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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What is a demand package, and how important is it to give one to the insurance company?
Once you finish treating, then your lawyer (or you if you are going it alone) will gather all the records and other documentation relating to your case and then create a demand package explaining why the other side is at fault and documenting all the injuries, medical care, lost wages, expenses, pain and suffering and other damages. You can help this process along by informing your lawyer when you are finished treating and helping with your part of the documentation.
Does the length of time it takes to finish my medical treatment affect when I can settle my claim?
Typically, you should not try to settle your case until all medical care relating to the accident has been completed or at least ascertained. If the medical care is going to go on for an extended time, then you will need to treat long enough for your doctor to be able to explain with reasonable certainty what future treatments will be necessary and what the treatments will cost. (It would be very unfortunate to settle your case quickly only to find out later that you have to pay for a surgery down the road.)
How long will it take to finalize my case?
This is one of the hardest questions for a lawyer to answer. Sometimes it takes a few months and sometimes it takes years. How long it takes will depend on a number of factors including the length of time needed to:
- finish your medical treatment,
- give documentation to the insurance claim that supports your claim (called a demand package),
- negotiate with the insurance company, and
- take the case to court if necessary.
Can I file a claim even if I was hit while driving without any car insurance?
Yes. There is no requirement that you have car insurance to file an injury claim. If the other person is at fault, then their insurance company is required to pay for your injuries and expenses.
When it comes to auto insurance, Texas uses what is called a "fault" system. This is a system that requires drivers to pay for the accidents they cause. There is no requirement that you have car insurance. Simply put, if another person is responsible for causing the accident, they (or their insurance) should pay.
A word of caution. Going without insurance, even if not technically required for you to file an injury claim, is a bad idea. The other party could claim that you are at least partially responsible for the accident. If a jury agrees, you might have to pay for some of the injuries or expenses. Also, having uninsured motorist insurance would help protect you if the other party’s insurance coverage is insufficient to pay for all your injuries and expenses. (See: What Is the Difference Between Uninsured and underinsured Motorist Coverage?) Finally, driving without insurance is against the law in Texas and if caught, you might get a ticket for driving without it.
Can an attorney help me find a doctor who will help me get relief?
If a careless driver caused an accident, that person’s insurance company is responsible to pay for the medical treatment for the injuries you received in the accident.
Make Your Health Your Top Priority
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. So what should you do if you do not have insurance? Sure, you might have a great case and settlement. You probably would win if you go to trial. The problem is that you need treatment now. Your health is your top priority.
Finding a Doctor With No Upfront Payments
The good news is that many lawyers have found health care providers that are willing to provide treatment without upfront payment if the attorney guarantees payment if the case settles. This is extremely helpful to individuals who need treatment now but cannot pay for it until the case settles. If your lawyer cannot guarantee payment, you may consider getting treatment at a local charity hospital or obtaining financial assistance from a local charity organization.
Reach Out To Packard Firm For Help
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to get treatment immediately. This is the best thing you can do for your case and more importantly, your health. If you need help obtaining the medical attention you need to treat injuries sustained during an accident, call us today at 210-340-8877 and set up your free consultation.
What happens when my car is totaled?
The general principle is simple: when someone causes an accident, the insurance company for the at-fault driver is supposed to put you in the same financial position you were in before the accident. Texas courts have interpreted this to mean that, when your car is totaled, you get the value of the car at the time of the accident. Thus, the insurance company for the at-fault driver is supposed to appraise your car and pay you the car’s pre-accident value. Unfortunately, this is usually less than what it will cost you to replace the car. There are some car insurance companies that now sell replacement policies, so when your car gets totaled, you receive enough money to replace the vehicle (sometimes called “gap insurance”). However, these policies are not standard, so if you want this kind of protection, you have to ask (and pay) for it.
I am hurt and can’t afford a doctor. What do I do?
You should find a lawyer who will help you get medical care. We know several qualified doctors, physical therapists, and/or chiropractors who will see patients on a “letter of protection.” This means that the medical bills will not be paid until after the case concludes. Typically, these bills are paid out of the settlement proceeds.
Is having a car safety kit important in case of an accident? What should it include?
No matter how cautious you may be or how careful of a driver you think you are, you and your family are still at terrible risk for suffering a catastrophic car accident. However, although you may not be able to stop an accident from occurring, you can still protect your family from harm by preparing for the worst.
A properly stocked car safety kit can not only help you escape from dangerous wrecks, but it can also provide you with essential tools to survive various collision consequences. Time and again, however, people have told us that their safety kits were vital mostly for the situations they never anticipated.
