Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident can be a frightening experience. When an accident is severe, it can change lives forever. When individuals are injured in a car accident that’s caused by illegal, reckless, or careless behaviors, they have the right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, missed work, damaged property, and pain and suffering. A car accident lawyer Austin can help you achieve justice and receive the compensation you deserve.
Austin Car Accident Attorneys
Every year, there are an estimated six million vehicle accidents, almost half of which result in serious injuries. This makes a person’s chances of being involved in a serious car accident very high. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need to speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. While hiring an attorney isn’t required, it does help to have an attorney on your side when you’re fighting for fair compensation. You may have suffered costly injuries, missed several days or weeks of work, and your vehicle may have been totaled or severely damaged. All of these expenses add up quickly. An insurance company will most likely make an offer, but is it enough? A knowledgeable Austin car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve as you focus on your recovery.
How Much is an Austin Car Accident Claim Worth?
The value of an accident victim’s settlement heavily depends on many factors, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Replacement or repair costs
- The extent of damages to personal property, including the vehicle
- Medical costs
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
What to do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, you may not be able to think clearly and you may feel pretty shaken up, but there are some very important steps you must try to follow, to protect your claim.
First, make sure everyone is okay. If someone is seriously injured, call 911. Once the immediate injuries have been addressed, follow these steps:
- If you did not call 911 for injuries, you still need to contact the police to document the facts of the accident
- Take photographs of the damages to all of the vehicles involved
- Collect insurance information
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Contact an accident lawyer
Why Immediate Medical Attention is Crucial
In a serious crash, an ambulance will be called to the scene, in addition to the police. If you’re able to walk away from an accident, you should still seek medical attention because many injury symptoms don’t present themselves for hours after an accident. A person may have internal bleeding or a serious concussion, with no apparent signs or symptoms immediately following an accident. There are cases in which victims aren’t aware that they have serious injuries until the day after an accident.
Not only will immediate medical attention protect your health, but it will also establish documented proof of your injuries. This proof will be used as evidence in a personal injury claim. The accident report that a police officer files is also used as a form of evidence that can support your claim.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
The numbers of car accidents rise every year, which makes driving on the road very risky. Unfortunately, not every driver will maintain the standards required to drive safely.
Some of the most common causes of auto accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Poor road conditions
- Distracted driving
- Negligent lane change
Who can be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused in an Auto Accident?
The person held responsible for damages will depend on the exact cause of the accident.
Identifying the party or parties responsible is a very important step in the investigation process.
In a distracted driving case, the party who may be held responsible for the injuries is the driver who took their hands off the steering wheel or their eyes off the road. Distracted driving may include talking on the phone while driving, eating while driving, texting while driving, or turning to speak to someone else in the vehicle.
Drunk Driving Accident
In most drunk driving accidents, liability will fall on the intoxicated driver, unless the other driver’s actions were equally as reckless. However, in these cases, liability may not solely fall on the intoxicated driver.
In Texas, the dram shop act allows for additional legal action should a person sustain injuries after a drunk driving collision in which the driver was overserved alcohol. In cases such as these, the social host, establishment, or bar who served the already intoxicated individual more alcohol, then allowed them to drive, can also be held liable.
Additionally, negligent companies, car part manufacturers, and auto manufacturers can also be held accountable if the products they produced are considered defective. These defects can lead to potential problems, putting others at serious risk.
When a loved one dies in an auto accident, survivors will experience deep grief, in addition to the loss of present and future financial support. An attorney can represent the surviving family members to obtain fair compensation for their financial and emotional harm.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents
This type of accident can create challenges for an investigator who is trying to determine all of the parties who are at fault. An attorney with experience in multiple vehicle accident cases will investigate on the victim’s behalf to hold all parties responsible for damages.
Underinsured/Uninsured Auto Accidents
Just because an at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance or may not have enough coverage doesn’t mean the accident victim doesn’t deserve compensation. A lawyer can file a suit against the defendant and hold them accountable.
