Lewisville Car Accident Attorneys Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions
Auto Accident FAQs
After an auto accident, you may be feeling physical pain, mental disorientation, emotional strife, and any other number of issues. And the worst part is, the accident was completely preventable and only occurred due to the negligence of another party. You wish to pursue justice and compensation for your suffering, yet you do not know how to go about it. Read the answers to these commonly asked questions provided by the reputable Lewisville personal injury attorneys at Steele Law, P.C.
Q: What are my rights in an auto accident?
A: Basically, you have a right to be put back in the same condition that you were in before the accident occurred, or "made whole." This includes your physical, mental, and economic well being, as well as the restoration of your automobile and any other personal property damaged due to the carelessness or negligence of others.
You have the right:
- To have your automobile repaired to its original pre-accident condition.
- To the reasonable and equitable market replacement value of your automobile, if it is totaled.
- To have any other personal property that had been damaged or destroyed by the accident, repaired or replaced.
- To reimbursement for the loss of use of your vehicle while your automobile is being repaired, unless your car is totaled.
- To recover any actual lost wages or loss of earning capacity that might have resulted from the automobile accident.
- To reimbursement for medical care and long term treatment or rehabilitation.
- To an equitable settlement for permanent physical impairment or disabilities which might have resulted from the automobile accident.
- To be compensated for any pain and suffering, or any consequential damages caused by the accident.
- To receive payment for your loss of the normal companionship and communication between you and members of your immediate family, resulting from an injury to you or the family member.
- To choose the facility to repair your automobile, and to choose which medical professionals will attend to your personal physical and mental injuries.
Q: What kinds of car insurance are available in Texas?
A: There are several different types of automobile insurance for you to consider purchasing. The amount of coverage in each category that you might buy is relative to: 1) the value of your automobile, 2) the net worth of your personal assets, in case you are liable for an accident, 3) how much protection you want for your family's injuries, and 4) how secure you need to feel.
- BODILY INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY pays for damages which arise from injuries or death that you are legally liable to pay to someone else, or from damage to property of others. It also pays legal costs if you are sued. This coverage is mandatory in Texas. You should carry enough liability coverage to protect your family's assets.
- COMPREHENSIVE covers loss or damage to your car resulting from perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage, explosion, etc.
- COLLISION pays for damage to your vehicle caused by impact with another automobile or object.
- UNINSURED MOTORIST AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST. If the driver of the other motor vehicle involved in an accident is legally liable, but either has no insurance, is underinsured, or is unknown, this protection on your own insurance policy will pay you and occupants of your car for bodily injury and property damage. If you are a safe driver, the most important auto insurance to have to protect yourself and your family is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION is an important insurance protection to carry on your auto policy, especially if you do not have health and disability insurance through your employment. It is also important to have this coverage if your health plan or HMO requires large deductibles or co-payments. Personal Injury Protection, or P.I.P., covers any medical bills or up to 80% of gross lost wages related to injuries caused by a motor vehicle.
Q: Do I need auto insurance in Texas?
A: Yes, do carry adequate automobile insurance. Not only is it mandatory in Texas, but also if you ever need to rely on its benefits, it will pay for itself many, many times over. If you are a safe driver, the most valuable coverage is the uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This is the coverage that will protect you and your family if the guilty driver does not have a valid insurance policy or his policy is too small to cover all of your damages.
Q: What should I do after a car accident?
A: It is vital that you perform the following steps after a car accident has occurred:
- Do not fail to stop and trade identifications if you are involved in an accident. Penalties for "hit-and-run" driving are quite severe in Texas.
- Call an ambulance or any other emergency services if necessary. Give help to injured persons.
- Stay calm. Try to help the injured and gather information from drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
- Document and record everything you can. Have the presence of mind to make a diagram of the accident, as well as to take down all pertinent information from drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Have pictures taken of the accident, or at least of damage done to your car and injury to your body. Take as many pictures as possible -- more is always better.
- Call the police to have them come out to the accident scene to make a report. Make sure you explain to them any injuries that may have ensued from the accident, even if you think they are minor at the time. Also, cooperate with the Highway Patrol or police officers at the scene of the accident.
- Go to a doctor to check out whether you sustained any injuries. Also make sure you receive a medical report detailing the extent and origin of your injuries, if any, from your physician.
- Call the insurance company to report the accident. That is, your insurance company. It is best if you do not speak with the other insurance company until you have consulted with your attorney.
- Have your automobile appraised at the best repair facility that can restore your car to its original condition. Get a detailed receipt of the costs associated with the repairs.
- Keep daily logs of your medical condition: feelings of pain and headaches, mental stress, inability to interact with loved ones, etc. Note your visits with doctors, including any out-of pocket expenses, mileage to and from the doctor's office, and the amount of time spent in therapy.
- Keep a detailed journal of losses. Record any time you missed from work, lost wages, and projected future loss of earning capacity due to injury or disability from the accident.
- Seek out alternative coverage options while you wait for your settlement. Use your HMO coverage, health plan coverage, or P.I.P. coverage on your policy to pay for your medical expenses.
- Contact STEELE LAW, P.C. before signing any releases from insurance companies.
Q: What are some car accident don'ts?
- Do not drink and drive. There are harsh penalties for drunk driving. If you are involved in an accident where the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, make sure the accident report reflects this fact.
- Do not make any voluntary statements or offer to take any field sobriety tests if stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Do not refuse to sign a traffic ticket. It is only a promise to appear in court to explain your side of the story, not an admission of guilt.
- Do not move injured persons, unless leaving them alone would cause greater danger to their health and safety.
- Do not ignore signs of pain in the neck or lower back.
- Do not confuse "negligence" in an accident with "an intentional act" by the other driver. Insurance companies are not liable for and will not reimburse drivers for deliberate intentional acts. They do pay on claims that are caused by negligence or carelessness.
- Do not neglect purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist protection when you buy insurance. Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) coverage is also a very wise investment. P.I.P. will pay you and your passengers' medical bills and lost wages while you are trying to get a full recovery for your injuries from the guilty party's insurance company.
- Stick to the pure details when speaking with involved parties/insurance companies. Do not admit fault, discuss opinions, or offer information about the accident to the other driver, to his attorney, or to the insurance company.
- Do not settle your insurance claim before you are completely healed, or until you are sure that the settlement takes into account all of your likely or probable future medical needs.
- Do not short change yourself with an insurance settlement that does not take into account reimbursement for all of the components due to you, especially future medical expenses and for pain and suffering. Remember that all medical expenses paid for by your HMO, health plan, or any government agency may have to be repaid out of your final settlement.
- Do not allow insurance companies to treat your claim unfairly or expeditiously. Be vigilant concerning acts of bad faith on their part.
- Do not withhold any information from your car accident attorney. All communications with her are privileged and confidential.
Q: How can Steele Law, P.C. help me with my car accident case?
A: Throughout their many years of practice in personal injury law, Dina Steele and her legal team have secured exorbitant settlement amounts for their clients who suffered injuries, or worse, in a car accident. Not only are we effective at battling claim disputes, but we are also known for providing clients with exceptional, caring customer service. If you have any further questions regarding your car accident injury claim and the legal options available to you, please call us today at (214) 333-4357 for a free consultation.