The Attorneys at our Texas Law Offices Help You Understand What to do After a Car Wreck
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you must be aware that some would deny you fair injury compensation. A car accident can be a minor fender bender in a mall parking lot. Or they can be destructive wrecks that cause devastating injuries and deep scars, physically and psychologically, on the lives of the unlucky drivers, passengers, and by-definition, their families.
Whether your accident is minor, moderate, or more serious, and if the accident is not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for the financial, physical, and emotional injuries you suffered from it. But it is impossible even to guess, much less compute, the amount you may be entitled. The damages you have a right to seek depend on the circumstances and the injuries you have suffered from the wreck.
The Texas car accident attorneys at our Law Firm want to share some general information that applies to most car accident cases. We also wish to help you understand if you have a valid claim against those who may have caused the accident and explain how an insurance policy can affect your chances of winning just compensation. We’ll also explain the circumstances in which hiring a car accident attorney can greatly benefit your case. And finally, we will illustrate the things you should look for when selecting a vehicle accident attorney who can best assist you with your case.
The Process of Winning Accident Injury Compensation and How to Build a Winning Case
With hundreds of thousands of vehicle accidents happening every year, it’s a certainty that eventually, you or a family member will be involved in one. But how do we know whether or not we have a successful personal injury case against a defendant who should reimburse us for our injuries and other legal damages? Most of the time, an accident victim has a legal right to collect money for his injuries by proving the four elements of a car accident claim in court. Since all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the burden to you, the injured plaintiff. You must prove you are owed damages by the defendants who only have to deny and disprove your claim.
There are four elements to proving injuries against a defendant, and you must demonstrate your charges are correct. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below, we’ll briefly discuss each of these four elements so that you will have a better idea of what it will take to prove that you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries by a negligent driver.
To have a successful car accident claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed you a specific duty of care. Duty of care is defined by whether a reasonable person, under the same circumstances, could have anticipated that their action or inaction would have caused injury to another person. All people have a legal duty to avoid causing harm to another person. Sometimes a duty of care is pretty clear cut. A generally accepted example of duty behind the wheel is this: At a red light, you have must stop. A reasonable person in the same circumstances would be able to see that not stopping at the red light could cause an injury to the driver who has the right-of-way. Other times the duty of care can be more challenging to define because it can depend on the mitigating circumstances surrounding the accident and the injury. We’ll share a few examples of these possible exceptions shortly.
The next step is to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care he or she owed you. To prove this, you have to clearly show that the defendant acted unreasonably and didn’t adequately perform his duty as a driver. To confirm that the defendant breached the duty of care, you must have clear evidence to show what the other driver did or did not do to cause the accident. A jury will examine this evidence and the other facts in the case to decide whether the defendant’s actions were reasonable (or not) under the circumstances. Some examples of behavior that might be considered unreasonable include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, rolling through stop signs, improper lookout (the driver didn’t look for your car and went through an intersection or carelessly changed lanes on a freeway), or driving without headlights in the dark, just to name a few. Of course, all of these examples are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you can prove that the other driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances, then you have shown the jury that the defendant clearly breached his duty of care and acted negligently.
Once you show that the defendant breached the duty of care to you, you must next show causation. You must prove that the breach by the defendant was the cause of the vehicle accident that produced your injuries. Many times, to avoid liability for your injuries, the defendant will try to shift the responsibility of the accident to someone else. They may say another driver, a pedestrian, or even you forced them to react, leading to the mishap to get out of paying for your injuries. They might claim “unforeseeable circumstances” such as a homeless person stepped in their path and forced them to hit you, to their toddler threw a bottle of apple juice at them, which caused the accident. Maybe it happened, perhaps it didn’t. If the defendant can convince the jury that a third party’s unforeseen actions caused the accident, he might not have to compensate you for your injuries. To prove causation, you must show evidence that proves the person responsible for the accident, and your injuries is the one who is liable for legal damages.
Once you’ve proven the negligent defendant caused the breach of the duty of care he owed you while he was behind the wheel of his auto and then hit you, it’s time to demonstrate how much you are entitled to collect from the defendant for your legal damages and hand him the bill in court. “Damages” is the legal term that describes the amount the defendant owes you for your injuries. You will need to prove to the jury that the injuries the defendant caused have a specific dollar value and that you have calculated them reasonably. To prove the damages you sustained, you have to show the court evidence of your losses as a result of the injuries caused by the defendant.
While you and your car accident attorney are busy crunching numbers to establish your damage amount, the defendants are also doing the very same thing. They call it “totaling up the losses” (or what they will argue are the losses, and their number is certainly lower than yours). Damage amounts are almost always the most contentious issue in a car accident case. Defendants often claim that they owe you much less than you’re asking. They might accuse you of asking for a handout by saying your requested amount is far higher than traditional payouts, or that your suit is frivolous. Some sly defense attorneys may compare your damage suit to a winning lottery ticket as they ask for relief. So you must clearly show the jury that your requested damage amount is realistic and proportional to the actual harm done to you and any of your vehicle’s passengers who might have been in the car at the time of the accident. This is usually good news, as arguing over the damage amount is often the last stand of a guilty defendant who is throwing himself at the mercy of the court. You must finish your case strongly: with clear evidence that illustrates your losses and substantiates the sm total of your damages.
Determining the full amount of damages is as crucial as the other three burdens of proof since you have only got one chance at receiving compensatory damages from any single negligent defendant. You don’t get a second bite at that apple. But computing every single loss can be challenging unless you have an experienced attorney specializing in vehicle injury accidents who knows the value of personal injury losses and how to calculate them effectively.
How do you put a price tag on an intangible loss such as pain and suffering, or that of your child?
In calculating the loss of earning capacity, how do you account for hypothetical raises and promotions you would have received had you continued to work, or gotten a promotion, or were hired away by another company at double your current salary? How can you calculate how much all of your medical bills will amount to if your treatment is not yet complete, and your doctor can’t tell how long it will last? The Texas auto accident lawyers at our Law Firm know how to account for and calculate every one of your damages, and make sure that you recover as much as possible for your injuries.
Call us today. One of our accident injury attorneys will patiently listen to you, analyze your case, and explain your options. Our goal is to make sure that you recover as much as possible for your injuries and make this sometimes complicated legal process as easy as possible for you to bear.
The period after a car accident is often stressful and confusing. Don’t add to it and the confusion it creates by letting an inexperienced attorney handle your case or represent yourself when you are unqualified. With decades of experience, we are uniquely qualified and fully prepared to get you the best results possible. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, contact an attorney at our Texas Law Firm today at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.