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Following a motor vehicle accident, your life may be turned upside down. You probably have a lot of questions, which is why we provide a lot of FREE information and answers to common questions to help you make good decisions, and protect your rights after an accident.

Insurance company representatives may be calling, or trying to force you into a cheap settlement, and you may have questions about your injuries that nobody has been able to answer for you. Or, perhaps the insurance company is ignoring your calls, dragging their feet, or refusing to offer you what you think is fair.

In these situations, it is important to have a group of trusted San Antonio car accident attorneys who can help you navigate the ins-and-outs of your automobile injury claim, provide you with direction, and answer the many questions and concerns you have about your injuries.

What To Do Immediately After a Car Accident

Every Texan knows that long road trips are a deep Texas tradition. But being on the road and driving for extended periods of time also opens yourself to accidents. And whether it’s your fault or not, accidents of any kind on the road can be incredibly stressful. Knowing what to do in the event of these incidents is half the battle.

Call the Police Right Away

As experienced car accident lawyers in San Antonio, we will tell you the first thing you should after checking yourself and other passengers for injuries is to call 911 right away. Even if you didn’t sustain any injuries or property damages, you need to report the accident to the police.

Be Cool and Polite

It’s normal for accidents to be emotionally charged situations. The kneejerk reaction is to blame the other driver right away, but doing so can cause the reporting police offer to be biased against you, and may give insurance companies reason to give you problems when filing your claim for compensation.

Get Contact Information From Everyone Involved in the Accident

Be sure to get all contact details from other drivers involved in the accident. Include their full name, address, phone number, email address, and insurance company’s name and contact numbers. It’s also a good idea to get the same information from witnesses.

Document the Accident

Take photos of your car and the other driver’s car. If one or both cars were totaled and you don’t have a camera with you, ask where the cars will be towed so you can take pictures there.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, some injuries like concussions can show up hours later. A doctor’s report will also give you an official record of your injuries, which will be critical evidence when filing your claim.

Contact a Lawyer

You can also contact a car accident attorney, who can help arrange your claim while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Do I still Need a Car Accident Attorney Even if the Other Driver was Clearly At Fault For My Car Accident?

If you’re injured in a car accident in San Antonio and the other driver was found driving drunk, texting while driving, or engaging in some kind of reckless behavior, you may be wondering what use a personal injury lawyer will be, when the case looks like it would obviously be in your favor.

However, when it comes to accident injury claims in Texas, proving negligence can be a much more complex process than you may believe, and the insurance companies know this. That is why they will often deny, or grossly undervalue claims where liability seems fairly clear.

Making things more complicated is how the insurance adjuster for the other driver will likely do everything possible to give you as low a settlement offer as possible.

Some adjusters will even try to pin a portion of liability on you, or trick you into providing a recorded statement and then twisting your statements to make it appear that you were partially at fault for the accident, and are therefore ineligible for compensation. Sometimes, even cases that seem like a slam-dunk won’t necessarily end in your favor, especially if you don’t have a good San Antonio injury attorney working for you.

When Do I Call a Lawyer?

Anyone recovering from a car accident caused by another party can benefit from legal assistance. Even in cases that seem to have an outcome clearly in your favor, a skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected and that you get a favorable resolution to your claim. A San Antonio auto accident lawyer can help ensure the negligent driver is held responsible for the accident, allowing you to proceed with confidence during negotiations with the adjuster.

Understanding Types of Compensation You Can Receive After a Car Wreck in Texas

Assuming that the accident was not your fault, and that you’re filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, the following are the types of compensation available in for an accident that occurred in Texas (discussed more thoroughly below):

  • Property Damage
  • Past Medical Expenses
  • Future Medical Expenses
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Mental Anguish (difficult to get in Texas)
  • Disfigurement & Impairment
  • Lost wages – Both past and future
  • Lost Earning Capacity – Both past and future
  • Loss of Consortium & Household services

Property Damage Compensation

After a car wreck, your call will have damage, and you’ll need to get it repaired. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company should pay for these repairs, as well as the cost of putting you in a rental car (see our article about who pays for rental cars here).

One thing to consider is getting your car repaired at a collision center that offers a lifetime warranty on repairs. In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will have preferred shops that offer a lifetime warranty on the work they do. Always ask around, and find a shop that warranties their work, and get the warranty in writing.

