While some car accidents are little more than “fender benders” and cause little or no bodily injury, others are serious or even catastrophic, resulting in often irreparable physical harm. Common types of car accident injuries include:
In addition to physical injuries, many crash victims suffer emotional trauma, mental distress, and other neurological symptoms. This can manifest as the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Heightened fear and anxiety
- Disrupted sleep and/or nightmares
- Numbness or tingling
- Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and other cognitive issues
Even if you think your injuries aren’t serious enough to warrant medical attention or believe that you may recover without treatment, it’s important to see a Austin medical professional as soon as possible for two reasons. First, serious injuries may take days to appear. Second, documenting medical issues as early as possible is very important to your legal case. If symptoms do not get better, or actually worsen later, the insurance company will argue that your injury is not related to the car accident if you did not do a good job of treating your injuries early and consistently.
Your actions after a collision may affect the outcome of your case, so it’s important that you take some steps to protect yourself to keep your legal options open.
- Contact Austin police immediately. When a serious wreck occurs, it’s imperative that you have police on the scene. If there are injuries, you are legally required to contact the Texas authorities. Additionally, the police will typically file a report documenting the details of your accident, which may be useful to prove damages and assign liability. Police may also interview witnesses, if there are any, which can also help your case.
- Gather information. Always get the other driver’s contact information, insurance details, and driver’s license number after an accident, as well as the contact information of any eye witnesses.
- Take pictures of the damage. Photographs of a car accident scene can, in some circumstances, help demonstrate the severity of the crash and how the car crash occurred. The more evidence you are able to preserve, the stronger your claim is likely to be.
- Seek medical care. The sooner you can seek medical assistance, the sooner you’ll be on the road to recovery. And the medical records that are generated from your doctor or hospital visit may be vital to your case — and will lend more credibility to your claim. If you are worried about paying for medical bills, contact an Austin, Texas, legal firm like FVF. We can offer financial advice on paying for or reducing medical costs while you weigh your legal options.
- Avoid giving statements to insurance providers. Although your first instinct may be to settle insurance claims right away, avoid giving recorded statements or providing too much information until you have spoken to an Austin accident lawyer. Insurance providers will often use statements to reduce or deny coverage. An attorney can advise you how best to proceed as you begin the process of filing a claim.
- Contact a car accident lawyer. Before you begin your accident claim, it’s best to speak with a personal injury attorney like those at FVF. Our Austin car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options and can offer advice on how to speak with insurance providers in a way that will not undermine your case. A lawyer can even assume the role of communicating with insurance carriers if you choose. FVF offers a free case evaluation so you can at least understand your options before you decide how to move forward with your claim.
There are many factors that can cause accidents, which is exactly why complicated cases might need an expert to investigate and prove liability. The following are some of the most common causes of accidents.
- Reckless driving and/or speeding. Reckless driving causes a huge portion of serious accidents. Speeding is by far the most common form of reckless driving, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all accident fatalities. Other forms of reckless driving, such as unsafe lane changing, running stop signs and lights, tailgating, and making illegal turns, can all result in serious collisions as well. Proving that reckless driving was a factor in your accident can be very difficult and often takes the dedication of an expert Texas accident lawyer.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is unfortunately on the rise in Austin and causes tens of thousands of accidents every year. Distractions range from smartphone use, to adjusting stereo controls, to eating and drinking, to simply talking with other people in the car. Texting while driving is a common cause of distracted driving accidents. This behavior is illegal in most places, including Austin, and drivers who are found to have broken this law can be held responsible for the damage and losses they cause.
- Driving while intoxicated or drugged.Driving while under the influence of various substances — particularly alcohol — is responsible for a great deal of accident fatalities in Texas. Driving under the influence greatly increases the likelihood of a serious accident — and of course, it is illegal. Unfortunately, drunk or drugged driving can often complicate your accident case, since you may have to wait until after the criminal proceedings have completed to access police records and other information pertinent to your case. But reckless conduct can also allow you to recover punitive damages from the intoxicated driver and their insurance company, which can make your case stronger. This is another instance where the advice of an Austin car accident lawyer can make a difference, since an attorney can guide you through the various civil and criminal proceedings.
There are many expenses beyond the cost of medical bills and the damage to your car that should be considered as you begin to examine your case. Some, but not all, of the damages we see are listed below.
- Medical treatments and hospital bills
- Mental health treatments
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Damage to your car
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering
Hiring a lawyer — or at least arranging a free consultation with one — can help your insurance claim and/or legal case in many ways. Proper handling of a car accident case requires the development of a strategy, and that should begin as soon as possible after the crash. Here are just a few of the ways we can offer assistance:
- Educating you on your rights and options. Personal injury lawyers have a thorough understanding of accident laws. A lawyer can provide you with a full range of legal options, help you understand your rights under Texas law, and offer guidance on which choices might be best for your case.
