Car Accident Lawyer in Austin, TX
Car Accidents in Austin happen all the time
Car accidents can lead to serious injuries, ranging from soft tissue injuries, like muscular contusions, to far more serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries. These injuries can lead to complicated medical procedures and other forms of medical treatment that may last for months – and sometimes even years. In particularly serious car accidents, the accident victim may suffer a permanent injury that can impact the remainder of his or her life, causing ongoing pain, problems, symptoms, and complications regarding the affected body part(s).
When it comes to motor vehicle collisions, the State of Texas is a fault-based state. This means that an individual who suffers one or more injuries in a car crash can file a claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault person or entity (and indirectly, against that person or entity’s insurance company). However, there is a time limit that applies to personal injury and car accident lawsuits in Texas.
There are several car accident laws on the books in Texas that might apply to your case. These can include:
Texas has minimum insurance requirements for all drivers, and if a driver violates the law by not having proper insurance, you will need to learn about other options for seeking compensation, such as an uninsured motorist claim.
Texas Car Accident Laws: Comparative fault
The other driver might accuse you of being negligent as well to limit their liability. However, under Texas modified comparative fault laws, you can still recover for your losses as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault. Even if you think you did something wrong, too, you should always talk to a lawyer about possible recovery.
Texas Statute of limitations
In Texas, a car accident victim must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within two years of the date of his or her accident. If the accident victim does not file a lawsuit within this time period, he or she will no longer be able to make a claim for monetary compensation in the future arising out of these injuries. This means you need to go through the entire insurance claim process first, and then your lawyer needs to prepare the lawsuit all within two years. If you don’t file in two years, your lawsuit will be dismissed. This is why it is important to contact an Austin car accident attorney near your area immediately.
An experienced Austin car accident attorney at TK Injury Lawyers will be sure to file your lawsuit in a timely manner in order to fall within the two-year Texas statute of limitations on personal injury cases.
Most common causes of Car Accidents in Austin
Car accidents in and around Austin can occur for a variety of reasons. One common cause of a car crash is negligent driving. When motor vehicle operators are on the road, they have a duty to drive in a reasonable and careful manner – and to obey all Texas traffic laws and rules of the road. Drivers must also refrain from engaging in distracted driving (such as using a cell phone, tablet, or another electronic device in an unlawful manner while driving) and intoxicated driving at all times.
When negligent motor vehicle operators engage in these types of activities while driving and an accident and injuries result, then the accident victim may be able to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the driver seeking damages.
Car crashes in Texas occur for a variety of reasons and can lead to a wide range of catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common causes of car wrecks include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving
- Ignoring stop lights and other traffic signals
- Failure to yield
- Failure to signal or check mirrors before merging
- Following too closely
According to TxDOT, in 2021 about 1,029 people in Texas were killed and 2,522 people were seriously injured by someone driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you find yourself involved in a car accident — whether a drunk driver is involved or not — it’s important that you get as much information as possible at the scene. First, seek medical help if you or anyone else involved is injured. Call the police and remember to ask for a copy of the police report or the police report number. If you are able, collect the names and contact information of any witnesses before they drift away and take pictures of the vehicles involved. While the memory is still fresh in your mind, you should also record your first impressions of everything that is said and done before they are forgotten.
Finally, if you suspect drunk driving may have been a factor in the accident, then the final and most important step is to call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
While “texting and driving” is illegal in Texas and it’s one of the most common causes of distracted driving in the United States, there are other situations that can cause a car crash, including:
- Eating or drinking
- talking to a passenger
- programming a GPS or turning a dashboard radio
- playing music too loud blocking noise outside the car
- putting on makeup
- Reaching an object on the floor
- Interacting with pets or children
Regardless of the exact cause, if you have been injured in an Austin car accident you should contact our Austin Car Accident Attorneys at Terry & Kelly to find out how you can protect your rights.
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The Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Texas
If we told you that the median nationwide settlement for a car accident is $40,000, that information would not help you much. If you suffered $100,000 worth of damages from your car accident injury, a $40,000 settlement would actually be terrible for you. While it is nice to know the average numbers for a frame of reference, you should focus on your own unique situation when you are trying to figure out how much money you can get for your car accident injuries. You never know the situations of other people who are reported as part of an average number.
The defendant has a legal obligation to put you in the same position as if the accident never happened. They would use the money to restore you to that position since they cannot undo the effects of the accident. If you suffered $1 million of damages, the defendant would have a legal obligation to pay you $1 million, although they often do not have this money.
If you have suffered more serious car accident injuries, your settlement amount would likely be much higher than average. Your attorney would negotiate the right amount of compensation for you.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Texas Car Accident
The person who was at fault for the car accident is the one who must pay for the damages. If someone thinks that you were to blame for the crash, they may file a lawsuit against you.
You can take comfort in knowing that the insurance company would be legally obligated to pay a judgment against you up to the value of the policy limit. Then, the injured driver may file a claim against their own auto policy for an underinsured driver if your coverage is not enough to pay the full damages. The other driver can only try to get your money if both of those coverages are not enough.
