Texas Car Accident FAQs

How Long Does a Car Accident Case Take to Settle?

Although you may feel that your injuries deserve a speedy settlement, the truth of the matter is that most personal injury claims take months or years to be fully mature. The claim itself takes a while to investigate. Furthermore, throughout the investigation, each side (the insurance company and your party) may encounter their own delays, such as:

  • Insurance delays. Sometimes insurers delay settlements on big cases simply to see if the plaintiff will give up and accept less money. Other situations force insurance companies to delay pre-trial negotiations because they don’t have a good defense to the case, they can’t refute your injuries and need time to re-strategize, or they’re unable to attack your credibility and must come up with a new plan to discredit your claim.
  • Pre-trial delays. Prior to a personal injury case going to trial, a process known as discovery must take place. Discovery is when opposing parties obtain evidence from each another. The discovery process includes interviews, depositions, and requests for documents. The discovery process can be lengthy, as it takes time to gather, process, and understand the documents and evidence acquired.
  • Claim factor delays. There are three main reasons why your personal injury claim itself can cause delays: there are legal or factual problems with the case, the case involves a lot of money (an insurer will investigate every aspect of the liability and damages surrounding a high profile or big money case), or you have not reached a point of maximum medical improvement. That last item can be the most important one: if you don’t know what it will take to make you whole again, you don’t really know the value of your claim.

How long will my car accident lawsuit take to reach a conclusion?

Before committing to filing an injury claim, you’ll most likely want to know how long it’s going to take to resolve. Unfortunately, injury claims do not have a set time limit.

Every claim has its own set of factors that will determine how long it will take for you to see a financial recovery. Some attorneys will try to guarantee a fast trial, but don’t be fooled. If it’s a major case and the two sides can’t settle without a trial, it may take several years before damages are awarded. When an attorney promises he can get you compensation quickly—even before he reviews your case—then you need to find a new attorney.

Why Quick Settlements Are Rarely a Good Thing

Personal injury claims are complicated and involve a great deal of negotiation, investigation, and time to obtain a just settlement. However, insurance companies will do their best to manipulate these factors to lower your settlement options. Some of their techniques include:

  • Offering a quick settlement. One way they often succeed in their scheming is by offering you a quick and easy settlement that is woefully less than what you truly deserve.
  • Frustrating you with additional delays. The other side may attempt to delay the case in order to pressure you to settle for a lower amount to cover your mounting medical bills. After all, you can put off your bills only for so long.
  • Distracting you to settle early. If you decide to take a quick settlement because it seems easier and the insurance company threatens long delays if you don’t, you could be giving up a fortune. When you settle without the aid and guidance of a skilled personal injury lawyer, the insurance company can and will distract you from what is rightfully yours to accept. Allow your attorney to investigate the injury, study the accident, and review your claim before making any decisions.

What does negligence mean when it comes to a car accident case?

When pursuing a car accident injury claim against a driver, the determining factor for compensation comes down to liability: who was to blame for the collision?

Although you may feel that your accident was clearly the fault of the other driver’s negligence, Texas law is specific when it comes to blame. In fact, the law is so specific that liability isn’t just a question of who’s to blame, but rather, how much negligence can be attributed to each driver.

Defining Negligence to Determine Liability

Texas negligence laws are comparative, which means that more than one person can be held negligently responsible. As such, to get the most out of a settlement, you and your lawyer must be able to prove that the other driver’s negligence was at least 51% responsible for the collision. To accomplish this, you need to know what “negligence” really means.

For a person to be considered negligent, he must be proven to have acted in an unreasonable and harmful manner and, in similar circumstances, another person would have acted more carefully. Drivers must abide by all traffic laws, maintain control of their vehicles, and keep an eye out for any situations that could become unsafe. When they fail to do so, their actions can be considered negligent.

Some instances of negligence include:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Running red lights
  • Speeding
  • Failing to use lights properly, including turn signals
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder
  • Texting or playing with a phone or any other form of distracted driving

Sharing the Blame

When a driver chooses to drive recklessly and then causes a collision, his negligence will factor into liability. However, just because he was negligent doesn’t mean he’s fully to blame—your reaction to his negligence could also be considered negligent.

For example, imagine that you’re stopped at a four-way intersection. The opposing traffic light just turned red. A truck driver in the opposing lane makes the decision to just keep driving through it (an obvious negligent action) and slams into your side as you enter the intersection. Since he ran the light, is he 100% to blame?

Not necessarily. Before you entered the intersection did you wait for your green light, or did you assume you’d have the right-of-way since the light turned red for opposing traffic? Did you check that traffic had completely stopped before taking your foot off the brake? Depending on your actions, you too could hold some responsibility—and considering the comparative negligence law, the amount of responsibility you hold could drastically affect your claim.

Measuring Negligence to Determine Claim Standing

In a car accident case, it is the duty of your personal injury attorney to prove the amount of the other driver’s negligence. An experienced attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to show that the defendant voluntarily chose to make a disastrous decision, and that the consequences of that poor decision directly led to causing the collision. Attorney Steve Lee has the experience as well as the determination and drive to push your claim to its limit to get you the compensation you not only need but deserve.

The Value of an Accident: Is Pursuing an Accident Claim Worth the Hassle?

When deciding on whether to pursue an injury claim for your car accident the following question will inevitably enter your mind: “Is it worth it?”

Although many accident lawyers will tell you, “Yes, it’s always worth it,” the truth of the matter is that there’s no solid formula for determining how much a case’s settlement will be worth. Every case is unique and has its own deciding factors for potential compensation. However, even though a settlement amount can’t be guaranteed (and if a lawyer claims that it can you should run in the opposite direction), an experienced attorney can help you estimate the worth by valuing the special factors associated with your particular accident.

Our experienced attorneys will look at all the specifics of your claim to help you determine a fair amount for all of your expenses (past and future). It’s important to note that although previous successful cases may be used for guidance, we will never guarantee our clients the same outcome as another—and you wouldn’t want us to. Your case is unique and you deserve more than a hollow promise—you deserve honesty and personal attention.

Accident Factors That Affect Your Claim

As you review the details and evidence of your accident you can begin to see how much your case may be worth.

There are three basic types of damages that we (and the courts) look at to determine case value:

  • Current damages. The three easiest factors to help determine potential compensation value are current medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage. These are all definite figures that have already been determined at the time of the case and can, therefore, be easily proven.
  • Estimated future damages. Estimating future medical expenses and future lost wages are all much more difficult factors to calculate as they haven’t yet occurred. You may require an expert to help you determine a fair value that can be justified to the court.
  • Non-economic damages (pain and suffering). One of the most ambiguous factors when determining damages is fair compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering cannot have a specific price tag; the value is largely based on how much the jury perceives your accident has impacted your personal quality of life. A seasoned lawyer will help guide the jury to empathize with your emotional situation in order to get the best compensation he can on your behalf.

The financial amounts of all of these damages depend on your own personal situation concerning your injuries, employment, and living situation. When the jury is examining the evidence they’ll take all of the factors you present to them into consideration—which means your evidence needs to be concise, empathetic, and meaningful.

The Big Calculation: What Is the Price Tag for Your Injuries?

If you are facing serious or permanent injuries following a car accident, you need a dependable friend to help you drop worthless anxieties and calculate the true value of pursuing a claim. Attorney Steve Lee is that friend. Contact us at 713-921-4171 or 1-800-232-3711 to get the help and reassurance you want to get the compensation you need.