If you have Googled “car accident attorney near me,” you are probably wondering whether or not you have the right to sue another driver for damages. Personal injury law outlines specific conditions that need to be met in order for you to collect compensation. With the right lawyer in Houston, Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio, you can learn whether or not you have grounds to file a claim and how to go about preparing your case.
How Do You Know If You Have a Case Against the Other Driver?
If you have been injured in a car accident, receiving adequate compensation can help with your medical bills and other expenses. And while winning a case against the other driver cannot undo the pain and stress you experienced in the months following the crash, you have a right to claim monetary compensation for the disruption in your life.
Speaking with a lawyer is the best way to understand how your case would hold up in court. Even if you believe the evidence in your favor is strong, you will need to present it correctly. On the other hand, if you think some aspect of the accident would be detrimental to your case, you might learn that you can leverage the law to overcome the obstacle. So, under what circumstances do you have a case against the other driver?
You Can Prove That the Other Driver Acted Negligently
When you are filing any personal injury claim, your case must rest on evidence that another individual violated a duty of care that he or she owed you. A duty of care is an obligation to act with a reasonable degree of concern for the safety of others. In the case of driving, everyone operating a vehicle must follow the rules of the road and abstain from engaging in dangerous behavior and taking unnecessary risks.
You Can Demonstrate That the Other Driver Injured You
Sometimes, drivers make mistakes without incurring negative consequences. According to the letter of the law, you will need to prove that the other driver’s actions directly led to your injuries. Going to the ER on the date of the accident can create a strong link between your condition and the crash. If you did not go to the hospital right away, try to be seen by a doctor as soon as you can.
You Have Evidence for Your Losses
A personal injury is compensated according to how much difficulty it caused the injured party. If you have grounds to claim that the other driver caused the crash and injured you as a result, the court will need to see evidence of your injury itself and the losses it incurred.
The “losses” associated with a car crash often include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Future medical expenses
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyable leisure activities
- Loss of consortium
What Does Negligence Look Like?
Proving negligence is a key component to having a successful personal injury claim, and understanding what constitutes negligence is vital to building a strong case. So, what kinds of negligent actions can lead to a car crash? Here are some examples of situations in which you might have grounds to argue that the other driver acted irresponsibly:
The Other Driver Was Distracted
Each year, countless injuries are caused by drivers who are distracted. Texting while driving is an especially common issue, and it is against the law in Texas to either send or receive an electronic message while operating a vehicle.
The Other Driver Broke the Law
The rules of the road are designed to keep everyone safe. If the driver who hit you exceeded the speed limit, ran a red light, failed to stop at a stop sign, or turned without signaling, you could have a case against him or her. Other violations that often lead to injuries include changing lanes without checking the car’s blind spots, operating a vehicle without a valid license, and driving a car that has not undergone proper maintenance.
Most instances of negligent driving involve transgressions that seem minor until they lead to injuries. Some accidents, however, are caused by individuals who knowingly put others in jeopardy by engaging in particularly outrageous behaviors. Drunk driving, road rage, driving under the influence of drugs, and deliberately causing harm are examples of gross negligence. If the driver who hit you displayed one of these behaviors at the time of the crash, he or she could face criminal charges and punitive damages.
Never Assume You Don’t Have a Case Against the Other Driver
Too many people forgo the compensation they deserve because they assume they do not have grounds to win a car accident case. If you have been injured and the other driver was at fault, you should not have to pay for the damages out of pocket. When in doubt, talk to a lawyer. Here are some situations in which you may still have a case even if you believe you don’t:
You Had a Pre-existing Condition at the Time of the Accident
You may have heard that it is harder to win compensation if you have a pre-existing medical condition that could have factored into your injuries. In fact, personal injury law in Texas states that having a preexisting condition does not disqualify you from receiving a payout.
To clearly demonstrate your damages, you and your lawyer will need to provide medical records showing the state of your health prior to the crash. The court will then be able to determine how much the accident aggravated your condition and compensate you for the losses that you would not have experienced if the accident hadn’t happened.
You Were Partially Responsible
An accident can be the result of multiple errors. For example, imagine that an intoxicated driver hit you while you were texting and operating a vehicle at the same time. A court would likely find that you and the other driver shared responsibility for the crash. In that case, you might assume that your claim would be invalid. In fact, as long as you were less than 50% at fault, you can still collect compensation for a portion of your losses.
The Other Driver Was Uninsured
The right to collect damages from a driver who harmed you is not contingent on whether or not he or she has insurance. While it can be more challenging to collect compensation from an individual who does not have the means to pay, your lawyer can help you determine the best way to avoid paying for the damages yourself.
If you have uninsured/underinsured driver insurance, you may be able to use your own policy. Otherwise, the other driver may be able to liquidate recreational assets or withdraw funds from a savings account. Whether you are preparing to deal with an insurance company or the other driver’s defense lawyers, your lawyer can help you formulate a strategy.
Where Can I Find a Car Accident Attorney Near Me in Dallas, Austin, Houston, or San Antonio?
Our firm has the resources and expertise needed to take on the most challenging personal injury cases. You can learn more about your eligibility for compensation by speaking with us directly. We will be happy to review your case and give you a free evaluation in Dallas, Austin, Houston, or San Antonio. To get in touch, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC.