2 Million People are Injured in Car Accidents Every Year in the US
When you sit behind the wheel of a car, there is the expectation you will be able to reach your destination safely. Whether it’s to work, school, or just to run errands, the rules of the road are the same and must be followed for your safety and others. When another driver, pedestrian, or third-party fails to stick to their duty of care, it puts you at risk of an accident.
If someone else’s negligence caused you severe harm, or if you lost a family member in a crash, contact Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP right away. We are Austin’s oldest and most experienced personal injury law firm, established in 1959. Our Austin car accident lawyers will be ready to help you get answers, justice, and fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. For more than 60 years, our attorneys have achieved results for our clients through hard work and zealous advocacy in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. Honesty, integrity, and excellence are our hallmarks. We take pride in providing our clients with great communication, attention to detail, and first-class legal representation and would love to do the same for you today.
Car accidents can be frightening and can put those involved in a state of shock. No one ever wants to be in a car accident, so when it happens it can be frustrating for the involved parties. This is true no matter who is at fault. It is best to remember to stay calm, cool, and collected after an accident because getting upset never helps the already negative situation. There are certain things that one must remember to do after an accident if you are not severely injured. If you are not injured or only suffer from minor injuries, it is best to remember to:
The first thing that you must do following an automobile accident is to make sure that you are alright, as well as your passengers and those in the other involved vehicle(s). If anyone is in need of medical attention, more severe than a first aid kit can handle, call an ambulance immediately. The health and well-being of the involved parties is the most important thing in a car accident.
Even if you are involved in a minor car accident, it is always a good idea to get the police involved. It is best, even if you are at fault, to contact the police for insurance reasons. Most of the time, police will not arrive on scene unless the accident is more serious, or someone involved is seriously injured. However, it is better to try and call them just in case. If they do arrive at the scene of an accident, they can determine who was at fault. Having a filed police report can help you in terms of insurance down the line, even if the cost is having a ticket given on the scene.
It is always extremely important to exchange insurance information after a car accident if all involved parties are not seriously injured. It is best to copy down all information and it also wouldn’t hurt to take photos of the other person’s insurance card for reference, in case you lose your written copy. If the other driver is uninsured, file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. It is smart to copy down the full name, phone number, address, insurance agency name and client number, and license plate. All of this information can help you either get compensation for the accident or give it if it is needed.
It is very smart to either keep a small camera in your glove compartment or to have a phone with a camera on it at all times. These can come in handy in the event of an accident because you will be able to properly record all of the damage caused by the accident. You should not only take photos of your own car but also of the other cars involved.
After you have recorded the scene and swapped insurance information it will be time for you to file a claim with your insurance agency.
There are numerous actions a driver could take that could lead to a serious car accident. Most car accidents, in fact, are caused by driver negligence. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
The majority of motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error. Recklessness is when a driver takes a risk despite understanding the possible consequences of their actions. The motorist disregards the safety of others, placing them in great danger. Examples of recklessness include disobeying traffic laws, failing to use headlights at night, and improperly passing vehicles.
Speeding greatly increases the risk of a car accident occurring. A speeding driver might not be able to properly control their vehicle. The time it takes to come to a complete stop, or even slow down, is extended significantly when drivers are speeding. If a motorist is speeding, they might not be able to stop or maneuver in time to avoid a collision. Furthermore, car crashes that happen at higher speeds have a much higher potential for causing serious injuries or even fatalities.
Distracted driving is among the most common causes of car accidents in the country. Distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Common forms of distracted driving include:
Accidents frequently occur when a driver is too drowsy or fatigued to safely operate their vehicle. Similar to being impaired by alcohol, fatigue, and drowsiness can decrease awareness, slow reaction time, and impair judgment. Drowsy driving can significantly increase the likelihood that the driver will be involved in a car accident.
Despite the significant risks and steep penalties, too many drivers still drive while impaired by alcohol. Alcohol reduces the skills needed to operate a vehicle safely as it impairs reaction time, judgment, and vision.
Like drivers who drink alcohol, drivers who use drugs and get behind the wheel have impaired motor skills, reaction time, and judgment. Drugged driving endangers the safety of all other drivers on the road and is a form of recklessness and negligence.
