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What Are My Legal Rights After A Car Accident In Texas?

Houston car accident lawyers explain how the legal process works in Texas

If you have been involved in a car accident in Texas caused by another driver, you have legal options available to you. But making sense of these options can be confusing, especially if you’re recovering from a serious car accident injury. That’s why it’s critical that you fully understand your rights before making any important decisions.

Our Houston car accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler fully understand how the legal system works in Texas when it comes to collisions caused by another driver. Below, you can learn more about how this process works.

Does Texas have an at-fault car insurance system?

Yes, and this is very important since it could affect whether or not you are financially compensated for your accident-related expenses.

Like many states, Texas has an at-fault car insurance system. Sometimes referred to as a “tort” system, this means the at-fault party is legally responsible for paying for all accident-related expenses, which can often add up fast after a serious car accident in Texas.

Who’s responsible for paying for my car accident?

As briefly explained above, the at-fault party is legally responsible for paying for all accident-related expenses for anyone who experienced a financial loss as a result of a car accident in Texas. If another driver caused your collision, that responsibility often goes to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

However, you might also be able to obtain financial compensation from other sources depending on the circumstances of your Texas car accident. For example, if a drunk driver caused your collision, you might be able to take legal action against the bar, restaurant or liquor store that sold alcohol to the driver if they were already intoxicated, then caused your collision.

Other possible funding sources might also be an option. So what’s the best way to know for sure? Talk to an experienced car accident attorney at our Houston law firm who thoroughly understands how the legal system works in Texas.

What car accident expenses can I be compensated for?

The answer is simple – you should be paid for all your accident-related expenses. That’s how the car insurance system works in Texas. What you might not realize is just how many expenses that often includes after your accident. It’s not just short-term expenses, such as emergency medical care, life-saving surgery or hospital bills. You should also be compensated for future, anticipated expenses related to your accident, including:

  • Follow-up medical care
  • Physical therapy, especially if you have long-term mobility issues after your accident
  • Follow-up surgical procedures in some cases
  • Vehicle repair bills or the cost of buying a new car if your vehicle was totaled in the collision
  • Replacement income if you need time off from work to rest and recover from your injuries
  • Lost future income if you cannot return to work, can only work in a limited capacity or have to change professions to a lower-paying job due to a permanent disability sustained in your accident

Add all these expenses up and your car accident claim could easily be worth thousands of dollars or significantly more money.

Who decides how much money my car accident claim is worth?

You might be surprised to learn that the at-fault party responsible for paying for your Texas car accident often has the most to say about how much money you should receive for your accident-related expenses.

Specifically, the at-fault driver’s insurance company often will try to dictate how much money you should receive for your accident. Not surprisingly, the other driver’s insurance company will try to downplay how much your accident is worth and will often make a lowball settlement offer.

Fortunately, you can be part of these important conversations about the financial impact of your accident. And often, the best way to do so is to hire an attorney who can represent you and make sure that your voice is heard loud and clear during such discussions.

How are most car accident injury victims compensated in Texas?

In most cases, most people injured in an accident caused by another driver in Texas receive what’s known as a settlement offer. This is a one-time payment intended to pay for a lifetime’s worth of accident-related expenses. As a result, if you accept a settlement offer for your accident, your legal case is closed and you cannot request any additional money, even if your accident expenses increase in the future.

Do I have to accept a car accident settlement offer?

No. If you believe your accident is worth more than what the at-fault driver’s insurance company is offering you, you do not have to accept their settlement offer. Remember, a settlement offer is a one-time payment designed to settle your case, once and for all. So before you agree to accept a settlement offer, you should always carefully consider it.

If you believe you deserve more money, you can ask for additional financial compensation before accepting your settlement offer. However, negotiating a better settlement can quickly turn into a very complicated and contentious legal battle.

Why? Because insurance companies often refuse to negotiate in good faith. Instead, they make a lowball settlement offer that does not cover all your expenses and then insist that’s their best and final offer. Don’t believe them. Talk to an attorney at our Houston law firm. We can review any settlement offer you receive and explain your legal options to you.

What if I was partially at fault for causing my car accident?

Texas has what’s known as a “modified comparative negligence” rule when it comes to car accident compensation. That means that your injury claim could be reduced by whatever percentage you are found to be at fault.

For example, if your car accident expenses add up to $100,000 and you are found to be 20 percent at fault for causing your collision, you would only receive $80,000 for your accident. As a result, you would be responsible for paying for the additional $20,000 in expenses out of your own pocket.

Who determines who was at fault in a car accident in Texas?

You would think that the local police officer or state trooper from the Texas Highway Patrol who responded to your accident would have the most to say about who caused your collision. However, when it comes to determining who was at fault – and who should ultimately pay for your accident-related expenses – police officers have little to do with this process.

Instead, it’s the insurance companies that often have the most to say when it comes to determining who caused your accident and who’s responsible for paying for your injury claim. If your case goes to court, then it’s often up to a judge or jury to decide who was at fault and who should pay for your accident.

Either way, having an experienced attorney on your side who understands how the system works in Texas can help make sure that your rights are respected and that your injury claim or lawsuit receives the attention it deserves.

Can I file a car accident lawsuit in Texas?

Yes, you have the right to take legal action after your car crash in Texas. And often, the best way to do this is by filing a car accident lawsuit seeking damages, the legal term for financial compensation.

However, filing a lawsuit can be a very complicated legal process with many important legal issues to take into consideration, including:

  • Who to file a lawsuit against
  • Where to file your lawsuit in Texas – you might have a choice between more than one court that has legal jurisdiction over your case
  • When to file your lawsuit
  • How much money to request when seeking damages

Why should I hire a Houston car accident attorney?

Many complicated legal issues often come up if you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by another driver in Houston or another part of Texas. Trying to navigate your way through this complex legal system on your own can be confusing and overwhelming. And if you make a mistake at any point along the way, you could end up costing yourself thousands of dollars in money you rightfully deserve for your injury-related expenses.

Our experienced Houston car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler know what’s at stake. That’s why we want to help. When you have our legal team on your side, you can decide what happens next. Instead of insurance companies or anyone else pressuring you to accept a settlement offer or make other important legal decisions, you can talk to us and get solid legal advice. That way, you can make informed decisions based on the facts.

Get the Houston law firm that means business. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Houston car accident attorney focused on winning your case. We have four offices conveniently located throughout Texas, including three offices in Houston. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay us if we secure a financial settlement or verdict for your car accident case.

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