We hope it never happens. But if you drive a car, motorcycle, or truck in Texas, there is a significant chance that you will be involved in a vehicular accident that is not your fault.
Based on Texas Department of Transportation data for 2021, there was a reportable crash every 57 seconds in Texas; one person was injured in a traffic accident every two minutes and 12 seconds, and one person was killed every one-hour and 57 seconds (see source).
This means that no matter how careful a driver you might be, the odds are that you will eventually be impacted by someone else’s reckless or inattentive driving—literally and figuratively.
In both senses, the path to receiving fair and complete compensation for your injuries and property losses will neither be easy nor straightforward. The involved insurance companies will make sure of that. So…
This blog entry presents some general and Texas-specific facts about car accidents, along with information about how and why you should retain a Texas car accident lawyer if one of those accidents happens to you. Q&As include:
What is Texas motor vehicular accident law?
How do I know if I am entitled to a car accident insurance claim in Texas?
What damages are typically sought in a Texas car accident insurance claim?
How are car accident settlements determined in Texas?
What are considered economic damages in Texas?
What are considered noneconomic damages in Texas?
What are considered punitive damages in Texas?
What is the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Texas?
What is a Texas car accident attorney?
What types of auto accidents are handled by Texas car accident lawyers?
What services does a Texas auto-accident attorney provide?
How much does it cost to hire a car-crash attorney?
1. What is Texas motor vehicular accident law?
As in most U.S. states, motor vehicular accident law is a combination of personal injury and traffic law, and it entails the establishment of fault in a traffic collision. Some terms you will hear with regard to motor vehicular accident law are:
Negligence, which is conduct falling below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.
Comparative negligence, which is a way of assigning fault when more than one party causes an accident.
Vicarious liability, wherein blame for an accident is assigned to a party who was not directly involved. E.g., an employer might be held “vicariously” liable for a car accident caused by his or her employee while on the job.
2. How do I know if I am entitled to a car accident insurance claim in Texas?
It is likely that you are entitled to a car accident insurance claim in Texas if your injuries and losses are the results of the at-fault party’s negligence.
Some examples of negligence include distracted driving such as texting, excessive speed, driving while intoxicated, and/or ignoring road signs and signals for instance running a stop sign or a red light. But bear in mind that the at-fault party might not be a person. Consider:
If an accident were the result of poor road design, construction, or maintenance, the at-fault party might be a local, state, or federal transportation authority. Or if an accident were to happen because of a vehicle defect, one or another manufacturer could be found negligent.
So, determining who are the at-fault parties for your accident—and in what proportion each is liable for your injuries and losses—is not a straightforward matter, and illustrates why you should consult with a Texas car accident lawyer rather than trying to go it alone.
3. What damages are typically sought in a Texas car accident insurance claim?
The details concerning your accident and the kind of injuries you sustained will together determine the value of your claim. Typically sought damages include but are not limited to:
Coverage of present and future medical expenses
Loss of earning potential
Pain and suffering
Possible punitive damages (see Q.7)
4. How are car accident settlements determined in Texas?
The sum of damages you sustain in a car accident in Texas is called the “true value” of your claim. There are generally three types of damages that might be involved: economic, non-economic, and punitive (see Qs. 5, 6, and 7).
5. What are considered economic damages in Texas?
Economic damages are awarded to compensate you for the financial losses that are subsequent to the accident. (medical bills, property damage, household services, vocational rehabilitation, lost wages, loss of earning capacity and the like). As to medical bills, the calculation should include not only what you have already paid, but also future treatments that you might require, such as surgeries, physical and occupational therapies, medicines, etc.
6. What are considered noneconomic damages in Texas?
Noneconomic damages (compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of life enjoyment, and even humiliation and/or reputational damage) are more difficult to estimate because they are intangible.
7. What are considered punitive damages in Texas?
Most commonly awarded in drunk driving or speeding-related accidents, punitive damages differ from economic and noneconomic ones in that they are not awarded to you for a loss. Instead, they are awarded to you as a way to punish (and make a cautionary example of) the party who was at fault for your accident.
8. What is the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Texas?
The Texas statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years from the day of the accident for both injuries and property (see source). Wrongful death claims have the same two‑year limitation, but the statute of limitations is measured from the time of the person’s death, not the accident that caused it.
One important caveat: If the person who caused your accident did so as an employee of the State of Texas, you must submit your claim to the Texas department of government for which the person was working when he or she caused the accident within six months of the collision.
Such a report to the state government must detail when and where the accident occurred, those involved, and other details and requirements—none of which are designed to make filing a claim against the Texas state government any easier for you. Proceeding without legal guidance from an experienced Texas car accident attorney is not a good strategy.
9. What is a Texas car accident attorney?
While any lawyer licensed in Texas can legally handle a car accident case, you would do well to consult one who focuses on vehicular accidents and has extensive experience doing so inside the state. He or she will have wide-ranging experience and expertise concerning Texas law and the conduct of Texas personal injury cases: sharply focused skills that a generalist lawyer (who takes on any or all cases) simply cannot match.
10. What types of auto accidents are handled by Texas car accident lawyers?
Texas car accident lawyers can help you with all forms of vehicular accidents, including:
Rear-end collisions. These accidents are commonly caused by following too closely, driver fatigue, DUI, or distractions such as texting and cell calls. While it is the rear driver who usually causes a “rear-ender” by driving too closely to the forward vehicle, he or she might not be at fault if the forward driver stops suddenly, for instance, to make an illegal U-turn on an Interstate. A common injury is whiplash.
