’re handling your own claim, understand that insurers may not even care if you hold out.
They may be leveraging your actions against you. They know that more than likely you don’t have the money to cover your injuries and financial damages. And so, they know pressure is mounting for you to take their offer, even if it’s unfairly low. Holding out may backfire on you. You’re always wise to at least run your claim by a personal injury lawyer. The worst thing that happens is that they tell you the insurer is being fair and to accept their offer.
- The courts are too busy, and it will take too long to file your claim. While it’s true the legal process is usually not a fast one, it’s certainly not true that courts are too busy to even hear your case. And for starters, because of our proven experience, only 10% of our cases even have a possibility of going to court.
And in many situations, a lawsuit is filed, but still settles before going to court. Remember that, while courts are busy, they exist to provide justice and resolve legitimate disputes. While you may not get your claim resolved in the time you hope, you’re still wise to hire an attorney willing to take your claim to court. Sometimes, it’s the only way to get fair compensation.
- Lawyer’s fees will eat up most of your settlement. It’s true that lawyers charge money for their services. However, the most they will ever charge is 33% of your final settlement value. And that figure gets paid for by the at-fault party as part of your settlement’s value.
The remaining 67% is what you need to maintain a quality of life like what it was before your accident. Plus, your lawyer only makes money when they win your claim. In addition, most car accident lawyers in Dallas will meet with you for a free consultation. They’ll review your case and advise you of legal options. And if lawyer’s fees might eat up most of the money you would win, your lawyer will let you know about that up front.
- You will financially ruin the at-fault party. It’s compassionate to think about how your claim could affect the other person. But understand that you won’t be ruining them financially. Their insurance will pay for their damages.
They might get canceled by that insurer. And they’ll likely have to pay higher premiums. It’s inconvenient. And costly. But they’ll be far from financial ruin. Also, if they don’t have insurance at all, they’ll more than likely get away without paying anything.
Since they most likely don’t have any financial resources to go after, they won’t end up paying anything at all. Instead, you’ll file a claim under your insurer’s uninsured / underinsured motorist policy. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that if they were acting responsibly, they would never have been in this situation in the first place.
Car Accident FAQs
You may have many questions about the legal process and how to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Here are some frequently asked questions about car accident cases:
How do I file a claim?
To file a claim, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with the details of the accident and any relevant documentation, such as a police report. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process.
What damages can I recover?
The damages you can recover can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you accurately assess the full extent of your damages.
How long does a case take to resolve?
The length of a case can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some cases can be resolved through negotiations with insurance companies, while others may require litigation. An experienced car accident lawyer can give you a better idea of how long your case may take.
What should I do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation through your own insurance policy, if you have uninsured motorist coverage. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your options.
What should I expect during the legal process?
During the legal process, your lawyer will gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and potentially file a lawsuit on your behalf. You may need to provide testimony or participate in depositions. Your lawyer will keep you informed throughout the process.
What if I was partially at fault?
If you were partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced proportionally. This is known as comparative negligence. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand how comparative negligence may impact your case.
What can I do if I am experiencing immediate financial hardship and don’t have the time to wait for my claim to resolve?
While the legal system doesn’t take this into consideration, you do have an option if you find yourself in this situation. These are called “law loans.” And they work to provide you with cash to help you make it through until your settlement funds arrive. If you end up losing your claim, you do not have to pay your law loan back. So, all the risk lies on the shoulders of the law loan provider.
While called “law loans,” they really aren’t “loans.” They’re more like a cash advance. But the terms of the advance are much more in your favor than you would get with any companies who call themselves “cash advance” providers.
First, you must have an attorney. Then, you reach out to the law loan firm and give them permission to contact your attorney. They then call your attorney and review your case. Then you and your attorney review the offer and sign the necessary paperwork.
Believe it or not, this whole process takes only 24 hours or so. You can use the money for anything you want. However, you’re wise to only use it for expenses related to your claim (medical bills, lost income, and so on).
The only catch is you do have to pay interest.
In some cases, that interest can be massive (60% or more). So, ask us for recommendations or shop your claim around. You should be able to get a rate of around 15 – 20% charged every 6 months.
What Can I Do if My Medical Bills are Piling Up?
At Mullen & Mullen, we can connect you with medical professionals and institutions who happily delay payment until after you win your claim. Even if you already have some piling up, we can coach you on keeping them from causing you any more financial trouble than is necessary.
After you become our client, then all further medical bills will simply be paid after you receive your settlement offer.
What if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident?
This does change your situation a little, but mostly in your favor. Texas recognizes the doctrine of “Respondeat Superior.” This means the employer is responsible for the actions of their employees while they are on the job.
Commercial insurance policies typically have higher liability limits than personal ones. And since businesses have financial resources above and beyond what their policy provides, you can potentially go after those as well.
