Auto Accident Attorneys in Dallas Who Fight To Win #RefuseToLose
Car crashes are terrible. They are dangerous, scary, costly, and painful.
In 2010, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recorded nearly 33,000 deaths on the road, almost four million people injured, and over 24 million cars damaged. The same study showed a total cost to Americans of $836 billion. That’s about $2,700 for every person in the U.S. As you can see and already likely know, car crashes are serious business.
What you should do after a car crash isn’t always clear, and figuring that out can be a painful process itself. A car accident lawyer in Dallas can help minimize the confusion and pain of the process following a car crash.
With nearly 60 years of experience as a top-tier small firm in the Dallas Texas area, The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C.’s Dallas car accident lawyers can help guide you through this difficult time. Since 1962, we have been doing just that.
There are several things you can do to after an accident to stay safe, follow the law, and prepare for a successful claim.
Car Crashes In Texas
Texas is a big state. Because of this, a whole lot of driving goes on in Texas. According to DOT, 23 billion miles were driven on Texas roads in 2019.
Car crashes are an unfortunate side effect of all this driving. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), on Texas roads in 2016:
- One person was killed every two-and-a-half hours;
- One person was injured every two minutes; and
- One reportable crash occurred every minute.
These are not small numbers, and they don’t just represent 2016. TxDOT has a handy tool to look up car crash statistics. According to the instrument, in 2019, a total of nearly 650,000 car crashes occurred in Texas. Of those, roughly 63,000, or almost 10%, occurred in Dallas County.
Causes of Car Accidents
Car crashes can happen for many reasons. The reason for any car crash isn’t limited to one specific cause either. Some of the most common causes of car accidents are:
- Distracted driving (like texting or talking on the phone, for example);
- Alcohol or drug use;
- Mechanical failure (like a tire blowout or someone’s brake lights not working);
- Failing to obey traffic signals (like running a stop sign or red light);
- Passing someone on a two-lane road;
- Driving at night; and
- Driving in poor weather conditions.
There are many other causes of car accidents, but these are the most common ones. Distracted driving is a widespread cause of car accidents. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), car accidents caused by distracted driving kill nine and injure 1,000 people on any given day.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Injuries from car accidents range from bumps and bruises to death and disfigurement. They can also involve both physical and psychological injuries.
Common Physical Injuries
Many types of physical injuries can result from a car accident, but some are particularly common.
Head and neck injuries
Head and neck injuries are common in car accidents. One reason that head and neck injuries are so common is that a seatbelt does not restrain your head, unlike much of your body.
Whiplash is a frequent injury. Whiplash happens when your head and neck are suddenly jerked back and forth by a crash’s impact. Neck pain from whiplash may seem like a small injury, but it can have long-term damaging effects. These effects can cost a lot of time and money.
Concussions are also common injuries in car crashes. It is easy for a person’s head to hit a part of the car during an impact, causing a concussion. If hit from behind, you can easily knock your head against the dashboard. A deployed airbag can also cause a concussion. Like whiplash, a concussion can seem like a minor inconvenience at first, but is serious business. Concussions can lead to personality changes, vision problems, and long-term emotional disorders.
It is easy to fracture or break a bone in a car crash. Your wrists are particularly vulnerable if struck while you are holding onto a steering wheel. Further, if a vehicle compartment that you are in gets crushed, it can easily break a bone.
Broken ribs are also very common in car accidents. Though a seatbelt will likely save your life, your chest’s impact against it can easily break one or more of your ribs.
Other muscle or skeletal injuries
Car accidents can cause any number of injuries to your muscles, bones, or tendons. You could end up with a knee injury from hitting your knees on the seat in front of you. Or you could end up with a long-term tendon or nerve issue that relates to broken bones.
Common Psychological Injuries
Car accidents are traumatic and scary. Because of this, they can cause psychological injuries. Common psychological injuries from car accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Depression due to injury or disability;
- Guilt or depression if you caused an accident or injury;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following involvement in a traumatic accident; and
- Psychological disorders that stem from head trauma.
All of these injuries—psychological, physical, or both—can be very serious. An injury that seems small at first can turn into a long-term problem, so it is key to seek medical care as soon as symptoms arise. That way, you can minimize the damage and disruption caused by a car accident in your life.
