Auto Accident and Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve been injured at work, in a place of business, or in an auto accident caused by someone else, you deserve justice, and you may be owed compensation.
Both physical accidents and the process of getting compensation for the injuries they cause can be complicated and difficult. Thankfully, if you have any questions about your case, you can always consult with a Houston car accident attorney like those at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC. In the meantime, you can find the answers to some of the most commonly asked auto accident questions.
FAQs About Car Accident Claims
Q: What should I do after a Texas car or truck accident?
After a car accident, your safety should be your first concern. Beyond that, there are also certain steps you should take to protect your rights to compensation.
- Stay in your vehicle unless you can move it to a safe area out of the line of traffic.
- Call emergency services as soon as possible.
- Lend aid to any injured parties if it is safe and reasonable to do so.
- Gather information from all parties involved, including their insurance and contact information.
- Collect evidence including pictures, witness contact information, and notes on everything you remember about the incident.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible to connect your injuries to the crash.
- Consult with an attorney to determine your best path forward.
Q: Should I speak to an attorney before seeing a doctor after my car accident?
Your number one priority should be your health. That is why it is vital to seek medical attention immediately following an accident. Even if you don’t feel any notable symptoms right away does not mean that you are fine.
Some of the most serious injuries — like concussions or brain injuries — may not be visible or felt by a victim right away. In certain instances, an injury may not be noticeable for a few hours — or even days — following the accident.
Q: Is Texas a no-fault state?
Texas is not a no fault state, meaning that parties involved in car accidents may be held liable for damages caused by that accident if it is determined that they were responsible for the crash.
Q: How common are car accidents in Texas?
In 2019, one person died in a Texas car accident every 2 hours and 26 minutes. There were no days on which no one was killed in a Texas auto accident. Still, fatal car accidents are rare relative to non-fatal crashes in Texas, one of which occurred every 56 seconds in 2019.
Q: What city in Texas sees the most auto accidents?
Houston sees by far the most car accidents out of every Texas city. In 2019, nearly 70,000 car accidents occurred in Houston alone. This accounts for roughly 16% of all accidents in Texas in that year.
Q: Do I have to call the police for my minor Texas car accident?
In Texas, you are required to report any car accident to the police that either resulted in injuries or caused more than $1,000 worth of damage to the vehicles involved. Failing to report an accident could result in a fine of up to $5,000, jail time, or both. Because of this, contacting the police after even a minor accident is recommended.
Q: Where do I take my car after a Texas car accident?
Generally speaking, you have the right to choose the repair body shop you want to fix your vehicle. However, in order to receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer, you may be required to take your vehicle to an “insurance-approved” repair shop.
Insurance companies are not required to pay a higher fee from a non-approved vehicle repair shop.
Q: Who pays for damages in Texas auto accidents?
In Texas, the at-fault party is responsible for paying for damages related to car accidents. However, the portion of the damages for which they are responsible is equivalent to the portion of the blame they deserve. This means that if you were 10% responsible for your crash, the at-fault party will only be liable for 90% of the damages.
Q: Should I contact a lawyer after a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, it is in your best interest to get in touch with the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, as soon as you possibly can.
Please note that the Texas statute of limitations only allows you to file a car accident claim within a two-year time frame, starting from the date the accident occurred.
Q: Should I give an insurance company any kind of statement before taking legal action?
Giving a statement to an insurance adjuster before seeking legal counsel can lead to issues should you try and file a claim down the road. Your statement can be manipulated or purposely reworded to deny your claim or minimize the settlement you will receive.
Do NOT give a written or verbal statement before consulting with an attorney.
Q: How can I get a police report for my car accident?
After your car accident, you will need to call the police and obtain a police report detailing the event. Before the police leave the scene, you should request an opportunity to read their report in order to check for accuracy.
Q: Does workers’ compensation cover car accidents in Texas?
Workers’ compensation in Texas is slightly different than other states, but it is still meant to cover any injuries sustained during the course of your job. If you are involved in a car accident in a company vehicle while on the job, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: What is the statute of limitations for Texas car accidents?
In Texas, victims usually have two years from the time of their crash to file a personal injury claim related to a car accident. However, if you are filing a wrongful death claim related to a car accident, then the two year clock begins at the time of death, not necessarily at the time of the accident.
Q: What damages are available for a Texas car accident?
Texas car accident claims can cover any damages or losses associated with a crash, as well as punishment for reckless behavior. Damages for specific losses are generally split into two categories: economic, and non-economic. Examples can be found below.
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning power
- Funeral expenses
- Lost relationships
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- PTSD and other disorders
- Reduced quality of life
Q: How much can I expect from my Texas auto accident claim?
First, it’s important to remember that car accident settlements can vary widely. This is largely due to the wide range of severities associated with auto accidents and auto accident injuries. Keeping in mind that there are many settlements higher and lower than the average amount, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association found that the average Texas car accident settlement is $15,440.
Q: How much is awarded for pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering isn’t exactly something that has an exact price tag, so figuring the amount awarded for these damages can vary. There are two main approaches: the multiplier method, and the per diem method. The multiplier method involves taking the total monetary cost of the accident and multiplying it by a number between 1 and 5 depending on the severity of the injury. The per diem method involves figuring a daily amount that a victim will be paid until they are fully recovered.