- Helping you afford your medical bills. A good car accident attorney is also an educational resource and can help you identify alternative payment options to afford your medical expenses, or even negotiate with Austin medical providers to lower your bill.
- Communicating with insurance providers and other parties. Negotiating your settlement with insurance carriers can be difficult, since these providers use many tactics to deny victims coverage. A lawyer can help you communicate with insurance providers in a way that won’t undermine your settlement and will help you understand what kind of coverage you are entitled to, from both your own insurance providers and the other party’s insurance.
- Requesting records, statements, and other information. Understanding which documents are necessary to prove your case can be difficult, particularly if there are non-economic damages and losses. Car accident lawyers have experience obtaining these types of records and will advise you on the types of documentation you need as well as request these documents for you.
- Helping you manage the legal details of your case. Recovering from an accident is both emotionally and physically taxing — especially when you are trying to navigate the financial and legal details of an insurance claim too. Hiring an attorney allows you to delegate the work of managing your case so you can focus on your recovery.
- Settling hospital liens. If you are uninsured or unable to pay your accident hospital bill, emergency care providers will sometimes issue a lien on your settlement — that is, they assert their right to receive a portion of your settlement to pay for outstanding medical bills. Unfortunately, many hospitals inflate costs in these scenarios, charging uninsured patients much more than they would bill insurance. An Austin car accident lawyer can help you settle hospital liens so that you receive fair compensation for your losses and damages.
There are many car accident lawyers in Austin, Texas, but very few are as committed to their clients’ well being and financial security as we are at FVF. With hundreds of accident cases under our belts, we can help you resolve your claim in a way that both is efficient and achieves the best outcome for your situation.
More specifically, here are a few of the benefits we bring:
- Transparency and ethical counsel. We offer clients something that many personal injury law firms will not: trustworthy legal advice. Our goal at FVF is to provide straightforward, sympathetic, and honest guidance — part of our commitment to reversing the poor reputation of personal injury law.
- Exceptional reviews and case outcomes. Our reputation for excellence has earned us stellar reviews on Yelp, Google, and AVVO, along with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our lawyers have also earned inclusion on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers – Rising Stars list and the Million- and Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum.
- Considerable case experience. Our team at FVF has over 70 combined years of legal expertise. The advice we offer comes from a deep understanding of Texas car accident cases.
- Compassion for our clients. We are sensitive to the challenges our clients face and strive to offer sympathetic advice as we guide you through your legal rights and options.
- Education-first approach. When you contact FVF for a free consultation, you won’t be given a sales pitch. Instead, we simply present your options and give our advice on how best to proceed.
- Free case evaluation. We offer a free case evaluation to every accident victim who reaches out to us, regardless of how they decide to move forward with their claim. No fees, no pressure to hire us, just straightforward legal guidance.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Texas, you should at least understand your options before you make any concrete decisions about your case. That’s why we recommend you contact us for a free case consultation with our Austin car accident lawyers. We will lay out the various routes you can take and explain how you can obtain the resources you need to move past this difficult chapter of your life.
What if My Injuries Are Minor?
Seemingly minor injuries can become severe over time. That’s why it’s important that all individuals involved in car accidents be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Should I Speak With the Insurance Company?
Insurance companies are going to want to protect their bottom lines, so they may offer a very low settlement to meet that goal. Ask insurers to speak only with their attorney to ensure you don’t end up with a payout that doesn’t cover your damages.
Can I Take on My Case Alone?
It is possible to handle a car accident case on your own. However, you may be short-changing yourself in doing so. Having experienced representation is the best way to get the compensation you need to get back on your feet. In addition, having an attorney on your side means you can focus on recovering from any injuries you may have incurred.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Car accident settlements vary depending on a variety of factors. Those include the seriousness of the injuries sustained, how many people were involved, and more. Rather than simply accepting an insurer’s settlement, it’s often a good idea to get help from an attorney who can determine what the ideal settlement would be given all the factors involved.
What Happens if My Case Goes to Trial?
Most Austin car accident cases get settled out of court. But, there are situations in which going to trial could be necessary. Having a reliable and caring lawyer on your side means you’ll have an advocate who understands the trial process and is looking out for your best interests.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Texas?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury in car accidents is two years. The clock starts running from the date of the accident. Exceptions to this deadline can sometimes be made, so check with an attorney even if you think your time to file has passed.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Modified comparative negligence is used in car accidents in the state of Texas. That means that if car accident victims in Austin are at all responsible for the accident, their compensation can be reduced by that percentage.