In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, it can often be confusing to know what next steps to take to protect yourself. Many car crash victims struggle to understand when and if they should hire a lawyer, especially in minor car accidents. Talking to the other driver’s insurance company can seem be tricky without the aid of a car accident attorney. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Houston, TX, here’s our comprehensive guide to when you’ll need to hire an accident lawyer.
When Should You Call an auto accident Attorney in Houston, TX?
Dealing with the stress of a motor vehicle accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been injured or are suffering any related trauma. Hiring a Houston car accident attorney to represent your interests can help to make the aftermath of a car accident less stressful and keep you protected during dealings with the other driver’s insurance company. After filing a police report and ensuring your immediate medical needs have been tended to, hiring an attorney should be your next step.
Fender benders and other minor car accidents resulting in no injuries and very little vehicle damage may not require any legal intervention. However, victims of more serious car accidents, especially those resulting in injuries, will benefit greatly from the insights of an attorney. As soon as your medical needs have been addressed, you’ll want to work with a Houston auto accident attorney to help you avoid any pitfalls that could damage your claim so you get the settlement you deserve.
When Your Injuries and Damages Are Severe
Severe accident injuries can result in substantial medical bills, lost wages, and a loss of quality of life. The short- and long-term costs of an injury resulting from an accident can be difficult to quantify; a lawyer can help you to determine the costs of life-altering injuries. A car accident attorney in Houston can also ensure your injuries receive fair classification. Spinal cord trauma, brain injuries, loss of limbs, or paralysis, in particular, are catastrophic, life-altering injuries that require a lawyer’s attention.
Yet scarring, fractures, chronic pain, torn ligaments, and internal bleeding can also result in ongoing healthcare costs, lost wages, loss of consortium, and more. Any severe injury that requires medical attention following a motor vehicle accident and that impedes with your quality of life, career, or marriage, will also require legal assistance. An accident lawyer can help to ensure your losses are properly compensated in an insurance claim.
Examples of Non-Economic Damages
If you’ve suffered a severe injury, this is likely to impede your quality of life substantially. In addition to compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, you may also be entitled compensation for the following non-economic damages:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering (i.e. emotional trauma or mental anguish)
- Loss of earning capability
- Physical disfigurement
- Physical impairment
When You Need Help Navigating the Claims Process
After an accident, you’ll need to speak with your own insurance company as soon as possible to confirm your treatment costs will be covered. Additionally, you’ll need to make arrangements for any repairs your vehicle may require. Applying for accident compensation can be confusing, and it’s easy to make errors that damage your claim. Consulting with an attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you’ve filled out your paperwork adequately.
Though you’ll be obligated to speak with your own insurance adjuster, we recommend speaking with an auto accident attorney in Houston before contacting the insurer representing the other driver. When you hire a lawyer, dealing with the other driver’s insurance company will become their responsibility. This will offer you some peace of mind, as the other driver’s insurance company will then not be permitted to speak directly with you. Instead, they will need to communicate through your accident lawyer.
What to Do if Your Claim is Denied
In Houston, TX, after fault is determined in a motor vehicle accident case, you’ll be able to sue the at-fault driver for your losses, including medical expenses, wage losses, and pain and suffering. These expenses will be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In some cases, the other driver’s insurance company may attempt to deny your claim, usually by alleging that you were ineligible for specific benefits at the time of the motor vehicle collision.
In the event that your claim is denied, in full or in part, you’ll need to contact a car accident attorney immediately. Likewise, if an insurance company fails to offer you an appropriate settlement that adequately addressed the severity of your injuries and other losses, a lawyer can build a case to defend your position and support your right to comprehensive compensation. Additionally, hire a lawyer if you suspect that any insurance communications appear inaccurate.
When You are Wrongly Blamed for the Accident
In Houston, TX, it’s possible for drivers to share fault for an accident under the modified comparative negligence laws of Texas. If a driver is found to be 51% or more at fault, that driver won’t be eligible to collect damages from the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver attempts to deflect liability by wrongly accusing you of causing the accident, this can severely impact your ability to seek compensation for your injuries and even drive up your car insurance rates.
If you’re facing accusations of being partly responsible for an accident (known as “contributory negligence”), a Houston car accident attorney can help investigate the circumstances of the car accident to support your version of events. Your lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report, gather witness testimony, and collect evidence to ensure that fault is properly determined so you’ll be able to receive fair compensation without any reduction for contributory negligence.
Other Situations that Require Legal Assistance
After a motor vehicle accident, there are many circumstances that may arise that require legal assistance. Aside from the circumstances described above, there are other situations that will benefit from professional legal services. An attorney will be well acquainted with the case law that applies to your specific situation, can help determine the value of your losses, and will be able to arrange obtain necessary documentation to support your case.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, we recommend calling an accident lawyer if the following circumstances arise as a result of the accident:
- Any fatal casualties occurred
- The other driver is uninsured
- The police report appears inaccurate
Should I Hire a Houston attorney for an auto Accident That Was My Fault?
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and you were deemed responsible, you will not be able to claim damages from the other driver’s insurance company. In this case, hiring a Houston car accident attorney to sue for damages would be unnecessary. If you are found responsible for an accident, your insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you against claims from the other driver. If you are wrongfully blamed for an accident, however, an attorney can help.
In order to protect yourself, it’s best to speak with a car crash attorney as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident. Speaking with an attorney should be your next order of business after tending to your immediate medical needs. If you’ve been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and are looking for expert legal representation, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, Houston’s top personal injury lawyers, today.