Even seemingly minor car accidents can lead to a range of injuries, which can rack up medical bills and keep you away from work. For those who experience severe or catastrophic injuries, the long-term personal and financial costs are often unbelievable.
Victims can pursue compensation from liable parties for their injuries. However, they may find it challenging to do so while healing from injuries. The Odessa car accident lawyers at Domingo Garcia can investigate your case and fight for compensation so you can focus on your health.
How an Odessa Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
An Odessa car accident lawyer can handle all of the tasks needed to demonstrate which party was at-fault and liable for your losses, such as the following:
- Conducting an independent investigation to determine the accident’s cause
- Collecting and analyzing evidence
- Employing help from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- Ensuring that all of your losses are calculated accurately and included in your claim
- Drafting a demand letter and negotiating with the liable party’s insurance company on your behalf
- Presenting your case in court, if needed to recover fair compensation
Specific evidence we may gather to support your case include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical records
- The police or accident report
- Traffic citations
- Your statement and eyewitness statements
- CCTV footage from nearby surveillance cameras or dashcams
- Photos and video of the resulting accident scene
- Driver and vehicle information
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Your medical records
- Photos of your injuries
What Options do You Have for Compensation After a Car Accident in Odessa?
The Texas Department of Insurance notes that all motorists must carry auto insurance with a minimum amount of liability coverage. Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, you can file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company. You may be able to file under your own insurance if the other driver was uninsured or fled the scene and could not be identified.
If you cannot secure fair compensation through either insurance company, you can pursue a lawsuit against the liable driver if they can be found. This would be a good option if you have outstanding bills and losses even after an insurance settlement is reached. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, if you do not file your lawsuit within two years of the accident, you risk its dismissal.
If the court dismisses your case, you might forfeit your rights to recover compensation for your losses. Our Odessa car accident lawyers can file your lawsuit by the deadline and work to streamline the legal process.
Our Odessa Car Accident Attorney Can Handle Negotiations With Insurance Companies
Even just communicating with insurance companies can be a headache, let alone negotiating with them. When you’re recovering from injuries, you may not want to deal with adjusters. Moreover, insurance agencies typically seek to settle accident claims for the least amount possible.
Texas is an at-fault state for motor vehicle accidents and insurance purposes, which means you must first try to file your claim with the liable party’s insurance company. When an agent examines the details of your claim, they will look for justifications to deny or devalue it.
We Can Help if an Insurance Company Undervalues or Denies Your Claim
An insurance adjuster may investigate your case and try to assign you more of the fault if you were partly responsible for an accident. They may also say you did not supply adequate documentation or evidence or that you did not report the incident to them in a timely manner.
Our personal injury attorneys are familiar with insurance company tactics and know how to use evidence to combat them. As a result, they are unafraid to go up against insurance companies and their high-powered lawyers and fight to secure compensation for their clients.
Auto Insurance May Cover Your Odessa Car Accident Losses
There are a few different forms of insurance coverage that can help pay for some or all of the losses a person sustained in a car accident, including the following:
Texas requires motorists to carry at least $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, which covers medical costs, and property damages liability coverage, which covers vehicle and property damage.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) should cover lost wages and out-of-pocket medical bills regardless of who is responsible for your accident. This coverage is optional, and if you purchased it, it would allow you to file an accident claim with your own insurance company.
Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist
If the at-fault party had insufficient coverage or was uninsured, you can file a claim with your own insurance company if you have UM/UIM coverage. It may cover significant accident-related expenses, but these benefits cannot exceed the amount of your primary coverage.
GAP or guaranteed asset protection insurance is an optional coverage that will pay for the remaining loan balance on your vehicle if your car was totaled in an accident or stolen.
At Domingo Garcia Law Office, we can help you with questions about coverage, file insurance claims, and handle negotiations on your behalf so you can have peace of mind while you focus on your recovery.
How an Odessa Car Accident Lawyer Proves Negligence and Liability
In most instances, if you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you will be entitled to compensation. However, you still have the burden of proving the other party was, in fact, negligent. Moreover, they failed to act cautiously and reasonably and thereby caused you harm.
Four essential elements are required to establish negligence:
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a legal concept that describes a party’s responsibility to keep others reasonably safe. For example, motorists owe a duty to all others on the road to drive responsibly so they may prevent an accident from happening. Other motorists owe the same duty to everyone else, as well.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty is the failure of a party to fulfill their duty of care and avoid actions or actions that could inflict harm on others. For example, a party’s breach of duty in a car accident may involve traffic violations, such as speeding, running a red light, or drinking and driving. If the party was issued a citation or arrested at the scene, this would undoubtedly help you prove that they breached their duty.
