I Was in a Car Accident: What Happens When I File a Lawsuit?
A car accident can have devastating and long-lasting effects on your life. If a negligent or reckless party is accountable, a car accident attorney can help you fight to get the compensation you need to move on with your life. But what exactly happens if you file a lawsuit after a car accident? The car accident attorneys at Reed & Terry, LLP offer free evaluations of your situation at our Katy, Richmond, or Sugar Land, TX, office and can guide you through the process.
The Claims Process
It is important to remember that this process takes time. Here are some of the steps involved:
- File a Police Report - It is very important that you contact the police and have a police report filed. This is a crucial piece of evidence to document exactly what happened.
- Contact the Attorneys at Reed & Terry, LLP - The earlier you can involve our attorneys, the better. We will determine whether you should directly contact your insurance company or whether we will handle it on your behalf. The accident must be reported but it is critical that you refrain from comments that could be taken out of context or held against you.
- Collect Evidence and Build Your Case - After your free consultation with our attorneys, we will begin collecting evidence to build your case. While we are collecting evidence, the other party and their insurance company will be doing the same. Do not speak to the other party unless you have your attorney present or have spoken to your attorney first. Continue to attend doctors' visits, ask for copies of their notes, and focus on your recovery.
- Settlement Discussions - Whenever possible, we will try to settle your lawsuit out of court. This means we will begin discussing aspects of your case with the responsible party, their insurance company, or both and attempt to come to a settlement that is fair and will adequately cover your losses. Losses may include medical bills, repair or replacement of your vehicle or property, lost wages, and more. If a settlement is not possible or we do not feel that an offer is fair and reasonable for your case, we will then move forward with court proceedings.
- Civil Court - If a settlement is not reached out of court, our attorneys will prepare to go to trial in order to cover your losses.
Commercial Vehicles vs. Personal Vehicles
The type of vehicle involved in the car accident will play a large part in the specifics of your claim or lawsuit. If you were involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle like a delivery car or a ride share such as Uber or Lyft, this can make your lawsuit a bit more complicated.
If a settlement is not reached out of court, our attorneys will prepare to go to trial in order to cover your losses.
There are several legal avenues you can pursue. Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry personal insurance policies that will cover them in the event of an accident. The companies also have insurance policies to cover the business meaning you may also be able to pursue legal action against the company itself. This is also the case for commercial or company cars and delivery vehicles.
In these cases, it is especially beneficial to have an attorney on your side. Your attorney can take a look at all aspects of your case and determine which parties and legal avenues you can pursue while also ensuring that the business and their insurance company do not take advantage of you.
What if My Accident Wasn’t Due to Another Person?
A car accident can occur due to a variety of reasons such as:
Product Defects and Mechanical Issues
Mechanical issues or manufacturing defects such as brake failure or other problems with your vehicle can contribute to your accident. If this is the case, our attorneys can help you determine if another party such as the car manufacturer is liable.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Hazardous conditions such as damaged or uneven roads, unmarked hazards, improper drainage, and more can be the cause of your car accident. Our attorneys can evaluate your case to determine if another party such as a municipality is responsible for your car accident due to improper road maintenance or negligence.
What Is Proportionate Responsibility?
In Texas, the car accident victim can also be considered partially at fault. For example, if you failed to wear your seatbelt, your injuries may be more extensive than if you had worn it. If the insurance company or a jury determines that the victim is more than 50% responsible, you will be unable to collect damages. Our attorneys will evaluate every aspect of your case to help you determine the best course of action.
Don't Try to Handle it On Your Own
The most important thing to remember is insurance companies are skilled at collecting information that can be used against you, and they will often find ways to deny or minimize your claim. If you have been involved in an accident, consult our car accident attorneys before speaking with your own or the other party’s insurance.
There Is a Statute of Limitations
In the state of Texas, you have two years to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file in that time period, you cannot seek legal damages. This may seem like a generous deadline but time will pass quickly. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Keep All Documentation
It is important to keep any and all documentation relating to your accident and any injuries that occurred. Documentation that can be useful in your lawsuit includes:
- Medical documents
- Police reports
- Eye witness information and testimonies
- Any communication with the other party or their insurance
- Video footage such as dash camera footage
- Photos of the wreck and scene
- Document any road hazards if possible
Hear From One of Our Clients
Want to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Contact Our Team to Get Started
A car accident can have utterly life-changing effects. Having an experienced car accident attorney can help you get fair compensation for your losses and focus on a path forward. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Reed and Terry, LLP.
About Jackson R. Reed
Attorney Jackson R. Reed has served clients since 1994. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (HTLA), and the State Bar of Texas.