Head-on collisions. Although less common than other types of car accidents, these are among the most dangerous, since the force of impact is the total of both velocities as the cars are moving toward one another. Frequent causes are distracted driving, DUI, driver fatigue, speeding, and/or recklessness. Severe injuries and death are the norm.
Side-impact collisions. In these instances, a car strikes another at a perpendicular angle. Such “T-bones” are most perilous to the passengers in the vehicle that is struck, as the sides of a vehicle offer less energy‑absorbing mass than do its front and rear. Common causes are failure to yield, disregarding traffic signs or signals, distracted driving, DUI, driver fatigue, speeding, and/or recklessness.
Sideswipe accidents. This happens when two or more vehicles traveling in parallel make violent side-to-side contact, which can cause them to careen into other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, or roadside objects. Frequent causes are failure to check blind spots when merging or changing lanes, distracted driving, DUI, driver fatigue, speeding, and/or recklessness.
Single-vehicle accidents. These generally involve a car hitting something such as an animal, fallen cargo, or road debris, causing it to leave the road and strike an obstacle (e.g., a lamppost or guardrail) or even to roll over. Poor weather conditions, distracted driving, DUI, driver fatigue, speeding, and recklessness—along with driving in areas that have abundant wildlife—are frequent causes.
Multi-vehicle accidents. These involve three or more vehicles. Thus, there might be a greater number of injured people, and a commensurate number of insurance companies involved. More than one driver might be at fault. Insurance companies will try to deflect blame from their insureds onto others involved in the accident.
Rollover accidents. Being violently tossed inside a moving car can inflict serious injuries to its occupants, who might also be completely thrown from it and into traffic. Spilled fuel can also cause a fire or explosion. Driving off the shoulder is a common reason for these accidents, as are other vehicles or objects forcing a car off the road. Other causes are distracted driving, DUI, driver fatigue, speeding, and/or recklessness.
Blind-spot accidents. Sideswipe accidents are commonly caused by failure to check blind spots. Motorcycles and compact cars disappear into the blind spots of larger vehicles. Large trucks have correspondingly larger blind spots, making them particularly dangerous to nearby motorists. Speed and angle of impact contribute to the severity of a blind-spot crash, as do other factors.
Low-speed accidents. No matter the speed of the vehicle that hits them, bicyclers and walkers are at extreme risk in these sorts of accidents. Cars typically weigh between 1.0 and 2.5 tons, with SUVs displacing as much as 3.0 tons. Thus, even at low speeds, these vehicles produce considerable force upon impact. Broken bones, whiplash, crush injuries, and severe bruising are the frequent result of low-speed accidents. So are injuries to the neck, back, head, and/or face.
Merging Accidents. Because these accidents usually occur at high speeds, injuries are often serious. Common causes are not checking blind spots, failing to match the speed of traffic, or driving recklessly—usually by speeding up to prevent someone from merging.
11. What services does a Texas auto-accident attorney provide?
There are five main things that a Texas car accident lawyer can help you with: 1. Communicating with insurers. There can be more than one party at fault in an accident. This means more than one insurance company will be involved. Expediting communication among these disparate parties is essential to moving your claim forward. A lack of such communication is a major reason for prolonged delays. 2. Procuring necessary accident evidence. Your Texas car-accident attorney will collect, organize, and present the kinds of evidence that are required to support your claim, including:
Police crash reports
Medical and work records
Manufacturer records and recall information
Data from vehicles’ event data recorders
Damaged vehicle photos
Cell phone records
Accident scene photos
3. Acquiring evidence of your injuries. Even though your healthcare records are legally yours, and you have the legal right to access them, healthcare providers can be notoriously slow at releasing them. This is just one area where your Texas car accident lawyer’s administrative and paralegal staff can be of immense help to you.
Also, healthcare providers often send medical records that avoid speaking to causation, prognosis, or disability. This is a significant omission because you must produce medical evidence that clearly states that your injury, disability, or physical limitation is the result of your accident and not, for example, an existing condition.
In such a case, your Texas auto-accident attorney will obtain a statement from your doctor in which he or she explicitly states that your injury, disability, or physical limitation is a direct consequence of the accident and that you will be disabled for a specific amount of time.
4. Negotiating with lien holders. Your accident probably has left you with unpaid medical bills. Your health insurance company (or Medicaid) might seek reimbursement if they have covered any of them. These liens can be numerous. Your Texas car accident lawyer will negotiate with lien holders to reduce the amount they seek from you.
5. Negotiating with insurers and defendants. A lawyer who concentrates on automobile crashes in Texas will have extensive knowledge about the monetary worth of one or another kind of car-accident case in that state. This gives him or her a powerful position from which to negotiate with insurers and defendants on your behalf—and at a level you cannot approach as a nonlawyer.
12. How much does it cost to hire a Texas car crash attorney?
Galindo auto accident attorneys charge no upfront or out-of-pocket fees. We are only paid a percentage of the compensation we are able to secure for you. So by working with Galindo Law, you incur zero financial risk.
Contact Galindo Law today if you or a loved one have suffered major or minor injuries in an automobile collision.
Remember that proper compensation for pain and damages consequent to an auto accident is your right. You are not asking for charity. You deserve to be adequately compensated for your loss.
Or, if you prefer, email us.
And thank you for reading our blog!