Auto Accidents

Published on June 05, 2012   Trevor A. Taylor

Austin Auto Accident Lawyer

Auto accidents in Austin occur with alarming frequency.  The cause of collisions vary, from simple driver inattention to driving while intoxicated.  Increasingly, we are seeing distracted drivers on the roadway, texting while driving. 

Austin auto accident lawyerThe consequences of another driver’s poor choices can be devastating.  Mounting medical bills.  Lost time from work.  Simply getting from one place to another, when your own vehicle is a total loss. Those are the sort of pressures many auto accident  victims suffer.  I am here to take up the cause for Austin auto accident victims. 

When evaluating an auto claim, I assess three things: liability, damages, and insurance.  First, I investigate the liability facts – which means “who did what wrong.”  To win your auto accident claim, you need to show that the other driver was negligent.  Texas law defines negligence as the failure to use ordinary care, that is, failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances or doing that which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.”  Typical acts of negligence in auto cases involve following a vehicle too closely, failing to control speed, failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to timely apply your brakes, failing to yield the right of way, and failing to maintain control of your vehicle. 

How do I assess the negligence of the drivers?  The accident report often sheds light on how the accident occurred and who is at fault.  Photos of the vehicles involved can give you an idea of the point of impact of the vehicles.  Witness interviews and statements help to round out the picture of liability. 

If you can show the other auto driver was negligent, you must then prove your damages.  The starting point for most car wreck claims are medical expenses. Texas law permits recovery for past and future medical expenses.  At the outset of a case, I need to know what injuries you sustained, and what treatment you received for them.  I will then order your bills and records from your doctors and health care providers, and itemize the past medical expenses you have incurred.  I may talk directly to your doctors to get a fuller description of your injury, or to get a projection of any future medical care you may need. 

In addition to medical expenses, Texas law permits you to recover for lost time from work.  I will investigate your work history and ask about any time missed from work either because of the incapacitating nature of the injury, or because of the need to get medical treatment for the injury.  As your Austin auto accident lawyer, I will follow up with a statement from your employer documenting the time missed because of the injury.  If it is anticipated that you will miss work in the future because of the injury, I will develop that evidence as well. 

In addition to economic damages, Texas law permits recovery of non-economic damages like physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement.  I develop evidence of pain resulting from an auto accident by talking to you about the injury and reviewing the relevant medical records.  I develop evidence of physical impairment (things that you couldn’t do after the auto accident that you could do before) by talking to family, friends and co-workers.   Evidence of scarring (either from the accident itself of a surgery resulting from the auto accident) can support an award of disfigurement damages. 

Finally, in evaluating an auto accident claim I look to see what auto insurance is involved and if the other driver is insurced.  When a new client comes to meet me to be their Austin auto accident lawyer, they often times have the name of the carrier and policy number of the other driver (having obtained it at the scene of the accident).  But just having insurance doesn’t mean it is adequate to pay the claim.  The minimum liability policy in Texas today is $30,000.00; and there are an increasing number of people driving around with that bare minimum.  That minimum limits policy is often inadequate to pay a claim. 

If  I determine the other driver has inadequate coverage, I will investigate your auto coverage to determine if you carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. 

Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play if you have been hit by an uninsured driver.  In that case, your auto carrier will pay up to the limits of its liability the amounts in damages that the uninsured driver would owe.  Underinsured motorist coverage is  more complicated.  For your auto insurer to pay, you have to first show that the other driver is underinsured – by showing that your damages exceed the amount of other driver’s insurance limits.  Once you show that, your auto carrier pays the damages caused by the underinsured driver up to your coverage limit. 

Another part of insurance law that plays an increasingly important part in auto accident claims in Austin as well as Texas, is the law of subrogation.  Your health insurance policy may contain a provision that allows your health insurer to be repaid all or part of their expenses for your care resulting from the wreck.  If you were treated at the hospital, a hospital lien may have been filed to recover all or part of the costs of your care from any auto insurance settlement or judgment.  Subrogation works to reduce the amount of the recovery to a client.  Being able to effectively evaluate existing and potential subrogation interests is critical to providing a meaningful recovery to the client.

After carefully evaluating each of these factors, I can give you an assessment of strength of your Austin auto accident claim.  If you would like a FREE assessment of your auto accident claim, please Click Here.

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