If you are sued, the insurance company has a legal duty to defend you. As a defendant, you would not need to hire and pay for your own lawyer.
How Much Can Someone Sue For a Car Accident in Texas?
You can sue for the exact damages that you have suffered because of someone else’s negligence. In any car accident case, there are two different broad categories of damages. Economic damages refer to the money that either comes out of your pocket or that you could have earned. Non-economic damages refer to the damages that you suffer because of what you have had to endure because of the accident.
Economic damages will include the following:
- Lost wages for the money that you did not earn from either not being able to work or because of a reduction in your earning capacity
- Property losses, primarily for the damage to your car
- The full cost of any medical treatment, including hospital stays, therapy costs, and prescription drugs
Your non-economic damages are more subjective, and they measure what you are going through since the car accident. Non-economic damages would include:
- The physical pain of your car accident injuries
- Anxiety and depression as a result of your injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Embarrassment and humiliation
Your damages are a personal calculation based on your own experience and injuries in a car accident. It is possible for two people to suffer the same exact physical injury but have different damages because the injury affects them differently. For example, a higher-paid worker would have more lost wages, while an active younger person could have more loss of enjoyment of life.
What can a Car Accident Lawyer do for you?
Many car accident victims wonder whether it is really necessary to hire a lawyer after a crash. There is no requirement that you need a law firm to file an insurance claim, but the reality is that an attorney can help collision victims in many ways.
- Dealing with insurance companies: Insurance companies do everything they can to limit the payment you receive or even deny your claim completely. Adjusters have many tricks they use to get injured accident victims to accept far less than they deserve. They might request documents repeatedly, delay your claim, and convince you to accept an inadequate settlement. When you have the right lawyer on your side, they will deal with the insurance companies for you. They will compile all the evidence needed to support your claim, including:
- Proof of liability – Your lawyer will know what evidence is necessary to demonstrate who was at fault for your accident and why the insurance company should cover your losses.
- Proof of damages – An attorney can calculate all of your past and future losses and provide evidence to show the full amount of compensation you deserve, including both economic and non-economic damages.
- Contingency fee basis: You might worry that having help with your insurance claim will cost too much in legal fees to be worth it. However, car accident attorneys handle claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that they do not receive any fees upfront, and they do not get paid anything if you do not get compensation. If your claim is successful, their fees come directly from that payment, so you never need to pay anything out of pocket. This means that it is always worth it to seek legal help with a motor vehicle accident claim.
- Negotiate a fair settlement: One of the most important tasks an attorney takes on is negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company. The insurer will certainly make a lowball offer right out of the gate, and you should never accept an offer without talking to an attorney first. A car accident lawyer near you can negotiate and provide additional information to maximize the settlement offer you get. If the insurance company refuses to offer enough, you have other options. Your lawyer can escalate the matter by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. This begins the car accident litigation process, which can be highly complicated.
Types of Car Accidents
Crashes happen in many different ways, and you might suffer injuries in one of the following:
- Car wreck – Serious injuries often result when two or more cars collide with one another, often causing a chain reaction crash.
- Head-on collision – When one car is driving into oncoming traffic, the front of that vehicle might crash into the front of another vehicle. These are some of the deadliest types of accidents.
- Hit-and-run – Some drivers violate the law and flee the scene of a crash – often because they don’t want to talk to the police. Always call 911 if this happens to report the hit-and-run accident.
- Rear-end collision – This is one of the most common types of wrecks, and it involves a driver hitting the back of another car, often due to distracted driving. Though these are often called “fender-benders,” they can still cause serious injuries.
- Rollovers – Likely the most terrifying type of crash, a rollover involves one or more vehicles that roll onto their sides or roofs. SUVs and trucks are more prone to rollovers, but any car can roll.
- T-bone – These crashes are common in intersections and the front of one car slams into the side of another.
What to do after a Car Accident?
An auto wreck is often a traumatic event. You will be shaken up, and the scene might be chaotic. It is important to stay calm and remember what you should do to protect your health and your legal rights.
- Call the police: While you might hesitate to call 911, it is a good idea. First, it will make sure you comply with Texas law regarding accident reporting. Second, 911 will also dispatch emergency medical personnel who can attend to your injuries right away if needed. A police officer will determine whether another driver should receive a citation for a traffic offense, or if a driver should be arrested for drunk driving or another criminal offense. If a citation or criminal case results, it can help your future car accident claim.
- Exchange insurance information: One thing you learn as a new driver is to always exchange insurance information with others involved in the crash. If the other driver tries to offer you payment instead of going through insurance, it is never a good idea to accept this. Instead, request their insurance information, or they need to admit if they do not have the required insurance. If you are too injured to do this, you will need to get the information from the police at a later date.
- Document the scene: If you can, you should take whatever steps you can to document the accident scene. This can include taking pictures with your smartphone of the vehicles, the surrounding area, and any other details that might be relevant to the cause of the accident. Make sure that you record a message or write down the injuries you have, taking pictures of any bleeding, lacerations, or other visible injuries.
