A motor vehicle accident is way more than a temporary inconvenience. For those who get hurt in these accidents, it can be a life-altering event.
Car accidents in Texas often lead to a number of financial losses. These could come in the form of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more.
The good news is that compensation can be awarded in either an accident settlement or a trial verdict through a car accident lawsuit. You may not necessarily have to go to court in order to get the compensation you are owed under personal injury laws in Texas.
Before you set out to file an accident claim, you’ll want to review the law, the extent of your losses, and what caused your crash. You may also have other questions, like — what financial compensation can you expect when suing for car accidents? What is your actual claim worth, and is it even in your best interests to pursue a claim? Do you have to stand in trial or can you settle outside court?
To find out the answers, it may be best to talk with a car accident lawyer about what happened. Learn more about car accidents in Texas, how car accident claims are valued, and how the legal team here at DFW Injury Lawyers can help you make an informed decision on how to handle your car accident below.
Dallas is the most dangerous city to traverse through by car, according to Forbes.
How Do Car Accidents Happen?
Recent reports suggest what many Texans have known for a long time: Dallas is the most dangerous city to traverse through by car. This report ranked the 50 largest cities in the U.S., and Dallas was number one.
Unfortunately, car accidents can happen for many reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Texas:
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Ignoring traffic laws
- Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
While many car accidents result in financial losses, not every crash gives rise to a legal claim. In many cases, the driver’s insurance can cover the damage. In other cases, the auto accident settlement from legal proceedings might be necessary, especially when the actions of the at-fault party resulted in notable financial losses and/or physical injury.
Many of the top causes of accidents in Texas result from driver negligence. In every situation outlined above, a driver likely failed to uphold their duty to provide for the care of other motorists on the road. Proving that the other party was negligent in your accident could mean proving that they displayed one of the behaviors above.
Sadly, one driver’s negligent driving behavior could lead to the tragic loss of life. Data from the Texas Department of Transportation revealed that there were over 355 fatalities as a result of car accidents in Dallas in 2022.
The Texas Department of Transportation revealed that Dallas car accidents resulted in over 355 fatalities in 2022.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Knowing what to do after a car accident could be the difference between upholding your rights and completely derailing any potential claim. For that reason, it is a good idea to be informed of the steps to take after a crash before one occurs.
Here is an overview of how to handle a car accident:
- Ensure you and your passengers are safe (pull to the side of the road if necessary).
- Contact law enforcement.
- Check the individuals in the other vehicle.
- Exchange contact information with the driver of the other vehicle.
- Take photographs of the scene, if possible.
- Check to see if any witnesses are present. If so, get their contact information.
- Wait at the scene for the police to arrive.
- Seek out medical care (get a full physical as soon as possible if you didn’t receive emergency care).
- Contact a personal injury car accident lawyer.
Are you not sure if you need to involve the authorities? Per the Austin, Texas Department of Transportation, any car accident that results in injury, death, or more than $1,000 in damage to property should result in an investigation.
With that in mind, it is wise to err on the side of caution and call the authorities to come out and file a police report for most accidents. You may not be able to immediately determine the extent of the injuries or damage, and a police report might prove to be invaluable to any future claim.
During an initial investigation, the police will attempt to determine what caused the crash. If you think the other person was at fault, mention that to the police. They should collect evidence to back that up and put it in their police report.
How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement
Car accidents often lead to losses. Initially, you may only be considering the damage to your car, but as time goes on, any injured individual could start to see their losses adding up.
For instance, if someone breaks their leg in an accident, they need to pay for medical care. On top of those costs, they may not be able to return to work for an extended period.
When these losses start to stack up, is there any recourse for someone injured in a crash? The short answer is “yes,” but there is a catch. Someone else’s negligence must have caused the accident in order for an injured person to demand a settlement.
Under Texas law, drivers who are negligent and cause a crash could be legally and financially liable for the losses incurred due to the crash. Compensatory damages is the term used to describe the money awarded in personal injury claims. Compensatory damages are meant to fully financially restore the injured party for their losses.
Economic Damages v. Non-Economic Damages in Car Accident Injury Claims
Compensatory damages typically come in two forms — economic and non-economic. Economic damages are calculated based on losses that are easy to quantify.
For instance, medical and repair bills for a damaged vehicle are both easy to value. The damage award is based on the amounts listed on the documentation you get from your doctor or a mechanic.
Non-economic damages are awarded for losses that aren’t so easy to calculate. For instance, pain and suffering is a commonly awarded type of compensation, but it isn’t easy to calculate the value that fairly compensates the person for what they’ve gone through.
Similarly, permanent disfigurement could cause someone significant mental distress, which deserves compensation, but it might be up to the court to determine the value of that type of loss.
Here are a few of the most common types of compensation awarded in car accident settlements:
The most common type of compensation comes in the form of medical expenses. This compensation should fully cover all current and future expected medical costs.
Generally, the compensation available to the injured hinges on the severity of the injury. When injuries are substantial, a medical expert can testify regarding the severity and longevity of your injury. That is one of the reasons seeing a physician after an accident is recommended.
Injured individuals can also pursue past, current, and future lost wages depending on the injury. Sometimes, the person might not be able to return to their line of work. In these cases, they may be eligible for additional compensation to help them pursue a new career path.
