Welcome to the South Texas Car Accident Lawyers Blog. We represent drivers, passengers and pedestrians who are injured each year in auto accidents. A common misconception is that auto accident victims don’t need attorneys. However, until an attorney is retained, auto accident victims are at the mercy of insurance companies — companies that are not likely to offer fair compensation to anyone without legal representation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle travel is the primary means of transportation in the U.S. However, deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for persons of every age from 2 through 33 years old (based on 2000 data). Traffic fatalities account for more than 90 percent of transportation-related fatalities.
In 2000, 41,821 people lost their lives in car accidents; 3,189,000 were injured. Vehicle occupants accounted for 87 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2000 — the rest were cyclists and pedestrians. Of those 41,821 lives lost, 16,653 (40 percent) were alcohol-related.
A person who has a negligence claim resulting from an accident — when he or she is injured by a driver who may have been careless — may succeed in achieving a monetary award because drivers have a clear responsibility to exercise reasonable care whenever they are driving. When drivers do not perform responsibly and cause injuries, personal injury law allows the injured person to recoup losses.
There are many reasons why car accidents occur, including driving under the influence (DUI); loss of control of the car due to bad road conditions; being distracted or aggressive; bad weather; a defect in a car part or accessory, or by simply making an error in judgment.
In personal injury lawsuits, there are two points to prove: liability and damages. Was the defendant liable for the damages suffered, and what is the extent of the damages? If you can prove liability and damages, your claim may succeed and you may be entitled to compensation.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’ve been in an accident:
Stop. If you get in a crash, you must stop. If you leave, that’s known as a “hit and run,” and might be a felony. This includes hitting property, animals or pedestrians. Also, stay calm.
Call for help. If someone is injured, call 911. If not, your first call should then be to the police. The police will advise as to whether the crashed vehicles should be moved out of traffic, and will take statements from the drivers and passengers involved.
Call your insurer. As soon as you are able, call and file an accident report. You should also notify the other driver’s insurer of the accident.
Don’t sign anything. If an insurance adjuster shows up at the scene, don’t give any statements and don’t sign anything.
Gather information. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone at the scene, especially witnesses.
Go see your doctor. You may have injuries of which you’re unaware. If you are examined by a doctor, make sure you are specific in explaining how the accident happened and any and all injuries and problems you sustained as a result.
Call our Law Firm, if necessary. Hiring a lawyer is not required, but there are times when seeking legal counsel is a good idea. If you’ve been injured, you may want a lawyer to make sure you receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. Also, proving to another driver’s insurer that its policyholder caused the accident might require the services of an attorney.
Another situation in which you should consider hiring a lawyer is when you’ve not been able to collect insurance benefits within 30 days of the accident. That’s a sure sign that either the insurer is getting ready to litigate against you, or you have not effectively communicated with the insurer. In both cases, an attorney is helpful.
If you have been injured through the carelessness, negligence or irresponsible behavior of another driver, you probably have a valid personal injury claim. Since most of the time you will suffer some form of loss, whether it be income, physical, or emotional, our legal system provides you with a limited time within which to pursue your claim. You should therefore call our Attorneys immediately — before you talk with the insurance company of the person at fault. Signing the wrong papers could mean you’ve settled for less than you deserve.