According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt in a car accident every two minutes. In 2016, there was a combined vehicle damage amount of $38.6 billion. Unfortunately, it’s not just the loss of a vehicle that someone experiences. The average amount paid toward injuries per person is more than $15,000. That’s not for substantial or catastrophic injuries, either. Fatalities, disabilities, surgeries, and loss of wages during recovery are just a few of the additional costs that Texas car accident victims must face.
Texas Car Accidents Involve Negligence
If you’re involved in a car accident in or around the Dallas area, you should know that for you to receive money for your injuries or the damage to your car, you must be able to prove that the other person was negligent. Negligence is a legal concept that means fault. There are some basic components to negligence in Texas car accidents:
- A duty was owed. Every driver has a legal duty to other drivers to follow the laws of the road and to maintain car insurance. For instance, if the speed limit is posted as 40 MPH, drivers have a duty to not exceed the posted speed limit.
- The duty was breached. When a duty is breached, one person did not do what they were supposed to do. Speeding, running a stop light, drunk driving, and not carrying car insurance are all examples of a breach of legal duty.
- The breach of duty caused an actual injury. An actual injury can be physical, such as a broken arm, or it can be damage to your personal property.
- You must be able to prove that the car accident caused your injuries and that you lost money. Examples of lost money may include medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, loss of companionship, and even funeral expenses. To prove that the accident caused your injuries, you would rely on your medical reports, a police report, and your attorney.
Documents You’ll Need to Prove Negligence in a Texas Car Accident
There are some documents that will be very helpful for you to prove negligence in a Texas car accident. These documents will likely be requested by the involved parties, insurance companies, and attorneys. So, make sure that you make copies of the documents so that you have extras to keep on hand for yourself and your attorney.
- Police report.
- Medical records from injuries sustained in the wreck.
- Copies of receipts from any out of pocket payments you made to fix your car or for medical care.
- Proof of lost wages.
- Copies of all of your medical bills.
- Copies of any citations issued to you the day of the accident.
- Names and contact information of every medical profession that treated you as well as any witnesses.
Texas Car Accident Checklist
Being involved in a car accident is upsetting. It’s scary. One way to take stress out of the situation is to know what to do before it happens. Keep this Texas car accident checklist in your glove box so that you know what to do if you’re involved in a car accident.
- Call the police right away. The police play an important role in determining liability. The responding officer will complete a police report and issue tickets, if necessary. The police will also help with the exchange of personal and insurance information between all of the involved parties.
- Get medical treatment. If you have a medical emergency such as a neck injury, head injury, severe cut, or broken bone, get emergency medical care. For minor injuries, you can make an appointment to see your personal doctor or go to an urgent care facility. Getting medical attention can keep minor injuries from getting worse. Make sure that you keep copies of all documents given to you that discusses your injuries, prescriptions, and treatment plan.
- File your insurance claim. You must report the car accident to your insurance company, and you should also call the insurance company of the other party. If the other party doesn’t have car insurance, ask your insurer if you have uninsured or under-insured car insurance (commonly referred to in policies as UI / UM). The insurance companies will assign a claims adjustor to try and settle the matter. Do not sign anything from either insurance company without first having an attorney read it so that you do not sign away your right to future payments for medical care and that you’re not being paid less than you deserve. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company until you have consulted with a lawyer.
- Call a Texas car accident lawyer. Insurance companies are businesses. Although car insurance is a legal requirement for all of us, ultimately a car insurance provider wants to pay out as little as possible so that they can protect their profit. To make sure that you get the money that you deserve, you should be represented by a qualified car accident lawyer. This is the best way to ensure that you have someone looking out for your best interest.