What Are Your Rights If You Were Injured in an Auto Accident?

After a car accident, the cumulative effect of physical injuries, emotional distress, and the sudden disruption to your daily life can leave you feeling lost and unsure of your next steps: perhaps even unsure of your rights. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Texas, know that you do have rights, and your Houston, TX auto accident attorneys are committed to protecting them. Here are a few key things to know about your rights.

What Are Your Rights If You Were Injured in an Auto Accident?

The Right to Medical Attention

Your primary concern after an accident should be your health, and you have the absolute right to seek immediate medical attention, regardless of fault or the severity of your injuries. Do not hesitate to call emergency services or proceed to the nearest medical facility for evaluation and treatment. Delaying medical care can complicate your injury and potentially harm your legal case later on. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you don’t seem hurt and therefore don’t need any medical attention.

The Right to File an Accident Report

In Texas, you are legally obligated to file an accident report if the accident results in the injury or death of any person involved or a total property damage exceeding $1,000. But even if you’re not sure whether anyone has been hurt yet (remember that injuries can manifest later after the adrenaline wears off) or are not sure how much damage has been done, you still have the right to file an accident report.

File the report with the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the accident scene. Filing a timely and accurate report is important for documenting the details of the accident, including the involved parties, their insurance information, and the initial assessment of injuries and damages. The officer will also make a preliminary fault determination, which can be helpful to your case.

The Right to Know Your Insurance Coverage

Familiarize yourself with your coverage limits, including:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage, which pays for injuries you cause to others
  • Property damage liability coverage, which pays for damage you cause to other vehicles or property
  • Collision coverage, which pays for repairs to your own vehicle, regardless of fault
  • Comprehensive coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle caused by events other than collisions, such as theft or vandalism
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other covered costs arising from your own injuries, regardless of fault

Knowing your coverage limits will help you understand what financial support you can expect from your own insurance company after the accident, and if you are not sure of what your coverage is, call right away and ask for a full explanation.

The Right to Fair Treatment from Insurance Companies

Whether you’re working with your own insurance company or the other driver’s, you have the right to expect fair treatment. The insurance company has a legal obligation to process your claim promptly and fairly. You have the right to inquire about the status of your claim and obtain clear explanations for any delays or denials. The insurance company is also required to assess the value of your claim accurately and in good faith. This includes covering all covered damages as outlined in your policy or the other driver’s policy.

You deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy throughout the claims process. If you encounter any instances of unfair treatment or communication issues, your attorney can intervene and advocate for your rights. Remember, insurance companies are businesses with their own interests. Understanding your rights and having legal representation can help ensure you receive the fair treatment you deserve.

The Right to Choose Your Repair Shop

If your vehicle sustained damage in the accident, you have the right to choose the repair shop where it will be fixed. Your insurance company may recommend certain repair shops within their network, and it can sometimes be advantageous to use the shop they recommend, but you are not obligated to do so. You can choose any reputable repair shop that provides a written estimate of repairs.

The Right to Seek Compensation for Damages

If the negligence of another driver caused you injury or property damage in a Texas auto accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. You are entitled to recover the full cost of your medical care, both past and future. This includes any expenses incurred for hospitalization, doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, and any other medical treatment deemed necessary to address your injuries. If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for lost wages and benefits.

The physical and emotional pain and suffering you endure as a result of the accident are also compensable damages. This includes pain at the accident scene, discomfort during recovery, and any emotional distress stemming from the accident, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle is also recoverable. If your vehicle was totaled, you will be compensated for its fair market value before the accident.

The amount of compensation you may be entitled to will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. The severity of your injuries, the extent of your property damage, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, and other factors will all play a role in determining the appropriate compensation amount. An experienced Texas attorney can help you assess the value of your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

The Right to Call Houston, TX Auto Accident Attorneys for Help

Following an auto accident in Texas, the emotional and logistical burden can be overwhelming for the lay person. You have the fundamental right to seek professional guidance from an attorney. Here’s how an experienced Texas lawyer can assist you:

Independent Investigation

Your attorney will conduct a thorough and independent investigation of the accident. This may involve gathering additional evidence, interviewing witnesses, analyzing police reports, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts if necessary. Their objective investigation helps build a strong case based on facts and evidence, independent of any biases or limitations imposed by insurance companies.

Expert Negotiation

Insurance companies often employ experienced adjusters who are trained in minimizing payouts. Your attorney should have the knowledge and negotiation skills to advocate for your best interests and fight for a fair settlement offer that reflects the full extent of your damages.

Legal Representation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court. They will handle all legal aspects of your case, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the litigation process.

Remember, getting a lawyer does not automatically mean you’re going to file a lawsuit. An attorney can also advise you on your rights and help you get through the claims process, ensuring you receive fair treatment from insurers. They can also negotiate for you for out-of-court settlements, which is usually how these cases are resolved. You’ll only go to trial if the insurance company is being unreasonable.

Talk With Us for Help Today

If you’ve been in an accident and aren’t sure of your rights or are having trouble protecting them, don’t try to go it alone. Contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner for a free consultation and skilled representation.