Plano Car Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Drivers and the Duty of Care Owed
- Driver Negligence
- At the Scene of the Car Accident
- Filing Your Claim with the Insurance Company
- Turn to an Experienced Plano Car Accident Lawyer for the Professional Legal Guidance You Need
Plano sees its fair share of both traffic and traffic accidents, and dangerous car accidents are often caused by plain, old driver negligence. If another driver’s failure to uphold his or her responsibility to your safety leaves you injured, you can face serious physical, financial, and emotional consequences ahead. Because obtaining just compensation can be critical to your ability to fully recover, working closely with an experienced Plano car accident lawyer is an excellent idea.
Driving is an immense responsibility that we each accept when we get behind the wheel. The duty of care every motorist owes everyone else on the road includes all the following:
- Closely adhering to all the rules of the road
- Carefully accommodating for the adverse effects of poor road maintenance, of bad weather, of heavy traffic, of low visibility, and/or of anything else that is relevant
- Doing what it takes to allow the safe passage of others on the road
- Adjusting one’s speed according to what’s actually happening on the road and reserving the speed limit for ideal driving conditions only
When it comes to dangerous car accidents, the bottom line is that they are often caused by driver negligence, which can take far too many dangerous forms.
In order to drive safely, we have to pay attention to the road ahead, to the traffic all around, and to anything else that factors in. Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers who are far more likely to miss something that is extremely important to driving safely – such as abrupt change in traffic patterns, an animal on the road, or even a forward car that turns unexpectedly. The most dangerous and alarming distraction of all the distractions out there is texting, which is unique in its ability to marry all three categories of distraction into one dangerous goliath of a distraction. These categories include:
- Distractions that engage one’s hands
- Distractions that engage one’s vision
- Distractions that engage one’s thoughts
In order to put the dangers associated with texting into perspective, consider the following:
- It takes an average of five seconds to process a text (whether composing or reading).
- In this stretch of five seconds, a motorist who is traveling at highway speeds covers about the length of a football field.
- That is a very considerable distance to drive in this capacity (which amounts to driving blind, disarmed, and tuned out).
The dangers associated with driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs are well understood, but far too many motorists continue to engage. These motorists put us all at increased risk of being seriously injured in car accidents. Alcohol is associated with physical, cognitive, and sensory (visual) impairments that leave motorists incapable of driving safely, and that is a terrifying thought. Fatal accident statistics tend to feature impaired motorists far too prominently.
Excess speed is a double-edged sword when it comes to driver negligence. Not only does driving too fast make accidents more likely but it also helps to ensure that the accidents themselves will be fatal. Again, driving at safe speed does not begin and end with the speed limit, which is set for ideal driving conditions. Motorists are responsible for driving at a speed that factors all impediments to safety carefully into the calculation process. Things like decreased visibility, slippery roads, road construction, and more all require motorists to slow down in order to drive at a safe speed.
While the term drowsy driver may not inspire fear, it should. The fact is that exhaustion can cause impairments that are very similar to the impairments experienced by drunk drivers, which highlights how dangerous drowsy drivers can be. You recognize that you aren’t at your best when you don’t get enough sleep, and this is a universal effect of sleep loss that naturally also applies to drowsy motorists. There are certain health conditions, such as sleep apnea, and certain medications that can amplify the problem
Aggressive drivers manage to take all that driver negligence and turn up the heat to the next level. These motorists don’t concern themselves with the safety of others on the road and proceed according to whatever happens to motivate them at the moment. While the hallmark of aggressive driving is speeding dangerously, aggressive drivers tend to engage in multiple dangerous driving practices in any given outing in order to maximize their dangerous effects. Consider the following examples:
- Zigzagging in and out of traffic and darting across lanes
- Attempting to engage other drivers by honking incessantly, flashing their headlights, using foul language and/or obscene gestures, attempting to pin other drivers in, and much more
- Ignoring the rules of the road, including traffic lights, signs, and signals
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
- Passing dangerously, including on the right or even on the shoulder
Aggressive drivers are easy to spot on the road. They are basically accidents waiting to happen, and if you do spy one in your midst, allow him or her as much space on the road as you possibly can and call the authorities when it is safe to do so. You might stop a life-threatening car accident from happening.