Auto Defect Accidents
A manufacturer has a responsibility to ensure that the seatbelts, airbags, brakes, and tires are safe for consumers. When an accident occurs due to faulty brakes, tires, seatbelts, or airbags that don’t operate properly, an attorney will fight for their clients and hold the manufacturer liable.
Road construction, missing traffic signs, downed traffic lights, potholes, and broken barriers and guardrails can create unsafe roadways. When these conditions cause a car accident, it can be difficult to prove who’s at fault.
Auto Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a car accident can range from mild to catastrophic. Auto accident victims may suffer injuries such as:
- Fractured bones
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
In severe accidents, the victim may be left with disfigurement or scars. Some survivors will face lifelong disabilities as a result of the accident.
Types of Damages
It’s crucial for accident victims to understand the different types of damages in an auto accident claim, as well as how they are valued. Some accident victims make the mistake of accepting a low settlement offer, without first learning how much their claim may be worth. This leaves them with a significantly lower amount than what they may have recovered otherwise. Properly valuing a claim can require the help of claims valuation experts who can work with a personal injury attorney on an auto accident case.
Medical expenses are usually a major part of the economic damages in an accident claim. These expenses can include all of the costs that the victim has incurred as the result of an accident, in addition to the estimated costs of any medical care and treatment needed in the future. Medical expense damages can include compensation for:
- Cognitive therapy
- Doctor visits
- In-home services
- Medical devices
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital stays
- Modifications made to the home
To determine the amount of these expenses, a personal injury lawyer will also utilize the services of medical experts.
Loss of Income
When the victim of a car accident is not able to work either temporarily or permanently, they may recover damages for their loss of income. Calculating lost income is a fairly straightforward process. If a person is permanently disabled, a financial expert will calculate future expected income losses or reduction in earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
The pain and suffering the victim experienced is classified as noneconomic damages. These damages are harder to place a value on. The law will allow the recovery of these damages that the accident victim experienced as the direct result of the accident. This item of damage can be substantial, depending on the diagnosis and nature of the injuries.
Loss of Consortium
If the victim has been left with disabilities that prevent him or her from enjoying a normal relationship shared with his or her spouse, the spouse can file a damage claim for loss of consortium. The spouse will only be able to recover this type of compensation if the accident victim is successful with their personal injury claim since the loss of consortium claim is a derivative of the underlying claim.
When an accident leaves the victim permanently disfigured or scarred in some way, they may recover damages in their personal injury claim.
Loss of Quality of Life
Some types of injuries can leave a person with permanent disabilities that can significantly impact their quality of life. Accident victims can seek and recover damages that can compensate them for this loss, although these damages can be difficult to quantify.
An accident victim can also recover damages for property loss. It’s possible to settle this type of claim separately from the bodily injury claim so that the victim can purchase a new vehicle or replace other damaged personal property lost in the accident while their personal injury claim is still pending.
Do I Still Need a Car Accident Attorney if the Other Driver was Insured?
It’s important to understand that an insurance company is not on your side. An insurance company is in the business of making a profit. They are not known to immediately offer settlements that accident victims justly deserve. Fighting an insurance company on your own is often futile. An insurance company has a team of lawyers and adjusters who specialize in denying or minimizing payouts. When you hire an experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer, you’re leveling the playing field.
Hiring an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s always wise to consult an attorney after a car accident, especially if you’ve been injured. An auto accident lawyer will explain your legal rights and can advise you on the best way to obtain compensation and benefits that you’re entitled to.
A car accident can cause traumatic injuries, which can result in psychological and physical pain, in addition to financial hardship. Accident victims who are injured in an auto accident that was caused by the total disregard of road safety rules by another driver are entitled to compensation.
Unfortunately, filing a lawsuit isn’t as straightforward as many people believe. In fact, when you need to hire an attorney in Texas, there are a few important questions that you should consider:
How Severe are Your Injuries?
To a large extent, the severity of your injuries will determine the need to hire an attorney. The injuries that you sustained in an accident can be mild or severe. Serious injuries can result in extensive medical care. Even if the symptoms of your injuries aren’t obvious right away, you should still discuss your case with an attorney. Regardless of the severity, injuries can result in serious financial hardship. Hiring an attorney with experience can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Texas?
