We can help. We offer free legal advice. Call our Texas car accident lawyers today.
You never need to worry about having money upfront to get the answers you need. Give us a call any time to schedule a free legal consultation.
The information here will teach you the basics about your car accident claim. First, we’ll go over the common mistakes people make in their car accident claims in Texas. Then we’ll use a story to illustrate some additional key elements about your case. Be sure to read this page to the end to gain the most out of the content.
Common Car Accident Claim Mistakes
There are many ways to damage your car accident claim unintentionally. Learning about the most common mistakes can prevent you from doing the same.
Not Seeking Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
A common reason some people don’t get themselves to the doctor after an accident is they don’t realize they are injured.
This may sound hard to believe, but the human body produces an overabundance of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol during a traumatic experience. These hormones are meant to give people strength to run or fight during an emergency. This translates into people failing to register the pain they would normally feel from their injuries.
It’s easy to see how failure to register pain could cause someone to not realize they are hurt. To protect yourself from this phenomenon, it’s important to get a medical exam after you’ve been in an accident.
This will protect not only your physical well-being, but also your insurance claim by creating a record of the date and nature of your injuries. This record will become important evidence in your claim.
Not Following Your Doctor’s Plan for your Recovery
After you’ve gotten medical attention, your doctor will have a plan for you to follow that will help with your recovery. Not taking this plan seriously is a mistake that can also jeopardize your car accident case.
Your doctor may recommend you complete a course of medication, attend regular physical therapy appointments, or do some other type of treatment to keep your recover on track. Whatever it is, if you are given instructions to assist in your recovery, it’s important to follow them.
If you disregard or forget to adhere to your doctor’s orders, the insurance company can then try to claim that any lack of progress in your recovery is your fault. As unfair as that may seem, the insurance adjusters will be looking for any way to lower the value of your claim, including dumping some of the blame on you.
Allowing the Insurance Company Record a Statement
After the accident, you can count on the insurance company contacting you to ask for a recorded statement. Agreeing to this is a mistake. This is standard procedure on the insurance company’s part. It allows them to get information they can use to devalue your claim.
Insurance adjusters are trained to conduct these interviews, so it’s best not to try to take them on. The longer you speak to them, the greater the chance that you will say something that can damage your claim.
Most people don’t realize that they are not actually required to speak to the insurance representative. It’s okay to decline to talk politely and hang up the phone. In fact, this conversation is best left to your Texas car accident lawyers.
Waiting Too Long to Call an Attorney
It’s a big mistake to let your state’s statute of limitations dictate when you pick up the phone to contact a lawyer.
No matter how long you’ve got before the filing deadline, it’s important to remember that evidence doesn’t hang around indefinitely, especially at the scene of an accident.
The same is true for witnesses. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that witnesses will forget details or move and change their contact information.
Support your Texas car accident lawyers in building you the strongest claim possible by contacting them as soon as you can after the accident.
Choosing the Wrong Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim
Making the mistake of believing that any lawyer can handle your car accident claim with the same results may be the biggest error you can make on a case.
The success of your claim will ride on the evidence and who you hire to present it.
Being a successful attorney requires skill, experience, and intelligence, to be certain. But there are many practice areas within the law. Like doctors who specialize, the training for one area does not always apply to another.
You would not call a podiatrist to have your tonsils removed. To get the best result in your car accident case, you will want to call a personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled car accident claims.
To take it one step further, you will want to hire a trial attorney. This will help you in two ways.
The first way having a trial attorney on your team helps is if your case ends up in the courtroom. Not all claims need to go there; many are settled first. If your case does need to go before a jury, however, you need a lawyer who’s been there and had success.
The second way having a trial lawyer can help your case is through their reputation. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to know who the skilled trial attorneys in the area are. Once they realize you’ve hired one, they may be more willing to negotiate to avoid trial.
Either way, your claim will be strongest when you hire a personal injury trial lawyer experienced at winning car accident cases.
Texas Car Accident Client Story
The story that follows should help familiarize you with additional aspects of your car accident claim. Though names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients, the value of the information remains. Please read all the way through.
When you’re finished, please take advantage of our offer for free legal advice and contact us to schedule your consultation.
On a sunny April day a few years ago, 32-year-old Roberta Romero left the bank in El Paso where she worked to run an important errand on her lunch break. She enjoyed her job as a teller; she had always been good with numbers. But what she was passionate about was volunteering with teens at the community playhouse.
Roberta had only a few short weeks left to get her young actors ready for their upcoming production of The Fantasticks.
This would be Roberta’s directorial debut, and she was over the moon with excitement. Right now, she needed to stop by her church to pick up a box of clothes donated for use as costumes in the play.
She thought about the kids as she drove. Some of them really had a talent. Her nephew Carlos was among them. She had been saving every penny she could in hopes of sending him to college.
She pulled down the alley to the back door of the Church, where sweet old Mr. Connor was waiting with not one, but three boxes of clothes!
“Our parishioners got a bit carried away,” Mr. Connor said as he loaded the boxes into the trunk of Roberta’s car. She was elated.
“That’s okay! I bet we have enough here to use for the next production, too!” She said happily.