Any damage to your vehicle should be covered in a car accident settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering describe a type of emotional distress a person can experience after an accident. Pain and suffering could arise from a traumatic injury, emotional distress, PTSD, fear and nightmares, depression, or anxiety.
Disability or Impairment
This type of compensation is awarded when an injury leads to permanent impairment or disability. This should cover any past, current, and future losses attached to the condition.
Loss of Consortium
Sometimes, an injury can lead to the loss of a relationship. It can cause a loss of affection, companionship, and comfort. In these situations, the injured can pursue a car accident injury settlement.
Other compensation may be awarded for losses in the form of canceled trips or events, housekeeping, childcare, transportation fees, or other expenses.
This list doesn’t go over every type of loss or compensation you could be eligible for, depending on your circumstances. To value all your losses after a car accident, consult an attorney.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Non-economic damages that come in the form of pain and suffering are difficult to quantify. However, if a case goes to a jury trial, juries are instructed to assign a sum of money that would fairly and reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past and future. Juries use their best judgment based on the evidence presented to them throughout the trial.
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated?
The average car accident settlement varies based on several factors. Here are a few things that could impact your award:
- State laws
- Insurance coverage
- Severity of injuries
- Financial losses
This process should restore the injured person to the financial state they were in prior to the accident. It does make a difference if the injured person was also negligent and contributed to the accident.
A person who is more than 50% at fault can’t seek compensation through a car accident lawsuit. If their fault is calculated at less than 50%, collecting compensation may be possible.
How is Liability Determined in Car Accident Lawsuits?
Texas courtrooms operate on a modified comparative negligence standard, which means that the injured person’s own level of fault could limit their ability to pursue compensation. A person who is more than 50% at fault can’t seek compensation through a car accident lawsuit. If their fault is calculated at less than 50%, collecting compensation may be possible.
For that reason, it’s crucial to learn more about how fault is determined and whether or not it impacts your potential claim.
It can be challenging to prove liability, especially in car accident situations. Accident attorneys are skilled at identifying potentially liable parties, which could include not only other drivers but also possibly product manufacturers, too.
To find out who could potentially be at fault for your accident, legal experts can help you:
- Collect evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Obtain police reports
- Document the extent of your losses
How Long After an Accident Can You Sue?
There are time limits that dictate how long after an auto accident you can sue. Statute of limitation laws vary state by state.
According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003, individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident have up to two years from the date of the accident to pursue a personal injury claim.
In the event of a fatality, the surviving loved ones of the victim have two years from the date of their loved one’s death (not necessarily the date of the car crash) to file a claim.
Wrongful death claims are somewhat similar to personal injury claims. With wrongful death claims, the family of the deceased can receive compensation for financial losses attached to their loved one’s passing.
According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003, individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident have up to two years from the accident to pursue a personal injury claim.
Exceptions to Texas’s Statute of Limitations
There are a few exceptions to statute of limitation laws in Texas. For instance, minors can pursue a claim two years after they turn 18 years old based on an accident that happened when they were underage.
Individuals who are struggling with mental impairment may also have an extended period to file based on when they discover that they have the right to file a claim.
In general, it’s best to stay ahead of the clock. If the statute of limitations runs its course, you may lose the right to a claim entirely.
The right car accident lawyer well-versed in your local laws can help ensure your claim is filed on time. With that in mind, reach out to an attorney as soon as you can after an accident. That way, they can keep track of how long you have to decide on filing a car accident lawsuit or not.
How Much Money Do You Get From a Car Accident Settlement?
Car accident compensation varies on a case-by-case basis. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help set the stage for the best possible outcome.
The legal muscle you need to win
Car Accident Settlement Examples From DFW Injury Lawyers
A settlement for a car accident can’t be predicted exactly, but we can share some of DFW’s past wins.
Here are some of our team’s past case results to give you an idea of what a well-executed case can look like:
- Client received $404,514.77 in trucking accident case
- Client received $50,618.17 in trucking accident case
- Client received $103,005.71 in trucking accident case
- Client received $53,333.33 in car accident case
- Client received $66,013.51 in car accident case
Typical car accident settlement amounts vary widely based on several factors. Unfortunately, previous outcomes can’t be used as an indicator of future outcomes. Every car crash is unique and the car accident compensation awarded to individuals depends on their specific losses.
Hiring the right expert makes a difference. When you experience a trucking accident, you want to ensure you hire a truck accident lawyer with experience with those specific types of accidents.
When you get involved in a bike crash, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. By hiring the right expert, the chances of a favorable legal outcome are higher.
How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident? Find Out With a Free Consultation
The answer to that question depends on the specific circumstances of that crash. In a nutshell, the answer depends on what caused the accident, the extent of the person’s losses, and the severity of the responsible party’s negligence.
Overall, someone who gets hurt due to someone else’s 100% negligence could expect to receive an equal amount of compensation as the value of their losses, including their pain and suffering. This can change based on the person’s own level of fault and the other party’s degree of negligence.
As if determining the value of your claim wasn’t complicated enough, pursuing an injury claim by yourself could also be a challenge. Not only will you need to investigate and prove what caused your crash, but you’ll need to ensure you document every loss, too. Filing the right paperwork, negotiating with insurance or the other party, and more can be demanding.
The good news is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Hiring a skilled legal team, like the attorneys here at DFW Injury Lawyers, can help make filing your claim much easier.
Schedule your free and confidential consultation by leaving your contact details on our online form now.