Car accidents occur daily in Fort Worth and surrounding communities, but each one is unique.
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, you are most likely confused about your rights. You may even question whether you have a viable claim, and if so, against whom.
Some other questions may be:
- Should I Talk to the Insurance Company After the Wreck?
- How Does Car Insurance Work?
- If I Have to File a Lawsuit, do we Sue the Person Who Caused the Wreck or Their Insurance Company?
- How do I Get a Rental Car?
- What Should I Do After a Wreck?
- How Much Is My Car Wreck Case Worth?
- I’m Hurt and Have No Health Insurance. What Do I Do?
How can we help you?
Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC has seen car wrecks in every shape and form. Our years of experience and proven results show that we know what it takes to win your car wreck case.
The number one rule when dealing with an insurance company after a wreck is be cautious. You can bet that the insurance company is looking out for their best interest. This means that the adjuster may try to question you or take a recorded statement immediately following the wreck.
As you know, immediately following a wreck, you are still emotionally shaken and sometimes under the influence of doctor prescribed medications.
It’s Best Not To Give a Recorded Statement to the At-Fault Insurance Co.
At Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC, we strongly suggest not giving a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company regardless of how much the adjuster pressures you to do so; or regardless of how much you believe the other party was at fault. The conversations can happen later.
We suggest you correspond with the insurance company in writing as much as possible. In addition, do not sign any authorizations giving the insurance company permission to obtain your medical records. And certainly do not sign any settlement agreements until they have been revised by a competent personal injury lawyer.
Remember, as kind as an insurance adjuster may sound, he or she is not your friend; he or she works for the insurance company and is mostly likely bonused on factors such as the number of cases he, or she settles and how much money the insurance company saves.
A car accident can cause a number of injuries. The major car accident injuries we see are:
Car accidents can be caused by a number of factors. The major causes of car wrecks we see are:
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Head-On Collisions
- Rear-end Collisions
- Multi Vehicle Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck and don’t have health insurance or your health insurer is refusing to pay for your treatment, Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC can help. We have a network of doctors who will agree to treat you for your injuries and with until your case is resolved before seeking payment. We have helped our clients get treatment for injuries ranging from soft tissue injuries requiring therapy to dental work, plastic surgery and spinal cord surgeries. For more information about this service, click here.
Who Is at Fault in a Car Wreck?
In the legal world, we use the word negligence instead of fault. But they are one in the same according to the Texas Supreme Court. In order to collect compensation for your injuries and property damage, we have to prove that the person who caused the wreck was negligent, or at fault.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is defined as the failure to use ordinary care, that is, failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances or doing that which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
Ordinary Care means that degree of care that would be used by a person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.
Why Does this Matter?
The words defining negligence and ordinary care above are very specific and each one is important. If your case goes to trial, the jury will be given these definitions and asked whether the person who “caused” the wreck was negligent.
Insurance companies know this. They know that the definitions can cause confusion and they will use this to their advantage. In the event your case goes to trial, the insurance lawyer may admit to the jury that his client “caused” the wreck but argue that his client was exercising ordinary care and therefore not negligent.
You need a skilled trial lawyer on your side to combat this type of argument. If you wait too long to consult a lawyer, the insurance company may take your recorded statement and conduct a results oriented investigation aimed at proving their insured (the person who caused the wreck) was not negligent. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact us today and we will immediately begin investigating your case and protecting your rights.
How Else Will Insurance Companies Defend Lawsuits?
In addition to arguing that their insured wasn’t negligent, insurance companies may argue any of the following defense, which if successful could keep them from having to pay for your injuries and damages:
- New and Independent Cause: The insurance company may admit it’s insured caused the wreck but argue that a new and independent cause interrupted the causal chain. A new and independent cause is an act or omission of a separate and independent agency, not reasonably foreseeable, that destroys the causal connection, if any, between the act or omission inquired about and the occurrence in question and thereby becomes the immediate cause of such occurrence.The insurance company may admit it’s insured caused the wreck but the caution was interrupted by a new and independent cause.
- Emergency: The insurance company may argue that their insured was confronted by an “emergency.” In order to argue this defense the “emergency” must arise suddenly and unexpectedly, not be proximately caused by any neglect on the insured’s part and be a situation which, to a reasonable person, required immediate action without time for deliberation. If the insurance company can show their insured’s conduct in such an emergency is not negligent or the the insured did not fail to use ordinary care after such emergency arose, the insurance company can avoid paying for your injuries and damages.
- Unavoidable Accident: The insurance company may argue that the accident was “unavoidable.” An occurrence may be an “unavoidable accident,” that is, an event not proximately caused by the negligence of any party to the occurrence.
- Act of God: The insurance company can also escape liability if it can prove that the accident was the result of an “act of God.” If an occurrence is caused solely by an “act of God,” it is not caused by the negligence of any person. An occurrence is caused by an act of God if it is caused directly an exclusively by the violence of nature, without human intervention, and could not have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care.
Car Accident Settlements
People often try to settle their accident claims by themselves. They think that if they deal with the insurance company on their own, they will avoid having to pay a lawyer a percentage of the settlement. This may be true. And when it is economically beneficial for potential clients to settle on their own, we highly recommend same.
But, as you can see from the definitions of the legal terms above, the personal injury world can be quite confusing. While some people are better off settling their case by themselves, it’s usually better to consult an attorney.
We don’t take every case that calls. If we think you’ll make more money handling your case yourself, we’ll tell you.
Some typical issues “pro se” (Pro se is Latin for “on one’s own”) plaintiffs encounter are:
- Loyalty to the Insurance Company: Many people thing that their insurance company will help them out since they’ve been loyal customers for many years. False. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and will take every opportunity to deny or under pay your claim.
- Settling for Less Than the Case is Worth: Many car accident victims settle for the first offer the insurance company makes. Or perhaps they make one counter demand. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the value of cases, and know how to derive the most value from your case. Moreover, often hiring a reputable personal injury lawyer will result in a higher offer.
- Assuming the Case Will Settle and Not Go to Trial: People always think their case will settle. While it is true that most cases settle, yours could always be the ones that doesn’t. If you haven’t prepared your case well from the beginning, even a great trial lawyer will struggle presenting your case to the jury if you hire him or her late in the game.
How do I Contact a Fort Worth Car Accident Lawyer?
The personal injury lawyers Hutchison & Stoy have an enviable record representing drivers and passengers involved in car accidents in Texas. Call 817-820-0100 or submit a free case evaluation. This could be the most important step you take after a car wreck.