A Texas car accident can change your life forever. Unless you have lived through the aftermath of a car crash or you have a loved one who has, you are unlikely to know what to expect. You may experience a great deal of stress and anxiety trying to determine what you should do next. Should you go to the hospital for an evaluation or attempt to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses? Will speaking with the insurance adjusters assigned to your case result in your case being settled for less than you need? How will you pay the unexpected medical bills?
Recovering After Being Injured in a Car Accident is a Unique Journey
While each person’s journey from injury to recovery passes through similar phases, each person’s actual path is unique. This means that some individuals will experience a more complete recovery than others, and some people will have to adjust to living with permanent disabilities. Some of the factors that help determine the speed of your recovery are within the control of the injured party, but many are not.
As a car crash injury victim, you can expect to experience the following “stages” of recovery:
- Medical treatment and evaluation. Your health should be your top priority. You should see a doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible after a crash. Some injuries such as concussions may not be immediately apparent after a collision, but may be potentially serious. Be certain to inform the treating physician that you have been in a recent car accident or other type of accident. You should make every effort to comply with the doctor’s treatment recommendations and take any medication as prescribed. A doctor’s report also provides documentation of the injuries that you sustained in the accident. It will be useful in filing a claim with the insurance provider.
- Investigation. The investigation into the cause of the car accident will start within hours after the accident occurred. Law enforcement officers will conduct an investigation into the crash, and any photographs they take, diagrams they prepare, and conclusions they reach will play an important role in your car accident recovery. The complexity of your car crash will determine how long the investigative phase lasts.
- Document the Accident. If you are physically able, it is a good idea to use your phone camera to snap photos of the position of the vehicles involved in the accident, damage to the vehicles, accident debris and skid marks on the pavement. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses who observed the crash. Write down a detailed state of how the crash occurred based on your own recollections.
- Dealing with insurance adjusters. You will be contacted by one or more insurance adjusters about the crash and your injuries, assuming that any of the other drivers involved in the crash filed an accident claim. You may speak with an adjuster from your own insurance company and/or the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Texas requires vehicle owners to carry liability insurance, so if another motorist caused the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance should pay for your losses up to the limits of their insurance. The insurance adjuster’s role is to attempt to settle your claim as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. To accomplish this, the adjuster may ask you to provide a written and/or recorded statement about how the crash occurred in an attempt to see if you contributed to your injuries in any way, which could reduce the amount of compensation to which you would be entitled at trial. You do not need to give a recorded statement or sign a written statement without having an attorney present. You do not need to accept any offer from any insurance company to settle your car crash injury case if you believe the amount offered is not sufficient to cover your expenses and losses. You should have a Texas car accident lawyer review any settlement offer before accepting it. An experienced accident attorney has a clear understanding of what you should receive in compensation based on the extent of your injuries and other losses and will negotiate aggressively on your behalf for a fair settlement.
- Lawsuit. If you are not able to settle your car accident case, you have two years from the date of your car accident to file a car accident lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Even though your lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of your accident, the lawsuit itself may not be resolved for months – or even years – after your case is filed. Once your case is filed, the discovery process will begin wherein each side in the lawsuit will exchange certain information, evidence, and witness lists with one another. Settlement talks may continue during this time and, if successful, will result in the lawsuit being resolved before trial. Otherwise, the case will proceed to trial. If the verdict is favorable to the injury victim, a monetary judgment will also be ordered. Before this order is carried out, however, the losing side has an opportunity to appeal the verdict and/or judgment.
Experienced Guidance on Your Road to Recovery
At the Tate Law Offices, P.C., our experienced and compassionate Texas car accident lawyers know that pursuing compensation for your injuries can be a daunting and confusing process. We are here to help you along your road to recovery. Our firm provides legal counsel to injured drivers and passengers in Dallas, Fort Worth and throughout Texas. Call our firm today to discuss your legal rights and the compensation to which you may be entitled, and let us help you make as full and complete of a recovery as possible.