FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT:

The following should not be considered legal advice on your personal injury claim. For questions about your specific claim, you should consult an attorney. The following information is based on the current common or case law for the State of Texas. The laws for motor vehicle accident claims vary from state to state and are subject to change. You need to consult with an attorney licensed in the state where your accident happened for advice and information regarding your claim.

  1. Who is going to pay for my damages?
    The first question that someone involved in an accident asks is who is at fault. To answer this question it is important to get as much information as you can about the location of the accident and the persons involved. You need to write down this information about your case as soon as possible. You may want to draw a diagram of the accident identifying the cross streets, showing the direction each vehicle was traveling, the location of traffic signals or signs, and any landmarks. Write a description of each vehicle (e.g., make, model, year, and license plate). You also need to get as much information as you can about the other driver including the driver's name, address, and license number. This is especially important if there is no police report. Finally, get the name, address, and telephone number of all witnesses.
  2. Do I need to do anything if there is a police report?
    You cannot assume that liability or fault will be admitted. Persons who cause accidents may tell you at the scene they are at fault but then may change their mind or tell their insurance company it was your fault. Liability can be disputed even if the police report is in your favor. They key may be what witnesses say. You need to get the name and telephone number of all witnesses. You need to ask them what they saw and whether they mind giving a statement.
  3. The police did not come to the scene, do I need to report the accident?
    If you are involved in an accident that results in someone's injury and/or at least $500.00 in property damage to the vehicle you were in, then you need to complete and send a written report (blue form) of your accident to the Texas Department of Public Safety within ten days from the date of your accident. You can obtain a copy of a blue form from your police or sheriff's department office. Be sure to keep a copy of the completed report for your file.
  4. What do I do about transportation?
    If your car has been towed, then you need to get it out of the pound as soon as possible. If you car is not driveable, then the insurance company is suppose to provide you with a rental AFTER they have made a decision regarding liability. Your property damage claim includes repairs, rental, towing, and storage. Insurance companies will either reimburse you for your rental expense or they will arrange for a rental car company to provide you with a rental at their expense (also known as "direct billing"). If you have rental insurance under your own policy, then it is a good idea to use it because it can sometimes take weeks before the insurance company for the other driver to decide whether to accept or deny your claim. If you decide to arrange for your own rental be sure to ask the rental car company for the insurance rate. Insurance companies typically only pay approximately $21-$24 dollars per day. This is typically significantly less than the rate charged by most rental car companies. For more information about property damage and rental bills, you may want to consult with an attorney.
  5. I have been injured, who will pay for my medical expenses?
    The person who caused the collision is liable for your medical expenses. You need to find out if the other driver has insurance. You need to exchange insurance information with the other driver. It is good idea to look at the other driver's proof of insurance card. You need the name of the insurance company, the policy number, the name of the insured, and the telephone number for the carrier. You need to contact the insurance company as soon as possible and report the accident. Be careful about what you say, be sure that you have your facts and information correct before you call. DO NOT AGREE TO GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY. The liability carrier will not pay for any medical expenses or lost wages, however, until your bodily injury claim settles. You have several options: you may want to file on your personal injury protection (PIP) through your automobile insurance policy; you may want to use your health insurance; or if you do not have any insurance some medical providers will treat you under a letter of protection (LOP) issued by an attorney. PLEASE NOTE THAT UNDER TEXAS LAW YOU CAN ONLY RECOVER THE AMOUNT OF MEDICAL BILLS INCURRED OR PAID BY YOU OR ON YOUR BEHALF.
  6. I have been injured and I cannot contact the other driver's insurance company, what should I do?
    If you need medical treatment, then you need to get treatment as soon as possible. Do not delay treatment while you wait to contact the insurance company or get permission to treat. You should go to the emergency room or consult with your physician as soon as possible. A prolonged delay in treatment (more than 2 weeks) may adversely affect your health and diminish your case value. Some medical providers will accept a letter of protection (LOP) from an attorney. This is a letter from the attorney essentially promising to pay the medical provider from any settlement or verdict, assuming there is a sufficient recovery in your case. This LOP may allow you to get the medical treatment you desperately need while your claim is pending. If you have no means to pay for medical treatment, you should consult with an attorney.
  7. The insurance company has inspected my vehicle and taken photographs, is there anything I need to do?
    You need to take your own photographs showing the damage to your vehicle. Do not rely on anyone, especially the insurance company to do your job for you. Photographs maybe a crucial piece of evidence in your case. Most claimants fail to realize how important photographs can be. They are important to document both your property damage claim and your bodily injury claim. 35 mm cameras (even disposable) are preferable to Polaroid. You need to take several photographs. It is a good idea to stand at least 3 to 4 feet away from the car.

Please feel free to call me at 1-800-275-6720 (in Texas only) or 214-739-3800, to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim. Or visit our Contact Us page for more information about contacting our office.