Texas law can have a significant impact on your car accident settlement. From laws about your car insurance coverage to laws regarding the statute of limitations for filing a Texas car accident claim, you will likely need help from a Texas car accident lawyer to receive the full compensation you are owed for your injuries and damages. Learn more about how Texas laws can impact your claims process and settlement offer.
According to Texas law, you should report a car accident to local law enforcement via the quickest form of communication, such as a cell phone call. An accident that involves a serious injury, serious property damage, or the death of any person involved in the accident, including pedestrians, must be reported immediately. In some areas of Texas, this may mean you are reporting the car accident to the nearest police department or sheriff’s station.
Although Texas does not have a specific law about how quickly you should report an auto accident to your car insurance company, it’s still a good idea to inform your insurance company about an accident as soon as possible. One reason to quickly report an accident is that your Texas auto accident settlement may be delayed if you do not file an accident claim.
Ideally, you should file an accident claim with your car insurance company as soon as possible after the car accident. For many drivers, this means contacting your auto insurance company after receiving emergency medical treatment. The faster you report your accident, the faster your auto insurance company can investigate your claim and award you a settlement.
After a car accident in Texas, you have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a car accident lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit within this statute of limitations, you may be forfeiting your right to a fair settlement. Sometimes, the type of claim you are filing may give you more time to work with a lawyer to launch a lawsuit.
Texas is a “fault” state, which essentially means that one or more drivers involved in a car accident can be considered liable for the accident. Since Texas is a fault state, car accident victims can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit against the other driver to seek full compensation for all injuries and damages. However, because of laws in Texas, the other driver has the right to claim you were at least partially responsible for the accident.
In Texas, a car accident victim may be held partially responsible for the car accident due to the modified comparative fault doctrine. Under this rule, each driver involved in a car accident is considered an at-fault driver and will be assigned a percentage of fault that is directly proportional to the car accident settlement.
To be awarded any part of the accident settlement in Texas, you must be found less than 50% responsible for the accident. If a jury decides a driver is more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, the at-fault party will not receive a settlement at all. The auto insurance adjuster working on your insurance claim may make decisions based on the court results if you file a modified comparative fault lawsuit.
The amount of your car accident settlement will be determined by the cost of your medical bills and major property damage, as well as additional non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A lawyer may not be able to precisely estimate the total settlement offer, particularly if you have to go to court to settle your car accident injury claim.
Compensation caps may also apply to your case. Texas car accident settlement amounts for punitive damages are typically capped at $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages plus non-economic damages up to $750,000. It’s also important to note that legal fees may also deduct a portion of your settlement amount, especially if you are hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis.
In general, the compensation you can receive from auto accident settlements can be divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can pay for the costs of lost income, lost wages in the future, physical therapy, medical bills, future medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other financial compensation for your damages.
Non-economic damages generally refer to pain and suffering such as emotional distress, mental anguish, disfigurement, and other damages that can affect your quality of life after a car wreck. You may have to ask for non-economic damages to be added to your lawsuit.
There are several factors that can influence the amount of your car accident settlement. The average car accident settlement will be calculated by closely examining the following three factors. The specific details of your auto accident, which can be demonstrated by evidence such as police reports and medical records, will be crucial to calculate an accurate car accident settlement.
If you have suffered severe injuries after an accident occurred, you will likely have a higher car accident settlement amount. This is important since the medical bills and lost wages after an accident can be very high for people who have traumatic brain injuries, debilitating injuries, and long-term disabilities, which are sometimes called catastrophic injuries. People who suffer catastrophic injuries are more likely to receive a higher average settlement for non-economic damages in personal injury cases, as well.
The number of people responsible for an auto accident can also affect the settlement offer for car accident claims. If there are multiple liable parties, the victim of a serious car accident may be able to file multiple claims to seek compensation. This is particularly true if a commercial vehicle was involved in the accident since a lawyer will likely have to seek more compensation from a business.
Likewise, the way a judge and jury determine fault in an accident can also affect a settlement amount. For comparative fault lawsuits, multiple liable parties can reduce the settlement amount for each person involved in the accident because of financial liability for the accident.
The policy limits for a driver’s insurance policy can also set limitations on car accident claims. The other driver’s insurance policy may not cover the full cost of medical bills, car repairs, or other financial compensation. In Texas, the minimum coverage offered by an insurance carrier may only be equal to $30,000 for an injury claim per person, $25,000 for property damage, and $60,000 in total compensation per accident. People who are severely injured may not be able to cover the full cost of treatment due to these policy limits.
Your auto insurance company may respond to your car accident claim by increasing your auto insurance rate. In car accident cases, when you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance premium may rise if you lose your no-accident status. In a car accident case when you are partially or fully responsible for the accident, your car insurance premium can skyrocket.
After a car accident in Texas, you should be able to file a claim with your insurance company so you can cover the cost of the initial out-of-pocket expenses you may have for vehicle repair and medical expenses. However, your auto insurance may deny your claim if an insurance adjuster feels you are not being honest about how the accident happened or if you left the scene of the accident. This is why a car accident victim should contact their car insurance company as soon as possible after an accident.
Some victims of motor vehicle accidents may be able to recover some damages from their own insurance coverage. If the auto accident settlement from the other driver does not cover the full cost of out-of-pocket expenses you may have after an accident, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company as well. Car accident victims may need to do this to recover lost wages if they are unable to work after an auto accident.
You may need to hire an attorney after a Texas car accident for a few reasons, such as if the other driver has filed a claim against you or your insurance company refuses your claim for any reason. You may need help from an experienced attorney to gather evidence for your personal injury case, especially if you are a severely injured person who needs help paying for medical expenses. You may also want to start a legal claim process if you feel your car accident settlement in Texas is unfair.
In general, it’s best to have your lawyer speak with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf. There are times when an insurance adjuster could be trying to find evidence to deny your claim. If you are speaking with an insurance adjuster, you should avoid admitting fault, stick to the details, and give the insurance adjuster your lawyer’s contact information.
Sometimes, an insurance company may be motivated to offer you a lowball auto accident settlement to get out of paying you the full compensation you deserve. Under the Texas Insurance Code, insurance companies must act in good faith toward accident victims; if the insurance company is being unfair, a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit for a fair auto accident settlement.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury, filing a lawsuit can be crucial to securing the full compensation you deserve. Particularly in Texas auto accidents, obtaining a fair settlement may require standing up against the other driver or their insurance company.
Don’t hesitate; contact Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 today for a free consultation. Our experienced team will fight for your rights and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the rightful compensation for your injuries and losses. Let us guide you through the legal process and provide the support you need during this challenging time. Take the first step towards justice and call us now for skilled legal assistance.
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