This is another important question that many accident victims fail to investigate. In Texas, accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a suit. Failure to file within this important time frame can result in a case being barred forever.
An attorney will ensure that all of your paperwork is filed on time.
The clock starts ticking the moment the accident happens. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended when an accident victim finds out about the extent of their injuries weeks or months after the accident occurred.
How Complicated is Your Case?
If there are multiple parties involved, then you definitely need the help of an experienced attorney, one who specializes in multiple-vehicle collisions. When more than one party is involved, more than one insurance company will be involved. This leads to lengthy, complicated negotiation processes, mountains of paperwork, and the need for specialists, such as accident reconstruction experts. A lawyer will have the experience and resources to investigate this type of complex case.
Accident victims need to get the help they need during this already difficult time. With an attorney, the accident victim can rest assured that their case is being thoroughly investigated. This will allow them to focus on their recovery, without the stress that comes with dealing with the defendant’s attorney, insurance companies, and making tight paperwork deadlines.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Investigates Auto Accident Cases
To increase the odds of a positive outcome, an attorney approaches each case as if it will go to trial. A personal injury lawyer will investigate every aspect of an auto accident, including testimony from law enforcement officers and witnesses, and the doctors who treated the accident victim’s injuries. The attorney will examine all of the physical evidence and visit the scene of the accident to get a handle on the layout. They will gather as much conclusive evidence as possible to prove that the other driver was negligent.
Once the investigation has been completed, they will strategize to build a solid case on the victim’s behalf. They have experience taking on large insurance companies and are familiar with the scare tactics and negotiating strategies that these companies try to use to minimize payout.
Protecting Your Rights in Austin, Texas
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, it’s important to talk with an attorney before you talk to an insurance company. Insurance companies are often quick to offer a low settlement, one that’s not worthy of the types of damages you have suffered. The amount of the settlement offer will not be enough to cover all of your losses, such as future medical treatment or rehabilitation costs. If you rush into accepting a settlement, you may put yourself in a position where you have to pay for costly future treatment out of pocket.
When an insurance company asks you to make a statement of the events, they do so to pick apart your response, to find words that they can use against you. Basically, the insurance adjuster is looking for any angle to declare that you have admitted to some degree of fault. This is how they justify a lowball settlement. While the insurance adjuster may seem empathetic and helpful, they’re simply trying to get you to feel relaxed and comfortable with opening up to them regarding what transpired during the accident. They will also claim that their goal is to get you back on your feet quickly and compensated for all of your losses. What they really want to do is settle as quickly as possible for as little as possible. This is why you need to seek legal advice before you speak to an insurance company and make a statement.
An experienced Austin car accident lawyer will aggressively handle your case and help secure the maximum compensation for all of your damages.
Negotiations and Litigation
Most car accident cases are settled during negotiations. An insurance provider will have a good idea of when they’re likely to lose if the case goes to trial. Based on the strength of the evidence, many insurance adjusters will opt for a negotiated settlement. If the accident victim accepts the offer, the case can be resolved.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the at-fault party will refuse to acknowledge guilt and may even refuse to negotiate. This isn’t very common when an insurance company is involved. However, there are times in which the defendant and claimant are not able to agree to a proposed settlement. When this happens, the case must be taken to trial. An attorney with litigation experience will have the skills and courtroom tactics to fight aggressively for their client’s rights.
Contact an Austin Car Accident Attorney Today
If a car accident is the result of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence, the injured party can file a claim against the at-fault driver for all damages. An experienced car accident attorney will analyze all of the evidence to build a solid case and hold all negligent parties liable to ensure you receive just and fair compensation.
The car accident lawyers Austin at the Ben Dominguez Law Firm know how to hold negligent drivers liable for their actions. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation for a comprehensive case evaluation.
Ben Dominguez Law Firm4899 Montrose Blvd, #1512, Houston, Texas 77006