We Answer All Your Questions About Car Accident Cases in Texas
When a catastrophic event puts your future at risk, anxiety and uncertainty will cause you to have a million questions. What can you do? How can you provide for your family? Will you recover?
Allow the extensive experience and knowledge of the Packard Law Firm put your worries to rest. Come learn the answers to your questions and see how we can help pull you out of the depths of uncertainty.
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Should my health insurance company pay for my medical bills that are caused by an accident?
If you have been involved in a wreck that was not your fault, then the careless driver’s insurance company is responsible to pay for the medical treatment for the injuries you received in the accident.
You might think that it is best to give the hospital or doctor the insurance information of the careless driver that caused the accident. This seems logical, but in reality, it is extremely unlikely that the careless driver’s insurance company will pay anything at all.
Focus On Getting The Medical Treatment You Need
So what should you do? First and foremost, you should always put your health first. Get the medical treatment you need.
Many times, a car accident lawyer will have an arrangement with some local health providers where the lawyer guarantees that all of your medical bills will be paid at a later date, usually after the case has settled. This is extremely helpful to individuals who need treatment now and cannot pay for it until the case settles.
If your lawyer cannot guarantee payment, then it is usually best to use the health insurance you would normally use for a sickness or an injury. After the case is settled, your insurance company will get reimbursed for any money paid for treatment that relates to the accident. Sometimes you or your lawyer can negotiate with your insurance company and reduce the payment amount that needs to be reimbursed.
If you do not have any insurance, you may consider getting treatment at a local charity hospital or obtaining financial assistance from a local charity organization.
We Can Help Get You The Treatment You Need
In sum, after a wreck, do everything you can to get the medical treatment you need; nothing more nothing less. Follow your doctor’s instructions and do everything you can to get better. Appropriate medical care is the most important thing you do for your health and your case. Contact our firm if you have questions. Submit a contact form today.
It is possible to sue a government entity (such as a city, school district or state) for causing my injury?
In the case of a car wreck caused by a government employee, Yes, you may file suit against the City, district, county or state. However, there are strict (and short) notice requirements as well as other limitations. In the case of injuries caused in other ways such as negligently maintained buildings or roads, filing a claim is allowed, but only in limited situations.
The person who caused the car wreck was the driver of the car in which I was the passenger. Can I file a claim for my injuries?
If you have been involved in a wreck that was not your fault, then you are entitled to be compensated for the damages that result from the accident. This is true even if you and the driver were in the same vehicle.
Injured Passengers Can File Claims. Here's How:
Even with simple accidents, if you are injured as a passenger, there are often up to four different kind of insurance coverages that can apply - the driver’s policy, the driver’s UIM policy, your own UIM policy, and your own PIP policy.
For example, let's say that you are injured as a passenger and both drivers are partially at fault. The breakdown could be as follows:
- Liability policy of the drivers: You may be able to recover under both liability policies with the driver of the vehicle you were in, and the other driver involved in the accident. Each side would pay according to his percentage of fault.
- Your driver’s UIM policy: “Underinsured Motorist” (UIM) insurance policies essentially pay for medical expenses and other damages that result from an accident caused by a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover all of the damages. If the insurance to the liability policies described above do not fully compensate you for the harm you sustained during the accident, then your driver’s UIM policy can be used.
- Your own UIM policy: If the above insurance policies do not fully compensate you, you can use your own UIM policy as well. This is true even if you do not own any of the vehicles involved in the wreck.
- PIP: “Personal insurance protection” (PIP), is an extension of your car insurance and it covers out of pocket medical expenses. Many times it is called “no-fault” coverage because it pays regardless of who is at fault and regardless of what other insurance policies have paid.
Consult A San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer
In sum, when there is an accident, it is extremely important to find all the insurance policies involved. This is especially true of you have substantial medical bills or lost wages.
I know that there were witnesses to my accident. What do I do?
In deciding who caused an accident will sometimes come down to your word against theirs. Having an independent witness can be instrumental in proving what actually happened during the wreck. If there is a witness, you may contact a witness and ask for information. Although the witnesses are not legally required to participate, they often are more than willing to help.
Information To Obtain From Witnesses
When speaking with witnesses, first gather their basic contact information such as a name, phone number, and address. If there is time, you will next want to have them give a basic description of what they saw and heard before, during, and after the accident. Write down as much of this information as possible for later reference if the insurance company tries to play games.
There are some other ways you can secure a witness statement. The police officer that arrived at the scene of the accident will create a report containing information relating to the parties involved in the accident. The report will also provide a description of witness statements given at the time of the accident. You can ask the police department for a copy of any witness contact information and give that witness a call.
Finally, video footage is extremely valuable in showing how the accident occurred. Today, cameras are everywhere and the odds that a video camera recorded your accident is more likely than you might think. You can always ask for a copy of the footage but in reality, most business or government agencies are under no obligation to help. That being said, a friendly request can go a long way. If that fails, an attorney can issue a subpoena from the court mandating that the agency release the relevant data.
Interested In Filing A Car Accident Claim?
