How Do I Prove That the Other Driver Was Distracted at the Time of the Accident?
Every accident is a bit of a puzzle, a tangle of moments and decisions that led to the collision. If you believe that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident, it’s critical to prove it. But how does one go about proving this allegation?
If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial to speak with an Austin distracted driving attorney. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys will fight relentlessly to pursue justice on your behalf while working to prove distracted driving.
Call Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, today at 512-729-1972 to speak with an Austin distracted driving lawyer.
Understanding Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is not a new concept. Throughout history, drivers have faced various distractions that divert their attention away from the task of driving. However, with the rapid advancements in technology, distractions have become more prevalent and pervasive than ever before.
At the core, distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts attention away from the task of driving. It encaptures scenarios where the driver’s focus is not completely on the road or on the act of steering the vehicle. This lack of focus can be attributed to a multitude of factors, both external and internal.
While this might seem simplistic, distracted driving can have massive consequences. This lapse in focus can result in late reactions to traffic signals, erratic driving behaviors, and may eventually cause motor accidents. The consequences of distracted driving extend beyond just the driver. It poses a significant risk to passengers, pedestrians, and other road users.
Type of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving in Austin, Texas, encompasses various activities that divert a driver’s attention away from the road. Common types of distracted driving behaviors include:
- Cellphones: The allure of staying connected and the constant need for information has led many drivers to engage in texting, calling, or browsing the internet while behind the wheel. This behavior not only diverts attention from the road but also requires manual and cognitive focus, making it an extremely dangerous distraction.
- Eating or drinking: Many individuals find themselves multitasking by grabbing a quick bite or sipping a beverage while commuting. However, this seemingly harmless act can significantly impair a driver’s ability to react quickly and make split-second decisions on the road.
- Conversing with passengers: While having a conversation with someone in the car may seem harmless, it can divert the driver’s attention and cognitive focus away from the road. Engaging in animated discussions or emotionally charged conversations can be particularly distracting, leading to compromised driving performance.
- Grooming: Whether it’s applying makeup, fixing hair, or adjusting clothing, these activities require visual and manual attention, leaving little room for focusing on the road. Even a momentary lapse in concentration can have dire consequences.
- Reading: Many drivers attempt to navigate through unfamiliar areas by reading maps or directions while driving. This behavior not only diverts attention but also requires the driver to take their eyes off the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Navigation systems: While these systems are designed to assist drivers in reaching their destinations, they can also be a source of distraction if not used responsibly. Constantly glancing at the screen or inputting directions can cause drivers to lose focus on the road ahead.
It’s important to remember that these distractions can lead to fatal accidents, making it critical to keep your focus on the road at all times. Recognizing the various types of distractions and understanding their potential consequences is the first step towards promoting safer driving habits and reducing the prevalence of distracted driving accidents.
The Importance of Evidence in Proving Distraction
Evidence plays a vital role in proving that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Without solid evidence, your allegations may fall flat, making it challenging to establish their liability.
When it comes to proving distraction, having the right evidence is crucial. It not only strengthens your case but also helps to ensure that justice is served. An experienced Austin distracted driving accident lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of gathering evidence for your case to ensure the best outcome.
Types of Evidence That Can Be Used
A variety of evidence types can come into play when proving distraction. These pieces of evidence can provide a clear picture of what happened and who was at fault. Some of the key types of evidence include:
- Photographs or video footage of the accident scene: Visual evidence can be incredibly powerful in demonstrating distraction. By capturing the scene of the accident, you can highlight any visible distractions that may have contributed to the collision.
- The driver’s own admissions: If the other driver admits to being distracted, it can serve as strong evidence against them. Admissions of guilt can be obtained through statements made at the scene or even later during the investigation.
- Witness statements: Eyewitnesses can provide crucial testimony regarding the other driver’s behavior leading up to the accident. Their statements can corroborate your claims of distraction and strengthen your case.
- Police reports: Official police reports often contain valuable information about the accident, including any indications of distraction. These reports can provide an unbiased account of the incident, lending credibility to your claims.
- Phone records: Phone records can reveal whether the other driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. This type of evidence can be particularly compelling in distracted driving cases.
By presenting a combination of these different types of evidence, you can build a strong case that supports your claim of distraction. Each piece of evidence adds another layer of credibility, making it harder for the other driver to dispute your allegations.
How to Collect Evidence at the Scene
Collecting evidence at the scene requires swift action and a keen eye for detail. The more evidence you can gather, the better chance you have of proving distraction. Here are some steps you can take to collect evidence effectively:
Take photographs or videos of the accident scene: Focus on capturing any visible distractions, such as a driver using their phone, eating, or engaging in other activities that divert their attention from the road. These visuals can provide compelling evidence of driver distraction.
In addition to visual evidence, it is essential to gather as much information as possible about what the other driver was doing just before the accident occurred. Look for any signs of distraction, such as erratic driving behavior or failure to maintain proper lane position.
While collecting evidence, be sure to look around where the car crash occurred for any possible witnesses. Their statements could prove invaluable in establishing distraction. Speak to anyone who may have seen the accident or observed the other driver’s behavior leading up to the collision. Their testimony can provide critical insights and strengthen your case.
Remember, the more evidence you can collect, the stronger your case will be. Every detail matters, so be thorough and methodical in your approach. By presenting a comprehensive array of evidence and engaging the help from an Austin distracted driver accident lawyer, you can increase your chances of proving distraction and holding the other driver accountable.
