20 Questions To Ask a Texas Car Accident Lawyer in 2024

Pierce Skrabanek is fully prepared to answer every question you have about the viability of your car accident case and the legal services we provide to our clients and their families.

The legal minds at Pierce Skrabanek have compiled the following answers to frequently asked questions about car accidents in Texas and the United States. This page contains general information — for specific questions regarding your circumstances or how quickly we can file your case, contact us directly at (832) 583-1862 for a free, fully confidential consultation

The Top 20 FAQs for a Texas Car Accident Attorney

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fallout of a car accident, one call to our attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 583-1862 could alleviate your most pressing worries, and secure representation going forward. We are a personal injury firm that offers bi-lingual English and Spanish services, and we have also recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

What follows is general information about what attorneys can do, how car accident cases are conducted, and what you do to feel proactive in maintaining your rights.

1. When should I hire a car accident lawyer?

You should speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash to determine whether you would benefit from representation. For many people, that moment is after you’ve called emergency services, but before you tell your recollections of the crash to the police, insurance representatives, or the other driver.

You are not obligated to make any statement beyond identifying yourself, your ownership of the vehicle, and your insurance information before speaking with an attorney. Please exercise your right to protect your privacy until a qualified attorney can help you make an informed decision on your best course of action.

2. What do I do first?

Your first action after a car accident is to ensure your safety. If you are able to, move the car away from any traffic, and gather your personal items, IDs, and insurance documents. If you are seriously injured or if others are injured, call an ambulance. After that, if you can stay at the scene of the crash, call the police to file an accident report. Once these emergency responses are on their way, it’s recommended that you consult an attorney.

A lawyer can advise you of your rights immediately and answer any questions you may have. Your attorney may also be able to inspect the crash in person or send an investigator to evaluate the collision. You too can take pictures of the scene of the accident to help preserve evidence.

3. If I am well enough to go to move around but my car is not drivable or totaled, what do I do?

If your car is not drivable after a crash, mention this when calling 911 for accident assistance. After you have exited the vehicle or are rescued from it if the doors are pinned, police or fire trucks may be able to push your vehicle off the road. This is when you or authorities may contact a tow company to come collect the vehicle.

If you have your own auto mechanic or tow service you want to retrieve your vehicle, discuss this with the 911 operator or police. You may be able to arrange for the tow yourself, or police may need to impound the vehicle as evidence. If the vehicle is seized by police, your attorney can be your liaison with law enforcement to ensure your personal belongings are safe and your rights to privacy are respected.

4. Do I need to see a doctor after my car accident?

Yes, you should get checked out by a medical professional after a car accident. For those with severe injuries, this will be an obvious necessity, but for those with seemingly minor injuries, it’s also important.

There are two vital reasons to see a doctor after a crash:

  1. You may have unseen injuries that can worsen if not diagnosed soon enough, like internal bleeding or a traumatic brain condition with delayed symptoms.
  2. Seeing a doctor creates an official record of your injuries, which may be used as evidence in a future insurance negotiation or lawsuit.

It is in your best interests to see a doctor after your car accident.

5. What types of injuries are most common in a car accident that I may not visually see?

Invisible or delayed-symptom injuries from a car accident may include:

  • Head, neck, and spine injuries: Traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and injuries to the discs, alignment, or surrounding musculature of your spine may take hours or days to present pain symptoms.
  • Ligaments and muscle damage: Many who’ve experienced sports injuries know that the pain of a ligament injury — a torn ACL or rotator cuff for example — happens at the point of impact. A pop felt in your knee during a terrifying car crash may not be noticed, but walking on a torn or severed ligament can increase the amount of damage done and severely limit your ability to fully recover after surgical repair.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Internal ruptures, lacerations, or tears may not be noticeable right away. For example, a damaged internal organ could be bleeding without visible signs of bruising, leading to a risk of infection.

During a traumatic event like a car accident, your body may experience a spike of adrenaline, which can mask immediate feelings of pain. This is why a professional medical evaluation is needed as soon as possible. It’s necessary first to treat injuries before they worsen. It’s also important to establish a clear cause-and-effect between the crash you’ve survived and the aches, pains, and injuries you’ve suffered.

Keep in mind that psychological injury is also invisible, but can still cause great harm to your life as you experience persistent anxiety, depression, or other symptoms of PTSD.

6. What types of medical treatment should I expect to receive?

A full evaluation for potential injuries after a car accident could include:

  • A physical exam to check that your limbs and joints are moving properly and without pain, and that there is no swelling, redness, or warmth that can indicate an internal injury
  • Eye and cognitive tests to determine whether there are signs of head or brain damage like irregular pupil dilation or slurred speech
  • Imaging scans like MRIs, a CT Scan, or X-rays to look for injured bone, tissues, or the unusual presence of blood or foreign objects

A full medical workup after an accident can spot the early signs of injury, and in certain cases may actually save your life.

