If you have been in a car wreck caused by someone else, it is likely you have many questions. This is normal and you should look for answers to everything you are wondering. Your personal injury attorney will be able to answer your questions better than anyone else. But, this FAQ can get you started.
1. Do I need an attorney?
The short answer to this question is yes. If you want to get the most compensation for your injuries and pain, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney. You could try to take care of a claim on your own, but complications could arise that you aren’t prepared for. Attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and resources to deal with insurance companies, especially in cases of serious injuries after a wreck.
2. How long does it take to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit?
There is no set timeframe for personal injury cases, especially if you seek settlement outside of an insurance claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations in Texas that states you must file within two years of a car wreck. It usually takes less time to settle a claim than to take a case to trial. Your specific situation will vary because it is unique. Once you choose a personal injury attorney, they can give you at least a rough timeline of events.
3. What do I need to do after the car wreck?
There are some things you should do in the days following your accident. First, seek medical attention if you haven’t already. Next, gather as much evidence as possible. Documents like medical bills and information about lost wages will likely not be available at this point, but don’t forget to gather these as soon as you can. Finally, research personal injury attorneys if you feel you need one and set up consultations with a few.
4. What do I need to do to prepare for a consultation?
You should gather some documents and evidence before ever meeting with an attorney. This includes images from the scene of the wreck, doctor’s orders, and contact information from the other driver. You will need all of this when meeting with a personal injury attorney. Here are some other things you should gather before your consultation.
- The police report from the scene of the accident
- Medical records, both new and old
- Future medical recommendations
- Expected costs of all care and damages
- Any correspondence with your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver
- A list of questions and concerns you have for the attorney
5. What happens if a police report wasn’t filed?
Most people know to contact the police after a car wreck, especially if it is a serious one. You may not think you are injured after an accident, which can cause you to simply exchange insurance information and move on. In Texas, you are legally required to call the police if property damage is over $1,000, if there are injuries, or if there is a death. Failing to do so can result in a fine, so it is best to always call them after a car wreck.
6. What kind of compensation can I get?
After a car wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, you will most likely be eligible to receive compensation. You can be compensated for many things including medical bills, long-term rehabilitation and treatments, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Keep in mind that in Texas, there is a shared fault rule. This means that the party who is at fault will only pay out the percentage for which they are found liable, and both parties can be at fault.
7. How much money can I get after a car wreck?
This is an important question, especially if you have serious injuries that result in long-term consequences. In Texas, some personal injury compensation is capped depending on what the damages were and who caused them. This is done to help prevent frivolous cases from clogging the court systems.
Economic damages: These are damages you can receive for medical bills, lost capacity to earn wages, current lost wages, and possibly damage to property. These are easy to quantify and should not be capped.
Non-economic damages: These are harder to calculate than economic damages. You can seek compensation for mental and physical suffering, anxiety, loss of companionship, and even general inconvenience. Because these damages are not always tangible (financially), placing an amount on them requires an understanding and subjective attorney and jury.
Damage caps: There are three types of cases where damages are capped in Texas. These are medical malpractice suits, cases where punitive damages are involved, and suits placed against public entities. Here are these caps.
- Medical malpractice: The cap is $250,000 per healthcare entity or doctor and no more than $500,000 total for non-economic damages. This places the total damages receivable at $750,000. Caps are based on the 2003 House Bill 4 (“HB4”), so the amounts may vary depending upon inflation.
- Punitive damages: These are awarded when the party at fault showed gross negligence, fraud, or malice. They can only be given if other damages were awarded and are meant to punish the negligent party. The calculation for punitive damages is the greater of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages, plus the amount equal to non-economic damages, up to $750,000. There are more details about this legal cap that your attorney can help you understand.
- Suits against government entities: In Texas, for the most part, these entities are immune from personal injury lawsuits. There are some instances where they have limited liability, but the damages injured parties can receive are capped at $250,000 per negligent person and $500,000 per event, no matter how many are involved.
Do you need help after a car wreck?
For more information about car wrecks and seeking compensation, contact Attorney Dean Boyd and his Team. We have extensive experience helping car wreck victims and are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. You can reach us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services or schedule a free consultation.