Personal Injury FAQs
Feb. 15, 2023
The concept of personal injury claims is that someone whose negligence causes an accident that injures others should be held accountable for the victim’s damages. Auto owners insure themselves against being liable for a victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages by paying for auto liability insurance. The State of Texas, in fact, requires auto owners to carry at liability insurance with coverages of at least $30,000 per person injured, $60,000 per accident in which more than one person is injured, and $25,000 for property damage.
This makes pursuing a personal injury claim sound easy. You are injured. The other driver is at fault. Their insurance pays you a settlement to cover your damages. However, it is never that simple, which is why most people have a lot of questions about personal injury claims.
If you are one of them, turn to The Fostel Law Firm for answers. I have represented hundreds of clients injured in car, motorcycle, and truck accidents in Houston and throughout Texas, in southeast New Mexico, and in states across the country.
How Does Fault Apply in Texas Personal Injury Claims?
Fault is negligence. Every driver owes everyone else on the roadway a duty of care. If they don’t uphold that duty and then cause a car accident – injuring others in the process – they should be held accountable. Often, these injuries cause damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If this occurs, the victim can pursue a personal injury claim. As a fault state, Texas holds negligent drivers financially responsible for the damages incurred by those they injure.
You should also know about modified comparative fault. This theory holds that a victim can be held at fault for the accident as well, but so long as their fault is less than 50%, they can still pursue a personal injury claim against the driver more than 50% at fault. Texas observes modified comparative fault. Without establishment of fault, or negligence, there is no personal injury claim.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, stay at the scene and seek medical treatment. You need to be examined to find out what your injuries are so you can begin treating them. Your health is paramount. You will also need medical expenses, proof that you lost income due to your injuries, and other documentation to file a personal injury claim. No proof of injuries means no injury claim.
You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. There are so many steps that need to be taken to file and pursue an insurance claim. Your attorney will know what to do. You can focus on recovering.
I’m Not Sure I’m Injured. Should I See a Doctor Anyway?
You should always see a doctor immediately following an accident. Some injuries aren’t evident for hours, days, even weeks after. Some can be deadly without immediate medical intervention. Even minor ones, if left untreated, can cause problems for the rest of your life.
You will need documentation of a physician’s diagnosis and medical bills to file a personal injury claim. If there is a delay between the time of the crash and a diagnosis, the insurance company may assert that your injuries were not bad enough for you to seek treatment or that you injured yourself in another way that didn’t involve the crash.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
You can expect the other driver’s insurance adjuster to contact you as soon as they are contacted by their insured. Insurance adjusters have numerous ways they try to get you on record downplaying your injuries, admitting at least some degree of fault, and contradicting the information you provide.
You should call a personal injury attorney before talking to an insurance adjuster. If you have not retained the services of an attorney before the adjuster calls, simply advise the adjuster that you are hiring an attorney who will contact the adjuster later. Once your attorney sends notice of representation, the adjuster is no longer allowed to communicate with you, except through your lawyer.
What If the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
There are drivers who disobey Texas law and operate a vehicle without the required liability coverage. However, that does not release them from their negligence. Depending on their employment and assets, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in court to obtain a judgment against them for the amount of your damages.
If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage under your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim against your own UM policy limits. You should know, though, that just because you are trying to recover from your own policy does not mean the insurance adjuster will proffer fail compensation. Regardless of whose policy you file a claim against, insurance companies will fight to pay as little as possible.
Do I Really Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
An experienced attorney will know how to preserve evidence, investigate the accident, gather documentation of damages and evidence of fault, value your damages, and negotiate a settlement. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement sum for your claim, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
You aren’t relinquishing control of your claim when you hire a lawyer. You make all the decisions about your claim. Your attorney will make sure you have all the information you need to make the best ones for you.
Get the Answers You Need
When people are injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by another driver, they understandably have a lot of questions. I welcome questions. I believe my clients should understand personal injury claims when they are making them.
If you have been injured in Houston or anywhere in Texas, in southeast New Mexico, or another state, call The Fostel Law Firm now to schedule a case consultation. I am here to support and guide you to the answers you need.