If you are injured in an auto accident in Texas, the need to call a lawyer may not be your first thought – but it should be a priority.
Most injuries heal and the trauma of the accident will, hopefully, fade with time.
You should not be left with a constant reminder of the accident in the shape of financial hardship from sky-high medical bills, damaged property, lost earnings at work, or unnecessary and undeserved physical/emotional pain and suffering.
If your accident was due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver on the roads, you have the right to claim compensation. But receiving fair compensation without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer can be a real challenge in Texas.
Basic steps to take after an auto accident in Texas
If you are involved in an auto accident in Texas, safety should always come first.
If you are mobile and able to drive your vehicle, make sure that you and your vehicle are safe and out of the path of traffic on the road.
Call the police and remain at the scene until they arrive. Seek medical assistance at the scene from first responders if necessary and, even if you feel uninjured, visit a clinic or hospital for a full medical checkup. Some injury symptoms only show hours or even days after an accident.
If you are physically able to, start gathering evidence at the scene – photos of vehicles, videos, witness contact details, etc.
Once you have received a thorough medical checkup and received treatment for your injuries, calling a lawyer should be one of your next moves.
For further information on this, here are all the steps you should and should not take after an accident.
Why speak to a lawyer after an accident?
Whether you’re injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, or other accident, you will probably be in shock for a few days.
This is the time to focus on recovery and recuperation – not dealing with insurance or trucking companies.
Challenges when dealing with insurance companies in Texas
Insurance companies are businesses. They are looking to make big profits, frequently looking for ways to deny liability and not pay up.
That can be tough for any accident victim to deal with while the accident is still fresh in the mind.
People pay substantial insurance premiums to protect themselves against the precise situations they find themselves in after an accident. So, to have the insurance company refuse to pay or underpay you for your losses adds insult to injury.
The law is even designed to protect the insurance companies in many cases, making it even harder to claim fair compensation. The following are just a few of the advantages that insurance companies enjoy in disputes:
How will an auto accident lawyer help?
An auto accident lawyer will take over the burden of communicating with the at-fault parties from you and your family.
Experienced lawyers are intimately familiar with the claims process and will put pressure on the insurance company to reach a fair settlement out of court or proceed to trial.
Lawyers ensure that they are familiar with the precise circumstances of the case and will gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and make sure that the full extent of injuries is documented.
Texas is an at-fault state meaning that you can sue the party at fault in an accident. Sometimes, however, determining fault in accidents can be complex and other drivers and their insurance companies frequently deny liability. A lawyer will help you gather solid evidence for a legitimate claim.
This is why it’s important to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. If evidence is lost in the days following the accident, it may not be recoverable.
Your lawyer will guide the entire claims process from start to finish, allowing you to focus on recovery and only disturbing you when your input or specific information is required.
Is it worth hiring a lawyer for a minor car accident?
In most cases, if the accident wasn’t your fault, it is worth at least speaking to a lawyer and exploring whether legal assistance for a claim would be worthwhile.
You can expect an honest opinion of your chances as most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis and only earn a fee from your case if the compensation claim is successful.
Sometimes, the expected recovery amount would be so small that the case would end up in small claims court if it ended up litigation. This may not be worth a lawyer pursuing.
Even if the insurance company offers what you consider to be a fair settlement, it may be worthwhile checking with a lawyer before you sign any paperwork. You could be entitled to considerably more.
You may agree to settle and move on with your life if the offer is in the right “ballpark”. Just bear in mind that once you sign the agreement with the insurance company, there is no going back. The case is essentially closed.
Even if you don’t feel injured after your accident, symptoms can appear later and complications arise. Getting a medical checkup and speaking to a Texas auto accident lawyer are sensible steps to take after almost any accident.
Will my case go to court?
Most experienced accident lawyers will exert pressure on the insurance company of the at-fault party to commit to a fair settlement.
Nobody wants to end up in court but it will often aid your case to demonstrate that you are prepared to go to trial.
As mentioned, insurance companies frequently play hard when it comes to major claims and their offer may be too low to accept. In this case, your lawyer should be prepared to go to court to fight for a fair settlement.
At any stage, before the trial starts, the case can avoid the lengthy court process if the parties can settle out of court. However, it often takes time and strong representation to arrive at this point.
Can you settle without a lawyer?
There is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer to claim compensation from the at-fault party in Texas.
In reality, if you attempt to make a large claim alone, you must be prepared for lengthy negotiations with the insurance company. Most people are not well-equipped for this and do not have the necessary experience of insurance company tactics to pursue a fair settlement.
It is even possible that you will put your claim at risk by saying or doing something that will compromise your position. That’s why most accident victims (or their families) pass it to a lawyer to handle.
Been in an accident in Houston area?
At the DeHoyos Law Firm PLLC, we’ve seen all sorts of personal injury cases and provide professional and compassionate representation while holding insurance companies to account.
Whether a negligent or reckless driver was partly or wholly to blame for the accident, Ryan A. DeHoyos will work tirelessly to help you claim what you are due if you have suffered an injury in Houston.