The Queenan Law Firm
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Car Accident Lawyers Successfully Representing Clients in Dallas, Houston and Arlington
Being injured in a car accident is difficult to cope with under any circumstances. It is even more difficult when the accident occurred because of another driver’s negligent, careless actions behind the wheel. Knowing that your pain and suffering was avoidable leaves many people feeling justifiably angry, anxious, and hopeless, particularly when faced with a frustrating battle against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Luckily, the law provides remedy for these situations. Even though nothing can undo the accident and its effects, you can assert your legal rights and seek compensation for all of the damages and suffering you and your loved ones have endured.
Queenan Law's car accident lawyers help automotive accident victims in Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and the surrounding area of North Texas use the law to seek justice for their injuries in the form of settlement compensation. Supported by over 20 years of experience handling complex multi-vehicle accident claims, we are prepared to directly and aggressively tackle all of the challenges your case presents.
Getting Compensated: Insurance Claims, Injury Lawsuits, and Proving Fault
With regard to auto insurance, Texas is a “fault state” as opposed to a “no-fault state.” Unlike no-fault states, where accident victims whose injuries fall within certain thresholds are compensated through their own insurers regardless of which party caused the crash, fault states like Texas require accident victims to establish that the other motorist was at fault in order to obtain compensation. This is known as a “third party” claim.
If the other driver denies they were at fault – which occurs frequently – their insurance company may in turn deny responsibility for compensating the injury victim. This is where a strategic presentation of physical evidence and accounts given by eyewitnesses to the accident, if any were present, can make or break a claim.
While the vast majority of automotive accident matters are resolved via settlement negotiations, efforts to negotiate do not always yield results which are acceptable to all of the parties involved. In the rare event that negotiating fails to provide resolution, the injury victim may then wish to file a lawsuit, through which he or she may seek compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Current and anticipated hospital bills and medical bills associated with your injuries, including but not limited to:
- Medical devices, such as casts and wheelchairs.
- Physical therapy and injury rehabilitation.
- Prescription drugs and other care plans.
- Surgeries and other medical procedures.
- Income you lost due to being out of work.
- Projected income losses, in the case of a long-term injury or permanent disability.
- The pain and suffering you experienced.
Texas follows a doctrine known as “modified comparative fault,” which means that even if both parties were partially at fault for the accident, a plaintiff can still recover provided he or she was not more than 50% at fault. However, compensation awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced accordingly in such a scenario. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 but is found to be 10% at fault, compensation would be reduced to $90,000 to reflect the plaintiff’s degree of responsibility for the crash or collision.
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents in Texas
While safety features like airbags and seatbelts have made tremendous improvements to driver and passenger safety over the past several decades, serious injuries are still a common outcome of crashes and collisions, even minor accidents which occur at low speeds. Some examples of serious injuries and medical complications which frequently result from automotive accidents include:
- Bone Fractures
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Emotional Trauma
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Soft Tissue Damage
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries
If a victim’s injuries are fatal, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 71.004 provides that the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents may bring a wrongful death action against the negligent driver. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 71.002 states that “a person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual's death if the injury was caused by the person's … wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, [or] unskillfulness.” Some examples of negligent, aggressive, and reckless driver actions which frequently cause preventable accidents include:
- Distracted driving, such as texting instead of paying attention to the road.
- Driving unreasonably fast for the weather conditions, such as low visibility due to fog or heavy rains.
- Driving while intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol.
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
- Excessive speeding.
- Failing to yield right-of-way.
- Following another vehicle too closely for safety in the event of a sudden stop (i.e. “tailgating”).
When you work with Queenan Law, you are more than just another case. We take a personal interest in all of our clients, and do our very best to serve their legal needs and accommodate them in any other ways we can. It’s our stance that the victims of car accidents deserve to be compensated for hardships they have been burdened with as a result of other drivers’ thoughtless actions.
Shared Liability for Texas Car Accidents
After a car accident, many drivers doubt whether they did everything correctly. Many drivers rethink how fast they were driving, whether they made a complete stop, or whether they looked at the radio for too long before the accident occurred. Rest assured that even if you were somewhat responsible for the accident, courts will not ignore the responsibility that other drivers shared in causing the accident.
Since Texas uses a “modified comparative fault” system, as referenced above, the share of the blame is assigned during trial. This is usually a job for the jury, since they determine the facts of the case. Many jury instructions ask the jury to assign a percentage of the blame to all parties involved – including the drivers of any other cars involved in the accident and the victim.
If you were, overall, the victim of the accident, you can still recover compensation even if you were partly at fault. The defendant’s attorneys may try to turn something that you did into a defense, claiming that their client was innocent of the accident and that it was your fault. Juries are often more realistic, and understand that drivers can still be the victim even if they were speeding slightly or made a rolling stop. Hiring an attorney for your case can help fight these kinds of claims.
As the blame is divided amongst the different parties, so are the damages. First, the jury assigns blame to each driver. Then, the jury decides what your case is worth, in total. If you suffered serious injuries and needed extreme medical intervention, missed work, or suffered greatly for your injuries, you may be entitled to high compensation. Then, the court applies the percent blame to the money, and assigns each person to pay you that amount of money.
For example, if one party was found to be 30% responsible, they will pay 30% of the total damages. Similarly, if the defendant is 100% responsible, they will pay the entire amount. If you were partly responsible, you will lose that fraction of the damages. In the example above, we see a defendant who was 10% liable on a $100,000 case receiving only $90,000.
Calculating Car Accident Damages
We have discussed the categories of damages you may be entitled to in your case, but not how the court arrives at a final total for damages. First, as this is an issue of fact, the jury decides how much your case is worth. In doing so, they look to many factors and pieces of evidence to total the damages.
Any money you spent or lost because of the injury is simple enough to add up. Things like medical bills and lost wages have a clear paper trail that shows how much money you have already lost because of the injuries. Other damages, such as future lost wages, may be calculated by experts who can testify to the projected costs.
Other damages that are not tied to expenses or losses are harder to determine. Pain and suffering have no price tag or list of the typical rates for different injuries. However, the damages are usually proportional to the severity of the injury. This means more severe, debilitating injuries are often worth more in court than minor injuries.
Contact Our Attorneys for a Free Consultation
To get a free consultation and completely confidential assessment of your case, call Queenan Law at (817) 476-1797 right away. We will provide you with a clear, honest, and nuanced overview of you and your family’s potential legal options.