Filing a car crash claim in Texas is an involved process with specific steps you must take. In general, you need to inform the at fault driver’s insurance compay, your insurance company (if you have coverage), identify the at-fault driver, prove the accident’s cause and responsiblity, and collect evidence. You will need to complete and submit a lot of forms and paperwork. You will also need to accurately assess the monetary value of your case and negotiate a settlement with the appropriate insurance provider.
On your own, this can be an overwhelming process. It is also a time-sensitive one which can be difficult if your injuries prevent you from actively or immediately participating in your claim. This is where hiring a car accident lawyer can benefit your fight for financial recovery. They can explain each step of how car crash claims work and handle the negotiation process while you focus on getting better.
At Domingo Garcia, we are dedicated to handling all of the above for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries and attempting to return to a normal life. We even get your car repaired/replaced FREE of charge. The initial consultation is FREE too and you will never owe an attorney fee or expense unless we win your case.
Different Types of Car Accident Claims
How and why an accident occurred can make a big difference in your case. The lawyer who represents you will usually review the details of your car crash claim. One of the facts they will gather right away is the type of accident you are filing which can include:
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy or distracted driving
- Tailgating or rear-end collisions
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Rear-end, sideswipe, or T-bone
Other car crash claims might stem from vehicle manufacturing or design flaws. The Texas personal injury lawyer who handles your claim will assess its cause and the monetary value of your case according to its effects.
What to Expect During Your Initial Consultation With a Car Crash Attorney
Your initial review is your opportunity to learn more about the law firm and legal team that will handle your case. You can ask questions and request referrals and previous client reviews. At Domingo Garcia, this consultation is FREE.
It is also the law firm’s opportunity to ask questions and gather important information about your crash. They will listen to your story with kindness and compassion and collect details related to:
- The accident, including how and when it happened and road and weather conditions
- Your injuries, including their physical location, severity, and all required medical care
- Your treatment protocol, ability to return to work, and employment and salary history
- Texas’ personal injury, wrongful death (if applicable), and insurance laws and statutes
- Any reports, records, or other supporting evidence or paperwork already in your possession
Your lawyer may also advise you on what not to do while your car crash claim is being investigated and prepared. They may recommend that you avoid making any social media posts, posting any photos, or even accepting new or unknown friend requests.
You should also avoid speaking to the at-fault driver or anyone from their insurance company. Your lawyer will delve into the details of the accident, explain their investigation strategy, and establish the at-fault driver’s negligence.
The Role of Negligence and Liability in Car Accident Claims
To pursue the at-fault driver for compensation, the state of Texas requires proof that the accident resulted from their negligence. Your lawyer will collect evidence that proves the following legal elements:
- Duty of care: The at-fault driver’s responsibility to drive safely and in accordance with the rules of the road
- Breach of duty of care: The at-fault driver’s actions that breached their duty which can include speeding, road rage, or drunk driving
- Causation: Proof that the accident would not have occurred but for the negligent actions of the at-fault driver
- Damages: Accident-related financial expenses and losses including medical bills, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering
These elements are an important part of your claim because proving negligence is crucial. In Texas, if the at-fault driver places full or partial blame for the accident on you, it could decrease your settlement or bar you from financial compensation at all.
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, if the insurance adjuster or the court attributes half or more of the fault to you, you cannot recover any compensation at all. Your lawyer can ensure negligence and liability are accurately apportioned in your claim.
The Importance of a Comprehensive Evidence File
Legal and insurance representatives were not present at the accident scene, so rely on the collected evidence to tell the story of what happened. To prove the accident’s causes and contributing factors, your lawyer will collect evidence that substantiates your claim including:
- Your official police report containing contact details for both drivers and insurance companies. It will also have narratives from the investigating officer, accident scene reconstruction, and police-generated photos and videos.
- Statements from anyone who witnessed the accident and its aftermath. This might also include statements from accident scene experts.
- Photos and videos from security, dash cam, and residential and surveillance video. If available, your lawyer may also obtain smartphone video from witnesses and passersby.
Your lawyer will also collect evidence that supports the monetary value of your car crash claim including medical records and bills, proof of income, and property repair or replacement estimates.
The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Crash
A third-party car crash claim can fall into two categories including bodily injury and property damage. When a personal injury lawyer represents you, they will explain which claim they are making on your behalf. Your case could fall into more than one category.
A primary benefit of working with a lawyer versus handling your case on your own is their familiarity with state and local law and their ability to explain in detail how car accident claims work. They will ensure your case gets the attention to detail it needs and deserves. They will also work hard to ensure the insurance company handles your case fairly and in a timely fashion.
