If you have been involved in a Fort Worth car accident, you are probably wondering if you could be entitled to compensation. The laws that govern car accident claims in Texas can be confusing, and the individual facts of a case significantly impact whether an accident victim is eligible to receive damages.
Car accidents are a type of negligence claim. In a negligence claim, there are three primary elements:
- The at-fault driver owed the accident victim a duty;
- The duty was breached due to the at-fault driver’s negligence; and
- As a direct result of this breach, the accident victim suffered damages.
All Texas drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe and reasonable under the circumstances. For example, driving too fast in the rain would not be reasonable and would be a breach of this duty. Texting and driving, disobeying traffic signals, and drinking and driving are also examples of breaches.
Questions of Liability
Determining the breach of the duty to use one’s car in a safe and reasonable manner is often one of the most contested issues in a Texas car accident claim.
Texas follows a comparative negligence model. This means that an accident victim’s own negligence may be used to reduce the amount of any award that victim receives.
The accident victim’s award will be reduced in an amount that is proportionate to his or her negligence. For example, if the accident victim is 30 percent at fault for the accident and is initially entitled to $100,000 in damages, the accident victim will only receive $70,000.
If the accident victim’s negligence exceeds the defendant’s, the claim will not stand and the victim will not be entitled to any damages.
Another one of the biggest issues in a motor vehicle accident claim is the extent of damages. Damages are awarded to compensate accident victims for the losses they have suffered. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- The estimated cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Other types of damages may also be available, depending on the circumstances of the case.
An experienced Fort Worth car accident attorney is able to evaluate your claim and determine the extent of your damages. For example, did you spend several nights in a hospital because of your injuries? Did you miss a significant amount of time from work?
Even if you were only involved in a “fender bender,” you may have several thousand dollars in damages to claim.
The higher your damages are, the better protected your legal rights will be by filing a legal claim. Whether you settle with the insurance company or file a lawsuit, pursuing a claim allows you to seek the compensation you need to cover your losses.
Insurance Adjusters Are Not Attorneys
If you are an accident victim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to contact you as early as the day following your crash. The insurance company’s goal is to save money—so settling a claim for as little money as possible is generally the objective.
An insurance adjuster is not an attorney, so an adjuster cannot advise you as to whether a settlement is fair to you or not. Many insurance adjusters state that they will not offer you certain types of damages. However, this does not mean that you are not legally entitled to those damages.
In most cases, the initial settlement offered by the insurance company is far too low. Speaking with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney is the best way to determine whether you need to file a claim for your car accident case.
At Patterson Law Group, We Fight for Our Clients
The personal injury attorneys at Patterson Law Group are experienced in all types of Fort Worth motor vehicle accident claims. We provide a free consultation to discuss your legal options and explain the services we offer. To schedule your free consultation, call (817) 784-2000 or contact us online.