McAllen Car Accident Lawyer
After a serious car accident, those injured must often face the financial stress of covering medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Without an injury lawyer’s help, recovering sufficient financial compensation can be nearly impossible. Don’t face an insurance company’s team of lawyers without representation. Call the McAllen car accident lawyers at the De La Garza Law Firm at (956) 533-1426 or contact us online for a free case consultation.
Why Choose Our Texas Law Firm?
- When you choose De La Garza Law Firm, your case will be handled by founding attorney Rafael De La Garza, not handed off to an associate or paralegal.
- We will strive to meet your legal needs and to help you through the stressful claims process after an injury or accident has occurred.
- You can trust that our firm has the legal skills, knowledge, and experience to get you the financial recovery you need to rebuild your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I Contact an Attorney for a Car Accident?
- What to Do After an Accident
- Common Causes of Car Crashes
- How Much Can I Recover?
- Time Limit to File a Claim
- Car Accident Injuries
- Fault Laws in Texas
Why Do I Need a McAllen Car Accident Attorney?
While you are focusing on your health, a car accident lawyer will take care of investigating the crash and collecting evidence to build your case. That can include:
- Collecting police reports on the accident
- Obtaining medical records of your injuries and treatments
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Reconstructing the accident with the use of the latest technology
- Speaking to the insurance company and negotiating a fair settlement
Hiring legal representation ensures that your best interests are being put first. Most car accident lawyers have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and know how to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your case. When an injury claim cannot be settled at a fair amount, your attorney can take your case to court to achieve the justice that you deserve.
What to Do After an Accident in Texas
The way you handle the situation immediately after an accident can have a significant impact on how you are ultimately compensated for your personal injury claim. It is important to establish the basic facts of the case and communicate them through the appropriate channels, including law enforcement and your McAllen personal injury attorney.
- Take any injury seriously and seek medical treatment. In many cases, people dismiss “small” injuries that turn out to be more serious than they thought, or they don’t get appropriate medical treatment because they’re in a rush or don’t want to get the other person in trouble. Personal injuries are part of the facts of the case, and without being examined by a medical professional, compensation can be denied or reduced.
- Gather all necessary information at the scene of the crash. This includes names and information of the other driver(s) involved, license plate and driver’s license numbers, eyewitnesses, and even photos of the crash site as well as images of your physical injuries. As soon as possible, write a personal account of the car wreck as your memory can fade quickly.
- Contact law enforcement and get a police report. By involving law enforcement immediately following the crash, you will have an official and objective third-party who will help to gather the facts, as well as help to determine who is at fault. The police officer’s judgment will factor heavily into any subsequent legal claims for compensation. Follow-up at the police station to acquire the official police report for your records.
- Keep track of all medical bills and expenses. From the moment you leave the crash, whether in an ambulance or on your own, you should carefully document how the crash has affected your life. This includes not only direct medical bills and property repairs but also lost wages, mental anguish, etc. Keep all receipts and pay stubs. The crash may be over but the results of a personal injury may be just beginning and can last for years or even affect you permanently.
- Contact a McAllen car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your immediate focus after a vehicle accident should be caring for your or a loved one’s health and well-being, but as soon as you can, contact an experienced and qualified attorney who can shoulder the burden of handling the legal processes of filing a claim. Please note: stay clear of ambulance chasers. These are law firms and lawyers who seek out personal injury victims only to accept the first settlement offer so that they can make a quick dollar. Thoroughly analyze your legal options before making a decision.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Often times, victims of a motor vehicle accident – whether they are a driver or pedestrian – suffer because of several common causes that include:
- Bad weather conditions
- Distracted or negligent driving (i.e. texting, grooming, eating, focus on the radio, road rage, etc.)
