One person is injured in Texas every 2 minutes and 17 seconds in a motor vehicle accident, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Few parts of the United States are flatter than West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Flat, open roads and highways such as I-27, I-20, I-40, and Loop 289 lend a false sense of security and can lead drivers to “safe speeding” and “highway hypnosis.”
Being in close proximity to Texas Tech University or Eastern New Mexico State University compounds travel dangers with inexperienced and sometimes drunk college students on the road.
If you were in an accident that was caused by negligence, you should not be left footing the bill for your injuries and property damage. You need the guidance of a knowledgeable Lubbock auto accident lawyer to make sure that your legal rights and financial future are protected.
Car Accident Claim: By the Numbers
Lubbock car accident claims are the result of a negligent act by person while in operation of an automobile that harmed another in some way. The injury can occur to the body, mind or emotional state of the victim.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that there are around 3 million people who suffer from personal injuries as a result of automobile accidents every year. Of those 3 million victims, around 41,000 will die from the injuries they received in that accident.
To put it another way: If you are in a room with 100 people, there is a very good statistical likelihood that one of you will be injured in a car accident within the course of a year.
What Should I Do If I’m In An Accident?
There is a good possibility that right after an auto accident in which you are injured, that you will be traumatized and/or in shock. This is perfectly understandable, but here are a few steps to take if you are able to after an accident or as soon as you are thinking clearly again.
- If you are not too badly injured and able to comfortably move around, try to get the names, phone numbers or other information for anyone who was a witness to the accident.
- Once your head is clear and you have had a chance to calm down, write down on paper all the details you remember about the accident. When you have been physically injured or mentally stressed it is not the best time to rely on your memory.
- Bring to the attention of the police any evidence that will support a potential personal injury claim.
- Talk about the accident only to the police or the medical personnel that are treating you.
- Contact your family attorney for advice if you have one or think seriously about retaining the services of an experienced auto accident personal injury attorney.
- Absolutely do not discuss anything with a member of the at-fault driver’s legal or insurance team without consulting an attorney first.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
We live in a fast paced world that is full of distractions, and it’s no different when we drive. That still does not give a person the right to act negligently when they are behind the wheel. Here are some of the more common reasons why accidents occur.
Alcohol and Drugs
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Impaired (DWI) are two of the most common denominators when it comes to reasons for car accidents. This can be either a person who has had too much to drink or had taken drugs recently before driving.
Driving without a License
There is a big difference between knowing how to drive and having permission to drive. If a person gets behind the wheel of a car without having a valid license, they are breaking the law. Many people who have no license or a suspended license still think its ok to drive. If an accident results while a person is driving without a license, this can be a factor in determining liability and awarding damages.
Unfit Vehicle/Defective Parts
These type of accidents result from such things as a car that is still being driven despite the fact it failed an inspection for having faulty brakes or other mechanical issues. It can also be an accident involving a particular make and model of a car that has had several incidents where accelerators have hung up and resulted in accidents or other defective part problems.
In the first case, a claim would most likely involve both the driver and insurance company, but in the second case, you would most likely see the manufacturer of that make and model car or the defective part named in the lawsuit, too.
This type of accident has become much more prevalent as cell phones have become more popular than ever. An example of this would be a driver that was involved in an accident because they were trying to send a text message instead of paying attention to what was going on around them. Many states have passed laws to try and prevent these types of accidents from happening.
Driving Too Fast for Road Conditions
Prudent drivers are expected to adjust to dangerous road conditions such as icy roads and standing water on the roadway; when they don’t, it results in these types of accidents.
Speeding is another leading cause of accidents. Speed limits are set by engineers after they determine what the maximum safe speed for a section of roadway is. When a driver exceeds that safe speed, they are then operating there vehicle past the edge of control.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
If you get hit while walking across a road in a crosswalk or you are going around in a traffic circle and another vehicle hits you as they enter it, these cars are guilty of what is called a ‘failure to yield the right of way’.