However, insurance companies are not required to use these methods. Instead, they may use computer programs to take into account all factors associated with an accident to determine a settlement amount.
Q: Does Medicare cover car accident injuries?
Yes, you can use Medicare to cover treatment of car accident injuries, but you can’t just seek treatment and leave it at that. You will need to report your accident to Medicare so that they can seek reimbursement for their coverage. An attorney can help navigate this process to ensure your needs are met and no fraud is committed.
Q: Can I lose my home due to a car accident suit?
Unfortunately, your home could be up for grabs if you are found at fault for a car accident in Texas. This is due to the fact that you will be held responsible for the losses associated with your crash and will be liable for paying for those losses. While all Texans are legally required to hold a certain level of car insurance coverage, that coverage may not cover the full loss, and your finances could be affected.
Q: Can car accident awards be garnished for child support payments?
If you’re behind on child support payments and are involved in a car accident caused by another party, any settlement you receive could be garnished to pay that debt. A lien can be placed against the settlement, but a car accident attorney could help you reduce the garnishment amount or even remove the lien entirely.
Q: How long will my Texas car accident affect my insurance rates?
In general, a car accident will remain on your record for three years, whether you were the party responsible or not. This can result in you paying higher monthly rates for the entirety of those three years.
Q: Is driving while uninsured illegal in Texas?
Yes, it is illegal to drive in Texas without the required minimum liability car insurance. If you do not have insurance on you at the time of your crash, you will likely face a ticket and could even see your car impounded. You could face fines of up to $350 or $1,000 for a second offense. Even just one offense of this kind will also have an impact on your insurance rates, in most cases.
Q: When should I talk to an attorney about my Texas car accident?
You might be able to navigate seeking compensation for a minor car accident on your own, but it’s still a good idea to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to determine if you are on the right track. They can also tell you if your case is difficult enough to require legal representation.
At Lapeze & Johns, we only get paid if our client’s suit or claim is successful. We won’t waste your time or money if your case is simple enough for you to handle on your own. You can count on us to give you the information you need to protect your rights to compensation.
FAQs About Semi-Truck Accidents
Q: When do I need a truck accident attorney?
By nature, truck accidents tend to be more severe because of the size of the vehicles involved.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a commercial truck accident, it is important to contact the Houston trucking accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, as soon as possible so that they can begin the process of investigation. Because so many parties can potentially be liable for the incident, you will want to work with a dependable team that has the experience of taking on trucking companies, their insurers, and other liable parties.
Q: What causes truck accidents?
Some of the most notable causes of truck accidents include but are not limited to:
- Vehicle rollovers
- Sharp turns and/or awkward maneuvers
- Driver fatigue or mental exhaustion
- Dangerous road conditions such as severe weather or inadequate road maintenance
- Failure to comply with speed limits and other road signs
- Distracted driving, such as texting and driving, eating or drinking while driving, or using some other electronic device
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances
- Vehicle malfunctions as a result of company negligence
Q: How do I establish employer responsibility in a trucking accident?
In the event of an accident involving a commercial truck, it is important to preserve as much evidence as possible in order to establish that the employer was liable for the accident.
There will be several different factors and specific details that must be investigated and evaluated by a truck accident attorney in order to determine whether or not a trucking company is liable for the accident.
Q: What do I need for an initial consultation with a truck accident attorney?
Before consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer, it is important to gather all relevant documentation, such as photographs of the accident, medical receipts, doctor’s notes, police and accident reports, and any other important documentation regarding the incident.
FAQs About Personal Injury Claims
Q: What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is essentially an injury to an individual’s body that causes physical and emotional harm. Some of the most notable examples of a personal injury include but are not limited to:
- Vehicle-related accidents
- Slip and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Product liability
- Nursing home negligence and abuse
- Premises liability
- Toxic chemical exposures
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
The Houston personal injury attorneys of Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, are able to represent victims of any of these personal injuries listed above, and will fight tooth and nail to recover the damages you are entitled to collect.
Q: How do I choose a personal injury attorney?
Finding the right attorney to take on your personal injury claim will play a vital factor in the success of your claim and ability to recover compensation for your damages.
When looking for the right attorney, it is important to:
- Seek out recommendations from friends and family
- Use the internet to research quality attorneys
- Ask for a FREE consultation
- Have questions prepared when meeting with the lawyer, including those dealing with:
- Communication style
- Trial experience
Take into consideration their specific legal practices and what kind of victims they serve.
Q: Is it worth hiring a personal injury attorney?
While the decision of consulting an attorney is completely up to you, it is worth noting that choosing the right attorney, such as those at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, can offer tremendous benefits. You’ll have reliable legal counsel on your side who can represent you in your dealings with insurance adjusters and other parties. A qualified attorney will also help you secure sufficient evidence and guide you through the entire legal process so that you know exactly what is happening in your claim.
Ultimately, hiring a personal injury attorney greatly increases the chance of securing compensation for the damages you have suffered in comparison to trying to handle the situation on your own.
Lapeze & Johns: Houston Attorneys Ready to Fight for You
Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, is more than capable of representing victims who have been injured by the negligent acts of another. Our Gulf Coast attorneys are able to handle most personal injury claims.