Witness Statements and Their Role
Witnesses can play a deciding role in accident cases. Their observations hold a weight of legitimacy, often tipping the scales of evidence in your favor.
When it comes to gathering evidence for an accident case, witness statements are invaluable. They provide an unbiased account of what happened, offering a different perspective on the events that unfolded. These statements can help establish the sequence of events, determine liability, and provide crucial details that may have been overlooked.
But how do you approach witnesses and gather the necessary information to make their statements usable?
How to Approach Witnesses
Approaching witnesses might seem daunting, but bear in mind that they too might be shaken by the accident. Keep your approach gentle and non-confrontational. Remember, they are not obligated to provide a statement, so it’s important to be respectful and understanding of their feelings.
Start by introducing yourself and explaining your connection to the accident. Let them know that you are gathering information to support your case and that their statement could make a significant difference. Assure them that their input is valued and that you appreciate their willingness to help.
It’s crucial to approach witnesses as soon as possible after the accident happened, while the events are still fresh in their minds. This will ensure that their recollection of the incident is accurate and reliable.
When speaking with witnesses, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to provide a detailed account of what they saw. For example, you can ask about the weather conditions, the behavior of the other driver, or any other relevant details they may have noticed. This will help you gather a comprehensive understanding of the accident from their perspective.
Remember to listen attentively and avoid interrupting them. Give them the space to express themselves and provide all the information they deem important. This will help establish trust and ensure that they feel comfortable sharing their observations.
What Information to Gather from Witnesses
From every witness, try and gather the following details to make their information usable:
- Their full names: Knowing the full names of the witnesses will help you identify them later if needed. It also adds credibility to their statements.
- Contact details: Ensure you have their phone numbers and email addresses so that you can reach out to them if further clarification or testimony is required.
- A detailed account of what they observed: Encourage witnesses to provide a thorough and detailed account of the accident. Ask them to describe the sequence of events, the actions of both drivers, and any other relevant information they can recall. The more specific and detailed their statement, the stronger it will be as evidence.
Additionally, if there were multiple witnesses to the car accident, try to gather statements from each of them. Having multiple witnesses corroborating the same details can significantly strengthen your case.
Remember, witness statements can make a significant impact on the outcome of your accident case. They provide an objective perspective on the events and can help establish the truth. Treat witnesses with respect, gather all the necessary information, and use their statements to support your claim.
Using Police Reports in Your Favor
Police reports consist of an officer’s observations and collected facts about the accident. They can be helpful in cases where you suspect distracted driving.
How to Obtain a Police Report
You can request a copy of the police report from the department that responded to the scene. You might be able to request it online, in person, or via mail, depending on the particular department’s protocol.
Interpreting Information in the Police Report
Once you have the police report, look for mentions of distracted driving or reckless behavior. Analyze the report in detail to understand how the police officer perceived the accident scene and the behavior of both drivers.
Role of Mobile Phone Records in Proving Distraction
Mobile phone records are pivotal. If the other driver was on their phone at the time of the accident, their phone records could provide concrete evidence of their distraction.
Legal Aspects of Obtaining Phone Records
Obtaining phone records requires a legal process. Your Austin distracted driving accident attorney can help by filing a subpoena or court order to get the distracted driver’s cellphone records and compel the phone company to release the records. The records would then be analyzed for activity at the time of the accident.
How Phone Records Can Prove Distraction
Phone records reveal precise times of data usage. This could include calls, text messages, or other activities carried out on the device. If there is activity logged at the time of the accident, it could substantiate your claim of the other driver being distracted.
Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, The Attorney That Works
In the aftermath of a vehicular accident, proving that the other driver was distracted can be challenging but essential for a successful personal injury claim. Gathering evidence, such as witness statements, cell phone records, and surveillance footage, requires careful attention to detail and a deep understanding of the legal process. Considering the intricacies involved, enlisting the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Austin, Texas can significantly enhance your chances of effectively demonstrating distracted driving and pursuing the compensation accident victims deserve.
This is where the skilled Austin distracted driving lawyers from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, come in. A personal injury lawyer from our law firm can guide you through the complexities of distracted driving laws, safeguard your rights, and help you build a robust case that establishes liability, leading to a fair resolution and justice for the damages you have endured. Take the first step towards justice and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an Austin distracted driving attorney today.
Call Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, today at 512-729-1972 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Suffering a car accident is incredibly traumatic, and when you are dealing with mounting medical expenses, you may be unsure of where to turn. The best thing you can do after an accident is to seek advice from a reputable attorney. They will offer you some initial advice, so you know where you stand, and if you decide to continue with the representation, they will take over the entire process of claiming compensation so you can focus on your recovery.
However, if you have never required an attorney before, then choosing a law firm can feel overwhelming. Of course, at Chris Morrow, PLLC, we believe that we are the best people for the job. We are dedicated to providing the best possible service to personal injury victims so that they can feel secure in their future. We understand that all law firms claim to be the best, so we have put together a list of what to look for in the best car accident lawyers so you can make an informed decision about your next steps.
We offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis. We believe everyone deserves the best legal representation, regardless of their financial position.
