The car accident lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC have created this page to help answer all the questions you may have that relate to your auto accident.
Our team is here to help!
Car accidents occur daily in Fort Worth and surrounding communities, but each one is unique.
Each victim is injured in a different way, whether it be an emotional injury, physical injury or both. And each wreck has its own set of facts – its own causes.
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?
- What’s The Average Car Accident Settlement?
- I’m Hurt and Have No Health Insurance. What Do I Do?
- Everything You Need to Know About Contingency Fee and No Win, No Fee Lawyers
How can Hutchison & Stoy help you?
Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC has the leading Fort Worth personal injury lawyers and have 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.
Our Fort Worth auto accident attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and receive numerous awards in the legal industry every year. The lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy are also members, directors, and Presidents of several legal associations around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
These memberships include:
- Texas Trial Lawyers Association
- Tarrant County Bar Association
- Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association
- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
The personal injury lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy will make sure you get the representation and compensation you deserve. Contact our team today!
What Do I Do About the Insurance Company After a Car Wreck?
The number one rule when dealing with an insurance company after a wreck is being 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.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
A car accident can cause a number of injuries. The major injuries our car accident attorneys see include:
Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents can be caused by a number of factors. The major causes our car accident lawyers see include:
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Head-On Collisions
- Rear-end Collisions
- Multi-Vehicle Accident
I’m Hurt and I Don’t Have Health Insurance
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, the accident lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC can help and give you legal advice.
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 and 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 Proving Negligence 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 personal injury attorney 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 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 auto 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 the 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 a car accident 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 think 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 underpay 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 don’t. If you haven’t prepared your case well from the beginning, even a great trial lawyer will struggle to present your case to the jury if you hire him or her late in the game.
How much should you expect from a Car Accident Settlement?
Every car accident is different and there can be thousands of variables to consider when calculating a settlement amount. These include your injuries, medical bills, loss of income, treatment plans, and other factors depending on the wreck.
If you want to get a rough estimate of how much to expect from a car accident settlement, add up your expenses for medical bills, car repairs and lost wages. Multiply that sum by three to five.
The attorneys at Hutchison & Stoy have created a personal injury calculator to help you get an estimated settlement value for your car accident case.
What is the Standard Contingency Fee for a Lawyer?
The average contingency fee for a personal injury lawyer is 33 1/3 to 40 percent for a personal injury case. This fee varies based on the case and if the case ends up going to trial.
With a contingency fee agreement, you do not pay a lawyer until your case has settled. This means no money out of your pocket at all for any medical bills, treatment, or any other expenses related to your accident.
The car accident lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy will handle every detail of your case, make sure you get the proper treatment and get the compensation you deserve!
Talk to an Attorney Today!
The personal injury lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy have an enviable record representing drivers and passengers involved in car accidents in Texas.
Hutchison & Stoy has a team of accident lawyers that specialize in auto accidents and claims. Call our primary office in downtown Fort Worth, Texas to get legal advice from an experienced injury attorney today!
This could be the most important step you take after a car wreck.