Car accidents are sometimes dismissed as commonplace, but they can have lasting, disruptive effects on various areas of your life. Our attorneys will work to get you fair compensation for your injuries so you can get your life back.
Car accidents in Dallas have been increasing in frequency for years. Some common causes of accidents include distractions, bad weather, speeding, and intoxication. Traffic congestion is a major risk factor to consider. You can avoid collisions by staying alert, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, and obeying traffic laws. After an accident, we must work on proving how the defendant is at fault with evidence of their negligence. If you fear costly legal fees, do not worry. Our team can work with you to come to a financial arrangement that works for everyone. We can help you claim the full extent of your damages, which might be more valuable than you think. Talk to a lawyer soon, as the deadline to file might be coming up. Your case might be delayed if the defendant is criminally charged for the crash. In the meantime, we can build a case using photos and notes from the crash and your medical records.
For a free case review to get started, contact our car accident lawyers by calling The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797.
How Often Do Car Accidents Happen in and Around the Dallas Area?
Americans rely heavily on vehicles to get around, and Dallas, TX is no exception. We take our cars to work, school, the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and almost anywhere else you can think of. They are very important parts of our lives. With so many people in their vehicles on a nearly daily basis, it is no wonder that accidents are a common occurrence. But just how bad is it in Dallas?
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes in Dallas doubled from the year 2011 to 2021. In 2011, the total number of fatal auto accidents was 107. In 2021, that number jumped to 207. If a decade of auto accidents has shown us anything, it is that driving in and around Dallas is becoming more and more dangerous.
The total number of accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, is significantly higher. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) tracks data on car accidents throughout the state and breaks this data down according to various criteria, including location. According to the data for 2022, there were a total of approximately 33,980 motor vehicle accidents. This includes serious crashes, minor accidents, fatal accidents, and accidents involving minor injuries.
What Kind of Car Accidents Happen in the Dallas Area?
Each accident is caused by a unique set of circumstances, and every case must be handled with an individualized approach. TxDOT not only tracks data on the total number of accidents that happen in Dallas and the rest of the state, but it also tracks this data based on various factors that played a role in how the accidents were caused.
For example, according to the same data for 2022 mentioned before, 1,055 accidents in Dallas involved alcohol. Speed is an even more common factor. The data from TxDOT shows that there were 13,850 crashes involving high rates of speed in Dallas in 2022.
Dallas is a big city, and thousands of drivers – if not more – are on the road every day. Our car accident attorneys can help you fight for fair compensation if you are involved in a crash.
Some Other Common Causes of Car Accidents in Dallas
While accidents are certainly common in and around Dallas, and the authorities diligently track factors like speeding and alcohol, there are many other common causes of crashes and collisions.
One of the most common causes of car accidents today is distractions behind the wheel. While drivers have always had to ignore distractions and remain focused on the road, doing so seems to be harder nowadays. With communication technology, including phones, tablets, and GPS devices, becoming more and more prevalent, distracted driving has become a leading cause of accidents across the nation. In fact, many newer vehicle models are designed to sync with these devices, and drivers are encouraged to have them in the car.
Our car accident attorneys should also consider weather conditions when we review how your accident might have occurred. Of course, drivers cannot be held responsible for changes in the weather. However, drivers may be held responsible for how they drive when the weather is bad. If it was raining, there were strong wind gusts, or if it was dark outside when you were driving, and the other driver did not adjust to be more defensive and careful, they might be responsible for the crash. For example, when roads are wet, drivers should slow down, even if it means driving slower than the speed limit.
Unfortunately, another somewhat common cause of many accidents is road rage. These kinds of accidents are not always accidental. Angry drivers might lose control of their temper and purposefully crash into other cars. Often, other drivers get caught up in the chaos and get hurt. If you were hurt in a road rage accident, make sure to report it to the police immediately, even if you were not injured.
What Makes Dallas Such a Risky City for Driving?
Dallas has garnered something of a bad reputation when it comes to motor vehicle accidents and speed. Dallas is not just one of the most dangerous cities for drivers in Texas but also one of the most dangerous cities for drivers in the entire country.
Last year, local news outlet NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth (NBCDFW) conducted an investigation into what makes driving so dangerous in Dallas. The investigation found that the traffic death rate in Dallas is one of the worst among the 10 largest cities in the United States. But why is driving in Dallas so bad? The answer might have to do with a combination of road design and speed. In short, the roads and highways around Dallas are designed in such a way that speeding is practically encouraged.
Roads and highways around Dallas tend to be very wide, and they move traffic very quickly but not safely. The roads are constructed to accommodate speed, but this often leads to disastrous crashes and collisions. As a result, it is not unusual for drivers to exceed 100 mph on certain highways.
How You Can Avoid Potential Car Accidents in Dallas
While driving around Dallas might feel like a risky endeavor, it does not have to be that way. You can take steps and precautions to avoid crashes and remain safe on the road. Just remember, while you are doing everything within your power to stay safe, it can be difficult to account for other negligent drivers. You can be as careful as can be, but other drivers might still cause accidents and hurt you. An attorney can help you get fair compensation.
First, avoid distractions and stay aware. Distractions are some of the biggest reasons for accidents. By staying alert, you can see an accident coming and avoid it. Maybe the car in front of you brakes checks you, but you were alert and stopped before getting into a rear-end crash. Maybe you are about to pull into an intersection, but you remain vigilant and avoid the other car barreling through the intersection even though they have a red light.