What Qualities to Look For in The Best Injury Lawyer
If you are a car accident victim, then you need a good car accident lawyer. Having high-quality legal representation gives you the best chance at securing a settlement that covers all of your damages, including past and future expenses and compensation for their pain and suffering.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the right attorney for your car accident case:
A good starting point is to look at independent review sites such as AVVO. AVVO rates attorneys based on reviews, previous victories, awards, and years in service. Our founding attorney, Chris Morrow, has an AVVO rating of 9.0/10 and the highest possible average client review score of 5*.
Local Law Firm
When a law firm is local to you, it will mean that they have an in-depth understanding of the state laws relevant to your case. They will also have experience working with local experts, insurance companies, courts, and Judges. A working relationship with these people can be a massive benefit.
When your attorney is local, they may have a reputation with local insurance companies. If they have a good reputation, then an insurance company may be more likely to offer a fair settlement quickly, as they know that underhanded tactics will not work.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, our practice areas include Austin, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Georgetown, and Dripping Springs.
Focus on Personal Injury Law
Some law firms try to do it all, from criminal defense to family law. When you have the support of a law firm such as Chris Morrow, PLLC, that focuses solely on personal injury law, it means that your attorney will be helping people like you every day. All of their knowledge, experience, and resources will be of benefit to your case.
When it comes to securing maximum compensation, one of the most valuable traits of an attorney is their experience. Our founding attorney, Chris Morrow, has been helping personal injury victims in Texas since 1994, giving him nearly three decades of experience.
It is worth asking a potential attorney whether they have a track record of success in cases similar to yours. The more experience they have in cases similar to yours, the better they will be able to create a robust strategy.
The best car accident lawyers will have a full caseload; this is a sign that they are good at what they do. However, they should still have the time necessary to dedicate themselves to your case and give it the time it deserves.
While you won’t have 24/7 access to your car accident attorney, they should take the time to keep you informed about your case. If you have queries, then they should be prompt to answer them.
Fight for Maximum Compensation
It is important that your settlement covers all of your damages. As well as your economic damages, such as your lost wages, medical bills, and property damages, your non-economic damages should also be considered. Non-economic damages compensate you for things such as your pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life. These types of damages can be highly contentious, and an experienced attorney will give you the best chance at a fair settlement.
If your injuries are ongoing, then it is also essential that your ongoing expenses are reflected in your settlement, including your future medical expenses and lost earning capacity. While this can be difficult to establish a good, local attorney will have strong connections with experts such as medical and financial experts who can provide valuable evidence.
Only around a small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial. A trial is time-consuming and costly, so it is usually best avoided. However, it is important that your attorney is a skilled litigator as it ensures that they can handle your case regardless of what direction it takes.
In addition, insurance adjusters are often aware of which attorneys are willing to go to trial and which are not. This means that if your attorney is a skilled litigator, the insurance company may be more willing to offer a fair settlement rather than risk losing more in litigation.
Chris Morrow is known for being a fierce trial lawyer and will continue to support you regardless of whether your case involves drawn-out negotiations or litigation. He knows when to fight for a quick settlement and when to go the distance to secure a just outcome for his clients.
Contingency Fee Basis
You should find a personal injury law firm that offers a free consultation and works on a contingency fee basis. This means that you can never be left out of pocket for seeking legal representation.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we will review your case for free and tell you whether we believe you have a valid claim. We will advise you on your next steps, and if we do believe that it stands a good chance of success, then we will offer our services. You are under no obligation to continue and may choose to walk away at this point.
If you do decide to continue, then we will agree upon a flat percentage of your eventual settlement. There are no hidden costs or surprise fees. If your case does not succeed, then we will not receive anything.
Car accidents are traumatic experiences, and when you are left with injuries that affect your daily life, it can be an overwhelming experience. Your attorney should be understanding; they should be fighting for compensation while also considering your recovery.
Car accident claims can take a year or more to resolve, and you may have to spend significant time with your attorney. Therefore it is important that you feel supported and feel comfortable speaking with them. Most personal injury law firms offer free consultations so you can get a feel for your attorney before you sign up for representation.
Prepare Questions to Ask in a Free Consultation
Now that you know the qualities of the best personal injury lawyers, you might be left wondering how to determine whether a potential lawyer possesses those qualities. The best thing you can do is to seek a free consultation and to have some questions prepared. Some questions you may want to consider asking include:
- Can I see reviews from previous clients?
- Where are you based, and what areas do you cover?
- How much of your time is dedicated to personal injury law?
- Have you helped people in a similar position to me in the past?
- What would a good settlement look like in my case, and how do we get there?
- How does your fee structure work?
- How will I contact you if I have questions, and how soon can I expect a response?
- Do you have trial experience?
Additional Car Accident FAQs
Insurance companies are large profit-driven companies, and they may use underhanded tactics to reduce how much they owe you. For example, they may encourage you to admit fault or downplay your injuries. If an insurance company contacts you, then you should simply tell them that your personal injury attorney will be in touch. Once you have representation, all correspondence will go through them, so you don’t have to worry.
If you do need to speak to an insurance company, never let them record you, and stick to the brief facts of your case. In a free consultation, you will receive some advice about how to move forward.
Yes. Texas operates under modified comparative fault which means that so long as you are determined to be less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced to the percentage that you are determined to be at fault. For example, if your case is worth $100,000, but you are determined to be 25% at fault, it will be reduced to $75,000.
