A serious automobile accident has the potential to not only disrupt your health and day-to-day life but also to devastate your finances. Medical expenses, missed work, and other losses incurred can quickly spiral out of control.
When you are not at fault for the accident and the responsible party is covered by “statutorily-required” liability insurance, you may be able to resolve these damages with the responsible party’s insurance carrier. The responsible party’s insurance carrier has a duty to their own insured to promptly settle a covered claim when its reasonably clear the other driver was at fault. However, if the insurance carrier is not willing to compensate you for all personal injury damages owed, including any pain and suffering for your injuries, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If so, you generally have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit under Texas law.
As a primary matter and regardless of whether you ultimately file a lawsuit, it is important that you take care of yourself to ensure that you are healing. You should also attempt to save all documentation, notes, and paperwork from the incident, including any photographs and videos of your automobile and of your injuries. Make sure to document all visits to healthcare providers following the incident, as well as any follow-up appointments and continuing treatment resulting from the incident, and your prescription costs. You should also keep track of any and all time missed from your job and request a verification of lost wages from your employer’s human resources department, if applicable. Save all invoices for repairs made to your automobile and for other incidental damages (such as rental car fees) if you also have a property damage claim.
A crash report can provide vital support in favor of your claim. If you do not have a copy of a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (or if you need to complete a Driver’s Crash Report when the crash is not investigated by a law enforcement officer), you can obtain one by following the instructions at the Texas Department of Transportation’s website: http://www.txdot.gov/driver/laws/crash-reports.html. Note that time is of the essence when you are submitting your own crash report.
If you have been in an automobile collision in Texas, it would be wise to gather all information related to your potential claim or case as soon as possible. Hiring an experienced attorney to represent you throughout this process will save you time and should bring you peace of mind in the effort to resolve your claim. The potential loss of information due to the passage of time is yet another reason why it may be a good idea to retain an attorney following a serious automobile accident.