7. What if I was a passenger in a car accident?  

Regardless of who was at fault, as a passenger in a car accident, you still have the right to recover for your injuries. This could involve filing an insurance claim with one or both drivers’ insurance companies, or filing a lawsuit against an individual or corporation if they were driving a company car or truck. An experienced car accident attorney can help investigate the cause of the accident. That information can be used to identify who is responsible for the costs associated with your injury. Those costs may include time missed from work or ongoing psychological effects like PTSD.

8. Do I have to speak with the other driver’s insurance company?

No, you are not obligated to speak to the other driver’s insurance company representatives. In fact, it is not recommended to do so before speaking with your own legal counsel, as the other driver’s insurance company is interested in minimizing their responsibility for the crash. That means they may use anything you say against you with the aim of denying coverage for your injuries.

It is important to inform your own insurance company right away that an accident has occurred so the claims process can begin. However, you are perfectly within your rights to consult a lawyer before giving a full statement to your insurance reps. This is advisable because, again, the business aims of an insurance company may be directly opposed to paying out the full worth of your injuries and losses.

Let an attorney speak for you when dealing with insurance companies after a car accident.

9. Do I have to accept the insurance company's estimate to fix my car?

No, you do not have to accept the insurance company’s estimation of the cost of damage to your car. An insurance company is a business that may seek to make money by denying and undervaluing your legitimate claim.

Contact a car accident attorney who can make their own appraisal of the cost of your vehicle’s damage, and take that estimate into negotiations with your insurance representative. This helps to secure the full amount you’re entitled to.

10. How much is my car accident worth?

The amount you may receive in a settlement or verdict after a car accident depends on the losses your attorney can prove in negotiations or at trial. Compensation for a car crash can include:

  • Medical bills and all costs associated with ongoing follow-up care, including transportation to and from physical therapy
  • Lost wages and job-related benefits like retirement contributions and health insurance
  • Pain and suffering for the stress and anguish you and your family have experienced due to the accident

Additional compensation that may be available to you could come from punitive damages. These are amounts charged to the other party if they acted with shocking disregard for safety or targeted you maliciously. Those fees ordered to punish their bad behavior may then be rewarded to you in addition to the above-listed compensation.

At Pierce Skrabanek, we provide free case consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency basis. This means we don’t get paid unless we win for you and your family. You have nothing to lose by contacting Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000, but a great deal that could be gained through representation.

11. How long after a car accident can you sue in Texas?

Each state has a strict lawsuit filing window governed by a statute of limitations. This determines how long after a crash you can file your claim. In Texas, that deadline is 2 years from the date of the accident. If you miss that window, no matter how strong your case would have been, you may lose out on all compensation.

It is extremely important that you contact Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 583-1862 before that expiration date arrives. Once you have our representation, we will meet all the legal deadlines associated with your case on your behalf.

12. How long does it take for a car accident lawsuit to settle in Texas?

Car accident cases in Texas and across the United States have the potential to settle in a matter of weeks or months. However, the more complicated the crash, the longer the case may take, anywhere from 1-3 years.

Our attorneys will always work to secure a resolution for your case in a timely manner. However, we will not settle for less just for the sake of a fast result. If there are multiple parties involved in your accident, or if your car was struck by a commercial truck, taking the time to thoroughly investigate may open up new avenues for compensation. Maximizing your settlement or damages award could significantly benefit your future, and is worth the time it takes to secure all that you deserve.

13. Does your firm take car accident cases to trial?

Yes, the attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek are fully prepared to take your case to trial if it’s in your best interests. While a full trial may take longer than a negotiated settlement, there are key facts to keep in mind:

  • Most car accident cases settle before a verdict is rendered. Roughly 3% of car accident cases go all the way through a trial, while over 95% are settled either pre- or mid-trial. Setting a trial date is sometimes a way to compel the other side to stop delaying and make a fair offer.
  • Judges and juries can award more compensation. If your case does require a full trial, your compensation may be far higher than any possible settlement. This is because a jury or judge may order the other side to pay the maximum amount possible for pain and suffering, rather than what the opposing council agrees to.
  • A judge’s order cannot be ignored. Negotiated settlements must be agreed upon by both parties, but once a judgment is rendered in court, the other side must pay what is ordered or suffer the consequences. A judge can also order conditions like garnishing the other party’s wages, so that there is no delay in the payments that you are owed.

Whatever your case requires, the lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek will see you to a satisfactory resolution.

14. Do I need to live near my car accident attorney?

No, you do not have to live near a lawyer to receive their services — if a licensed attorney agrees to represent you, they can do so regardless of where you live.

At Pierce Skrabenek, we have represented clients across the United States and in offshore injury cases. Location and proximity do not diminish our skill or our diligence in seeking justice for you and your family.