A Lawyer Can Deal With the Insurance Company on Your Behalf
In the days and weeks after a car crash, the last thing you want to deal with is the complex legal process of wrangling with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An attorney will:
- Draft and submit a demand letter on your behalf
- Obtain, complete, and submit insurance claim forms
- Organize and submit evidence that supports your claim
- Handle all case-related communication with the insurer
- Protect you from bad-faith insurance practices
- Review the at-fault party’s insurance policy and fine print
- Explore their policy’s coverage limitations and maximums
Leave the insurance company to your lawyer. While you concentrate on your recovery or on helping your family cope with an unexpected loss, your legal representative can deal with the insurance company for you.
Your Lawyer Can Field and Vet All Settlement Offers
The lawyer you choose will approach your case with your best interest in mind and fight to recover the best possible compensation for you. They will vet each offer you receive, explain its merits and limitations, and make counteroffers on your behalf.
The final decision to accept or reject a settlement offer is always yours to make. Your lawyer will work hard to ensure you understand the advantages and drawbacks of each offer and have the information you need to make a well-informed decision.
What You Need to Know About Determining the Monetary Value of Your Claim
Every car accident claim is different and will have its own set of unique monetary values. Even a driver and passenger injured in the same car can have varying financial assessments. When assessing your claim, your lawyer will calculate the value of your economic and non-economic damages.
Your lawyer will carefully detail your recoverable damages and fight hard to get the most money from your car accident claim. Where applicable, they will also fight to obtain wrongful death compensation for the surviving family of car accident fatalities.
Recoverable Economic Damages
Economic damages in car accident claims include tangible expenses that might otherwise have come out of your own pocket. They can include:
- Past and future medical bills, including emergency, hospital, and follow-up care. It also includes medications, assistive medical devices, therapies, and rehabilitation.
- Past and future losses of income, including full and part-time employment, business income, freelance or gig economy income, and loss of future earning capacity.
- Property damage, including vehicle repair, vehicle replacement costs if a total loss occurs, and diminished property value.
Your lawyer will collect bills, receipts, estimates, invoices, and other documents that prove the costs of your recoverable economic damages.
Recoverable Non-Economic Damages
The non-economic damages you can recover are more difficult to calculate on your own. Your lawyer will explain how your medical records and written prognosis help determine the monetary assessment of any life-changing disabilities or disfiguring injuries you sustained in the crash.
It also includes current and future physical pain and suffering, ongoing mental anguish and emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
Recoverable Wrongful Death Damages
Nothing can atone for the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one in a car accident. It can wreak emotional and financial havoc on your family, though. A car crash claim can help you recover appropriate financial compensation including:
- Your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s income
- Loss of your loved one’s domestic contributions
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of guidance, society, and support
If your family experienced the loss of a loved one, your lawyer will fight hard for the compensation you deserve to recover. They will also explain which family members can benefit from wrongful death compensation and file your case on time.
The Danger of a Speedy Settlement Offer
In a car crash claim where liability is clear, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might offer you a speedy settlement. With medical bills mounting and your recovery preventing you from working, an upfront offer can be tempting. You should avoid a speedy settlement because:
- Not enough time has passed for the full costs of the accident to become clear
- Your lawyer has not reviewed or assessed it
- A settlement is final, once accepted and signed, you cannot request additional compensation later
It takes time for an accurate evaluation of road accident claims. Your lawyer will help you avoid a speedy, lowball, or otherwise flawed settlement. They will also protect you from inadequate settlement offers that do not meet your post-accident financial needs.
What Happens if Your Car Crash Claim Turns Into a Lawsuit
Most car accident claims settle without going to court. In rare cases, you will not be able to reach a settlement agreement and your case will have to go to trial. If that happens, your attorney will explain how a car accident lawsuit works including:
- Court filings
Lawsuits Have a Strict Filing Deadline
If settlement negotiations take too long or break down completely, your lawyer will file your lawsuit. This is a critical part of your case since your lawsuit must comply with the statute of limitations found in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. Accordingly, you generally have two years:
- From the date the accident occurred to file your personal injury lawsuit
- From the date of a loved one’s demise to file your family’s wrongful death lawsuit
Negotiating a settlement in your car crash claim can take time. If the statute of limitations in your case expires, you will lose the legal ability to compel the at-fault driver to compensate you. Your lawyer will file within the allotted time.
Find Out How Hard Our Law Firm Will Fight to Resolve Your Car Crash Claim
If you or someone you love suffered injuries or other losses in a car accident, you need to know how car crash claims work. At Domingo Garcia, our car accident lawyer will explain how they will build your case and pursue financial compensation for you.
Founded 35 years ago, our law firm commits to helping injured clients and surviving families by helping them hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. Learn more about our law firm by contacting a team member for a free case review today.