Past Medical Expenses

Past medical expenses are what most injured people refer to as simply “medical expenses.” Technically, it’s the cost of the medical car you’ve received already at the time you settle your claim. Past medical is calculated by looking at the amount was paid by you or your insurance company, and the amounts that you still owe. Note that if your health insurance paid any of your medical expenses, it is entitled to be reimbursement for what they paid. If this is the case, you may want to consult with an attorney to help negotiate this, or you could end up owing your health insurance company money.

WARNING: You should not settle your claim if you are uncertain whether or not you will need medical care in the future as a result of the accident. If you think you might need future care, you are almost always better off getting an attorney because insurance companies will not want to pay future medical – an attorney can level the playing field, and insure that your future interests are taken into consideration in whatever settlement you reach.

Future Medical Expenses

Future medical expenses are simply an estimate of medical expenses you’ll need in the future. Insurance companies hate paying future medical because the expenses are estimated, and are not certain. They will rarely pay a person future medical expenses unless that person is represented by an attorney. An experienced injury attorney knows what evidence is required, and how to present a claim for future medical expenses in a way that they can be considered in a settlement agreement. Keep in mind, once you settle your case you don’t get to come back later and get more money. That is why you MUST include a claim for future medical before you settle your case.

Pain & Suffering

Pain & suffering damages are very subjective and difficult to measure, which is why insurance companies hate paying them. However, if the nature of your injury caused you more than a minimal amount of pain, and you suffered from such pain, you are technically entitled to compensation under Texas law. The level of compensation depends on the amount of pain that would be expected for the type of injuries you sustained.

The greater the injuries, the more willing the insurance company will be to consider pain & suffering damages in their settlement. Pain and suffering, like medical expenses, is measured for both past pain & suffering, as well as pain and suffering that a person will likely endure in the future (if any).

Mental Anguish

While mental anguish damages are technically available in Texas, they are difficult to be under current Texas law. Getting a jury to award mental anguish damages in Texas is also difficult, which is why insurance adjusters don’t usually offer anything to compensate injured persons for mental anguish. Generally, the anguish you suffer needs to be so intense that it is more than mere disappointment, embarrassment, or anger, or difficulty. Things like grief, public humiliation, deep despair, intense shame, or indignation are closer to what the courts and juries would look for to consider mental anguish damages. These damages are also measured for both past and into the future.

Disfigurement & Impairment

If your injuries were severe enough to cause scarring, loss of limb, etc., then you would likely have a valid claim for disfigurement damages. The amount of damages would depend upon how bad the scarring and disfigurement is. The more noticeable a scar, and the more likely it is that others see it, the greater the damages. For example, a young lady with a scar on her face will likely be entitled to greater damages than a older man with a small scan on the small of his back.

Impairment damages considers whether or not there are things you can no longer do, or whether you have limitations because of the accident that you didn’t have before the accident. For example, if you had to have knee surgery, and can no longer jog or run (and you could before), you have been impaired by your injuries, and are likely entitled to compensation.

Lost Wages

Another cost commonly associated with accidents is the wages a person loses when they have to miss work. If you missed work because of the accident, you have the right to be compensated. You’ll need evidence, such as employment records, to prove your claim. This can be difficult for people who are self-employed, but a good attorney can help you in this regard.

Lost wages can also be measured in terms of future lost wages. For example, if you were a truck driver making $80,000 per year, but can no longer drive a truck because of your injuries, and you only qualify for a $50,000 per year job, you have likely lost $30,000 per year for every year you live into the future. Future lost wages can be difficult to calculate, and require specific evidence. An experienced injury attorney can help you with this.

Lost Earning Capacity

Loss of earning capacity is similar to lost wages in the future, but measures your capacity to earn in the future. If your injuries make it so you’ll not be able to be promoted because you can no longer do the things you once could.

Loss of Consortium and Household Services

If an injury causes you to be unable to be intimate with your spouse, you may be able to recover (and your spouse may as well) for loss of consortium. Additionally, if you have to pay someone to do things around the house (such as mow the lawn) because your injuries prevent you from doing these things, you may also have a claim to loss of household services.

How Long Will It Take To Settle My Injury Claim?

One of the questions that nearly every client of ours asks is “how long will it take to settle my insurance claim?” Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to foresee how long it will take at the beginning of a case, because there are a lot of factors that come into play that affect how quickly your claim can be settled.

