Law Office of Steve Brannan
The Ultimate Guide to Car Accidents in Texas
Cars are among the most common forms of transportation in Texas, a state with over 22 million vehicles registered. It’s no secret why–cars give us a sense of freedom, independence, and ability. However, the unfortunate reality is that we live in a world where the roads are more dangerous than ever, and they are seemingly only getting more so by the minute. At this point, the roads are so chock-full of safety hazards that even the motorists who obey the rules and regulations of the road at all times are still at risk of a serious accident.
Fortunately, though car accidents are becoming increasingly common, our experienced Odessa personal injury firm is here to help all those who have been wrongly injured throughout the state of Texas. If you find yourself dealing with the repercussions of a serious accident on your own, do not wait any longer–simply read on and reach out to our experienced attorney today to learn more about car accidents, what to do after being involved in one, and how our firm can help you through the legal process going forward. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Car accidents can happen for various reasons, and in many cases, are not directly related to negligent driving behavior. For example, severe storms, especially those that hit suddenly, can severely inhibit an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. In other cases, car accidents can happen due to a negligently designed, or even insufficiently maintained road. Unfortunately, however, most accidents are a direct result of driver negligence. Some of the most prevalent examples of driver negligence that we see on the road today are as follows:
- Distracted driving: It’s official: we live in the age of distracted driving. In fact, the National Safety Council recently reported that texting, or otherwise using a cell phone while driving has led to approximately 1.6 million crashes each year. To further break that number down, the National Safety Council reported about 390,000 injuries sustained as a result of texting and driving in only one year. This is a pandemic in our country, and while, yes, distractions have been available in the past, we have never before seen such prevalence in distracted driving.
- Driving while fatigued: This is an extremely common cause of accidents in Texas. Many of us probably drive when we are too tired to safely do so, whether on our morning commute or while navigating our way through 5 o’clock rush hour on the way home. However, fatigued driving is very unsafe. This type of driver negligence is most common among truck drivers, whose busy schedules and immense pressure from their employers to unfailingly meet all deadlines often require 70-hour workweeks, leading to serious fatigue. Rather obviously, there are few accidents more destructive than those with commercial trucks, which is why if you have been injured in a truck accident, there is a very good chance you are entitled to financial compensation.
- Speeding: Perhaps the most common of all negligent driving behaviors, especially in our society. Unfortunately, this does not make it any less dangerous. There are very, very few admissable excuses for speeding, and if you were injured because a speeding driver either did not see you or did not have sufficient time to react at his own fault, there is a very good chance you will qualify for compensation.
- Driving under the influence: There are few things more careless, or downright inexcusable than operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The state of Texas aims to hold all drunk drivers accountable for any damage they may have caused, and our firm aims to do the same. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, we are here to help hold that driver accountable for his or her mistakes. That being said, the state of Texas also honors dram shop laws, which in many cases allow the wrongly injured to also sue negligent third parties, as well as the drunk driver. Say, for instance, a bar sells a drink to someone who was already visibly intoxicated, and that individual then left, got in his or her car, and crashed into you a mile down the road. In this case, you can most likely sue both the driver and the bar that sold the intoxicated driver an additional alcoholic beverage.
To learn more about accidents where a drunk driver is at fault, click the video below.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Though car accidents are jarring and often leave those injured in shock, it is always best to have a plan in place to maximize your chances of winning financial compensation. After an accident, you should take the following steps:
- Call the police. Not only can the police document the crash upon arrival, but they will also send an ambulance that will transport you to the hospital for medical care.
- While you wait for emergency services to arrive, if you are still physically capable, you should begin documenting the scene of the accident. This means taking pictures of the accident, its aftermath, and any safety hazards that could have caused the accident.
- Once you have done so, you should ask anyone who witnessed the crash for their contact information–this can include business cards, emails, phone numbers, or even a written/recorded statement including their name, the date, and their recount of the accident.
- After the ambulance arrives and transports you to the hospital, you should ensure you ask your doctor for all medical documentation detailing the origin and extent of your injuries, which you may use to bolster your personal injury claim.
- Hire a personal injury attorney. Though many individuals are reluctant to do so, we can assure you that our firm is your best bet in winning the compensation you need. We are educated and trained in gathering and presenting evidence as efficiently as possible to help prove our clients’ cases, and we are ready to do the same for you.
To learn more about what to do after a car accident in Texas, click the video below.
