Car accidents represent one of the most common causes of injury in Texas every year. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that crash data in the state in 2015 indicate that one person was killed every two hours and 29 minutes and, one person was injured every two minutes and eight seconds.
When a traffic accident occurs, most drivers know that they need to report the crash to the police and alert their insurance company. But what happens after that? Does the insurance company of the at-fault driver automatically process the claim and pay those who have been injured what they deserve? What happens when there is a dispute about fault, or the extent of damages suffered?
At what point does it make sense for a car accident victim to consult with an attorney?
Should I Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
If you have recently been injured in a crash caused by another motorist in Dallas or Forth Worth, you may have questions about paying your medical bills or the amount of money offered by the other driver’s insurance company. You may be wondering whether you need to contact an attorney and whether having a lawyer would help. Certain accidents situations make it essential to have an attorney advise you including:
- If your injuries are severe. If your injuries are serious, you may be out of work for a lengthy period or unable to return to work. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to understand your legal options. You may you be facing medical bills totaling tens of thousands of dollars – for which you will want to be compensated. You may also be looking at ongoing losses such as future lost wages and medical expenses. A knowledgeable attorney can help you seek full compensation for your economic losses as well as for pain and suffering.
- There is a dispute about fault. One thing that can quickly put your settlement amount at risk is a dispute about who is at fault. In Texas, there is an at-fault car insurance system in place (see: Automobile Insurance Made Easy provided by the Texas Department of Transportation). This means that if another driver is at fault in an accident in which you were injured, you may be entitled to claim compensation. It also means that if you are found to be partially at fault, any compensation that you may be entitled to receive may be reduced by your share of fault. Insurance adjusters often assign fault to claimants in order to pay them as little money as possible. Beware of this tactic, and if an insurance adjuster is claiming that you contributed to the accident and you dispute that finding, speak to an experience attorney about your options.
- Medical Payments Coverage. While dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, we may be able to get you a check to pay you medical bills through the medical payments insurance policy. Most auto insurance in Texas include medical payments coverage which pay for injuries to you and other passengers in your car and other injured people including pedestrians and bicyclists regardless of fault.
- Your settlement offer seems lower than you expected. Insurance adjusters know that when you have been injured in a crash and are in financial distress, you want to get paid as quickly as possible. It is common for an insurance adjuster to respond to your claim with a lowball settlement offer in hopes that you will take it because you do not want to extend the claims process. While we understand the urgency of the situation, you should never accept an initial settlement offer. Through negotiations, you can almost always walk away with more money than is originally offered.
When to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Dallas and Surrounding Areas
You may be wondering at what point to get a lawyer to handle a car accident. The answer is as soon as possible. In fact, you can almost always assume that a dispute about fault will arise and that the insurance company will make a low settlement offer. While you may not need an attorney for a fender bender, if your accident results in injuries, you should call an attorney or have a loved one call an attorney on your behalf as soon as possible.
What Does an Texas Car Accident Attorney Do?
An experienced car accident attorney can provide a number of valuable services during the claims process. For example, an attorney is responsible for:
Collecting and organizing evidence. There is a good chance that fault for the accident will be placed on your shoulders, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. To disprove accusations of fault, you will need evidence. Your attorney can interview witnesses and secure evidence before it is lost and bring in accident reconstruction specialists to determine precisely how an accident happened. The sooner that you contact an attorney, the more evidence that the attorney may be able to collect. If you wait too long, witnesses may be more difficult to track down and evidence may be lost.
Negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Your attorney will be responsible for negotiating with the insurance adjuster on your behalf to recover a fair settlement. Some people harm their own chances by trying to deal with claims adjusters on their own and making statements that undermine or weaken their claim.
Taking your case to court. In the event that a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will be responsible for taking your case to court and presenting your case to a jury.
Know When to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident
Finding a lawyer in Texas can be difficult after a serious car accident, make speaking with an experienced Texas car accident lawyer a priority. At the Tate Law Offices, P.C., we never charge upfront or hourly fees. Instead, our fees are contingent on your case being settled. If you do not get paid, neither do we.
We can help you to regain control of your life after you have been injured in a car accident. We are committed to doing everything we can do get you a fair settlement amount that fully addresses your losses, and will always put your needs first.
To learn more about our law firm and the lawyers with whom you will be working during the claims process, contact us today for a free case consultation. You can tell us more about your case by filling out our online contact form, or by calling our offices now.