Roberta pulled out of the alleyway and back onto the road to head back on the 375. She was pleased that she should be back in time to actually eat lunch. As she approached the stoplight ahead, it turned green and she didn’t even need to slow down. Smooth sailing…
As Roberta’s car swept through the intersection, she was struck by a delivery truck that had run the light. Pain stabbed her legs as she was pinned in place by the collapsed vehicle.
Paramedics quickly arrived but were unable to get Roberta out without cutting the driver’s door off with the “jaws of life.”
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) climbed in from the passenger side and held Roberta’s hand as firemen worked on her door. Still, she couldn’t help but worry about Carlos.
What if she couldn’t work anymore? What if she needed money to pay for medical bills? What if he tried to drop out of high school to support her?!
Tears streamed down her cheeks. By the time she was freed from the door, she’d begun to hyperventilate, becoming frantic with worry. An EMT put an oxygen mask over her face and worked to calm her during the ride.
Roberta’s legs were broken, but the left one had taken the worst of the impact. She heard the EMTs talk about crushing injuries to her lower leg. From the sound of it, she was lucky she couldn’t feel them yet.
She reasoned that the loss of feeling may have been due to loss of circulation from the pressure of the door, and adrenaline could certainly take the edge off of pain at the scene of an accident… Still, she couldn’t feel any pain in her legs. Shouldn’t she feel something? Was there a problem with her spine?
The EMTs told her not to worry right now, because the doctors would make sure they addressed all of her injuries at the hospital. She was in good hands.
Roberta spent the next two weeks in the hospital. Her left leg had to be amputated below the knee. Her right leg was broken and she had damage to her spine.
The doctors said it remained to be seen whether feeling would return to her legs. There was a chance she could walk again with a prosthetic. She would be going from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility.
We met Roberta near the end of her hospital stay. She and Carlos had found us online during one of his daily visits and called. She said she wanted to know how much it would cost to hire us, how much her claim may be worth, and how long a claim would take.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for My Car Accident Claim?
As we entered Roberta’s hospital room the close bond between her and her nephew was clear. As he stood to greet us, it was clear that he was at least a foot taller than his diminutive aunt.
“Gonna be a heartbreaker,” Roberta said proudly as her nephew’s golden cheeks darkened to scarlet.
As we sat, Roberta asked her first question.
“Before we get too far here, let’s talk about how much your services cost,” Roberta said with a wary smile.
We let her know that there would be no upfront cost, because we work on a contingency model.
“We’ll pay for all the expenses of the case. In the end, we only get paid when we bring your claim to a successful resolution.”
“See Aunt Bobbi, it’s okay,” Carlos assured her.
How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
Satisfied, Roberta asked her next question.
“How much do you think a case like mine could be worth?”
“That’s not something an attorney should predict at the very beginning of a case. It’s going to depend upon two things.
“First, we’ll need to do an accident investigation and collect evidence and witness statements. This part we can start on right away, as well as working up all elements of your claim as if your trial is going to court.
“The second part of the case value equation is your damages. We need to determine exactly what your economic and non-economic damages are. To do this, we’ll need you to recover to maximum medical improvement.
“This is simply the point at which your doctors can declare that you are back to normal.”
“Looks like that’s not going to happen,” Roberta said wryly, waving a hand over the flat blanket where her lower leg no longer was.
“Well, in instances where ‘back to normal’ is not possible, maximum medical improvement will mean reaching the highest level of recovery you are capable of after the accident. It’s your ‘new normal.’
“Reaching this point will mean that you are finished with surgeries and we have a clear picture of what future medical treatment for your injuries will involve.
“Your job, Roberta, is to focus on recovery. This means getting the rest you need and following the doctor’s treatment plan to keep your recovery on track.
“Once you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages. That’s when we’ll be able to tell you the value of your claim.”
Roberta responded by huffing all the air out of her lungs.
“Looks like I’ve got nothing else to do at the moment,” she said, her eyes moving to Carlos. “Except maybe going over your lines a few dozen more times.”
“Sounds good to me,” her nephew said patting the play scripts they’d been reading aloud until we arrived.
How Long Will My Car Accident Claim Take?
Roberta moved on to her last question.
“How long does a case like this usually take?”
“We’d love to tell you there’s an easy answer to that, but the truth is every case is unique.
“First, it will depend on how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement so that we can know your damages. Once we know damages, we’ll send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company.
“From there, it’s going to depend on whether or not the insurance company is reasonable and fair. If so, your case will proceed along quickly.
“If not, we take them to court. Please don’t be alarmed should it come to this; our firm has a long, successful record of winning cases like yours at trial.
“The insurance company knows who we are. In fact, just seeing who you’ve hired may make them more willing to negotiate. I doubt they are looking forward to meeting us in the courtroom again any time soon.
“Either way, we’ll be up to the task. That’s why we strongly recommend you hire a personal injury trial lawyer with experience winning car accident cases in the courtroom.”
Carlos smiled at his aunt. She smiled back with a wink.
Roberta retained us that day, and we are happy to say that we were able to get her ten times the original amount offered by the insurance company.
Call Our Texas Car Accident Lawyers Today
We hope you’ve gotten a good overview of how car accident claims work by reading this story. Since every case is different, please take us up on our offer of free legal advice. Call today to set up a consultation to discuss your specific case. You don’t have to figure your claim out alone. Contact us today to get free answers about your injury claim.