If you have been involved in a car wreck, you likely have many questions about the legal process, insurance-related issues, and your rights.
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz, we represent people who have been injured in car, motorcycle, truck and other motor vehicle collisions. We can help you through this process and answer any questions you have along the way.
Free consultation: To set up a no-cost consultation with one of our lawyers, please complete our online contact form. Otherwise, you can simply read the information below for answers to frequently asked questions about motor vehicle wrecks.
Q: Should I call a lawyer after a car wreck?
A: Yes. It is highly advisable to speak to an attorney after being involved in a car crash. If possible, talk to an attorney before you talk to any insurance company.
Insurance companies often send their own investigators to the scene of a car collision. They will gather evidence and start building a case . . . one that helps its own interests, not yours. They may be quick to offer a settlement - but the amount may be much less than your case is actually worth.
When you get an attorney on your side at the beginning of your case, more legal options may be available. An attorney can step in and protect your rights in an unfamiliar process, and help you obtain maximum compensation.
Q: Can I afford to hire a lawyer after a car wreck?
A: Many people think that they cannot afford to hire an attorney after a car crash.
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz, we charge no up-front fees. You only pay us if we recover compensation for you.
We also offer a free consultation to discuss your case. During this consultation, we will explain if and how we can help you, so there is no financial risk if we determine that we are unable to accept the claim.
Q: I think the collision was my fault: What should I do?
A: In the moments after a car wreck, you are likely in a state of shock. You may be injured. You may not be thinking clearly.
If an investigation determines that you caused the wreck, your insurance may cover it. You may see an increase in your insurance premium.
Q: What if the other driver caused the collision?
A: If the negligence of another driver caused your wreck, you may be eligible for significant compensation.
We hold negligent drivers and third parties responsible according to the law. We also help crash victims seek maximum compensation to cover current and long-term expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitation, property damage, and more.
Q: What if the other driver has no insurance?
A: When the other driver is uninsured - or if he or she has minimal insurance - your own uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage may apply.
Many auto insurance policies contain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. We can determine if yours does. We will explore all options and seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Q: What would a person do at the scene of the car wreck?
A: The most important thing to do at the scene of a car crash is to evaluate the injuries of yourself and anyone in your vehicle. Before you start thinking about anything else, you need to make sure that you and your passengers are OK; and if you are not OK, you need to call an ambulance right away. After the determination has been made as to who needs medical care and who does not, try to find a safe place there at the scene of the crash to get out of the intersection or off of the highway. It never fails, as soon as there is the first wreck and if the vehicles are not moved, another car will come along and cause more damage than originally created from the original crash. Another thing you need to do is call the police. Police reports are critical when determining who is at fault and who is responsible for the crash. Sometimes police agencies will try to tell you that they do not respond to wrecks unless there is a certain amount of damage. You need to insist that they come out and write a report and take the information down, not only for yourself and your witnesses, but also for the other vehicles involved in the crash. I would also recommend, while at the scene, to try and get the information of the person or company who is involved in the crash as well. I would not give a statement to them but I would ask that person for their name, insurance information, telephone numbers, driver's license, etc. and exchange that information with anybody who is there at the scene of the crash; that includes witnesses and not just other drivers.
Q: What statements should be provided at the scene of the wreck?
A: It is very important, when you are at the scene of a crash, to cooperate with any law enforcement personnel and also speak openly and freely with the medical personnel who are there attending to your injuries. So in that case, you need to give statements to those individuals. I highly recommend against, to my clients, giving statements to anyone else. I do not think they should give statements to the other driver and specifically don't give a statement to the other insurance company or a representative from the company of the vehicle that caused the crash. What I mean by that is, when wrecks involve commercial vehicles or a vehicle owned by a business, the standard practice in the industry is that within minutes, that company is notified that there has been a crash. That company then turns around and immediately notifies their insurance company. So within an hour, an insurance company and the company will typically have someone there at the scene doing an investigation. Do not speak to those people. They are not your friends. You do not want to be nice to them. Because at the end of the day, their goal is to pay you as little money as possible for your medical bills, your lost wages, and for all the suffering and impairment that you've had to go through as a result of their employee's negligence. So the only people I would give a statement to are law enforcement and medical personnel in order to evaluate your health condition.
Q: When should a person contact the insurance company?
A: Well, there are two insurance companies that you need to be thinking about. The first insurance company is the insurance company of the person who caused the crash, the other driver, the company, the other vehicle. Those people are not your friends and you need to remember that every time you call and speak to one of the representatives from that insurance company. You have no obligation to speak to the insurance company of the other driver. You don't even have to put them on notice of any claims until two years after the crash. And the reason I say two years is because in Texas, the statute of limitations on auto wrecks is two years. That means that if you get into a wreck on May 1,2008 you have until May 1, 2010 to file a claim. So between the two years from the date of the crash, you're under no obligation to speak to the other party's insurance company. However, if you want to try and get the matter resolved, you will have to contact them. The second insurance company that you need to be thinking about is your own insurance company. In order to make a claim under your own insurance policy, you need to notify them as soon as possible. I would notify them the same day, in writing, and explain to them what happened and what caused the crash. At that point, your own insurance company will need to take a statement from you regarding your thoughts on what happened, who was injured and who caused it. And you may be asking yourself well I thought you just said "don't give a statement to an insurance company". Well that's where you need to know the difference between your insurance and the other driver's insurance. If you do not give a statement to your own insurance company, they can deny the claim and say that they don't have to pay you anything under your own insurance policy. The reason for the difference is when you buy insurance you sign a contract between you and the insurance company that you purchased it from. That contract spells out all the obligations that not only the insurance company has, but also obligations that you have in order to obtain any benefits from that insurance coverage. So bottom line is, contact your insurance company as soon as possible; whether it's at the scene of the crash or as soon as you're physically and medically able to do so following the crash. And as it relates to the party who caused the wrecks insurance, I recommend not contacting them at all and instead contacting a lawyer to help fight for your rights.
Q: When and how should a person hire an attorney after a car wreck?
A: I think the smartest decision to do after a car wreck is hire an attorney right away. And after what I just discussed regarding insurance companies, there is no doubt in my mind that the person who has. been injured and involved in a car crash is better off hiring an attorney immediately and letting that lawyer handle a claim against the defendant driver's insurance company. Insurance companies don't make money by paying claims. They make money by delaying the process, frustrating the person that's been injured and getting them to agree to take little or nothing on a valid claim that was caused by someone else's negligence. That's where we come in. Our job as the lawyer is to protect you in those situations, stand up to the insurance companies and tell them that you're not going to settle your claim for pennies on the dollar. Now, how do you hire a lawyer? Our firm has a policy that we prefer to meet our clients in person. Our lawyers will go out to someone's house. Our lawyers will go meet someone at a restaurant or gas station if they feel more comfortable with that. In the past, we've even had to go meet families in catastrophic injury cases we've been called and asked to come to the hospitals and even places such as funeral homes. We prefer for the families to come in to our office, sit down with us, spend time with us, get to know who we are, get to know what type of firm we are and get to know that by hiring us, you're going to get not only the resources and the benefit of the specific lawyer but an entire firm that's been around for over 50 years.
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