Common Misconceptions About Car Accident Claims in Texas
In 2021, nearly 240,000 individuals were injured due to motor vehicle crashes in Texas, according to the Department of Transportation. The sheer number of people involved in accidents on our state’s roadways is staggering. Because of this, many are forced to pursue personal injury claims to recover damages. Yet those same people hold misconceptions about the claims process and are unable to answer basic questions like, “Who will pay for damages after a car accident?”, “Is it necessary to report the accident?”, and “What if I was partially at fault for the accident?”
For help tackling these topics and to speak with a car accident attorney, reach out to me at The Fostel Law Firm. I’m proud to serving individuals in Houston, Texas, throughout the state, and the Southeast New Mexico area.
Myth #1: My Own Insurance Will Be Responsible for Covering Medical Costs and Damages to My Car
Texas is an at-fault state which means that whoever’s found to be “at fault” for an accident occurring may also be responsible for paying any damages related to it. So, if the fault lay 100% with the other party, it would be their responsibility to pay your medical and property damage expenses. That said, many drivers choose to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to get reimbursement for medical expenses through their own insurance policy, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP, however, does not cover costs related to damage to your car.
Myth #2: I Don’t Need to Seek Medical Attention Because I Feel Okay
In nearly all car accidents, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention even if you don’t feel obviously injured or if you think your injuries are minor and will resolve on their own. Some injuries, especially those sustained from a car crash, can take days or even weeks to fully present themselves. Furthermore, you may have been concussed in the collision. Only a doctor can fully evaluate this.
You should also seek medical care to start compiling documentation you’ll need when filing a claim. If you wait too long to get medical care (or don’t get it at all), then try to sue for damages, the insurance company can use this fact against you, claiming you weren't truly injured and are only trying to get money out of them.
Myth #3: If It’s a Minor Accident, It’s Not Necessary to File a Police Report
Per state law, you’re required to report a car accident to the police if someone was injured or killed, or if there was property damage exceeding $1,000. In many cases, it may be unclear the extent of damages, so it’s usually in your best interest to contact the police regardless. Additionally, should you need to pursue a claim, you can use the police report as part of your documentation.
Myth #5: I Can’t File a Personal Injury Claim Because I Was Partially At Fault
One of the most important questions to answer in a case like this is, “Who is liable in a car accident?” but the answer is more complicated than you may think. Texas follows a modified comparative fault model for car accidents which means liability can be shared between parties. Therefore, even if you were partly at fault, you may still be able to receive some compensation as long as your percentage of blame is under 50%.
Myth #6: I Don’t Need an Attorney to File a Personal Injury Claim
Hiring a personal injury attorney is one of the most important steps you can take after a car crash. While no attorney can absolutely guarantee they can get you a certain dollar amount in your settlement, they can increase your chances of a favorable outcome while helping you collect and organize documentation, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure you understand your options.
Diligent & Detailed Legal Counsel
If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash and want to learn about your options for filing a claim, call me at The Fostel Law Firm. My office is in Houston, Texas, but I can help those throughout the state and the Southeast New Mexico area. The Fostel Law Firm is a nationwide practice and is willing to review cases from any state for no charge.