Red Light Violation
Often when a driver fails to stop for a red light they enter cross traffic and this results in an accident.
Hit and Run
When a driver hits a pedestrian or another vehicle and then leaves the accident scene, they are guilty of a hit and run accident. This often enhances a victim’s legal claim chances, especially if by leaving the scene a victim getting medical attention was delayed because of it, and may also result in criminal charges.
If a car that should not be on the road is involved in an accident, then that gives the victim(s) of that accident a lot of legal recourse as far as any subsequent lawsuits that are filed.
Asleep at the Wheel
There are many drivers on the nation’s roadways every day that have just finished a long shift at work, had a sleepless night or have been driving for too many hours without a rest. These drivers are at a high risk of dozing off behind the wheel and causing an accident.
How Certain Accident Injuries Happen
What often determines the nature of a victim’s injuries is the type of collision that they are involved in. Here are some common types of collisions and the injuries these car accidents cause.
Head on Collision: When two vehicles hit each other each on, the injuries are often very severe in nature and can even be fatal.
Sideswipe: A side swipe happens when two cars make side-to-side contact. Common injuries are minor cuts and bruises, broken bones or even soft tissue injuries. They can be a more serious if one of the vehicles is forced off the roadway because of the impact.
Fender bender: These types of accidents happen when two cars lightly bump into each other while travelling at a slow rate of speed. Even with a minor accident, injuries such as soft tissue damage, contusions or even whiplash can occur.
Rear End Collision: When someone hits your vehicle from behind, most of the damage that occurs to your body comes as a result of the sudden unexpected jolt that you receive. It is very common to sustain such injuries as severe whiplash, spinal damage, soft tissue damage, broken bones, cuts.
Side Collision: This is an accident where your car is hit in the side by another vehicle that is usually travelling at a significant rate of speed; it is usually much more severe and violent than a side swipe. It is sometimes called being ‘T-boned’. Some of the typical injuries that result from this type of accident are severe spinal injuries, head and brain trauma, broken bones, soft tissue damage and they have the potential to cause fatalities too.
Rollover: Any time a vehicle barrel rolls or turns upside down on its roof, there is the real potential of a variety of very serious injuries or even wrongful death.
What Kind Of Damages Am I Entitled To After An Auto Accident?
Here are some of the more common forms of compensation that courts award to victims in tort cases:
Medical Expenses: These are medical and emergency expenses that directly result from the accident. They include such things as doctors’ bills, surgery, emergency room charges, ambulance fees, physical therapy costs, medicines, diagnostic tests, and any other injury related expenses.
Disability: These are long term effects from an accident that affect such things as future earning power and the ability to function independently. Examples of these are the loss of a limb, paralyzation and brain injuries.
Pain and Suffering: This type of compensation results from a change in your quality of life due to an accident. You might suffer from such things as permanent severe migraine headaches from a head injury or have anxiety/panic disorders as a result of post-accident stress.
Lost Wages: This type of compensation are awarded based on the fact that you missed work while recovering from injuries received in an accident or it has affected your ability to work in the future.
Loss of Affection or Companionship: This is a form of restitution that is more difficult to prove, but it is very valid claim nonetheless. They stem from such things as the emotional loss of a loved one due to a fatal injury or an injury that results in the affected person neither being able to give or receive emotional or physical affection in a relationship.
Why Hire an Attorney
If you are the victim of a car accident and you have been injured or had your life impacted by it, then you are entitled to seek compensation for your losses that you incurred as a result of that accident. You will have a better chance at success at winning a auto personal injury lawsuit if you file a claim right away and if you retain the services of a skilled automobile accident lawyer.
Can you represent yourself and win a claim? The answer is yes, but statistics show that you are more likely to have a successful automobile claim if you have legal representation, and the amount of restitution is generally much higher if an attorney represents you.