Steps to Take After a Dallas Car Accident
Because they happen suddenly, it can be hard to know what to do immediately following a car accident. If you are in an accident, keep the following steps in mind to help stay safe and avoid unnecessary complications following the accident.
If you and your car can still drive safely, pull over to the side of the road or somewhere safe and stop. If you have moved beyond the scene of the accident, return to it if possible. In any case, do not leave or flee the location of the accident. Further, if you cannot safely operate your vehicle to pull it over, don’t try to do it.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
If there is an emergency for anyone involved in the accident, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, ensure everyone is not in immediate danger, and provide any reasonable assistance to get anyone injured proper medical care. This ‘reasonable assistance’ is required by Texas law.
Exchange Information and Call the Police
Once you make sure everyone is safe, exchange information with the other driver or drivers and anyone else involved in the accident. Get their name, address, phone number, and vehicle registration number. You are allowed to ask to see their driver license. Also, if asked to show your driver license, you are required to do so.
If injury or death has occurred, or if any of the vehicles involved cannot drive safely, you are required by Texas law to call the police immediately. The police will then write and file a report on the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Agency
Immediately after the police arrive and an accident report is filed, it is important to notify your insurance provider of the accident’s details. Telling your insurance provider begins the claims process. Once you have contacted your insurance agency, it will be helpful to also contact a Dallas auto accident lawyer.
Comparative Fault Laws in Texas
Texas uses a modified comparative fault law. This law uses something called the 51% bar. According to the 51% bar, if you are more than 50% at fault for any accident, you cannot recover any damages.
If there is any question of who is at fault, an insurance company will always try to blame the other party. The 51% rule is why the initial accident report is so important. Further, as discussed below, the 51% rule is why gathering evidence after an accident is vital to your claim. The difficulties you can have with the 51% rule make it important to contact a car wreck lawyer in Dallas to help explain it.
Evidence to Collect for a Successful Claim
Because of the 51% bar to compensation in Texas, you must gather evidence after an accident to file a successful claim.
This evidence will prove you are not at fault for the accident and allow you to recover damages. It is up to you to gather this evidence. Use the following list of steps to gather evidence:
- Take pictures at the scene of the accident (damages to both vehicles, parties injured, driver licenses, etc.);
- Take additional photos of damage later if not initially noticed or photographed;
- Keep records of all costs (medical, repair, lost wages, etc.);
- Keep a record of any injury symptoms;
- If there are witnesses, get their contact information, have them give a statement, and obtain any photo or video they have of the accident; and
- Obtain a copy of the police report.
All of this evidence will help build your case and prove you were not at fault. You could lose your right to compensation if you fail to collect evidence that proves you were 50% or less at fault.
Compensation You Are Entitled to After a Car Accident in Dallas
If you are 50% or less at fault for the accident, you are entitled to compensation. You can calculate your damages based on all losses that arise from the accident, but the amount of your recovery will be reduced by any percentage of fault assigned to you. Your losses may include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical fees;
- Lost wages;
- Psychological damages, including mental pain and anguish;
- Lost earning potential; and
- Repair costs.
Be sure to document all of these costs so you can show that they came from the accident and receive proper compensation.
When to File a Claim
Always file a claim as soon as possible. In Texas, you have two years from the date of an accident to file a claim. Don’t wait. File your claim as soon as you can.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
It is crucial to have an experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas, TX, on your side. Drawing on their experience, your lawyer will help you gather evidence and help present it in such a way to minimize your fault.
Without a lawyer, you may miss a vital piece of evidence. Also, the other party’s insurance company will try to prove that you are at fault to avoid paying compensation. The insurance company has its team of lawyers working to help them avoid payment, so to be on equal footing, you must also have a lawyer.
An experienced car accident lawyer will help you document damages and follow all procedural rules. Details like these can make or break your case.
Contact Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyers Today
The Zimmerman Law Firm brings over 60 years of Texas experience to the table to help you get the compensation you deserve. Car accidents are one of our focus areas, so you can be sure that we know the claims process’s ins and outs.
Most importantly, The Zimmerman Law Firm is here for you. Our goal is to provide the best and most personalized client experience possible. When you first meet with The Zimmerman Law Firm, you will meet with the attorney who will work with you through your entire case—not a paralegal. Contact our Dallas car accident attorneys today!