An attorney can advise you as to whether you are still owed compensation if you think you contributed to the crash. Remember, you may not have all the facts yet. Perhaps you were speeding, but the other driver could have been driving under the influence. The other party’s insurance company may try to exaggerate your fault to reduce their liability, but an experienced attorney will help protect you from these types of tactics.
If the insurance company involved in your case offers you a quick settlement, then it could be a tactic to get you to accept less than what your case is worth. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot claim anything else, even if what you receive is insufficient to cover all of your basic expenses. If you have been offered a settlement it is likely that you have a valid claim, you should seek advice from an auto accident lawyer who can tell you whether it is a good offer and advise you on your next steps.
How Do I Find The Best Auto Accident Attorney in Austin?
Being involved in a car accident is one of the most traumatic experiences that you may face. Due to their very nature, auto accidents often involve serious injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, lost limbs, and spinal damage. Some of these injuries, in particular any injuries to the brain or spine, may never heal, leaving the victim with life-long injuries that seriously affect their quality of life.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and you have been injured because of the negligence of another party, you may be uncertain of your next steps. You may have never been involved in an accident before, and you may have never required representation from an auto accident attorney. This could leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of your next move.
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys handle auto accident cases on a daily basis. As the most common form of personal injury in the United States, many of our clients come to us after an auto accident. Our team has worked with countless clients, securing numerous favorable outcomes over a long history of successful cases.
Once you get in touch with our Austin auto accident lawyer, we can get to work right away. Assigning liability in an auto accident is a little bit easier than many other forms of personal injury cases due to the fact that every road user assumes a duty of care to the other users of the road. This means every accident usually involves at least one negligent party.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party in Texas, you are entitled to recover all of the damages that you have suffered as a result of the accident, and you may be able to pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been through. This is where your Austin auto accident attorney will prove invaluable.
Call us at 512-729-1972 to discuss your auto accident claim today.
Our Goal – To Provide a Reliable Austin Auto Accident Lawyer to All Victims
Personal injury law was put in place to allow the victims of accidents to pursue compensation and to recover the damages that they have suffered as a result of the injuries the accident caused.
Unfortunately, every single year, victims forgo representation when pursuing compensation out of the misconception that they cannot afford a lawyer’s fees, or out of fear that they will be left with huge bills they cannot pay if they lose their case.
One of our goals here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC is to ensure that all victims have the opportunity to pursue the compensation that may be on offer to them, without fear of consequences.
To allow us to do this, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we take no-upfront fees to represent our clients. We simply take a flat percentage of any settlement we win. If we cannot win your case, we won’t charge you a penny.
If you are still uncertain, we offer all potential clients a free initial consultation and case evaluation. This opens up a space for you to ask questions and allows us to evaluate your case. At this stage, there are no obligations, and if you choose to walk away, you are free to do so. We are happy that you are doing so with more information and advice than you began with.
If we believe your case is worth pursuing and you wish to proceed, we can begin right away, employing the vast resources at our command to the investigation of what happened.
How Do I Find The Best Austin Auto Accident Lawyer?
When it comes to something as important as your legal representation, it is always worth taking the extra time to research thoroughly. If you are uncertain of where to begin, we recommend starting with AVVO, an independent review site that places a rating on all attorneys based on their victories, years of service, peer reviews, accreditations, and accolades. As this is independent, you can get a true feel for the skills of an attorney.
For example, Chris Morrow, our founding auto accident attorney, has an AVVO rating of 9.0/10 with an average client review of 5 stars out of 5.
Once you have narrowed down your choices to the most capable attorneys in Austin, you might want to arrange an initial consultation with your top choices. Prepare a list of questions you want answered, questions that will allow you to judge whether or not they are the right choice, such as:
The most important thing to look for in any potential representation is their track record for winning cases that are similar to yours. The more victories they have under their belt, the better equipped they will be to handle your case.
Even if your attorney is highly skilled and experienced, they may have a caseload that means they are too busy to assign your case the time it deserves. You should ask your potential Austin auto accident lawyer how busy their current caseload is and how they plan to allocate you and your case the time it warrants.
It can be easy to overlook the importance of your attorney’s personality. You may be dealing with them for several years to come, and this means you need to make sure that you get along as you will be spending a lot of time with them or talking to them.
What Damages Are Recoverable In an Austin Auto Accident Lawsuit
When it comes to the tasks that your personal injury lawyers will carry out on your behalf, perhaps the most important, besides proving the other party was liable, is the calculation of your damages. Working out what damages you have suffered as a result of the injury and working out how much suffering you have been through is what gives your auto accident lawyer a figure to negotiate with when it comes to settlement negotiations.
The better they are at calculating your damages for your car accident injuries, the harder your damages will be to argue with and the more likely it will be that the other party accepts your settlement demand. Even if they disagree and do not accept your offer, it makes it more likely that you will be awarded them in court if they are calculated in a way that is fair and reasonable.
Two Types Of Damages
There are two categories of damages that your attorney will consider following your accident, the first is the economic damages that your injuries have led you to suffer. Economic damages have a clear figure attached, making them easy to document and evidence.
Your non-economic damages are not so easy. They are always subjective, meaning they will be up to interpretation, and your attorney will need to decide what they are worth. This is where experience in previous cases similar to yours is important. The more cases they have under their belt, the more accurate they will be at placing a figure to these subjective damages.