At the very least, take a few minutes to sit down with an experienced car accident attorney. You will most likely be surprised about how much you did not know about this complicated legal process and in how many ways an attorney can help you with your claim.
Keep in mind that when you have named insurance companies and businesses as defendants in your lawsuit, you will most likely being facing a very skilled and experienced lawyer or legal team when you go to court. You should have an aggressive, experienced legal advocate on your side, too.
Steps to Resolve a Claim
Here is a brief look at the typical steps involved in the legal procedure of an auto injury claim:
This is where the claim and lawsuit process starts. It is the filing of the legal claim with the court system. The claim will be made up of such things as naming the defendants, statement of the actual claim itself, summation of supporting facts, and the amount of restitution you will seek in the lawsuit.
2. Summoning the Defendant(s)
This is the legal process of notifying the defendant(s) in a lawsuit. The summons will state your claim, the court date, the court location, the default date and other pertinent facts relating to the claim you make against the defendant(s).
As it says, this is the defendants’ answer to your legal claim. At this point there are a few different things that can happen in the case; the defendant may file a counter-claim against you to try and deny liability, the defendant might introduce a third party into the lawsuit to try and absolve themselves of blame, or another person may join the lawsuit on a cross claim.
4. Attempt at a Settlement
Before the trial phase of the lawsuit, both sides will most likely try to come to a settlement agreement to avoid having the matter go to court. There may be several proposals sent back and forth to accomplish this. Most lawsuits don’t go beyond this stage.
5. Trial Phase
If the settlement phase did not produce a resolution to the matter, then next step in the process will be the actual trial. Both sides will present their evidence and support for their side of the claim to the judge and jury. This will result in a verdict in favor of you or the defendants and the amount of restitution granted if there is any.
If one party does not agree with the verdict, they have the right to try and appeal the matter to a higher court.
Ways A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Once you decide to file a lawsuit, there is a lot of legal paperwork involved in the process. Your attorney will help with filling out all the necessary legal paperwork, including writing your claim, drawing up settlement agreements and handling any other important paperwork that the process requires.
The Accident Investigation
An investigation is necessary to get concrete evidence to support your claim. Your lawyer will know exactly how to go about gathering proof to support your lawsuit. They will obtain copies of police reports, medical records and any other paperwork that will help your case. They may even elect to hire a professional accident investigator to help prove your case.
If it’s in your best interests to accept a settlement out of court, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and ensure that the settlement is fair and reasonable for the specifics of your case.
If an agreeable settlement isn’t reached, then your attorney will aggressively represent your interests at trial, including determining how to present the evidence, summoning key witnesses, and going over with you the role that you will play in the trial. They will also be very familiar with presenting the facts of your case in a strong way and acting with the proper courtroom demeanor as they do it.
Get Help From An Auto Accident Lawyer In Lubbock
After a car accident, you can be left not only physically injured but facing the stress of mounting expenses for doctors, car repairs, and unpaid leave from work. The costs can seem insurmountable.
The more serious your injuries, the higher the medical bills and the lower the chances that you’ll be able to return to work quickly. A dire financial situation can quickly emerge for families. The situation can become even more complex if you are injured by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages.
This is where the experienced trial lawyers at Liggett Law Group can help you regain peace of mind and steady footing. Our award-winning auto accident attorneys fight for you, the victim, holding the negligent party accountable for their actions. We have more than 25 years of experience offering car accident victims in Lubbock, Hobbs, Artesia, Plainview, Clovis, Carlsbad, Roswell, Brownfield, Seminole, and other West Texas and Eastern New Mexico communities the legal advocacy they deserve.
We don’t settle for less than maximum case value, which means you can expect us to seek compensation for your doctor bills, physical therapy, surgery, and other necessary treatments, as well as lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact us online today or call our toll free number, (855) 955-HURT (4878), to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced Lubbock auto accident lawyers. With us, you will receive the integrity, advocacy, and results you deserve.