- Driver running red lights
- Design defects in the vehicle
- Tailgating (following the car in front of you too closely)
- Wrong-way driving and improper turns
- Tire blowouts
- Sudden stops
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Inexperienced driver
- Animal crossings
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperienced or elderly drivers
Types of Compensation You Can Receive
In the state of Texas, compensation for a personal injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident is determined by “modified comparative fault.” This basically means that the compensation you may be able to recover is adjusted according to the percentage of responsibility you have for the accident. For instance, if you are responsible for 20 percent of the accident, then you would only be able to recover 80 percent of the compensation that is awarded to you. It’s also worth noting that if you are found to be 51 percent at fault, you CANNOT recover any compensation. The types of compensation you can receive for personal injuries in Texas include but is not limited to:
- Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
- Loss of earnings (past, current, and future)
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
If you sign any documentation or accept a settlement from any insurance company, you may be waiving your right to seek full compensation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Speak with a McAllen car accident lawyer from our law firm before signing anything.
Time Limit to File a Car Accident Claim in Texas
In Texas, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for your accident. However, you will need to adhere to the statute of limitations, which places a filing deadline on your claim. If you do not file your lawsuit by this date, the court will dismiss your case and you will lose your chance at collecting compensation.
You have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. While there are exceptions to this rule, they do not always apply to car accident claims. To identify your deadline and file before the statute of limitations passes, speak to an attorney at De La Garza Law Firm.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in severe, debilitating injuries. According to a report from the Texas Department of Transportation, 14,937 people sustained serious injuries and a total of 3,652 people died in car accidents in 2018. Many car accident injuries are severe and debilitating, requiring months or even years of treatment to recover from.
- Head and brain injuries: If a person hits his or her head or if something penetrates the skull during a car accident, traumatic brain damage can occur. Any damage to the brain can lead to permanent complications, including loss of function and independence.
- Soft tissue injuries: Car accidents generate a significant amount of force, which can tear and stretch a person’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. As a result, victims can develop painful soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash.
- Chest injuries: Damage to the chest is common after a car accident. Drivers may strike the steering wheel during the collision, leading to contusions, bruises, and more severe injuries such as broken ribs.
- Spinal cord damage: During a car accident, a victim can suffer injuries to their back and neck, which may damage the spinal cord. These injuries are very serious and can result in serious nerve damage, loss of sensation and control over body parts, and permanent paralysis.
- Internal organ damage: The injuries we suffer during a car accident can also harm the organs inside of our body. For example, a broken rib can puncture a lung, leading to difficulty breathing. Without prompt treatment, these injuries can be fatal.
Texas Car Accident Insurance Laws
The state of Texas operates under a “fault” system, meaning that those who are liable for the accident may be responsible for the resultant damages. Insurers will determine fault in an accident before they provide coverage. Injured victims will then file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. A period of 15 business days is granted to either accept or reject a claim after receiving all relevant information and statements, under Texas Insurance Code 542.056. Additional time may be taken, but the insurer must contact you within 45 days. Once a claim is approved, §542.057 mandates that payment is made within five business days, in most situations. This system differs in comparison to no-fault states, in which injured parties can access benefits from their own insurance company following an accident, regardless of fault. Determining fault in a car crash can be complicated, speak with a McAllen car accident attorney from our law firm to guide you through the claims process.
How Texas Comparative Negligence Laws Impact the Outcome of Your Case
It can be difficult to determine liability in some car accident cases. If you are filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, complex liability can impact your final settlement. This is because Texas’s modified comparative fault laws reduce the amount of compensation by the liability percentage you share. If you share 51% or more of the fault, you will not receive any compensation.
For example, say that you are turning left at an intersection with a solid green light. As you are making your turn, another driver runs through his red light and collides with your vehicle. However, the court discovers that the intersection has a sign that prohibits left turns on a solid green light. The court then assigns you 40% of the liability. If you ask for a $20,000 settlement, you will only receive $12,000. If the court assigns you 55% of the liability, you will receive $0.
Determine If You Have a Valid Case During a Free Consultation
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Let us listen to your problems and tell you how we can help. If you don’t want to move forward, you are under no obligation to do so. Call our law firm (956) 533-1426 or fill out our online form to get started on your case. Our car accident attorneys in McAllen represent injury cases throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas area.