McAllen Car Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Types of Car Accidents in Texas
- Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Car Accident Injuries
- Damages in Car Accident Cases
- Dealing with an Insurance Company After a Car Accident
The Texas Comptroller reports that approximately 23.7 million Texans, or almost 83 percent of the state’s population, have a Texas driver’s license or a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)-issued identification card. With so many people on the roads of the state, accidents are incredibly common and anybody who suffers injuries in a car crash will want to seek the help of a McAllen car accident lawyer.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that there were 15,764 serious injury crashes in Texas in 2021 involving 19,448 people sustaining a serious injury, and TxDOT also found that there were 4,489 motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2021 causing $51.4 billion in estimated economic losses, which were both the highest totals of the past 20 years. The Texas Department of State Health Services further reports that motor vehicle crashes are one of the top 10 causes of death among people ages one to 54 in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finding that about 100 people die in these crashes every day while more than 32,000 die every year.
Types of Car Accidents in Texas
No two automobile accidents are ever the same. Every single crash is going to involve its own unique set of circumstances and aggravating factors that can complicate possible injury claims for the people involved in these accidents.
Some of the most common kinds of accidents generally include, but are not limited to:
- Rear-End Collisions
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Head-On Collisions
- Highway Accidents
- Fatal Car Crashes
- Uber, Lyft, or Rideshare Accidents
- Side Impact or T-Bone Collisions
- Intersection Accidents
- Rollover Accidents
- Sideswipe Accidents
- Work Zone or Highway Construction Crashes
- Lane Change or Merging Accidents
- Left or Right Turn Accidents
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Low-Speed Car Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Single-Vehicle Accidents
- Multiple-Vehicle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Uninsured or Underinsured Accidents
- Blind Spot Accidents
People need to be aware that you can possibly recover financial compensation for every single one of these types of accidents. You should never assume that your crash is not compensable because chances are that you will be able to recover something for your losses.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
In virtually all car accident cases, it will be the negligence of one driver, in particular, that is to blame for causing a motor vehicle accident. It may not always be immediately apparent exactly what a driver did wrong or what error occurred, but there will usually be one party who is at fault.
Certain cases can definitely involve multiple parties being found responsible for an accident, and Texas law does allow some leeway in determining fault for such crashes. Texas relies on a modified form of comparative negligence that is known as proportionate responsibility, meaning a victim who is partially at fault for their injury can have their damages reduced.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, a person cannot recover damages when their percentage of fault is more than 50 percent. Examples of common causes of car crashes in Texas include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted Driving
- Drowsy Driving or Driver Fatigue
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Running Stop Signs or Stop Lights
- Wrong-Way Driving
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Potholes or Other Dangerous Road Conditions
- Tire Blowouts
- Vehicle Defects
- Animal Crossings
- Road Rage
- Improper Lane Changes or Turns
Most people involved in accidents with these causes do not have much in the way of evidence to prove their claims, which makes legal representation so important. A lawyer is going to be able to conduct an independent investigation in which they can secure all of the evidence necessary to prove an injury claim, including possibly subpoenaing phone records in the cases of distracted drivers to prove a motorist was using their cell phone while driving.
Car Accident Injuries
Not every car accident necessarily results in significant injuries, and some people are fortunate enough to walk away from their crashes without any personal harm and only having to deal with damage to their vehicle. Many other people, however, will suffer serious injuries that can complicate their lives for several months or years.
It is critical for all people who are involved in car accidents to always seek medical attention as soon as possible not just to get a proper diagnosis of their condition, but also to create an immediate medical record. You are going to want to have an official document showing you sought medical care when filing any kind of claim with an insurance company because insurers will never compensate you based strictly on your own claims.
Common kinds of injuries in these cases may include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Closed head injuries
- Back injuries
- Herniated discs
- Knee injuries
- Joint damage
- Leg injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
- Internal injuries
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Burn injuries
When somebody dies in a car crash, then the family left behind could have the basis for a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death damages can include lost earnings, medical and funeral bills, mental anguish, lost household services, and pain and suffering in addition to other kinds of damages.
Subchapter A of Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code relates to wrongful death claims. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 establishes that a wrongful death action is for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, but if none of those individuals begin an action within three months of the death of an injured individual, the executor or the administrator of an estate can bring an action unless they are specifically requested not to by all those individuals.