If you have additional questions about car accident cases, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you with the answers you need.
Protect Your Rights: What to Do and NOT Do After a Car Accident
It’s crucial to take certain steps to protect your well-being, ensure your safety, and preserve important information for insurance purposes or potential legal claims. Here’s a guide on what to do and not do after a car accident:
- Don’t worry if you’re too injured to collect evidence. If you’re hurt too seriously to gather evidence, don’t fret about it. Take care of your health first. Get to a safe spot if you can move. Go to the emergency room and get hospitalized if necessary. An accident investigator can always help you collect evidence later on. But do make sure you get a lawyer involved as soon as possible. If you’re unable, have a family member take care of it for you. The faster you act, the easier it is to gather the strongest evidence needed to win your claim.
- Do call the police. While a police report does not prove who’s at fault, it is one of the strongest pieces of evidence available. It is 100% imperative to have a police report to win the most money possible for your injuries. If the officer simply tries to make you exchange insurance info with the other driver, but fails to create a report, politely ask them to fill one out anyway. If the police don’t come, or won’t file a report, file one yourself in person or online. You can do it online for the City of Dallas at this link. In other jurisdictions, simply call your local police department to learn what to do.
- Do contact the police, even if it seems obvious the other driver is at fault. Take, for example, a rear-end collision. Insurers typically automatically view the driver who rear-ended you as being at fault. However, they also might try to say you stopped suddenly or that their driver faced a sudden emergency. Call the police and get a report anyway. You can never overdo it when collecting evidence.
- Do exchange info with the other driver. If the police don’t come, get the other driver’s name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number. This guarantees they won’t completely disappear.
- Don’t move your car. Law may require you to move your car. It may also be a safety hazard for others if left in its current location. If either of those is the case, move your car. If you feel too injured to move it, just leave it where it is.
- Don’t talk any more than you have to. Insurance claims adjusters and their legal teams will only use what you say against you later on. They’ll try to construe meanings out of your words that you didn’t intend. Make doubly sure that you do not apologize for the accident. This can be used against you, even if you aren’t at fault.
- Don’t tell anyone at the accident scene that you feel fine or unhurt. Many car accident injuries may not physically manifest for days, weeks, or months. Making a statement that you feel fine to anyone at the scene of the accident (police, witnesses, or the other driver) is a big mistake. Insurers could use this against you later on as proof that you’re not injured.
- Do talk to medical personnel about your injuries extensively. While you generally shouldn’t talk much at the accident scene, you can give every little detail about your injuries. This gives you a record to go back to should it become necessary in the future.
- Don’t accuse the other driver of intentionally causing your accident. Insurers can use this against you too. They are not legally obligated to provide insurance in cases where another driver intentionally caused the accident. Don’t even make the accusation. You don’t want to give the insurer more opportunity to deny or minimize your claim.
- Do help the other driver and make sure everyone is safe. Even if the other driver was at fault, help them get to a safe place, if possible. Don’t move them unless you feel leaving them exactly where they are puts their health at risk. It’s the right thing to do. And it also makes you look good later on if your case has to go to court.
- Do take images and videos of the accident scene, if you can. If you can’t, ask a witness to do this for you. Make especially sure that you have imagery of the location of all vehicles after the accident, the damage done to each vehicle, and any hazardous road conditions that could have led to your accident (potholes, junk laying in the road etc…). Have pictures of the at-fault driver (because they often take off after an accident) and their license plate. Also take pictures of other cars and license plates in the area, as they could be potential witnesses. You really can’t go overboard here.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident (unless your medical needs require you to do so). First, make sure you have collected all evidence. And next, exchange insurance info with the at-fault driver. Have their driver’s license number, insurance company name, policy number, name, address, and phone number.
- Do gather witness contact info. You need their name, phone number, and address. Have them text it to you immediately at the accident scene. Do this because you may misunderstand or miscommunicate and fail to take down the information correctly during the stress of your accident. You also want to get their version of what happened. Either have them shoot a video while they share their story or have them send a video to you from their phone immediately after the accident. It’s easy to confuse the events of an accident over time. So it’s best to get their story when witnesses have a fresh recollection of it.
- Do make your own video. Just like your witnesses, shoot a video describing how your accident happened as soon after your accident as possible. Should this testimony be needed later on in court, this will make it carry the most credibility possible.
- Do get medical treatment, even if you feel uninjured. Not only does this give your claim more credibility, but many injuries may not appear until days or weeks after your accident. For example, a traumatic brain injury may not become apparent until several weeks later. A minor injury could lead to organ failure or infection that takes a month to appear. Whiplash symptoms may not appear for a few days. Seeking medical treatment helps you understand the true extent of your injuries right now. And it gives you records just in case they are needed later on.