In addition to establishing a breach of duty, you and your attorney must demonstrate that this breach of duty (action or inaction) caused or contributed to your injuries. Although a traffic citation for speeding implies a traffic violation occurred, you and your attorney must prove that this violation caused the vehicle collision.
This element may seem relatively straightforward to prove, but there may be other circumstances that complicate your case. For example, the other party could claim your injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the accident. Our car accident team serving Odessa can gather evidence, such as medical documentation, to challenge arguments like these.
Financial, physical, and personal losses are identified as “damages” in a civil lawsuit, and each is assigned a monetary value. These damages must be proven as losses using various forms of evidence.
An Odessa car accident attorney from our firm can help prove the other party in your accident did, in fact, cause your injuries and is liable for compensating you for your losses.
How does a Personal Injury Attorney Estimate What a Car Accident Case Is Worth?
Car accident claims vary widely in value and depend on many factors. Therefore, it’s impossible to accurately estimate how much compensation should be sought without thoroughly examining your case’s unique circumstances. To determine a claim’s total worth, an attorney will use the following factors and collect evidence to show how much your losses are worth:
- Your accident’s cause(s)
- The nature of and severity of your injuries and past and future medical care required to treat them
- If the at-fault party was grossly negligent, meaning that you could ask for punitive damages
- Property damage to your vehicle and the cost of repair and replacement
- How much much time you have to miss from work and whether you will be able to earn your pre-injury income
- Home renovations required to accommodate your injury, such as a wheelchair ramp
An Odessa car accident lawyer will consider these factors and others when evaluating your case and building a claim.
It’s important to note that under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 33.001, if you’re found partially at fault for your auto crash, your compensation can be mitigated by the percentage of fault you’re assigned for the accident.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in Odessa?
If you sustained injuries due to an auto accident, you may be entitled to pursue these damages:
- Medical care expenses, such as ambulance and emergency services, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, etc.
- Lost wages due to work missed due to your injuries
- Diminished earning capacity for future work-related financial losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
What Damages Can Your Spouse Recover in an Odessa Car Accident?
When a spouse suffers a severe injury that results in losses, they can pursue compensation for the following:
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of household services
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of inheritance
Are You Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If your loved one was fatally injured in an auto accident, you or another family member might be able to initiate a lawsuit for wrongful death against the responsible party. In Texas, you have two years from the decedent’s death date to file this type of lawsuit.
You may be able to claim damages for your own losses and those of the family member who passed. These can include funeral and burial expenses, outstanding medical bills, and reparation for your loved one’s pain and suffering before death.
We Are Committed to Helping Surviving Family Members
When a commercial vehicle driver struck a roadside worker, he suffered fatal injuries. Domingo Garcia represented his surviving family members in a wrongful death case and secured a $2,750,000 settlement.
The family was able to properly honor the memory of their loved one and grieve in peace, knowing that justice had been served. You can view more of our case results to see what it is like working with us.
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the vast majority of car accidents result from human error. However, occasionally accidents are caused by other factors, such as a driver’s deliberate actions, vehicle malfunctions, or poor weather and road conditions.
When a Car Accident Is Due to Human Error
When an accident is due to human error, any of the following actions could be involved:
- Speeding or driving too fast for existing conditions
- Distracted driving, e.g., texting
- Being careless or not aware of surroundings
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Misjudging stopping distance
- Improper lane use or lane change
- Unfamiliarity with the road
- Operator inexperience, e.g., teenager drivers
Unfortunately, some accidents occur due to willful may or even criminal misconduct, rather than merely by error, on behalf of the driver. These may include:
- Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
- Driving recklessly or aggressively, e.g., road rage
- Intentionally violating traffic laws, such as ignoring street signs or tailgating
When External Factors Contribute to a Car Accident
Accidents are also sometimes caused by various automotive malfunctions, defects, or damaged parts, such as blown tires. Some examples of safety-related defects include the following:
- Accelerators that stick or break
- Accidental and unexpected airbag deployment
- Electrical system problems that cause fire or a loss of lights
- Cracked or broken wheels that cause the operator to lose control of their vehicle
- Broken steering components that cause the operator to lose control of their vehicle
- Faulty fuel system components
- Windshield wiper malfunctions
- Seats or seatbacks that unexpectedly fail
Any number of critical vehicle components can break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle. This can lead to loss of control and injury to drivers, passengers, and persons in other vehicles.