If you were injured in a car crash, getting a third party to explain what happened is extremely important. Sometimes it will require some extra legwork or maybe even legal action by a car accident attorney. Regardless, securing a third party witness statement is definitely worth the effort and will give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome. Contact Packard Law Firm today to speak to an attorney. We offer free consultations.
How much does an Attorney cost?
In our firm, the initial consultation costs nothing. If we pursue the case, then we are paid a percentage of the recovery (⅓ of the recovery for cases that settle without a lawsuit.)
Will I have to travel?
No. The exception is when the case does not settle and the accident occurred somewhere that is far away from where you live. If the case does not settle, the lawsuit will typically be filed where the accident happened.
Will I have to testify?
Not if the case settles before trial. However, if you have to file a lawsuit, then many times, the injured person will have to go to his own lawyer’s office and answer questions under oath. This is called a deposition, and it is not too bad if you have the right lawyer.
Is it moral to file suit when you are injured?
This can be a tricky question and many people have strong feelings about this. Some of the concerns come from the Bible such when Jesus said: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you...” Finally, Jesus said: “resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also.” (All these are from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.) Similar teachings are found in other sacred texts. These are hard sayings. While none of us ever entirely lives up to these lofty teachings, we at this firm are serious about doing our best. So where does that leave us when we have been wronged or injured? While we can never answer that question for anyone else, we do have the following thoughts:
What Does The Bible Say?
First, Jesus did say one thing that directly relates to lawsuits when he said: “if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” (Matt 5: 40). In other words, if you do get sued, Jesus said that you should be generous to the plaintiff, and give even more than he asked.
More importantly, it seems to us that Jesus was very concerned about the rich exploiting the poor. He spoke of it often, calling the rich hypocrites for turning their backs on those that are poor, vulnerable, or needy. Jesus spent his time with the poor and with children, and he repeatedly made it a point to teach that anyone who follows His teachings will try to achieve some measure of social justice. In fact, after His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus’ followers made sure that there was no poor among them, and took special care to make sure that the wealthy believers gave their money to the Church so that those who were less fortunate would have what they need.
So what about us? We live in a world where insurance companies are multi-billion dollar, for-profit organizations. They take advantage of individuals and families all the time. We believe that Jesus would want us to protect these vulnerable people, to represent them, and to make sure that they have food, clothing, and shelter (and other things they need).
Do We Have A Moral Obligation To Pursue Financial Justice?
It seems to us that Jesus was concerned with His family’s financial well-being. Early in His ministry, when his mother ran out of wine at a wedding, Jesus made sure she had it. Also, just before His death, he assigned to John the responsibility to take care of His mother. Likewise, many parents (and grandparents) feel the important moral obligation to care for, protect, and provide for their family. And, when you have your ability to work and provide taken, even in part, by someone else, your moral obligation to provide does not go away. So there is a good argument that your moral obligation to your family is to now do your best to recover compensation for that loss so your family can have the things they need.
In terms of the process of seeking compensation, Jesus said that we are to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. This suggests that Jesus was OK with us using civil processes to achieve justice. Significantly, the Apostle Paul used his rights as a Roman citizen to have his day in court, and even appealed to Caesar himself.
To us, the particular process you use to seek compensation (filing a claim out of court or using the court system) is not the real issue. The real issue lies in your heart and in your actions -- the way you treat people. Perhaps you can ask the following questions before you decide whether to file a lawsuit:
- Am I using this claim or lawsuit to get even or exact revenge?
- Am I honest with everyone involved?
- Do I treat others, even the people on the other side, with dignity and respect?
- Do I wish evil on the people who caused my injury?
- If I win my case, am I going to use the money to bless my loved ones or do something else worthy?
For More Guidance, Talk To Packard Law Firm
If you can answer these questions with a clear conscience, then we see no problem with seeking justice at the courthouse. In fact, as lawyers who represent real people with real problems, we feel that it is our sacred duty to protect individuals, including the poor and vulnerable, from wealthy forces that have so much power.
In short, we believe that you can love your enemies and bless them that curse you while, at the same time, seeking fair compensation for your injuries.
What happens if the person who caused the accident has no insurance?
The law requires every driver to carry liability insurance, but more and more often, people drive and cause accidents when they are uninsured. It is a bigger problem than you might think. One study shows that 1 out of 5 drivers in Texas is uninsured. Some indications suggest that the number is even higher in San Antonio. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you are going to be OK if you have uninsured motorist protection on your own auto policy. This is known as UIM, and if you have it on your own car insurance policy, then your insurance carrier steps into the place of the uninsured driver, and pays you what you would have received if the at-fault driver had carried insurance.
If you are hit by an uninsured driver and you don’t have UIM or related coverage, then you are left going after the uninsured driver personally, which is usually an exercise in futility.
The insurance adjuster said that I did not need to hire a lawyer. Is that true?
Of course the adjuster told you that! Why would the insurance adjuster want you to hire a lawyer? If you have counsel, then you will know to push back when they make a low offer. If you have counsel, then you will be advised on a whole host of issues that will protect and help your case. Taking advice from the adjuster about what is best for your case is like letting the foxes guard the chicken coupe. We try very hard not to take any case where we think that the client can do just as well on their own, and in all but the most simple cases, we believe that the clients will do better with counsel -- frequently much better.