Will I Have to Go to Trial to Sue for An Injury Sustained in A Car Crash?
Though we cannot tell you for sure that your case won’t go to trial, we can assure you that we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening by reaching a settlement that satisfies your needs. Our firm understands that most people do not wish to spend days or weeks in court, fighting for the compensation that is rightfully theirs. That is why we are dedicated to fighting for a favorable outcome from the outset so that you do not have to endure a lengthy trial. That being said, if your case ever does go to trial, you can rest easy knowing you and you are in good hands and that we are working to resolve your case as swiftly as possible.
Can Injured Passengers Sue After a Car Accident?
Oftentimes, injured passengers can sue for financial compensation–though not every time. If you were injured in an accident where the driver crashed because of his or her negligence, you should be able to sue that driver’s insurance company. That being said, there are other circumstances where you may not sue. For example, if you were a passenger and your driver acted out of instinct to avoid an even greater safety hazard, such as a pedestrian walking into the street, or even another car accident, you will be hard-pressed making a case that you were injured due to negligence on your driver’s part.
Can I Sue if I Was a Pedestrian Struck by A Car?
Since pedestrians are generally far less protected than most other individuals and motorists they share the roads with, when they are struck by a motor vehicle, they are very often seriously injured as a result. Fortunately, if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you can sue the negligent driver, as long as you hire an experienced attorney. We will analyze all circumstances of your case to determine whether the negligent motorist failed to observe streetlights, crosswalks, or stop signs, whether the driver carelessly operated his/her car without headlights at night, or whether that driver acted negligently in any other way.
Can I Sue if I Was Injured in An Uber/lyft Car Accident?
Though Uber and Lyft are now trusted forms of transportation throughout the state of Texas, the truth is, they are not accident-proof. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft have a liability coverage system in place to help those injured in these accidents. Uber/Lyft liability coverage is as follows:
- Period 0: If the Uber/Lyft driver is not logged into the rideshare app at the time of an accident, the ridesharing app will not provide coverage.
- Period 1: If the driver is logged in but has not accepted a ride at the time of the accident, the company will provide up to $50,000 per person in liability coverage, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- Period 2: This is when a driver causes an accident after he has accepted a trip and is en route to the passenger’s location. Here, the liability coverage will increase to $1 million.
- Period 3: This is when the driver crashes while the passenger is in the rideshare car. Here, liability coverage is up to $1 million, as well as limited coverage for any damage to the driver’s car and the uninsured motorists’ coverage.
If you are injured after an Uber or Lyft accident, our firm is ready to fight the financial compensation you need to get back on your feet again.
How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Car Accident?
Texans injured in auto accidents, whether it be a car accident, motorcycle accident, mass transit accident, or otherwise, have a certain amount of time to sue the liable party. This is known as the statute of limitations. Since the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years, you will, generally, have two years from the date of your accident to pursue a claim against the negligent motorist. Do not wait past the two-year mark, for if you do, you will most likely be barred from suing.
What Should I Bring to My Initial Consultation with An Attorney?
Though our firm is here to tirelessly work to obtain all the evidence and information needed to win your personal injury claim, it is always best that you, the client, come prepared as well. There are several documents of which you may have access that, if arranged and used correctly, may help you win your claim. That is why before your initial consultation, you should try your best to locate and provide our firm with your insurance policy, so we can determine what is covered under that policy. You should also document and provide us with any correspondence you had with the negligent party or their insurance company, including texts, emails, and any other form of communication. Additionally, as stated earlier, medical documents, police reports, pictures of the accident, and more, are all valuable tools that our firm can use to present the most convincing case possible.
Though this may seem overwhelming, the truth is, the more evidence we have, the better. Of course, if you do not have access to some of these documents/bits of evidence, or you are unable to obtain them, we can still provide you with the quality legal representation you deserve and need. For example, in many cases, individuals have an extremely hard time obtaining surveillance or security camera footage of an accident–our firm can subpoena that footage, which may be the deciding factor in your personal injury claim.
Contact Our Experienced Odessa, Texas firm
No matter your circumstances, if you have been injured in a car accident in Texas, you need not suffer alone–our firm is here to help you through every step of the legal process so that you can focus solely on what matters most: healing, so you can live a happy, productive life for years to come. If you are ready to move forward with your personal injury claim, all you have to do is reach out to The Law Offices of Steve Brannan today and we will begin the claims process.