CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A ZINDA LAW GROUP FORT WORTH CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY
A car accident can be a frightening and traumatic event. In serious cases, victims of car accidents may sustain debilitating or permanent injuries. This may lead to an intensive recovery process. Even with a full recovery, people who have been injured in car accidents are usually faced with burdensome medical bills and stressful legal procedures to follow. Understanding how to respond to a car accident and the legal implications of the recovery process can be very helpful.
If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to learn more about the claim filing process, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our Fort Worth car accident attorneys today.
WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
It is important to understand ahead of time what to do in the event you are hurt or injured in a car accident. Listed below are several steps that, if taken, may protect not only your health but also your legal rights.
1. Seek Medical Attention
As a threshold matter, it is important to note that not every single car accident requires a trip to the emergency room. Slow-speed accidents such as those that occur in parking lots may not require medical attention.
However, many car accidents have the potential to result in serious injury. If you feel you have been injured following a car accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention from a trained professional as soon as possible. Also, it is possible that the stress of an accident disguises pain. In other words, the harmful effects of a wreck (e.g., pain and other related symptoms) may not manifest until hours or days after a crash. This is fairly common with back, neck, and spine injuries. Thus, consider seeking medical attention following any car accident.
2. Report the Accident
When you are physically able, report the accident to local law enforcement. In fact, under Texas law, if someone is injured in a car crash or if there is substantial damage to the vehicles, it is legally required that the parties report the accident to police.
Reporting the accident may seem tedious at first, but doing so may be beneficial to car accident victims for several reasons. Most importantly, a report of the collision will create an official record of the accident and may later be used as evidence to substantiate any existing claim. For the report to be as effective and helpful as possible, be sure to provide as much information to the reporting officer as possible, including the date, time, and location of the accident, the circumstances giving rise to the collision, and the injuries and vehicular damage sustained as a result of the crash.
3. Document the Accident
Documenting the accident is a critical part of the claims process and a step that every car accident victim should take in order to strengthen the value of any potential claim. Documenting the accident means creating and maintaining an organized record of all documents relating to the accident. The documents may be kept in hard copy at your home or office. Alternatively, the documents may be stored digitally on your computer, laptop, phone, or tablet.
Important documents which should be kept throughout the entirety of the claims process include:
- Medical records
- Property repair estimates
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Correspondence with insurance companies
- Correspondence with the at-fault driver
4. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Finally, you should contact a car accident attorney. More specifically, you should contact a car accident attorney before speaking with insurance companies, claims adjusters, or the at-fault party.
After an initial consultation, the attorney may be able to provide helpful legal advice regarding rights and remedies available to you. An attorney may also act on your behalf by communicating with insurance companies and ensuring that you do not accept a settlement offer that requires you to forfeit your legal rights or accept a settlement that is less than your claim’s value. If necessary, the attorney may initiate a formal lawsuit by suing all necessary parties.
COMMUNICATING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
To receive compensation following a car accident, you may be required to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the at-fault party does not have insurance, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance carrier.
Once the claims process is initiated, the insurance company will begin an investigation into the matter. During this process, the insurance company may try to find ways to minimize the value of your claim, thereby allowing them to avoid having to pay out the full value of the claim.
For example, part of the claims process involves a claims adjuster being assigned to your case. The claims adjuster is an employee of the insurance company and operates with the company’s best interests in mind. The adjuster’s job is to investigate the facts and circumstances of the car accident and report his or her findings to the insurance company. During this investigation, the adjuster may entice you to admitting fault or saying something that could otherwise harm the value of your claim.
Thus, the best advice is to proceed with caution when communicating with insurance companies following a car accident. When feasible, consider consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer or having the lawyer communicate on your behalf. The fact of the matter is that many car accident cases are not minor and thus do require a professional’s touch. Although nothing can ever be guaranteed, allowing an experienced car accident lawyer to navigate your claim and deal with insurance may increase your chances of receiving fair and just compensation for your injuries.
CAR ACCIDENT COMPENSATION
A car accident victim may be entitled to monetary compensation in the form of damages if the victim can establish that the other driver is legally responsible for causing the accident. When calculating the amount of compensation to be awarded to a prevailing car accident victim, courts separate compensatory damages into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are objective costs and expenses that can be quantified. In a car accident case, economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses (e.g., doctor’s appointments)
- Prescription drug expenses
- Rehabilitation services
- Lost income and wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to subjective, intangible losses which cannot be easily calculated following an accident. Rather, non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by a jury in a lawsuit. Although harder to quantify, non-economic damages may result in a greater value than economic damages. Types of non-economic damages in a car accident case may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS for a car accident claim
A “statute of limitations” is the legal term for the time-limit with which a car accident victim must file a lawsuit. If the car accident victim forgets or otherwise neglects to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, the car accident victim may forfeit some or all legal rights and may be barred from filing a claim entirely.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including claims arising from a car accident. This means that a car accident victim wishing to file a lawsuit in Texas must do so within two years of the date of the injury. Thus, for example, if a person was injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless acts on February 1, 2021, that person must file a lawsuit on or before February 1, 2023.
The significance of a statute of limitations cannot be overemphasized. Because filing a timely lawsuit is critical to the outcome of your claim, it is important to consider discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer near you as soon as possible following an accident. Also, certain events or circumstances may extend or “toll” the statute of limitations. Consulting with one of our car accident lawyers while you begin the process of recovering after a car accident in Fort Worth may help protect your legal rights and ensure that a claim is timely and properly filed.
zinda law group’s fort worth car accident attorneys are ready to help
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience handling car accident claims, and they are devoted to making sure our clients receive the representation that they deserve. While you devote your time and energy to getting well and recovering from your injuries, our team of attorneys will investigate your claim, develop a legal strategy, negotiate with insurance companies, and more.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
To learn more about what Zinda Law Group can do for you, call us at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free case evaluation.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.