Stocking Your Car for Safety
Much like a first aid kit, a car safety kit should be well equipped and contain equipment for a variety of emergency situations. Although it may seem excessive at first, being able to rely on the readiness of your kit is far better than being stuck without options. Ensure your family has the tools it needs to avoid catastrophe by making sure your car is fully supplied with the following safety kit essentials:
- Belt cutter. This allows you to quickly free yourself and children from seat belts and restraints
- Window breaker. This device allows you to break a window to create an exit when you’re unable to open doors
- Swiss Army knife or scissors. In addition to being versatile tools, these can help deflate airbags to give you more room to maneuver and can also be used as a belt cutters
- First aid kit. Make sure this kit includes bandages, tape, candles and matches, pencil and paper, a whistle, and an eye-catching bright cloth (red is recommended) that you can tie to your antennae as a distress signal
- Cell phone charger and adapter. Make sure they’re compatible with your vehicle’s port
- Flashlight and batteries
- Road flares or reflective emergency signs
- Blankets (especially during fall and winter)
- Water, to help prevent dehydration when stranded
- Sustainable snacks, such as dried fruits, candy bars, nuts, etc. Keeping your and your family’s blood sugar levels under control is essential when stranded or stuck after an accident
- Wool or flame-resistant blankets. In the event of a car fire, a fire-resistant blanket can make the difference between a successful escape and a horrendous tragedy
Although you may be unable to prevent an accident, with a properly stocked safety kit, you will be able to help protect your family from suffering the worst consequences of a traffic crash. Your family’s safety should be your number one priority—as your future following an accident is our number one priority.
For more information on car collision safety, injuries, and claim options, please contact us today to setup an appointment for a free consultation. We’re eager to get started securing your family’s future, so call today.
Is a vehicle fire really something I will have to worry about after a car crash, or have I seen too many action movies?
We’d really like to be able to tell you that vehicular fires are an idea cooked up in a Hollywood special effects lab, but that’s not true. They are a real danger.
Severe car accidents can result in a spectrum of situations, ranging from a few car dents and passenger bruises to a complete catastrophe involving a trip to the emergency room. One of the most terrifying consequences is being caught in a vehicular fire with your family.
Although car fires are uncommon results of an accident, when they do occur they can cause catastrophic burns and trauma, while ensuring complete vehicle destruction. Are you prepared to deal with these outcomes? Do you even know your risks?
Most people don’t.
Combustible Causes of Car Fires
If you’ve ever witnessed a car fire, you know how quickly they become out of control. What you may not know is how such a spectacle could start in the first place. Is your car vulnerable to catching on fire? Unfortunately, due to the nature of various standard vehicle components, it’s amazing that more car accidents don’t end in a fiery blaze.
Common causes of car accident fires include the following:
- Electrical system malfunctions. Cars today have a lot of high-tech wiring which is susceptible to the effects of a severe collision. The impact of an accident can easily loosen wires and sever cables, allowing electricity to freely spark wherever an electrical connection was present. These sparks can then ignite fuel, fabric, and fumes to create small flames that can quickly become raging infernos.
- The presence of flammable liquids. The leading cause of vehicle fires is when flammable liquid—such as gasoline and oil—are released by the force of a collision. The impact can stir the liquid, cause it to leak, and even create sparks that could ignite it. Even if sparks aren’t introduced, overheated radiators or damaged engines can produce enough heat to set the liquid on fire and engulf your vehicle in flames.
- The abundance of combustible fumes. Liquid gasoline isn’t the only form of gas that can ignite; gasoline vapor is also highly combustible. This means that even if your gas tank isn’t leaking, the impact of a collision can agitate the gasoline enough to produce copious amounts of fumes, which could then ignite. Once the fumes catch on fire, the flames can then travel back to the gasoline itself, essentially feeding the blaze. Likewise, oil vapors in your engine are specifically designed to ignite with the help of your engine’s spark plugs. If an uncontrolled spark ignites expelled vapor, than an explosion could result.
At the Packard Law Firm, we believe that if you or a loved one sustained serious injuries as a result of a collision fire, than you deserve the guidance to successfully pursue an injury claim. Fires can cause disastrous physical and psychological trauma, let alone smoldering property damage. These injuries may require expensive medical care and make it impossible for you to earn an income, at least for a time. Fortunately, our decades of experience have taught us how to help you get your life back on track. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case to see how we can help douse your financial uncertainties.
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