Without proper maintenance, roads can deteriorate to the extent that they become dangerous to all drivers who travel on them. Poor road conditions put drivers at great risk.
At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, our Austin car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing people who have been injured in a wide variety of collisions. Some of the most common types of car accidents we see include:
A rollover accident happens when a vehicle flips over onto its side or its roof. These accidents are often caused by side-impact collisions at high speeds. Some SUVs and taller vehicles have a higher risk of rolling over in an accident than other types of vehicles.
Head-on collisions involve one vehicle crashing into the front end of another vehicle. These accidents often occur when one driver crosses the center line and enters a lane on the opposite side of the roadway, crashing head-on into a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
Also known as T-bone accidents, side-impact collisions occur when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another. These accidents often happen when a car runs a stoplight or stop sign and crashes into the side of another vehicle entering the intersection.
These collisions happen when one driver swipes the side of a vehicle that is traveling parallel to it. This may occur, for example, when a driver tries to change lanes without checking their blind spots. If the driver who is struck loses control of their vehicle and crashes, they may suffer severe injuries and damage.
A hit-and-run accident happens when you are struck by a driver who does not stop to exchange information or render aid. It is illegal to flee the scene of a car accident. If you were seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident and the driver cannot be found, Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will help you file an uninsured motorist claim.
Rear-end collisions occur when the front of one vehicle impacts another vehicle’s backside. Depending on the circumstances, these accidents can range in severity and the potential for injury. High-speed rear-end collisions can result in serious injuries and even fatalities, and even mere “fender-benders” can result in injuries and property damage.
Often referred to as “pile-ups,” multi-vehicle accidents often occur on congested roads like freeways. In these collisions, vehicles may be impacted multiple times. It is also often challenging to determine fault in these cases, which is why it’s critical to retain an experienced car accident lawyer who has handled these cases many times before.
Left-turn accidents happen frequently and can lead to serious injuries. They often occur when the motorist making the left turn does not have the right-a-way. In these cases, the car making the turn is responsible for being cautious and only turning once it’s clear to do so safely. Left-turn accidents are most common at uncontrolled intersections.
Some of the most common injuries occupants could suffer in a car accident include:
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries suffered in car accidents. It is caused by the sudden back-and-forth movement of the head, which often occurs when a car is struck by another vehicle. Neck pain and swelling are common symptoms.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur when the brain is jostled within the skull or if the skull is penetrated by a foreign object. A TBI is any disruption in the normal cognitive function of the brain that’s caused by a blow to the head. TBIs are common in car accidents because of the tremendous force of impact. A victim’s head could be thrown violently back and forth or side to side, and could easily strike the steering wheel, dashboard, window, or other surface inside the vehicle.
Injuries to the chest are also very common in car accidents. These injuries can be severe in nature since the chest houses vital organs including the heart and lungs.
Knee injuries occur frequently when two vehicles collide. Occupants could suffer blunt force or crushing injuries from the steering wheel, dashboard, or another hard surface. Common knee injuries in car accidents include strains, sprains, fractures, and joint injuries. Some knee injuries could require surgery and lead to long-term mobility issues.
An arm or leg can be severed in a serious car accident or badly damaged enough to require amputation. An amputation can prevent you from working and participating in the activities you once enjoyed.
Broken bones, or fractures, are common in severe car crashes. While some broken bones may be treated with a splint or cast, others may require surgery or implant devices and may have long-term consequences. Bones that are commonly broken in car accidents include arms, wrists, legs, knees, ribs, and hips.
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious injuries resulting from car accidents. Spinal cord injuries can cause permanent loss of strength, feeling, and function. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months for symptoms to appear. It’s critical that you get examined immediately following the accident. A medical exam also establishes that the accident was the direct cause of the spinal cord injury.
Internal bleeding can be dangerous, especially if not treated promptly after the accident. It’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If there’s any chance that you may have sustained internal bleeding, see a doctor immediately to ensure you do not have life-threatening injuries.
Lacerations can be caused by flying objects, broken glass, or the impact of an airbag. A laceration can cause profuse bleeding, which requires immediate medical attention, and can leave life-long scars.