- Collect witness info: Witnesses are often key to proving what happened and who caused the collision. If witnesses stopped at the scene to help, make sure to collect their basic contact information, including name and phone number. The police should also get this information in case you need an ambulance ride and cannot talk to anyone.
- Contact your insurance: If you know another driver was to blame for the car accident, you might think you don’t need to contact your own insurance company. However, it is important to do so as soon as possible after the crash. Give them basic details of what happened, including that you think someone else was to blame. It might be necessary to use certain coverage under your policy, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and you cannot have access to this if you don’t properly report the accident right away.
- Speak to a car accident attorney: After you receive the medical attention you need for your injuries, your next move should be to call a car accident lawyer near you. The sooner you do, the sooner the attorney can begin building your case. If you are in the Austin area, Terry & Kelly Injury Lawyers are ready to evaluate your legal rights and start gathering evidence to prove your claim.
TK Injury Lawyers: What to do after a car accident?
Common Injuries from Car Accidents
Some of the more common injuries to car accident victims include:
- Broken bones – All fractures require immediate medical treatment, and some might need emergency surgery.
- Back injuries – Back injuries are extremely painful and often keep you out of work.
- Internal injuries – Internal hemorrhaging and organ damage can result from serious crashes.
- Knee and ankle injuries – Joint injuries are common, including dislocation or soft tissue injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury – Head trauma or violent shaking of the head in a collision can cause a concussion or a severe brain injury.
- Whiplash – The neck often snaps forward and backward in a crash, which can cause several soft tissue injuries known as “whiplash.”
Elements of a Car Accident Case
Not all cases that involve a car accident go to court. Our skilled Austin Car Accident Attorneys can negotiate with the other party in order to secure a settlement before the case even begins. Certain legal elements will play a role in every car accident case, including Establishing Liability in Auto Accident Claims, negligence, and comparative fault.
Liability is defined as the state of being responsible for something, by law. It’s the first thing that comes to mind in an Austin Car Accident case. Who is Liable for the accident, and did they hurt anyone involved? In most cases, there are usually two parties involved in a 1 on 1 collision, but under Certain Situations, there may be a 3rd party involved and these could include:
18-Wheeler Companies: If you have collided with an 18-wheeler in an accident, more than likely, the company that owns the truck will likely get involved. Your Austin Semi-Truck Attorney will have to contend with both, your insurance company to get your proper compensation, as well as the Trucking Companies Insurance to get paid for your troubles.
Defective Auto Parts: Some Collisions happen due to Defective Parts on Motor Vehicles giving out. If you were in an accident caused by a manufacturing error, then your Austin Motor vehicle accident Attorney could help recover compensation.
Road Construction Companies: If an Accident happens to be near, or at, a construction zone, it’s also likely that the Road Construction Companies will have to get involved. If they were found to be the cause of the accident, then they will be entitled to give compensation under the law.
Negligence is when a person has behaved in a thoughtless/careless manner that may have led to injury to another party. The plaintiff has to be able to prove that the Defendant being sued was acting Negligently.
He or she has to be able to demonstrate that:
- The Defendant’s duty is to use caution on the roadways (Highway, Street, or otherwise).
- The defendant did not act on his duty. (For Example, if he/she was texting on the phone or any other kind of negligent activity).
- The negligent party contributed in some part to a car accident where injuries occur.
- The Plaintiff has received an injury as a result of the negligence of the Defendant.
Are you in a state where a modified comparative fault rule has been enacted? Here in Texas, the rule might be relevant in your motor vehicle accident case. This also applies if you settle outside of court.
How to Find the Best Car Accident Attorney in Austin?
If you need to file a lawsuit, you want an attorney with auto accident litigation experience handling the entire process. The best car accident attorney for you will strive to fight for the compensation that you deserve and need in your case.
There are many rules and procedures during litigation, and your attorney can navigate the process while trying to negotiate a settlement agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement, your case will need to go to court. Having the best car accident lawyer is critical to the success of your case if you need to go before a jury.
Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer near you? Call TK Injury Lawyers Today
If you have been in a car accident in the Austin Metro Area and find yourself with questions about paying for medical bills, recovering lost wages, repairing your vehicle or anything else related to your injuries, we are here for you.
The legal team at TK Injury Lawyers is ready to help you pursue the monetary compensation you need for the injuries that you suffered in your car accident. We can assist you with filing your personal injury claim and pursuing a settlement. We can also help you file a lawsuit in your case if your case does not settle in a favorable manner.
For a free legal consultation and case evaluation with an Austin car accident attorney, please call today at (512) 982-9713 or contact us online for more information.
Call TK Injury Lawyers Austin Car Accident Attorneys at 512-982-9713
Car Accident FAQs
When it comes to car accidents that occur in the greater Austin area, many questions often come to mind. Drivers are sometimes unsure of what they should do – or where they should turn – if they are involved in an accident that is caused by another driver’s negligence. This article attempts to answer some frequently asked questions that drivers have after being involved in a serious Austin car crash. To discuss your specific situation, reach out to our Austin car accident lawyers directly.