Auto Accident Questions Your Attorney Should Have The Answers To
When dealing with an auto accident in Texas there are numerous questions that must be addressed and answered. Not every lawyer knows all the legal questions that must be investigated and then answered to ensure that you receive maximum compensation under the law. When looking for an auto accident attorney, see if they have the inside knowledge of the auto insurance business by asking them if the following questions are important. Based on their answers, you’ll know if that lawyer can get you all you deserve whether it’s via settlement or a trial.
So what exactly is a serious injury?
Under the law, it is defined as a personal injury resulting in death, permanent and serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of bodily function. Courts across Texas are, in fact, still interpreting what constitutes a serious injury. Generally speaking, they will look to see if your injuries have substantially affected your ability to perform your normal everyday activities of life for a long period of time and caused you to suffer a significant amount of pain and discomfort during that time. More information on Carabin Shaw’s link here @ https://www.carabinshaw.com/corpus-christi-automobile-accident-lawyer.html
Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage? Does it come with stacking or without?
Uninsured: Uninsured Motorist coverage offers protection for you and your family if you were injured in an accident, and the other driver has no insurance. It also protects you if the driver who caused the accident leaves the scene without stopping. In other words a hit and run. UM, coverage is fairly cheap but you can waive it. By waiving UM coverage, you are choosing not to insure or protect yourself and your family. It’s honestly not a wise move. I mean why would you buy insurance to cover someone else if you’re at fault but not yourself? If you choose UM coverage, your insurance company will pay you like another insurance company would if their driver was at fault. Also, your insurance company is NOT allowed to raise your rates or refuse to renew your coverage just because you make a claim for UM benefits. If the accident wasn’t your fault, your rates will not go up just because you made a claim.
Underinsured: Underinsured Motorist Benefits protect you and your family if you were injured in a car accident and the driver at fault had insurance coverage, but the amount is too low to compensate you for injuries. Here’s a simple example; let’s say you get in an accident and the driver at fault maintained the minimum amount of insurance allowed in Texas which is $15,000. They pay you that money. Now let’s assume that you were hurt pretty bad in that accident and it was determined that fair compensation for your injuries would be $100,000. If you had underinsured motorist coverage of $100,000, your insurance company could pay you an additional $85,000 to make sure you are fully compensated. Again, your insurance company is not permitted to raise your rates or refuse to renew your coverage because it paid underinsured benefits. If the car accident was not your fault, your rates can not go up just because you made a claim. It is strongly recommended that you obtain and keep underinsured coverage. These days $15,000 doesn’t go too far in a hospital. This coverage is worth every penny.
Stacking: If you have “Stacking” with your insurance policy, this means that you are permitted to add together or “stack” the coverages of each automobile owned and registered in Texas for uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) coverage or insurance. For example, if each vehicle has $15,000 and $30,000 coverage respectfully, and there are two vehicles, the actual coverage would be equivalent to $30,000 and $60,000 limits. Again, stacking is “optional” coverage but it’s recommended by most lawyers.
Do you have income loss protection?
This coverage may be worth its weight in gold. If you choose it, generally speaking, 80% of gross income lost after the first five days of work missed can be recovered up to $1,000 per month. The minimum wage loss coverage you may purchase is $5,000.00. It’s highly recommended that you purchase income loss protection at a level that provides a safety net for you and your family. If you do not have it, you may not be able to collect money for your lost wages until your case has been resolved through a trial or by settlement.
Umbrella insurance: An umbrella policy is excess liability insurance coverage over and above that which is covered by an automobile insurance policy. It picks up where the regular automobile policy leaves off. Think of it as an extra layer of coverage.
Does workers’ compensation coverage apply?
Workers’ comp covers employees from injuries that occur while working and provides wage loss and medical benefits. Most people do not think of workers’ compensation coverage when they are involved in a car accident. If your accident involved a trip or errand for your company, it may very well be covered under Texas’s rules for workers’ compensation. Even a car accident while commuting to and from work can “sometimes” be covered. Not always but definitely sometimes. Here’s an example: The employee’s duties included travel or the employee was running an errand for his employer during his or her commute. Other examples include when an employer is paying/reimbursing mileage as part of an employee’s salary and where the employee has no fixed place of work such as an office or building that he or she reports to every day. A health care provider or nurse that travels to different patients’ homes every day is a great example. He or she may be covered by workers’ compensation even if the car accident occurs on their commute home. Why? Because they have no fixed place of work. A wise lawyer will know this and make sure to at least attempt to get workers’ compensation coverage if it looks like a possibility.
What if the accident happened out of state?
If your injury or car accident occurred out of state, there are many issues that you need an experienced personal injury car accident attorney to investigate. You may very well be bound by the state’s laws where the car accident occurred regarding when and how to bring a claim. Every state has set limits as to the amount of time you have to file a claim. This time period is called a statute of limitations. It definitely varies from a personal injury claim to claim and from state to state. Most jurisdictions though allow victims at least a year from the date of injury or the date the personal injury was discovered, to file a lawsuit. However, every state has its own laws and you may have to make your claim or give notice within a shorter period of time. There may also have to be legal decisions on where to file the claim. If the person at fault is a resident of another state, you may be able to file your suit in Federal Court in the state where you live. However, sometimes there may be advantages to filing suit in the state where the car accident occurred. It simply varies from case to case. Make sure your lawyer has the contacts and knowledge to help you if your accident happened elsewhere.
What if I am partially at fault in causing the car accident?
You may still recover damages if you are partially at fault. However, a judge or jury may find you to be more than 50% responsible for your own injury and then you probably wouldn’t be able to get damages. For example, if you are found 40% negligent and the other driver is found to be 60% negligent, you may recover. This is known as “comparative negligence.” There is no formula for arriving at a precise number for a person’s negligence. You need an experienced auto accident attorney to negotiate your settlement with an insurance adjuster or possibly argue your case to a jury at trial.
Did the car accident involve drunk driving?
If a person was intoxicated who caused the car accident, a claim may also be made against the business, bar, or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver. That is if the driver was visibly intoxicated when they served him or her. This is known as a “Dram Shop” case or complaint. Under Texas law any person or business that negligently sells a container of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person may be held liable under the Dram Shop Act for potential injuries. In reality, you may have a claim against the at-fault driver and the business that served alcohol to that driver. Because these cases are complicated and involve multiple insurance companies, you need an experienced Dram Shop lawyer and a lawyer familiar with insurance involving drunk driving charges.
These are just some of the complicated legal questions, which must be addressed whenever a car accident occurs in Texas. Do your best to hire an experienced and competent attorney that already knows these issues and is willing to do all they can to secure the best and most just settlement for you and your family.
Our Main Office:
Carabin Shaw P.C.
630 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78215