One common method for calculating your non-economic damages is to decide how severe your pain and suffering was on a scale of 1-5. Your auto accident lawyer will then multiply the value of your total economic damages by the number on that scale.
Here are some of the non-economic and economic damages you should make yourself aware of:
Claiming for Medical Bills in Austin, TX
Even for those that are lucky enough to have premium car insurance policies and health insurance, it can be surprising how quickly the coverage offered by these policies can be exceeded when the injuries involved are serious.
Auto accidents, in particular, have the potential to cause injuries that require complex surgeries and treatment to put right.
In a successful case, your attorney will be able to recover all of your medical bills and expenses. They will recover all of the costs you have already suffered and will often work with medical expert witnesses to understand what your long-term treatment may cost so they can pursue a figure that allows you to undergo the treatment you need in the long term.
We recommend keeping a daily diary of the treatment you are receiving. In this diary, note down your pain levels and mood, as they will help your Austin auto accident lawyer when it comes to considering how bad your pain and suffering was.
Claiming for Income Lost Wages/Income in Austin, TX
Serious injuries will usually require time off work for treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, for many workers in Texas, this is going to mean missing out on wages and potential earnings.
In the most serious cases, the victim may suffer injuries that mean they will never be able to return to work. If this is the case, your Austin auto accident attorney may need to bring in financial experts who can help them calculate what a lifetime of lost earning potential may cost you.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering in Austin, TX
In most auto accident claims and other auto accidents, the most substantial damages awarded in a successful case are the pain and suffering damages. These are non-economic, meaning it will be down to your attorney to decide what they believe them to be worth.
Pain and suffering damages should compensate you for the severity of the pain you have been through, as well as the emotional trauma that you have been subjected to as a result of the accident.
Pain and suffering may also cover you for what is known as loss of enjoyment. If you can no longer take part in the same hobbies and activities that you did before, such as playing catch with your son or riding your motorcycle on the weekends, you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
Claiming for Property Damage in Austin, TX
Following any auto accident, there is a good chance that your car or vehicle was damaged in the crash. If your car needs replacing or repairing, it should not be down to you to foot the costs for doing so if the accident was not your fault.
In a successful claim, you will be able to recover all costs related to your property damage, so make sure you keep a record of your invoices and repair bills.
Claiming for Losing a Loved One in Austin, TX
The most tragic outcome in an auto accident is when the accident leads to the death of a victim or multiple victims. This may be direct, i.e, they were killed in the crash, or it may be indirect, with their injuries later on leading to them passing away.
For the family of the loved ones that have been killed, this will be the most traumatic experience imaginable.
In these scenarios, the deceased individual’s family is entitled to raise what is known as a wrongful death claim. This allows them to seek the recovery of damages on behalf of the deceased and to pursue compensation for the loss of consortium and companionship.
No amount of monetary compensation will ever bring the deceased back to life, but it can provide financial security to the family while they come to terms with their losses.
What To Do After An Auto Accident Accident In Texas
If you are at the scene of your accident, it is worth remembering that everything you do and say from this point onward may be used against you. That means it is important that you never apologize or say that you feel fine.
There are certain things you should and should not do at the scene of an accident if you wish to protect your rights and your chances of a successful claim at a later stage.
Here are the steps you should follow:
Check Injuries and Move To Safety if Possible
The priority is always your own health and well-being. This means that as soon as the accident has happened, you should take stock of your injuries. If you cannot remember what happened, you should lie still and see if you feel pain in your neck, shoulders, or back. This can be a sign of serious injury, and you should refrain from moving at all or letting anyone move you unless it is necessary until the paramedics turn up.
If you are certain that you have not hit your head or damaged your neck or spine, you should move away from any further danger. In most cases of traffic or auto accidents, this means moving to the side of the road out of oncoming traffic.
If you are able to, and it is safe, you may wish to take stock of the other victims and the at-fault party to see if they are injured so you can inform the ambulance team and emergency services when you call them.
Call An Ambulance
It doesn’t matter how minor the injuries seem. If any party was injured in the accident, you should call for an ambulance immediately to attend the scene. Traffic accidents can cause shock and adrenaline to be released, and both of these can mask serious injuries. Other serious injuries, such as TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) and internal bleeding, can have no outward symptoms. By the time the victim realizes they have been injured, it may be too late.
Whenever an ambulance attends an accident scene, they have to file an accident report which is an unbiased and factual document stating what they saw and what treatment they had to give to each victim for their injuries. This document can be obtained by your auto accident lawyer in Austin and used in your case as evidence.
Call The Police
Whenever a traffic accident occurs, the police should always be informed. When it comes to traffic, they are best equipped to cordon off roads and move the flow of oncoming traffic while the accident scene is dealt with.
The police are crucial if the other driver is drunk or aggressive too. The police will make sure they do not flee the scene of the accident or act aggressively toward others, and if they are drunk or under the influence, they will carry out blood alcohol tests or other sobriety tests. The result of these tests can be instrumental in securing a successful claim as a drunken driver that tests positive for being over the limit is automatically negligent.
Evidence is king when it comes to personal injury law, and while it will be down to your attorney to investigate and collect their own evidence, the more you can provide them upfront, the better.
If you are still on the scene and have not had to leave by ambulance, and your injuries allow it, you should consider videoing or photographing the scene and writing a brief statement of what happened in your own opinion.
