Car Accident Compensation Claims
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 car accident compensation claims work in Texas. This will help ensure you take all the necessary steps to get what you need. Hiring a lawyer will help you understand the process.
The Houston car accident attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek PLLC will put our experience and knowledge to work for your family in this tough time. Our attorneys have a long history of building these kinds of cases, and we are proud to help Texas families when they are suffering.
Verdicts & Settlements
Texas Laws on Car Accident Compensation
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 most important one to know is the statute of limitations. In Texas, you must file a claim within two years from the date of your accident. If you wait too long, you may lose your chance to receive compensation. This 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. Regarding damages, 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 nature of the accident (for instance, rear-end accidents are different from head-on collisions)
- The type and severity of the car accident injuries
- Treatment and resulting expenses for the injuries
Texas is considered a “fault” state for liability insurance. This means that the person found to be at fault for an accident is responsible for paying property damage and compensation resulting from the accident. Payment is often processed through his or her insurer.
Texas Car Insurance Rules
No matter what kind of car accident you have been involved in, car insurance will play a major factor in your case soon after the crash. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about car insurance in Texas:
- As mentioned, Texas is a “fault” state for car insurance. Thus, you are allowed to file liability insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuits against the other driver that caused your crash.
- According to theTexas Department of Insurance, the minimum car insurance coverage requirements are $30,000 for bodily injury per person (up to a total of $60,000 per accident). Additionally, $25,000 of coverage is needed for property damage. This is known as “30/60/25” coverage.
- Unlike some states, Texas does not require drivers to carry uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage. However, certain car insurance companies in Texas offer these types of coverage.
Insurance companies will typically compensate you for property loss and medical expenses. Those damages can be clearly defined. When it comes to pain and suffering, however, it’s more complicated.
The more severe your injury, the more you should demand in pain and suffering damages. But often, the amount offered by an insurance company is not enough to 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. Remember, they aren’t looking out for you.
Your attorney will deal with insurance companies on your behalf. It is their job to make sure you aren’t short-changed. The lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek know all the legal avenues to pursue in order to achieve maximum compensation for your case. We are always on your side. Contact us at (832) 432-1924 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your car accident claim.
Houston Car Accident Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you typically have two years to file a car accident claim. This filing window is often referred to as the “statute of limitations.” 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 possible after your car accident.
Why are statutes of limitations in place? One reason is to protect defendants. When a deadline is enforced, plaintiffs are encouraged to pursue the case more quickly 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 witnessed an event decades ago.
The statute of limitations begins the date of your accident. So, if your crash was on July 1, 2020, you have until July 1, 2022 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 car accident lawsuit process, only needs to be filed within two years.
Calculating the Value of a Car Accident Claim in Texas
Calculating the settlement amount of your claim is not a straightforward process. However, you can get a rough estimate by understanding how damages are calculated.
First, gather all your expenses to determine your 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.
Non-economic damages are harder to put a dollar figure on. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and the emotional impact of the accident are all examples of non-economic damages. As stated in the section above, an insurance company will take your medical bills. Depending on the severity of your damages, they will multiply them by a number to calculate pain and suffering. The more severe the crash, the higher the number. Car insurance companies will also likely underestimate your non-economic damages. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine how much you actually deserve.
What Does Car Accident Compensation Cover?
After a car accident, you can be eligible for the following types of compensation in a lawsuit:
Medical expenses: This includes physical and cognitive therapy, ambulance fees, consultations with health care professionals, medical devices 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: Time lost from work due to your injury – as well as earning capacity — 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, PTSD, and other negative impacts of the crash can be considered pain and suffering.
Hire a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
The car accident lawsuit process can be complex, and Texas laws may differ from those in other areas. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ll need the advice, direction, and expertise of a local Houston attorney.
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. We understand that you may be going through a difficult time, and we are here to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Contact one of our attorneys today at (832) 230-2643 to begin the process of recovering your losses.
Car Accident Lawsuit FAQs
- Retain all documents and reports related to your accident (hospital records, police reports, etc.)
- Avoid accepting the first settlement offer given by the other side — insurance agencies often present much lower figures than you’re actually entitled to.
- Don’t make any statements to the other party or their insurance agents. These might be used against you in court.
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the car accident lawsuit process
- The severity of the back injury
- Whether the injury has affected the person’s ability to perform daily tasks or work
- Whether the victim had any pre-existing back conditions
Back injuries can range from simple lower back pain to more serious, debilitating catastrophic injuries. If the spinal cord was affected, it can result in paralysis or other life-altering conditions. In such cases, compensation may be greater to reflect the increased losses.
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