First Things First (Looking To Go At Alone?)
If your downloading this car crash injury guide, then chances are that you’re spending a lot of time thinking about whether you need a lawyer to represent you in your car wreck or 18-wheeler crash case. You have now had some time to think about how the wreck occurred and whose fault it was. You might be wondering whether you’re ever going to get your car fixed and whether it’s TOO LATE to see a doctor because you’re really starting to feel some aches and pains.
If you think that you don’t need a car wreck attorney to help you through your case, then you really don’t need to be reading this guide.Understand that no matter what your experience has been with other attorneys in the past, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and, doing our best to make ourselves available to our clients to answer questions and help in any way we can during the process of a car crash case.
Generally speaking, it’s never too late to seek medical attention if you been involved in a serious crash but, it is always worth noting that there is always going to be an argument made by the insurance company that if you were really injured in the crash, that you would have gone to hospital or seen the doctor that same day or shortly thereafter. So, if your hurt, don’t wait any longer than you have to. Get the care you need NOW! You will not find anything in this guide that will advise you whether or not you NEED medical attention. The purpose of this guide is to offer an overview of the process of dealing with a car wreck claim.
On This Page:
The Crash Just Happened (What Do I Do?)
If you just had a car wreck and you need some guidance, you need to know that there are some steps that will help you make sure that your battle with the insurance company is not going to be as difficult as it could be. If you or a family member has been involved in serious car wreck or a crash with an 18-Wheeler, the following steps should be taken:
- Call 911 and then Call a Close Family Member or Friend – The first thing you need to do is call emergency personnel immediately and get them to the scene of the crash. They need to get to work immediately to determine how the accident occurred and, they need to make sure everyone who needs it is getting the medical attention then need.
Furthermore, with so much going on following a serious crash, it can be very difficult to take photographs, write notes, or make sure you ask the right questions. A family member or a close friend that can get to the scene of the wreck quickly can help you make sure you do everything that you need to do to get your life back on track after the crash.
- Request Medical Attention and Follow up with Your Doctor – One thing that personal injury lawyers and the insurance company usually agree on, if you’re injured in a crash, you need to seek appropriate medical attention immediately. For a serious injury, those involving head or spine injuries, or broken bones, that means going to an emergency room at a good hospital. Follow-up care may take place at a doctor’s office, but an initial evaluation of a serious injury should only be performed at a hospital emergency room.
Although anyone who has been in car wreck understands that you don’t always feel the pain at the scene of an accident, you need to exercise good judgement in making the decision to go to the hospital on the day of the of crash or, go a doctor the next day.
Delaying your treatment could make your injury worse while also making more difficult to argue that the injuries are related to the crash.
- Report the Incident! – Do not allow the other driver to talk you out of calling the police. He or she may be trying to hide drug or alcohol use or escape responsibility for the damages that have been caused. Only the police can properly document a serious accident, which is often necessary to prove the facts of the accident. Additionally, if you give the truck driver time to change his or her story, nine times out of 10, they will deny any responsibility for causing the accident.
- Save and Verify All Witness Information! – This is one of the most important steps you can take to assure yourself that the facts of crash can easily be established. Make sure you obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses that stop and tell you that they saw what happened. You need to get their names, addresses, phone numbers and verify that the contact information is correct. Call them at the site if you have to!
- Document the Scene, Take Pictures! – Take photographs of anything that would help explain how the crash occurred, the damage that was done to your vehicle and, any visible injuries.
- Consult an Attorney! Call Me at 346-347-7777 – You will be connected to me at no matter what time of the day you call. I will review all the information involved in your case and give you a quick and honest evaluation of your case. It is my belief that both attorney and potential client should work together to determine if a case should be opened and, both should work towards an understanding as to what each can reasonably expect as an outcome for the case. Even if other lawyers have told you that you don’t have a case, I am willing to review your case and provide you the explanation that you deserve!
Being involved in a serious car crash causes a major disruption to your daily life and puts your family’s financial well-being at risk. For this reason, it’s crucial to make an early assessment in your case of what rights you have so that you can do what is necessary to:
- Receive the medical care you need;
- Investigate and gather the evidence that you will need in your case;
- Develop a strategy to move your case along promptly.
It’s All About Coverage…(Full Coverage?)
What does it mean when the driver that causes a wreck says they have “full coverage” insurance? Is anyone ever fully covered? It really depends on the extent of your liability. In other words, the answer depends on how much damage the driver at fault has caused? You don’t know if there is “full coverage” until you know how much property damage or personal injury resulted.