Exchange Information and Witness Statements
If you are lucky enough to have witnesses on the scene of the accident who are willing to cooperate, collect their details immediately. Sometimes witnesses will become more difficult the longer after the accident speaks to them. If they are willing you should ask them to give a written statement or record a voice statement of what happened in their opinion. When your attorney contacts them at a later stage, they will only have to confirm their previous statement that way.
Seek Medical Attention
Part of proving negligence is proving the third element, causation, which is proof that the injuries were caused directly by the accident. The best way to prove this is to show medical records of medical treatment in the direct aftermath of the accident. Even if you have not required emergency medical attention from an ambulance, we recommend heading to the nearest hospital or doctor for a check-up.
Besides the need to prove causation, it can be worth a second check-up simply because some injuries may lie hidden. If there were more seriously injured parties for the ambulance to deal with, your injuries may have gone unnoticed.
Call Your Insurance Company
Many car insurance policies have a clause that states you must contact them within a certain period of time following an accident to tell them you have been involved in an accident.
However, you do not have to tell them any information or discuss the accident with them. Remember, no insurance company truly wants to pay out and treat its clients fairly. They make a profit by avoiding paying out the full and maximum amount that people deserve.
Tell them that you intend to proceed with an attorney and that you wish for them to liaise with your attorney moving forwards from this point.
Do not apologize or say you feel okay, as this may devalue your claim.
Hire An Austin Auto Accident Lawyer
The sooner you can involve your attorney, the easier it will be for them to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. The more time they have and the earlier they are involved, the easier it will be to uncover evidence that may be removed from the accident scene or deleted (CCTV footage).
Investigating An Auto Accident In Austin, Texas
As soon as you have involved your attorney, they can begin investigating on your behalf. They may send an investigation team to the accident scene and contact expert witnesses such as crash recreation experts.
This will allow them to assign liability and understand where the negligence lies quickly.
The 4 Elements to Prove in an Auto Accident Case
Proving negligence relies on four different elements being proven. If your attorney can clearly provide evidence of the four elements of negligence, your case will be a strong one. When cases do end up proceeding to the courtroom, it will be expected that your attorney can prove these elements in front of the court.
- Duty Of Care — A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a manner that protects the well-being and health of another individual. For negligence to have occurred, the at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. This is pretty easy to prove in an auto accident case, as road users automatically assume a duty of care to all other users of the road when they get behind the wheel of their car or drive any motor vehicle.
- Other examples of the duty of care: Doctors adopt a duty of care to any patients in their care. Businesses adopt a duty of care to their customers, and so on.
- Breach — After it has been established that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, the next step is to prove that they breached it with their behavior and that this breach of duty of care is what caused the accident. Usually, a breach of the duty of care is caused by unreasonable behavior. To work out what constitutes reasonable behavior, your attorney will look at what a reasonable individual would have done whilst owing the same duty of care. A reasonable driver would not run a red light, speed, or look at their phone while driving, for example. This means that if these were reasons for an accident, the duty of care was breached.
- Causation — The accident must have directly led to the victim of the accident sustaining injuries.
- Damages — You suffered economic and/or non-economic damages as a result
Negligence is a legal term used to describe when a person’s failure to use reasonable care (or to act as a reasonable person would have) results in harm to another person. In a car accident or auto accident, negligence can occur when a driver fails to use due care while operating a vehicle, such as failing to obey the speed limit, driving while distracted, or failing to yield the right of way.
Austin Auto Accident Attorney FAQs
Injuries that can result from a car accident can vary greatly in severity and type. Common injuries include whiplash, broken bones, concussions, lacerations, internal injuries, burns, and spinal cord injuries.
The first thing to check is whether or not you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you should contact your insurance company to report the accident and file a claim. This coverage, if you have it included in your policy, can help you recover the costs of any damages or injuries caused by the at-fault driver up to the limits of your policy.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you need to consult an attorney, as your insurance company will likely be unable to cover all of your damages.
When you are up against any insurance company that defends clients in auto accident cases, you are likely to be up against an extremely aggressive legal team that spends every day defending against claims like yours. This means that you are at a disadvantage without your own legal representation.
While you are currently dealing with your own injuries, you should also be focused on your recovery, and the stress of pushing a claim through yourself may not be ideal.
Sometimes, when you obtain legal representation from an attorney with a strong reputation for fighting car accident claims and winning court battles, the other party and their insurance company may be more likely to settle and treat you fairly as they know they will likely lose in court.
The value of your auto accident case will depend upon the damages you have suffered. This means that the cost of your economic damages needs to be considered, such as your medical bills, property damage bills, and lost wages. Your attorney will then need to consider your pain and suffering and depending on how severe they feel you have suffered, decide what they believe you should be compensated as a result.
The only way you can really know if your case is a valid one is by speaking to an attorney and taking advantage of the free case evaluation that most personal injury law firms offer to potential clients. They will be able to ask some simple questions and listen to your story, and from this, they will be able to deduce if your claim is valid and strong.
We always recommend that our clients discuss all settlement offers with their attorneys. It is a common tactic used by insurance companies to offer a settlement that may seem appealing in the hopes that the victim accepts it without considering it. Once you accept the settlement you forgo the right to further compensation.
This means that if your injuries get worse and you need to pay more medical bills, your settlement may not have been enough to cover these costs. The insurance company will have run the numbers and will have worked out what they stand to lose. The first offer of settlement will never be equal to this.
