HOUSTON – LEGAL – A car accident can not only be scary; it can be hugely disruptive to your life. If you have been in an accident where your car has been damaged or you have sustained injuries, the process to recover is not always a simple one. If you are injured, there are specific steps that you have to take to ensure that your injuries are covered. Unfortunately, most of those steps need to be taken immediately, while you are already shaken and potentially hurt.
The first thing that you must do is seek medical care. Even if you think that it was just a “fender- bender” and you are only a little sore, those minor injuries can grow into something major. It is imperative that you have a professional exam you so that if your injuries become something substantial, you have the proper documentation to recover your medical costs.
Once you have sought the necessary medical attention, you might be asking yourself who you would sue to recover for your medical bills and property damage. Many wonder whether you sue the other driver or their insurance carrier, assuming the motorist had insurance. It is a law in Houston that every driver carries liability insurance, but that does not mean that everyone does. If you are in an accident and the other driver is at fault, their insurance carrier is liable for your injuries.
The ideal situation in any Houston car accident is to negotiate a fair settlement without the case having to go to court. But there are times when you must escalate the process in order to be fairly compensated. A personal injury attorney in Houston is your best resource to examine whether a settlement is fair or if you are better off suing the insurance company to get what is rightfully deserved.
To find out who you should sue, the first step is to determine who is legally “at fault” for the accident. If the accident is 100% the fault of the other driver, then they are responsible for your injuries and medical expenses. A Houston car accident lawyer can help you to figure out how much you are entitled to when you are injured. In personal injury suits, you are entitled to recover both economic and noneconomic damages. Things like pain and suffering, however, aren’t always as easy to discern.
If there is a question about who is at fault, then things can get a little more complex. There are times when both drivers bear partial responsibility for the accident. When that happens, the costs become a matter of “percentage of fault.” Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the fault for an accident can be shared between multiple parties. The compensation for each individual is calculated according to how much responsibility each driver has for the accident. Given as a percentage of fault, the amount that a driver owes is equal to the amount of percentage they are to blame for the accident.
Once you have determined who is at fault and how much each party is responsible for the accident, you have to file a claim with the insurance companies. If you are injured, then you will likely have to go through a “negotiation” or “litigation” process. This is when your Houston personal injury lawyer and the insurance company will negotiate a fair settlement to cover your damages and injuries. If a resolution can be met, then you will likely receive a settlement.
However, if the person who is responsible for the accident was not carrying liability insurance, you do have the right to sue them personally. The only problem is that, a likely reason they weren’t carrying insurance is because they don’t have the money. That can leave you out of luck to collect, even if you are awarded money in court. If you carry “uninsured motorist” coverage, it might be possible for you to collect through your own insurance, but that is dictated by your individual policy.
If you are injured in an accident, it is essential that you consult a Houston personal injury lawyer immediately. Even if you think it is only a minor incident, it can quickly escalate, and you want to make sure you have someone in your corner protecting your interests.