Finally, adverse weather conditions, especially ice and snow or heavy rain, can affect a driver’s visibility or ability to operate their vehicle. Roads that are cracked or have potholes can also be hazardous for motorists. Less commonly, missing road signs or lack of warnings (e.g., near construction sites) can contribute to accidents, as well as faded lane markers.
At Domingo Garcia Law Office, we will investigate your accident to determine its cause and work to build a strong case against the liable party.
Car Accident Injuries Can Be Severe and Costly
The most severe and catastrophic injuries lead to life-altering or permanent impairments. They also tend to be the most expensive in terms of both immediate treatment and ongoing medical care needed for months, years, or even decades. Often, the accident’s severity directly impacts the gravity of the injuries of those involved.
Some of the most traumatic injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Severe brain injuries can result in long-lasting cognitive impairments, profound confusion, loss of coordination, coma, and other symptoms.
- Neck injuries: Neck injuries such as are caused by extreme force when the neck absorbs the impact of a car collision. Whiplash can result in herniated disks that require extensive therapy or surgery to treat pain and other symptoms.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in partial (paraplegia) or complete (quadriplegia) paralysis. Even if a person doesn’t develop paralysis, they may experience debilitating effects, such as loss of movement, nerve damage, and reduced bowel or bladder control.
- Internal injuries: Car accidents often produce internal injuries due to blunt or penetrating trauma, including organ failure and internal bleeding.
- Limb loss: Car accidents can cause limbs to be amputated during the accident or inflict so much damage to an arm or leg that it has to be surgically removed.
- Loss of eyesight or hearing: TBIs or other car accident injuries can cause temporary or permanent loss of vision or hearing.
Other common injuries sustained in Odessa car accidents include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Sprains and strains
- Fractures and broken bones
- Crush injuries from prolonged compression
- Chest injuries, broken ribs
- Joint injuries, e.g., shoulder and knee
- Seat belt injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Psychoemotional injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Car Accident and Injury Statistics
Nationwide, car accidents occur at an alarming rate. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, an estimated 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents involving injuries occurred, of which 2.28 million people were hurt. In addition, 35,766 accidents involved fatalities, of which 38,824 people died.
In 2021, in the state of Texas, 15,764 crashes led to serious injuries sustained by 19,448 people, and traffic fatalities totaled nearly 4,500, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Steps You Should Take After an Odessa Car Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, you should immediately call law enforcement or 911. Then, check yourself for injuries, and wait for police and first responders to arrive.
If your car is not drivable and the accident has caused injuries, do not attempt to move it. If your vehicle is drivable and you are not severely injured, you should move your car out of traffic and off the road entirely. Make sure you turn on your hazard lights.
At the scene, police will write an official report containing vital details concerning the accident that will be needed later for filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, if it comes to that. If the police question you, be honest and cooperative. However, do not admit guilt or speculate to anyone about how the accident occurred or who is at fault.
If you are able, ensure that the following data is collected either by you or law enforcement:
- The time and date the accident occurred and its location
- The make, model, year, and license plate number of the other vehicle
- Names and contact information for anyone who was involved in the accident or saw it occur, including passengers, bystanders, and eyewitnesses
- The name of the driver(s) insurance carrier and their policy number
- Names of responding police officers, their badge numbers, and police report number
- Your own written or recorded statements, including events that led up to the accident occurring
Also, if you are able, take photos of the scene, such as the following:
- Different sides of the accident scene and vehicles involved
- Vehicle property damage, including the interior and exteriors of the car
- Any surrounding accident debris, such as vehicle parts, broken glass
- Forensic evidence such as skid marks, tire tracks, etc.
- Road conditions that could be relevant to the accident, such as potholes
- Nearby road signs, construction warnings, and traffic signals
- Your injuries and those of other parties
You are encouraged to consult with an Odessa car accident lawyer at any time during this process, and the sooner, the better. An attorney can take over many of the above tasks for you and ultimately make a huge difference in how effectively your case is handled and the compensation you can secure.
Work With an Odessa Car Accident Attorney Today
At Domingo Garcia, we are committed to handling all aspects of your car accident case from start to finish so you can concentrate on healing and your recovery. We can investigate your case, gather evidence of liability, and fight for what you deserve. We also work on contingency, so you do not have to risk further financial loss.
If you are ready to reclaim your life after your accident, contact us today for a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights and options. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get started on your case.