Punitive damages are financial awards a court may grant in certain civil cases as a form of punishment for a defendant’s egregious or malicious behavior. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. They are awarded in addition to actual damages, which are meant to compensate you for actual losses. In order to be eligible to receive punitive damages, you and your attorney must prove that the defendant’s behavior was intentional, malicious, or reckless.
You and your attorney must also be able to show that the defendant was aware that their actions were likely to cause harm. Punitive damages are not available in cases where the defendant’s behavior was simply negligent or careless. When a court orders punitive damages, the amount awarded is typically much higher than the amount of actual damages.
The amount of punitive damages can be based on a variety of factors, including the egregiousness of the defendant’s actions, the defendant’s wealth, and the level of harm caused. In order to claim punitive damages, you must first file a lawsuit against the defendant.
Punitive damages are not always available, and the amount awarded can vary significantly depending on the facts of the case. It is important to discuss your case with your lawyer so that you can understand your rights and determine whether it is worth pushing for a court case as you may be eligible to receive punitive damages.
The length of time it takes for a personal injury case to settle can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case. Some cases may settle within weeks or months, while others may take years.
Factors that play a role in the length of time it takes for a personal injury case to settle include the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, the amount of evidence to review, and the ability of the parties to agree on a settlement amount.
In general, if the case is relatively straightforward and there are few disputed issues, the case may settle quickly. This is especially true if the parties can come to an agreement on the amount of damages and the insurance company is willing to pay out the agreed amount.
On the other hand, if the case involves a complex set of facts and the parties are unable to agree on a settlement amount, the case may take longer to resolve.
Most cases will settle without the need for court involvement. This is because court involvement is a costly process, both in terms of time and money and is not usually in the best interests of either party.
Is it Worth Hiring an Austin Car Crash Lawyer?
The aftermath of a car accident can be incredibly stressful. On top of the mounting bills and lost income, you must deal with the claims process. Your insurance company is driven by profit, and they will likely make it difficult for you to secure a fair settlement. Although you are within your rights to claim without a lawyer, you might be asking yourself, ‘ Is it worth getting a car crash lawyer?’
Usually, it is worth getting an Austin car crash attorney if you or someone you love has been in a car accident that was not your fault. They will investigate your claim and take over negotiations so that you can focus on your recovery.
Many victims avoid getting a lawyer for car accident claims because they are concerned about the cost. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis which means that we only get paid if your claim is successful, and you will never be left out of pocket.
Often, victims who have legal representation end up with a higher amount in compensation than those who don’t, even after their legal fees have been considered. Our Austin car crash lawyer is able to offer a set of skills, experience, and resources that may prove invaluable to your case.
Call us at 512-729-1972 for a free consultation with one of our car wreck lawyers in Austin.
What a Car Wreck Lawyer in Austin Can Do for You
A car accident claim is rarely straightforward, and each case is unique. In a free consultation, an experienced Austin car crash attorney will be able to quickly assess your case so that they can advise you on your next steps. If they believe you have a valid claim to compensation and you agree to representation, they will get to work quickly to ensure you have a strong car accident case.
Some of the things that an Austin car crash attorney can do for you include:
The first job of your car crash lawyer is to gather evidence. The more evidence they can find, the stronger your claim will be for compensation. We always recommend that victims seek legal representation quickly, as some evidence can be lost if not protected quickly. Some potential sources of evidence include:
- Video footage from the scene could come from CCTV or home security cameras.
- Vehicle damage and repair reports.
- The police report.
- Medical records.
- Witness statements.
- Information about the other driver, such as a history of traffic offenses.
- Testimony from experts such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists.
Your attorney will need to establish who was at fault for the accident using the evidence they have collected.
Texas operates under comparative negligence, which means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you might still be owed compensation. However, your claim will be reduced by the amount you are determined to be at fault. For example, if the other driver ran a red light, but you were speeding, you could be found to be 15% at fault for the accident. If your claim is worth $100,000, it will be reduced to $85,000.
The other party could try to exaggerate your part in the accident in order to reduce the amount they have to pay you. When you have an experienced Austin car crash attorney representing you, they will ensure that you are not unfairly blamed for the accident. They will clearly establish the facts of your case so that it is difficult to argue against.
Our Car Crash Lawyer Will Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies, including your own insurance company, are profit-driven, which means that their goal is to pay victims like you as little as possible. They employ large legal teams who will look for ways of reducing the value of your claim. When you have legal representation, you level the playing field.
Insurance companies are more likely to take your case seriously when you have the help of a well-established personal injury law firm. It sends a message that you will not accept less than what you deserve.
Dealing with insurance companies can also be incredibly stressful. Insurance adjusters are skilled at getting victims to admit fault or diminish the extent of their injuries so that they can justify a lower settlement. They may also try to offer a quick settlement in the hopes that the victim will accept, thus giving up their right to fight for more. When you have the help of an Austin car crash lawyer, they will handle all correspondence with insurance companies. This prevents you from accidentally saying something which damages your claim and takes away a lot of the stress.
Determine The Value of Your Damages
Car accident cases can incur a lot of damages, which are the losses that make up the value of your settlement. Some damages are relatively straightforward, such as your property damage, while others, such as your future expenses and your non-economic damages, are more challenging to calculate and evidence.
