What You Need to Know Before You File a Car Accident Claim
Every single accident that involves a moving vehicle has the potential to be catastrophic. Whether you were driving, riding, or walking, even a minor collision could cause severe injury, suffering, and an unfortunate amount of debt. When this happens, your only hope may lie in filing a personal injury claim.
Sadly, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Between proving liability, correctly completing the claim, and fighting insurance companies, you pretty much have your work cut out for you. The process gets even more difficult when you factor in that you’re already dealing with the stress of your injuries—that is unless you have an ace up your sleeve.
Step One: Breaking Down the Laws to Help Rebuild Your Future
In order to successfully pursue a car accident injury claim, you first need to be confident in your understanding of the law and how the claim process works. Texas liability laws can take years of study to fully comprehend (and we won’t even discuss how long it may take to understand insurance laws and proceedings).
Now obviously, you don’t have the time to devote to studying—especially considering the car accident statute of limitations for filing is generally only two years. So, what can you do?
The absolute best way to avoid wasting time but still understand what you need to understand is to take advantage of a seasoned car accident attorney’s education and experience. Your attorney has already put in the time and work to comprehend what you may not. He can translate the laws into laymen’s terms and personally guide you through the process of filing in order to guarantee you understand what’s going on. Furthermore, lawsuits that are settled with the help of an attorney often have larger, fairer settlements than when plaintiffs attempt to settle their personal injury claim alone.
Step Two: Proving Fault With the Right Questions
Once you’ve secured the right lawyer for your case, the next step in pursuing an injury claim is proving who was at fault.
Almost all personal injury claims revolve around proving that another party’s negligence was at least 50% responsible for your injuries. If it is found that you were 51% liable for the accident, your case will be denied under the comparative negligence law. The degree of fault is determined by examining the evidence and claims of both parties involved in the case. This is where your lawyer’s experience and knowledge will be essential.
Your lawyer can help you prove fault by asking a few simple questions that cut to the heart of the case. If the defendant can be shown to have violated his duty to keep you safe—we call that duty of care—he will be at fault. Questions your lawyer may ask to determine this include:
- Did the negligent person have an duty to keep you safe? (Remember, a driver’s license is a contract to follow traffic laws and commit to traffic safety)
- Did the other party breach that duty by acting negligently through misconduct or inaction?
- Did the other party’s breach of duty directly result in your harm (physical or material)?
Step Three: Filing the Claim
Drafting the initial complaint for submission to the court requires a basic overview of your accident and a suggestion for compensation. Your lawyer will help you:
- Review your accident
- Gather evidence (including witness testimonies) to include in the claim
- Draft the initial complaint
- Calculate an acceptable settlement amount
- Ensure proper filing
Once the claim goes through, you and your lawyer will discuss options to take your claim to trial. Settlement may take place at any time during this process, or the case will go to full trial where your lawyer will present the evidence and testimony, as well as examine the defense’s claims in court. Eventually, the jury will have heard both sides and will announce a verdict and settlement terms.
Taking the First Step
If you are facing serious or permanent injuries following an accident resulting from the negligence of another party, you need the legal expertise of a lawyer you can trust. Contact us today to get the reliable help you need to pursue your claim. With over 35 years’ worth of experience, we can help you recoup the damages you rightfully deserve. For help in reviewing your case, call us at 713-921-4171 or 1-800-232-3711.