Therefore, having the required minimal liability coverage under the laws of the State of Texas, does not mean that the negligent driver is fully covered. Depending on how much damage they cause, that insured could be underinsured and not have enough insurance to cover all the damage they’ve caused. Then, you’d have to look at your insurance and see if you opted for the underinsured coverage under your policy to make up any difference that’s not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy. Understanding the various types of coverage that may be available under a driver’s policy is crucial to determining how your case will be managed through the process. As your attorney, I can explain the various types of coverage available under automobile insurance policy and how they possibly provide coverage in your case.
This is why, if you’re seriously injured in a car wreck its very important to find out quickly what total coverage is available on the other driver’s policy and your policy as well. Although many of our clients express a concern when we first inform them that we will be notifying their insurance of crash and requesting policy information, the simple fact is, you are usually required under the terms of the insuring agreement, to notify them of anytime you are in a car crash. I would never advise a client to compromise their health and well being to save on monthly premiums.
For this reason, I recommend that if you’re involved in a crash with another vehicle, and they are at fault, that you gather as much information as possible about the negligent driver and vehicle they were driving. Get copies of all insurance cards or policy information that you can while you are at the scene. If you have to leave because of your injuries, make sure someone gets this information. Also, make sure you do your best to have someone document the way the incident took place, the directions of the streets and the damage to the vehicles and take photographs and video if possible.
…And Negligence (Failing To Follow The Rules Of The Road)
When you’ve been in a seriously injured car wreck or a crash with a big truck (18-Wheeler) you have to be able to show that the other driver was more at fault than you in causing the car crash and that the injuries you suffered are related to the crash. In order to determine if you have a case against the other driver, you need to determine if that driver was Negligent or failed to follow the rules of the road. Determining negligence is a task that falls on your lawyer but, in additional to relying on his experience with previous cases, your lawyer is going to be relying on your recollection, witness statements, crash reports, photographs and any other information available. Sometimes, if the information available is not enough to conclude that the other driver was negligent but, it is your strong belief that the other driver was at fault, a lawsuit will have to be filed to help establish liability. Therefore, it is important to understand how an crash victim may be able to show that the injuries resulted from the other driver’s negligence but, you want to make sure you consult with a work injury lawyer to determine if the can also be supported by the law of negligence.
Texas Drivers have a duty to follow the rules of the road. If they fail to exercise ordinary care in their driving, that driver’s negligence could be established. This can be shown in a variety of ways. For example, that driver could have failed to keep a proper lookout; failed to control their speed; failed to yield the right of way; failed to drive at a reasonable rate of speed or; failed to maintain control of the vehicle they were driving.
If the other driver has failed to exercise ordinary care in their operation of his/her vehicle, they could be found to have breached the duty they owe to the general public on the roadways.
CAUSATION & DAMAGES
If the other driver has breached their duty to exercise ordinary care in driving, the next step is to connect the injuries and damages to the specific injury causing car crash. If your injuries can be attributed to the incident, this may be enough to conclude that there is a supportable case against the other driver.
What Damages Are Recoveralbe In A Car Crash Case?
Determining the damages you can recover in your car crash case should be discussed with you personal injury attorney. Because every case is different, it is important to understand that your lawyer’s ability to prove your damages will depend on your injuries and whether you are expected to make a full-recovery. Generally, in a car wreck case, a claimant (injured person) you could be entitled to recover for the following damages:
- Medical Expenses (Past and Future)
- Lost Income/Earning Capacity (Past and Future)
- Physical Pain and Mental Anguish (Past and Future)
- Physical Impairment
WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL DAMAGES
Serious car wreck cases very often result in the death of a friend or loved one. Wrongful death cases could be established when a loved one is killed in a car crash as a result of the other driver’s negligence, whether the vehicle was driven was privately owned or, owned by large
company. There are several ways a person, organization or corporation could be held liable for causing an individual’s death.
In Texas, the elements of a wrongful death action are:
- The Individual that is bringing the lawsuit must be a “statutory beneficiary” of the decedent. (Basically, this means that the individual must qualify to bring the lawsuit as determined by law)
- The negligent party must be a person or a corporation;
- The negligent person or corporation’s actions caused the death of the loved one;
- Had the loved one survived, he or she would have been entitled under the law to bring a
claim against the negligent party; and
- The person bringing the suit suffered actual injury.
