Like any state, Texas has its own rules for car accident claims. When a crash harms you or someone you love in the Houston area, you’ll need to know how claims work in Texas to ensure you take all steps necessary to get what you need. In order to understand the process, you need to hire a lawyer to help.
The car accident attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek PLLC can put our experience and car accident claim knowledge to work to help your family in this tough time. Our attorneys have experience building these kinds of cases, and we are proud to help Texas families when they are suffering.
Texas Laws on Car Accident Claims
If you’re in Texas and you decide to file a claim against the party responsible for your car accident, there are state laws that will govern your car accident case.
The statute of limitations is most important to know. In Texas, you must file a claim within two years of the date of your accident. If you wait too long, you may lose your chance to seek justice. That is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after the crash.
It’s also critical to know how damages are awarded in successful car accident claims. Texas has a fault-based liability system. When a case goes to court, juries determine how much responsibility lies with each driver, and compensation is awarded based on this ratio.
Juries determine the level of fault by examining every detail of the case, including the accident, the injuries it caused and treatment for the injuries.
Because Texas is a fault state for liability insurance, the person who is found to be at fault for an accident is responsible for paying property damage and compensation resulting from the accident, often through his or her insurer.
No matter what kind of car accident you have been involved in, car insurance is going to play a major factor in your case soon after the crash. Here is a quick look at what you need to know when it comes to car insurance in Texas:
- Because Texas is a fault state for car insurance, you are allowed to file liability insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuits against the other driver that caused your crash.
- In Texas, the minimum car insurance coverage requirements are $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per person if two or more people are injured
and $25,000 for property damage per accident.
- Unlike some states, Texas does not require drivers to carry uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage. However, some car insurance companies in Texas offer that type of coverage.
Insurance companies will typically compensate you for your property loss and medical expenses. Those damages can be clearly defined. When it comes to pain and suffering, the picture is more complicated.
The more severe the injury, the more you should demand for pain and suffering. But often the amount offered by an insurance company will not fully compensate you for the suffering brought on by this terrible ordeal. Insurance companies are multibillion-dollar businesses that make more money when they pay you less. They aren’t looking out for you.
When you hire an attorney to handle your car accident case, your attorney will deal with insurance companies on your behalf. Your attorney’s job is to make sure you aren’t short-changed. The lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek know all the legal avenues to pursue to seek the maximum compensation possible for you. We are always on your side.
Texas Car Accident Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you typically have two years to file a car accident claim. Regardless of how strong your case is, if you file your claim after the statute of limitations has passed, your case will not be heard. This is why it is critical to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after your car accident.
Why are statutes of limitations in place? One reason is to protect defendants. When an expiration date is placed on when the injured party can file their case, plaintiffs are encouraged to pursue the case and with more diligence. Statutes of limitations also ensure evidence is not lost. For example, witnesses to an accident would be much harder to find 20 years after a crash as opposed to one year after. Courts are also often unwilling to consider testimony from someone who saw an event that occurred decades ago.
Statutes of limitation begin the date of your accident. So, if your crash was on July 1, 2015, you have until July 1, 2017 to file your claim and begin your lawsuit. Your case does not need to be heard by a jury in this two-year period. A claim, which starts the lawsuit process, only needs to be filed within two years.
Calculating the Value of a Car Accident Claim in Texas
Calculating the settlement in your claim is not a straightforward process. However, you can get a rough estimate with some simple math.
First, gather all your expenses to determine your non-economic damages. This means your medical bills, vehicle and property damages and time missed at work. Once you have added all of these expenses together, you have your total economic expenses.
Your non-economic damages are harder to put a dollar figure to. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and the emotional impact of the accident are all non-economic damages. As stated in the section above, an insurance company will take your medical bills and, depending on the severity of your damages, multiply them by a number to calculate pain and suffering. The number will be higher the more severe the crash. Car insurance companies will also likely underestimate your non-economic damages. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine how much you deserve.
Compensation for Your Car Accident
When involved in a car accident, you can be eligible for the following types of compensation:
Medical expenses: This includes physical and cognitive therapy, ambulance fees, consultations with health car professionals, accessories like crutches and heat pads, disfigurements, permanent disability and in-home services.
Property damage: In a crash, this typically involves damage to your vehicle.
Lost wages: Any time lost from work due to your injury – as well as future income that will be lost — can be awarded in a crash settlement.
Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is defined as mental or physical distress for which someone can seek damages. Emotional damage, anxiety, stress, depression and other negative impacts of the crash can be considered pain and suffering.
Only experienced car accident attorneys can tell you how much you may be entitled to, and only an attorney knows the best way to seek this compensation. At Pierce Skrabanek, we have the passion, determination and skills to maximize your car accident case to the benefit of you and your family. Contact one of our attorneys today at (832) 690-7000 or by email.