Damages in Car Accident Cases
When a personal injury case involving a car accident goes to court, a victim can be awarded compensation that is often known as damages for all of the losses they have incurred or will incur because of the crash. Damages typically come in two forms: Economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are the tangible losses that attorneys can calculate and demonstrate. Noneconomic damages relate to much more subjective forms of harm and are nonpecuniary losses.
Common kinds of economic damages usually include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Costs of Long-Term Care
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Physical Therapy Costs
- Property Damage
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, may include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Mental Anguish
- Physical Limitations
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A third kind of damages that is much more rare in car accident cases is punitive damages, which the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code refers to as exemplary damages. The Code further states these damages are awarded as a penalty or punishment but are not meant for compensatory purposes, meaning punitive damages are specifically designed to punish people for egregious acts in which they specifically intended to harm other parties.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003 establishes that exemplary damages can only be awarded when it is proven by clear and convincing that harm results from fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.008, exemplary damages cannot exceed the greater of two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000.
Of course, it is only a few car accident cases that actually go to trial. In most cases, insurance companies are going to agree to settle cases because trial costs are very high and there is also significant risk of jury awards drastically exceeding settlement amounts.
Dealing with an Insurance Company After a Car Accident
It is extremely likely that you will be dealing with an insurance company following your car accident, and you need to exercise extreme caution with regards to what you say to them. In general, it will be in your best interest to instead let a lawyer handle all phone conversations with insurers on your behalf.
You should be aware that one common tactic many insurers employ is to quickly offer car accident victims lump-sum settlements before they have even had the chance to call an attorney because insurance companies know people are often worried about money and will be more likely to accept whatever they might be offered. The trick here is that whatever the offer is will usually be far less than what victims are entitled to, and people who accept these agreements will basically waive their rights to pursue greater damages from the insurer later on when they realize that the amounts they agreed to are not going to be sufficient for covering all costs.
A lawyer is going to be able to fully evaluate your entire case and get a much better understanding of your full lifetime of costs stemming from a car accident, so they will be in a much better position to negotiate with an insurance company for a far more fair and full settlement amount.
You should be similarly skeptical any time an insurance adjuster or other agent tells you that there is a document that you need to sign. Do not allow yourself to provide a recorded statement either, no matter how adamant the insurer might be about it being necessary.
Recorded statements are specifically designed to try and get accident victims to make accidental admissions that ultimately hurt their injury claims. Even when you think you are being careful with your words, there can still be misstatements that come back to haunt you.
It is important to remember that all insurance companies are businesses, so everything is viewed as affecting their bottom line and it is thus in the best interest of insurers to make sure they pay as little as possible to resolve injury claims. You will want to remember this when an agent contacts you and expresses concern or makes promises about being willing to work with you because the truth is that the insurer is only going to be working against you.
Insurance companies will very likely raise issues with every single estimate relating to your case, from your medical costs to the value of repairs to your vehicle. You need to remember that insurance adjusters are trained negotiators, so they are always looking for reasons to reduce payouts or deny claims completely.
You also should not expect an insurance company to try to resolve your claim promptly when you are seeking a complete reimbursement, because the insurer knows that delays can work in its favor when people begin panicking about money and become more willing to settle for less than they were originally asking for. Denying the initial settlement offer will usually lead to the insurance company beginning to ignore you, and this is a common delay tactic.
You should never sign anything you do not fully understand, and it is again in your best interest to make sure you have a car accident attorney handling your injury claim. When you hire a lawyer, they can immediately step in and deal with the insurer on your behalf, getting real results where you might face only struggle.
An attorney is going to be able to negotiate the best possible settlement to your case. If an insurance company is unwilling to provide a respectable amount of compensation, then your lawyer can file a lawsuit to take your case to court.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a McAllen Car Accident Lawyer
Did you or your loved one recently suffer injuries in any kind of car accident in the greater McAllen area or elsewhere in South Texas? The Patel Firm has a record of success that includes millions of dollars in recoveries for our clients in various kinds of personal injury cases.
In addition to McAllen, our firm also has office locations in Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, and Central Texas. Call us today at (956) 527-0321 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation that will let us sit down with you in person to go over everything involved in your case and effectively explain what we might be able to do for you.