While some elements of a wrongful death claim are very straight forward, others require close review of the facts to determine if all can be met and the claim can survive. When considering whether a qualified beneficiary may have a claim, keep in mind the there is much work to be done to preserve all evidence that would have supported the decedent’s right to bring a case had they survived. In a sense, in order to bring a wrongful death claim, you must be able to establish the case within the case.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The recovery that can be made in a wrongful death case is not always the simplest to explain because it is dependent on the facts of each specific case. It is best to sit down with your attorney to discuss which family members would qualify to claim and receive certain damages. These damages can include these but are not limited only to these claims.
- Funeral costs.
- Compensation for your family member’s wages, benefits and future earning capacity.
- Reimbursement for any medical expenses incurred before your loved one died.
- Recovery for emotional trauma, stress, anxiety and loss of your family member’s companionship.
When another driver acts in a careless, reckless or indifferent manner, they expose others to the lethal consequences of their negligent behavior and need to be held responsible.
Elements of a Survival Action Claim
The survival action is essentially the basis for any wrongful death legal standing that will follow the car crash case. If the deceased individual would have been able to establish a case against the negligent driver or company that caused incident, had he or she survived, then a wrongful death can be established and could be said to derive from the decedent’s survival claim. In sum, it crucial in both types of cases, to be able to prove that the death resulted from the action or inaction (negligence) of the negligent driver.
Damages in a Survival Action
Damages that can be financially recovered in an established survival action claim can include the typical pecuniary items such as medical bills, lost income, and general damages for physical pain-and-mental anguish if the decedent did not die at the accident scene. Cases that involve a victim being hospitalized or under intensive nursing care could increase the amount recoverable damages. Funeral expenses can also be included in any survival action claim as well as any other expenses associated with the accident. It is important to remember that the funds generated from the survival action will be part of the decedent’s estate settlement and potentially claimable by creditors during the probate process. Remaining proceeds could eventually be assigned to inheritors.
Why Should I Choose Attorney Sandoval?
Sandoval Law Firm, PLLC officially opened its doors in early 2019 with me, Houston attorney Hector L. Sandoval, at the head of business. I’ve been in active practice since 2004 and I’ve worked at three previous firms, two of which I was an owner. Our firm handles all types of personal injury cases with a focus on representing the injured Texans in car wrecks and work injuries.
Sandoval Law Firm, PLLC was started with three goals in mind:
- Provide sound legal advice backed with aggressive representation!
- Provide Clients with Personal Service like no other law firm out there!
- Treat every case like a million-dollar case!
In my 15-year career, I’ve represented injured individuals in more than half of the States in the U.S. The work injury cases I’ve handled range from cases against large companies like major railroads to small local industrial shops. In addition to work injury cases, I’ve handled a wide range of personal injury cases ranging from dog bites to serious crashes involving 18-Wheeler trucks.
When you’re injured in serious accident and you are looking for a lawyer that you can trust, you would be surprised to learn that when you call certain law firms, you may never speak directly with a “lawyer” before you are asked to sign a contract to hire that lawyer. You have to ask yourself what that firm thinks of your case? Maybe just another number?
When hiring a law firm to represent you, it’s important for you to consider how you are treated from the first contact! Lawyers and law firms are in the customer service industry too even though some lawyers don’t realize it. How can you and your family trust a law firm or a lawyer with your case at a time when you are most vulnerable and experiencing high stress without either speaking directly with the person you are entrusting to protect your rights or meeting with them in person! Don’t settle!
Relationships Between Lawyer And Client Are Based On Trust!
At the Sandoval Law Firm, you will speak directly with me and I will do my best to earn your trust from our first meeting. I pride myself on being available to discuss your legal issue on the phone or in person, and determine quickly whether we believe we can help you and, if we can’t, we will, at the very least, try to offer some guidance to you and your family so that you can continue with your lives with peace of mind, knowing you’ve spoken to a lawyer who tried to help.
When you call Sandoval Law Firm, PLLC, I’ll immediately put my legal experience to work for you! My firm handles all types of car wreck and 18-wheeler crash cases. Personal service means, you will be able to talk to me at all phases of your car crash case!
Legal Disclaimer: This download is being provided to you for informative and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a complete explanation on the law as applied to Texas Car Wreck or 18-Wheeler Crash cases and, it is not intended to be relied about for legal advice. Should you have any questions about your injury case, please contact us for free legal consultation at the numbers below.