Victims in car accidents are susceptible to burns from either fire or contact with hot liquids or the hot parts of the vehicle. Severe third-degree burns can cause deep tissue damage that may require years of costly skin grafting and other medical treatment.
At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, our Austin car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing people who have been injured in a wide variety of collisions. While you focus on resting and recovering from your injuries, we will get to work on the following:
Texas currently has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means you have two years from the date of your motor vehicle accident to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. With a knowledgeable attorney on your side, you do not have to worry about missing the deadline or knowing who to file your claim with.
If you can do so safely, it is always recommended you attempt to gather evidence from the accident scene. For example, photographs or even video footage from your phone may be of great help when it comes to establishing liability. If you are unable to do so safely or were unaware of the importance, your attorney is here to help. As soon as you partner with the team at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we will get to work investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident.
We will collect and assess any relevant evidence, which can include traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, police reports, detailed medical records, and professional testimony.
It is important to remember that the insurance company is not your friend, which is why having a professional by your side is so important. They will likely try to offer you a settlement as quickly as possible, which may seem nice initially, though their offer will almost never reflect the total cost of your injuries. Car accidents can vary in cost, and the aftermath can involve piles of medical bills, emergency hospital visits, and missed wages due to the inability to work.
Your attorney is there to negotiate with the insurance company and provide detailed records that properly document the past, present, and future costs of your injuries.
It is critical that you understand your rights and legal options after a serious accident. You should not rely on information you read online or that you got from a friend or relative, even if that person was also in an accident. What was true in one accident case may not apply to you.
At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we offer a free consultation to answer your questions and explain your options. We understand how confusing and overwhelming the aftermath of an accident can be, especially if you are recovering from an injury. For the best possible results, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our law office in Austin by completing our contact form or calling 512-454-3751.
Below are questions we often receive from people who have been injured in accidents. Remember that every case is unique. Only an attorney who has reviewed the facts of your case can advise you.
As medical bills mount after an accident, you need to know who is going to pay. We can help you figure out who is responsible so you can seek the compensation you deserve.
Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It pays out no matter who was at fault. PIP coverage is limited, however, and will not be enough if you have suffered a serious injury.
If the crash was another driver’s fault, that driver’s insurance company must cover your damages. This can include past, current and future medical bills.
That compensation is part of the reason medical care is so crucial after an accident. No matter how you feel, do not ignore your symptoms or put off treatment. Seeking the appropriate medical care helps you heal and recover, and the records your providers keep will document your injuries and costs for the insurance company.
Until your case is resolved through settlement or verdict, you’ll need to find another way to pay your bills. Our lawyers can help you explore your options.
A serious car accident means that you may be unable to work for a period of time, and you may find yourself facing more than just the cost of your medical bills. We can help you understand exactly who has to pay for those lost wages, and how to recover them.
Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This does have a limit, but it covers a portion of your lost wages. It pays no matter who was at fault.
When another driver is at fault, this burden falls on his or her insurance company. It must pay to cover your damages. This includes lost wages, both that you lost in the past and any you stand to lose in the future. Some people can never return to work after an accident.
Under Texas law, personal injury protection coverage (PIP coverage) must be offered by insurance companies. It helps provide compensation for damages after a car accident.
Anyone in your car. You, your passengers, your family members and anyone else who gets hurt in the accident. The coverage applies regardless of fault.
Many different damages may be covered. This includes medical bills, lost income (80 percent) and additional medical costs, like the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured party.
Insurance providers must offer $2,500. Most allow drivers to purchase more. Costs can far exceed $2,500 in many accidents, so it is often wise to buy more than just the minimum. Remember, it is there for you and your family.
Yes, but it can only be rejected in writing. If the insurance company does not have your written rejection, you are covered.
In serious accident cases, it is likely that your costs, including medical bills and lost wages, will exceed the amount available to you through PIP. However, if another driver caused the accident, you may be able to start a civil case to seek full compensation for your damages.
You are facing more than just medical bills after an accident. Your car is damaged, possibly even totaled. Who pays so that you can get to work, school or anywhere else you are required to go?
Texas is a fault state. The responsibility of paying for property damage to a car falls on the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash. If you need a rental while your car is being repaired or replaced, this cost must also be covered.