- Do call your insurance company as soon as you can. Insurers have different time limits regarding how long you have to report your car accident to them. If you wait too long, they may deny coverage for your accident. Make no mistake about it: your insurer doesn’t want to pay any more than they have to either.
- Do talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. Insurers and at-fault parties may destroy evidence. Witnesses become more difficult to find. And, Texas has a 2-year statute of limitations during which you must file your claim. If you fail to file it within that time period, you can never pursue it again. You’re wise to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. This gives you the best chance possible of winning the maximum compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t talk to the insurance company or sign their paperwork. Remember, insurers profit by not paying you. And Texas law actually favors insurers. But experienced car accident attorneys in the Dallas area know how to use the law in your favor. Simple and casual statements can turn into strong defenses for insurers. And that could cost you a lot of compensation.
- Don’t relax with the insurer’s representative. Their strategy might be to come across as nice and accommodating. Then, with your guard down, you share information with them that they use to reduce what they should have to pay you. No matter how helpful their rep might seem, don’t fall for the ruse. They’re never on your side.
- Do record your medical appointments and health concerns. The more detail, the better. Record all your interactions with medical professionals. Take note of who you saw, why you saw them, and what you discussed. Also write down your personal thoughts and feelings, as well as the pain and suffering you experience in your daily life. This information becomes invaluable as your case progresses.
- Do log the time you missed from work. Texas law entitles you to compensation for all the time you were unable to work.
What If You Don’t Get Some of This Information?
The more of this information you can get, the better. However, if you’re unable to get it because you’re severely injured, don’t worry. We can help. Our in-house accident investigator can help you gather all the evidence needed for your claim.
Also, one of our car accident attorneys will send a “demand to preserve evidence” letter to the at-fault party and their insurance company. As its name suggests, this letter legally obligates both to not tamper with or destroy evidence that could support your claim.
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Everything You Need to Know about Police Reports
While police reports can be a critical piece of evidence in proving your car accident claim, they don’t guarantee victory. In fact, a police report can be completely disallowed by a judge so the jury never even sees it. To be admissible in court, a police report must be proven to be factually correct. If it contains errors, it will likely be thrown out.
Regardless, we will still get a copy of your police report because more often than not, it is the single most important piece of evidence. To this end, it is extremely important that you call the police after your accident so that they come to the scene and fill out their report.
If they don’t come, for whatever reason, make sure you document all the evidence (as noted earlier) and fill out your own police report at your local precinct. In the City of Dallas, you can do that at this link. In other jurisdictions, contact your local police department for instructions.
Without a police report, the insurance company will have more power to give you an absurdly low settlement offer. And they may even be able to get away with not offering you anything at all.
What Information Does Your Police Report Need to Contain?
If you have to file your own police report, you’ll want to make it as thorough as possible. Most police reports, and yours, should include the following information:
- Date, time, and location of your accident
- Name, address, and insurance information for all parties involved
- Any citations issued
- Identifying information for all witnesses
- The officer’s opinion as to who was at fault
Dallas Accident Resources
- Dallas Police Department Open Records Unit
- 1400 S. Lamar, Dallas Texas
- Link to Google Maps location
- Website link to make an Open Records Request
- Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Records
- Frank Crowley Court Building, 133 N. Riverfront Blvd, 1st floor, Dallas, Texas
- Link to Google Maps location
- Website link to make a Public Information Request
- City of Dallas Records
- 1500 Marilla St. #5ds, Dallas City Hall, Dallas, Texas
- Link to Google Maps location
- Website link to make an Open Records Request
- Dallas Police Department Auto Pound
- 1955 Vilbig Road, Dallas, Texas
- Link to Google Maps location
- Website link
- Texas Department of Insurance
- 333 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78701
- Link to Google Maps location
- Website link
- Texas Department of Transportation
- 125 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701
- Link to Google Maps Location
- Website link
- Texas Constitution and Statues
- Kelly Blue Book Online
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Great source for independent car accident data
- Website link
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Resource for all the latest recalls and driving safety information
- Website link
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Dallas
Dallas has the second highest traffic fatality rate among all cities not just in Texas, but in the entire United States, according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Make no mistake about it, Dallas is not a safe place to drive.
Car accidents happen for many reasons. These are the leading causes and the law that surrounds them:
Speeding – Speed limit signs are posted for a reason. The higher your speed, the more likely you are to be in an accident and the more severe the damage. The closer you drive to the speed limit, the safer you are.
Texas law does not define at what speed you can be charged with reckless driving. However, generally if you go 20 mph over the posted speed limit, you face a high likelihood of this charge.
Distracted driving – Drivers become distracted for many reasons: eating, talking on their phone, talking to passengers, or putting on makeup. Texting while driving has become so common that it actually frequently gets a separate classification from distracted driving.