While it may be valuable to have a local attorney who can visit a car accident site in person right away, many law firms have the resources to hire independent investigators who can travel to a crash site as needed. For rural or difficult-to-access wrecks, the same effort will still be made to preserve all important evidence. If you are unable to travel to meet with your lawyer due to your injury, the right attorney for you will make accommodations to ensure your comfort and safety above all else.

Contact our Houston offices at (832) 583-1862 to discuss your situation and what we can do to meet your needs.

15. What if I am out-of-state and the car accident occurred out-of-state?

Our attorneys may be able to represent you even if:

  • Your accident occurred in Texas, but you live out-of-state
  • You live in Texas but were involved in an out-of-state crash
  • You live out-of-state and the crash occurred out-of-state but involved a Texas-based company
  • None of the above, but you still think Pierce Skrabanek is the right firm for you family

Our lawyers have unique skill sets in certain areas of law that cross state lines, like maritime/Jones Act cases or pharmaceutical and medical device injury litigation. If our experience is needed for your car accident case, regardless of what state you reside in, we may be able to represent you. Contact us if you have any questions about your case or whether we have the type of litigation skills you need.

16. Do I still have a case if the car accident is partly my fault?

Depending on which state the collision occurred in, you may still file a lawsuit even if you are determined to be partially at fault for the car accident. Each state has different rules when it comes to assigning fault in a car accident. Variations of these state fault rules include:

  • Contributory negligence: Also known as “pure contributory negligence,” this rule establishes that if you are even 1% at fault in a car accident, you cannot recover compensation for your crash-related losses.
  • Pure comparative fault: In states with this rule, the amount you may recover is adjusted in proportion to your percentage of fault. That means if you are deemed 20% at fault in an accident, you may recover 80% of your losses.
  • Modified comparative fault: In these states, you may secure partial compensation if your percentage of fault is below a set percentage. For multiple states, that threshold is the halfway mark, meaning you must be below 50% or 51% at fault to receive any financial compensation.

You need to speak with an attorney familiar with your state’s laws to determine what is considered “fault” in a car accident case. Your lawyer’s investigation can also help reveal the true percentage of fault. This knowledge may grant you access to desperately needed compensation to help you recover from your injuries and maintain a dignified life.

17. Is Texas a no-fault state for car accidents?

Texas uses a modified comparative fault system. That means for accidents in Austin, San Antonio, Beaumont, and other cities and towns local to Pierce Skrabanek, you can still recover damages even if you were up to 50% responsible for the accident.

CAUTION: Do not assume fault without first speaking to a qualified attorney experienced in car accident cases. What the law considers fault and what you feel may be contributing factors to the accident may not fall under the same definitions. Do not try to decide liability on your own — let your lawyer help you apply the law accurately and fairly to all parties involved.

18. What do I need to have before calling a car accident attorney?

Here is some important information that would be helpful to have when calling a car accident attorney for representation:

  • Date and location of the crash in case the attorney can send investigators to the spot to study the environment and collect evidence
  • Contact information of any drivers, passengers, or witnesses present at the accident site
  • The police report which can be requested from the local station or the precinct’s website
  • Insurance information for your company and the other driver’s if they were insured
  • Receipts for any payments made or bills issued for medical care, vehicle tows, or missed work/wages

If you do not yet have this information, or are too injured to gather some or all of it, that is perfectly okay. It’s an attorney’s job to build a legal case, not yours. Your car accident lawyer from Pierce Skrabanek can obtain this information — call us right away regardless of what you have in hand so we can help.

19. How do I obtain a copy of the car accident/incident report?

In Texas, where Pierce Skrabanek is headquartered, local police must file car accident reports with the state. That means the report can be obtained from the local station, or the statewide Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

You can also entrust your attorney to obtain the crash report. Once you hire representation, most if not all of the paperwork related to your car accident, insurance negotiations, and a potential lawsuit is no longer your responsibility. It is our job to do this work on your behalf, which allows you to heal in peace.

20. What will a car accident lawyer do for my case?

In addition to gathering all the paperwork and evidence needed for your case, your attorney will:

  • Obtain and evaluate previously private information, including your medical records with practitioners’ notes, and relevant information about the driver who hit you (such as where they were before the accident, their blood-alcohol content, their driving history, etc.)
  • Draft a demand letter for the other party outlining your losses and requesting an appropriate amount
  • Prepare an argument for negotiation, which may include hiring expert witnesses to testify about your injuries and the cost of medical treatment going forward
  • Take depositions with the opposing counsel, which are recorded statements from witnesses that involve questions and cross-examination
  • Go to trial before a judge or jury with the above-mentioned evidence if the other side refuses to make a fair offer in a reasonable timeframe

Many car crash survivors feel intimidated by the idea of a lawsuit or trial, but the work that goes into these procedures is your attorney’s concern, not yours.

Founding attorney Mike Pierce was one of the lead lawyers responsible for securing a $117 million recovery for a catastrophic vehicular accident injury, which is the largest single personal injury verdict in Louisiana history. Let us help you and your family, too.