An experienced Austin car crash lawyer will fight for a fair settlement that is truly representative of your damages, including:
- Property Damage – If any of your property was damaged in the accident, such as your vehicle, you should be compensated for its repair or replacement.
- Medical Bills and Expenses – All of your medical expenses should be recovered in your settlement, including hospital bills and any other costs related to rehabilitation, medication, transport to appointments, and more.
- Ongoing Medical Expenses – If your injuries are ongoing, then you should also be compensated for the estimated costs of future treatment. Your attorney may need to draw upon expert testimony to ensure that your request for compensation carries sufficient evidence.
- Lost Income – If you have had to take time away from work while you receive treatment and heal from your injuries, then you should be compensated for any resulting lost wages.
- Loss of Earning Capacity – If your injuries are severe and you are unlikely to return to work in the same capacity in the near future, then you should be compensated for your future lost income. If your injuries are life-long, then this could justify a lifetime of lost earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering is the legal term for damages relating to your emotional and physical pain. Car accidents are traumatic, and so are the resulting injuries, which could result in a loss of enjoyment. An attorney will help you to provide evidence of how the car accident has affected your life so that you can fight for a fair settlement. These damages are highly contentious but can often make up a significant percentage of victims’ settlements when they have the help of an attorney who understands how to fight for them.
Explore Every Avenue to Compensation
If you suffered severe injuries, then the at-fault party’s insurance coverage may be insufficient to pay for all of your damages. Texas operates under comparative fault, which means that more than one party could share liability for the accident; when this happens, you may be able to claim compensation from more than one source.
For example, perhaps the condition of the road contributed to the accident. In this case, you may be able to claim some compensation from the party responsible for maintaining the road.
An experienced attorney will explore every avenue to compensation to maximize the amount you could receive.
Our Car Crash Attorney Will Represent You in Court if Necessary
Most car accident claims will not go to court. Car accident lawsuits are time-consuming and create additional expenses for the party determined to be at fault. Therefore, it is usually to everyone’s benefit to settle outside of the courtroom.
However, if your case does go to court, then an experienced lawyer will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge. They will have already gathered strong evidence that they can use to support your case.
Even if your case is unlikely to go to court, it is important to have the support of an attorney who has courtroom experience. Often, just the threat of a court case will mean that insurance companies are more likely to offer a fair settlement. Car accident lawyers have reputations with insurance companies, and they know who will be willing to take them to court and who won’t.
When You Might Not Need an Austin Car Crash Attorney After an Accident
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, then we always recommend you contact us for a free consultation. Regardless of your circumstances, you will, at the very least, have a deeper understanding of your case and can make a more informed choice regarding your next steps.
There are some circumstances where you may not need representation from an Austin car crash lawyer, for example:
You Do Not Have Any Injuries
If you or your loved one who was in an accident did not suffer any injuries, then you will not need to pursue a personal injury claim. However, after a car accident, you should always seek a medical examination to make sure that you do not have any injuries. Adrenaline can mask injuries, and some can take a while to develop. If you are not checked by a doctor, then you could unknowingly worsen your injuries.
If an insurance company offers you a fair settlement that covers all of your expenses, then you may not need a car accident lawyer. However, it is very rare that an insurance company will offer a fair settlement without extended negotiations. Once you accept an offer, you will give up your right to fight for more, even if it turns out to be insufficient to cover all of your expenses.
If you have received an offer, even if you think it is fair, you should still contact an Austin car crash attorney for a free consultation. They will assess your case and advise you on whether you should accept the offer or fight for more.
How Do I Find The Best Car Crash Lawyer in Texas?
Once you have decided that it is worth getting a lawyer for a car accident, you are now left with the daunting task of trying to find the right one.
To make your life a little easier, here are a few things to look for when choosing a personal injury lawyer.
Find a Lawyer Dedicated to Personal Injury Cases
Some law firms split their time and resources across multiple practice areas, such as personal injury, criminal defense, and family law. When you find a law firm such as Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, which is dedicated to personal injury, you ensure that all of the law firm’s experience is derived from helping people like you.
Find a Local Car Crash Lawyer
When you have the support of a local attorney, you ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of the state laws surrounding your case.
Do Not Choose an Attorney Based on a Billboard or Television Ad
Some law firms spend a lot of money on large billboards or TV ads, and this is not always representative of a good law firm. Many of the best personal injury law firms get a constant stream of clients through referrals and reputation.
Find a Law Firm That Works on a No-Win No-Fee Basis
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only take payment if you win. This flat percentage of your settlement will be discussed and agreed upon with you before you agree to representation.
It is important to find a law firm that works on a no-win no-fee basis so that you are not at risk of losing money.
Find an Austin Car Wreck Attorney With Trial Experience
Your attorney should be skilled in the courtroom. If they are not, then you could be left vulnerable if your case does go to court. Insurance companies may also be more willing to offer a fair settlement if a court case is a possibility rather than risk being faced with court fees.
Arrange a Free Case Review With One of Our Austin Car Crash Lawyers Today
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we will guide you through the entire legal process. We will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve and will keep you informed about your case at every stage.
Going up against large insurance companies is tough; they have legal teams who are working to devalue your claim. By hiring an experienced Austin car crash lawyer you ensure that you cannot be taken advantage of, and every avenue to fair compensation will be explored.