If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, the stress of the situation can leave you at an utter loss regarding what to do when and how best to proceed. Fortunately, there are some basic steps that you can turn to (that apply across the board). Any of the following that applies and that you are capable of doing are recommended:
- Pull safely off the road – as far out of the path of oncoming traffic as possible
- Call 911
- If someone is injured and needs your help, render whatever aid you can until the emergency medical professionals arrive on the scene
- Accept emergency medical attention at the scene if it’s offered and/or seek the medical care and attention that you need as soon after the accident as possible
- Refrain from making comments about the accident at the scene unless an attending officer ask you questions directly
- Gather whatever evidence you can, including photos that depict the crash overall, details of the crash, and any extenuating circumstances and eyewitness statements (along with contact information)
- Jot down everything you can remember about how the accident happened (use as much detail as possible) – keeping your memories fresh in this way can prove invaluable
You likely know the drill – you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, and you will file your car accident claim with that driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, however, there is a lot more to it than this. Yes, the insurance company is paid specifically to cover your damages, but this is tempered by the insurance company’s profit seeking. In other words, to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled, you will likely need to put considerable effort into it. In fact, the insurance company has several tricks of the trade that it may employ to help keep your settlement as low as possible.
An Early, Lowball Settlement Offer
The insurance company is well aware that you are exceptionally vulnerable for all the following reasons:
- You have suffered serious injuries.
- You are facing mounting medical bills and lost earnings.
- The pain and suffering you’re enduring makes the situation that much more difficult.
The insurance company handling your claim may not be above playing on your vulnerabilities by offering a woefully low settlement offer in the hope that you will accept out of abject desperation. As a rule of thumb, it is wise not to sign off on a settlement offer until you’ve discussed the matter with a car accident lawyer who is up to speed on the ins and outs of your claim. An important point to make here is that it can be difficult to accurately assess the full extent of your physical, financial, and emotional damages without considerable effort, and once you accept a settlement offer you are locked in – with no further legal recourse (even if you experience far more associated damages as time passes). Accurately assessing your complete damages is critical to your claim and your recovery, and this is a task that is best left to your knowledgeable car accident lawyer.
An Outright Denial
Insurance companies are known for liking to throw their weight around, and if the insurance company handling your car accident claim comes back with an outright denial, you may feel like that is the end of that. No matter how much the insurance company would like you to believe that it is in total control of how your claim will proceed, this is not how it works. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate fairly with you, you have the absolute right to file a lawsuit against it, which means that the final decision-making power rests squarely with the court. The best policy is to leave the insurance company to your formidable car accident lawyer.
A Blame Shift
The insurance company may land upon simply denying its policyholder’s blame in the matter, but this point is determined by available evidence and not by a whim of the insurance company. Further, even if you do share responsibility for the accident that leaves you injured – which is not to say that you do – you are not barred from seeking compensation for the percentage of fault that the other driver is responsible for in the State of Texas (as long as you aren’t more than 50 percent responsible). Consider the following overly simplified example:
- Let’s say that a drunk driver leaves you with $100,000 damages in a car accident.
- The fact that you were speeding somewhat at the time ultimately leads to you being deemed 10 percent responsible for your own damages.
- Your $100,000 damages will be reduced by the 10 percent that you are deemed at fault, and your compensation will, thus, be $90,000 ($100,000 reduced by 10 percent).
Doubt Cast on the Severity of Damages
Another ploy that insurance companies like to try is casting down on the claimed severity of your damages. This is another prime example of where evidence will prevail, but the insurance company is attempting to discourage claimants who are basically at the end of their rope and this close to giving up in the first place. One important thing that you can do to support your take on the severity of the damages you’ve suffered is by carefully following all the advice and instructions provided to you by your doctor and others on your medical team. This is not only the right thing to do for your health and well-being but also sends a clear message to the insurance company regarding exactly how seriously you take your serious injuries.
A Protracted Claims Process
There is no denying that the car accident claims process is lengthy and complicated enough, which makes it something of a dirty trick when the insurance company takes it upon itself to artificially prolong and/or complicate the matter. The law has mechanisms in place to help combat these disheartening practices, but employing them comes with complications of its own. All told, your best interests are served when you leave the insurance company in the capable hands of your savvy car accident lawyer.
If another driver’s negligence causes you to be injured in a car accident, the path forward can be rocky, but the impressive Plano car accident lawyers at The Patel Firm are well prepared to build your strongest claim in pursuit of the compensation to which you are entitled and that you need to recover. We’re on your side and here to offer our considerable help, so please don’t wait to contact us online or call us at (361) 400-2036 for more information today.