Do you have medical bills and lost wages to go along with the cost of the car? If we handle your personal injury case, we will also help you with a vehicle damage claim at no cost at all to you. Let us help you get back on the road and get life back to normal.
Even if you were partially at fault, Texas law allows you to file a claim by using the modified comparative fault rule. What it means is that partial fault that does not hit or exceed 51 percent may still lead to a claim.
The difference is simply that your recovery will be lower than if you were zero percent at fault, based on how much of that fault was assigned to you. For instance, 30 percent fault leads to a 30 percent reduction in damages recovered.
The best thing to do after an accident is to stay silent. Any admission about fault or even a subtle comment could be used against you. In every partial fault case, you should have a lawyer to do the talking for you.
Road defects stem from poor design, poor maintenance and many other sources. They can cause accidents even when you haven’t made a mistake behind the wheel. You must know how to proceed. Compensation may be possible even when no other drivers were involved.
Road defects may include:
At highway speeds, your reaction time may not be enough to save you from a serious accident.
If you were not liable and no other driver was at fault, liability may fall on:
Every case is unique, so it is important to sort through all of the details of your case.
When another driver hits you, it is natural to expect that driver’s liability insurance to pay for your car damage, hospital bills, lost income and other losses. But what can you do if the driver has no insurance?
The car accident attorneys of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, help clients in Austin and surrounding areas of Texas to work through this issue all of the time. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a crash that was caused by an uninsured driver, make your first call to us.
We can explore and pursue all of your options, including taking action against a liable third party or filing an uninsured motorist claim with your own Texas auto insurance provider. While you focus on your health and your recovery, we will be hard at work, seeking maximum compensation for your losses.
If you own and operate a car in Texas, you must have liability insurance. This insurance will pay for the property damage and bodily injuries that you cause in a crash. Texas law requires you to carry this insurance in the following minimum amounts:
So, if you are struck by another driver in Austin, your first option would be to file a claim with that driver’s insurance provider. It is possible that the driver will have coverage that is above the minimum amounts.
Of course, it is also possible that the driver has no insurance. In fact, according to recent figures from the Texas Department of Insurance, 14 percent of drivers in our state are uninsured — which is more than 2.5 million drivers.
If you find yourself in this situation, you could file a claim through your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. You should have this insurance unless you have rejected it in writing.
UM applies when you are hit by a driver with no insurance or by a hit-and-run driver. UIM kicks in when you are struck by a driver whose insurance fails to cover all of your losses. It can cover the difference between what the other driver’s liability policy covers and your losses — up to the amount of UIM you have purchased.
An insurer must offer UM/UIM coverage in the following minimum amounts:
To fully protect yourself, you should never reject UM/UIM coverage. You should also consider buying coverage above the minimum amounts.
If you look at the declarations page of your auto insurance policy, you will see that you may have many other types of coverage that you can turn to in case you are in a crash — regardless of who is at fault and whether the other driver has any insurance. These types include:
Your lawyer from Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will look at all of these options in your case. You can count on us to take efficient and effective action on your behalf, including filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer or your own insurer.
Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible to settle a claim. This is why you need to have an aggressive and experienced lawyer by your side. You can trust us to do the hard work it takes to prepare your case for settlement negotiations and to fight for a full and fair settlement for you.
If you are injured by an uninsured driver in Austin, your options may go beyond filing a claim with the other driver’s insurer or your own insurer. Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will explore other options such as:
As you can see, you may have many options available to you after being hit by an uninsured driver in Austin. You should get in touch with Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, right away and allow it to get to work on pursuing all options available to you. Contact us today for a immediate consultation.
Car accident claims must be filed promptly, lest you lose your chance to collect. Even with a valid claim, waiting too long can deprive you of compensation for lost wages, medical bills and more.
Under Texas law, the general statute of limitations for these accident injury claims is just two years.
If you are filing a claim against a government agency or a municipality — which you may do after a road defect causes an accident, for instance — you may be required to file notice within just a few weeks. Failing to do so can negate your valid claim, even if the two years have not passed.
As you can see, you must know all of the deadlines you face as soon as an accident occurs. That is why it is so important to contact a lawyer quickly in the wake of an accident. Getting the case started immediately is the best way to ensure you do not accidentally miss a deadline and lose all rights to your claim.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury law.