Texas’ current distracted driving law prohibits drivers from any form of electronic messaging while driving (texting, emailing, and instant messaging). Drivers under the age of 18 may not use wireless communication devices for any purpose while driving.
The same law applies for drivers over 18 with learner’s permits during their first six months of driving. School bus drivers may not use cell phones when children are present. And all drivers may not use cellphones in school crossing zones. Within Dallas city limits, you may not use your cell phone at all while driving. However, you can use your cell phone while driving to make an emergency call.
Drunk or drugged driving – Texas’ BAC limit is .08. And you can’t be under the influence of any type of illegal street drug while you drive. You can drive while on a prescription drug legally prescribed by your doctor.
However, you must also not meet the statutory definition for intoxication while driving. And that means you cannot lack the ability to safely operate your motor vehicle while you are on that prescription drug.
Fatigue – This is more common with commercial vehicle accidents where trucking companies push their drivers to work for long hours. But it happens with everyday people too.
Research shows that fatigued driving affects your driving almost as much as driving drunk. It is not illegal to drive while fatigued in Texas. However, what a driver does because of their fatigue can be charged with a crime because it could be criminally reckless.
Tailgating – You don’t become the second most dangerous city in Texas to drive in without your fair share of tailgating accidents. Ideally, you’re supposed to allow one car length of space between yourself and the driver in front of you for every 10 miles of speed.
So, if you’re driving 75 mph, you should have about 7 ½ car lengths between you and the next driver. But when you drive on the highway, you probably find that an exception rather than the rule. Texas law doesn’t define exactly how close “tailgating” is. But it does say you need to allow “sufficient space” between yourself and the next driver.
Reckless Driving / Aggressive Driving / Road Rage – About 1 in 3 car accidents in Dallas happen because of an extremely aggressive or angry driver. Texas law surrounding reckless driving is quite vague.
In terms of language, the law defines reckless driving as “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” As noted earlier, if you’re caught going 20 mph over the speed limit, you have a high chance of facing a reckless driving charge. Other behaviors putting you at high risk for this charge include weaving through traffic, driving while intoxicated, street racing, and trying to evade the police.
Failure to Yield – You’re always supposed to drive defensively and yield to other drivers. Not following this rule leads to many car accidents. Texas law section 545.153 says,” [Drivers] …shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is approaching so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator’s movement in or across the intersection.”
Adverse Weather – We don’t get intense downpours or major snowstorms as frequently as other parts of the nation do. And yet, we’re the second most dangerous city in the country to drive in.
When the weather does get nasty, add another 5 car lengths between yourself and the next driver (plus the one car length for every 10 miles of speed) to give yourself more reaction time. In Texas, it is legal to drive with your hazard lights on if you need to (as opposed to Florida where this is not legal).
Law does not specifically define how to reduce your speed during adverse weather. But section 545.351 does say drivers must “drive at an appropriate reduced speed if… a special hazard exists with regard to traffic, including pedestrians, or weather or highway conditions.”
Negligent Entrustment – Sometimes, the owner of a vehicle allows someone not of legal driving age or a driver they know to be dangerous to drive their vehicle. Some parents allow their unlicensed teens to drive. Other people allow their drunk or stoned friends to drive. And still others allow a family member on legal prescription drugs to drive (but still against their doctor’s advice).
Regardless of the reason, the other driver should not have been entrusted with their friend or family member’s vehicle. And this can result in a variety injuries and damage, ranging from none to death.
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Dallas Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
You cannot argue anything other than the fact that Dallas is one of the most dangerous cities for drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and motorcyclists. The problem is so concerning that the entire city has embraced a “Vision Zero” plan to address it. Essentially, this plan aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero and cut severe injury crashes in half by 2030.
Here’s some more statistics to support that point:
- The current car accident death rate is 14 per 100,000 people, ranking Dallas second among all large US cities
- In 2020, 228 people were killed in traffic, marking an 80% increase over 2010
- Pedestrians account for 2% of the travel in the city and 36% of all traffic deaths
- Most pedestrian deaths happen outside of a crosswalk. However, Dallas is also missing 2,000 miles of sidewalks.
- From March – December 2020, 480 car accident deaths happened. And this was 72 more deaths than the same timeframe in 2019. This, despite people staying at home and driving less because of COVID.
- In 2020, Dallas County had 307 fatal crashes totaling 333 fatalities, per data from the Texas DOT.
- Dallas County also had 1,227 suspected serious crashes causing 1,438 suspected serious injuries in 2020.
- Dallas County also totaled 48,393 crashes in 2020.
Hurt in a Car Accident in the Dallas Area? Call (214) 747-5240 to Get Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today!
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.