One thing is certain though; rushing the settlement of your injury claim is almost always a mistake. The three main factors that influence how long it will take to settle your claim are:

  1. How Badly You Were Injured
  2. The Insurance Company Involved
  3. Whether a Lawsuit is Needed

Your Injuries & Medical Treatment

The most decisive factor in determining how long it will take to settle your injury case is how badly you were injured. This is because the worse the injuries, the longer it will take you to get the treatment you need to either recover from your injuries or reach MMI (maximum medical improvement). MMI is a term used to describe someone who is finished treating, but wasn’t able to return to pre-injury functioning (basically, you’re as healed as you’re going to get, but not 100%).

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is getting in a rush to settle your claim before your injuries, and required treatment, is known.

If you settle your injury claim before the full extent of your injuries is fully known, you will not know how much treatment your injuries will require, nor will you know how much your medical bills will be. This will almost always cause you to severely undervalue your injury claim, leaving you stuck paying much of your medical bills out of your own pocket – huge mistake!

Also, until you have reached your MMI, you will not know how your injuries will affect you into the future. Sometimes, if therapy and conservative measures have failed to provide relief from pain, you have to be referred to a specialist or surgeon, which can end up costing more money and taking more time.

That is why you should never settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before you know the full extent of your injuries. Rushing to settle your claim is a huge mistake. We get calls regularly from people who settled their claim with the insurance company, and want to see if the settlement can be reversed because they found out they need surgery, or have other medical issues that weren’t anticipated. Sadly, once you sign that release, you’re done – period. There is no going back to the insurance company – they won’t pay you a penny more, no matter how compelling your story.

The Insurance Companies Involved

Another factor in determining how quickly your claim will settle depends upon the insurance company the at-fault driver has. Why does this matter?

Simply put, all insurance companies are not the same. Cut-rate, el-cheapo insurance companies are often difficult to deal with, and will fight you on every little detail, and every penny. While this is true witih most insurance companies, it’s especially true with low-cost insurance providers (in my experience and opinion, Fred Loya, ACCC, and Pronto are among the worst). Because their rates are generally lower, they will fight you tooth and nail, and are generally very unreasonable.

When the other driver’s insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, it can dramatically increase the time it takes to settle your claim. Often times you have to sue these companies to make them pay you a fair settlement – this increases the time it takes to settle a claim.

Filing a Lawsuit

As mentioned above, filing a lawsuit is sometimes required if the insurance company doesn’t offer you a reasonable settlement. This increases the amount of time it will take to settle your claim. Lawsuits can take more than a year to resolve.

Don’t Miss Important Deadlines

If you’ve been working with the insurance company on your claim for 6-8 months, and haven’t gotten a reasonable offer to settle your claim, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer because there are strict timelines that must be met. If you miss one of these deadlines, you will likely be prevented from making a claim at all.

I received a call recently from someone who had been trying to handle their claim on their own. The insurance adjuster informed him that they were withdrawing all previous offers because the statute of limitations had passed. He wanted to know what he could do. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations is the date by which you must file a lawsuit, otherwise you will not be able to bring a claim. This particular person missed that date, and did not receive a single penny to compensate him for any of his medical bills, lost wages, or other damages.

How A Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Auto insurance adjusters are not on your side, and are not concerned with your best interests. Contrary to what they may say on television, you’re seldom “in good hands” when negotiating an injury claim with an insurance adjuster. Their goal is not to treat you fairly, but rather to pay you as little as possible. While an insurance adjuster may be friendly, and reassuring, if you believe that they have your interests in mind when settling your case, you will be sorely disappointed.

Recently, a study by the Insurance Research Council revealed that car accident victims who hired an car accident attorney received 5 times more compensation than those who tried to settle the claim without a car accident lawyer on their side.

This is why our San Antonio car accident lawyers in fight so hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve, and protect them from the unfair practices of the insurance companies.

San Antonio Auto Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, know your rights and get the compensation you deserve by calling our team of car accident lawyers. Contact us at (210) 593-8709 for a FREE case analysis.

Some of the cities in Bexar County which our fatal car accident lawyers serve include: San Antonio, Kirby, Leon Valley, Converse, Live Oak, Universal City, Schertz, New Braunfels, Pleasanton, Seguin, Canyon Lake, Hondo, San Marcos, Kyle, Kerryville and Lockhart.

Common San Antonio, TX Car Accident Questions

How Can I Make Up For All The Time And Wages I Lost From Work?
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How Am I Going To Pay For My Medical Bills?
How Am I Going To Get Around Without A Vehicle?
How Will I Be Compensated For My Injuries?
How Long Does It Take To Settle An Injury Claim?
Do I Need A Lawyer?

Do You Have A Case?

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