Second, always use signals and lights. Drivers must communicate with each other to stay safe. Always use turn signals and make sure your brake lights are in working condition. If it gets dark, turn your headlights on. These small things can be easy to forget, hence why so many accidents happen.
Next, keep a safe distance from other vehicles. Tailgating is a common factor in many accidents. If you follow other cars too closely, you might end up running into them. If someone else is tailgating you, you can try signaling for them to move around you if possible. If they remain on your bumper, just stay alert and tell the police and your lawyer about the tailgating if an accident does occur.
How We Can Help Determine Fault in a Dallas Car Accident
After an accident, you will likely hear the word “fault” tossed around by attorneys and insurance companies. Determining who is at fault for an accident is a major decision that affects the outcome of your case. Our goal is to show an insurance company or a court how the other driver is at fault. The other driver’s goal is to refute our claims and possibly allege that you are at fault totally or partially.
The Defendant’s Negligence
To prove that the other driver is at fault for the crash, our car accident lawyers need to establish their negligence. Just because your accident was, well, an accident does not mean that the other driver cannot be held responsible. They might not have meant to cause harm, but they should still be held responsible for their negligent behavior that caused the crash.
The first element of negligence is the defendant’s duty. This refers to their legal obligation of safety and care they owe to you and other drivers on the road. All drivers are said to owe a duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances and to obey traffic laws.
The second element of negligence is the defendant’s breach of their duty. The breach is whatever the defendant did to violate their legal duty of care. This might be running a red light or driving too fast for the road conditions.
Causation is the third element of negligence and requires us to prove how the defendant’s breach is the direct cause of the accident. Even if we can prove the defendant somehow breached their duty of care, we must prove how that breach is directly connected to the accident and not some coincidence. Defendants often try to argue that something else caused the accident, not their breach of duty.
Finally, we need to establish the existence of your damages. This might mean presenting medical records of injuries, records of property damage, and testimony about how the accident affected your life.
When dealing with issues of fault, we might have to confront allegations of contributory negligence. When a plaintiff is accused of doing something that contributed to the crash, the court must decide whether the rules of proportionate responsibility apply.
According to Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 33.001, if a plaintiff is found to be contributorily negligent, their damages may be reduced in proportion to their responsibility for the accident. If their proportion of responsibility is greater than 50%, they are barred from recovering anything. For example, if the court determines you are 30% responsible for the car accident, you may still recover 70% of your total damages. However, if you are deemed 55% responsible for the accident, you are no longer eligible to recover any damages.
How proportionate responsibility is determined is described under Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 33.003(a). The trier of fact (i.e., the jury) determines each party’s percentage of responsibility based on how alleged acts or omissions caused harm. To submit such a question to the jury, the defendant must have some evidence backing them up. If not, their claims of proportionate responsibility may not be considered.
How Much Does a Dallas Car Accident Attorney Cost?
When initiating legal action, one of the first questions people have is about legal fees and costs of representation. To sum it up, how much it costs to hire a car accident lawyer depends on various factors surrounding our case. Do not let the prospect of legal fees deter you from seeking out a skilled and experienced attorney to help you.
Cases that are more legally complex and take more time will likely incur greater legal fees. Cases that are more straightforward and are completed faster might result in smaller legal fees. How your attorney assesses their fees also plays a role in determining the overall cost of representation.
Some attorneys charge a contingency fee where they receive a percentage of the overall damages awarded to their client. The greater your damages award, the more money the attorney earns. Your attorney might have a standard percentage they charge in many of their cases, or they might work out a contingency fee tailored to your case and situation.
Many other attorneys charge by the hour. They keep thorough records of all the work being done in your case and how long it takes. For example, if an attorney spends 3 hours doing legal research for your case, they will keep track of their time and add it to your bill. How much you pay depends on how much money the attorney charges by the hour. Hourly fees might range from as low as about one to several hundred dollars per hour.
The skill and experience of your attorney also determine legal fees. Attorneys with years of experience handling car accident claims will likely charge more than a novice lawyer. You are not just paying for the time they spend on your case but also the skills and knowledge they bring to the table.
While it is true that a good attorney is rarely cheap, a good attorney is also worth the investment. Additionally, many attorneys are willing to work with clients who might be in dire need of legal services but who have trouble affording the fees.
Damages Available in Dallas Car Accident Cases
Car accidents often vary in their severity, and damages may differ too. Talk to an experienced attorney about your accident to get an accurate idea of what your damages are worth. Most cases involve some compensatory damages, while punitive or exemplary damages tend to be reserved for very specific circumstances.
Compensatory damages are awarded to make up for a plaintiff’s losses and injuries. While damage and injuries cannot be undone, the court can at least put you back in the same financial position you were in prior to the accident.
Many damages are based on actual money you spent or lost. Medical bills and property damages are often the largest contributors to calculations for economic damages in car accident cases. Medical treatment is famously expensive, and vehicle repairs are also very costly.
If your injuries prevent you from working, we can help you estimate the amount of income or wages you have missed out on and add it to your claim.
Economic damages are typically not limited by statute, but you cannot claim more than what you have actually lost. As such, it is important that we thoroughly review and assess your damages so that nothing is left out and your compensation is maximized.
Punitive or Exemplary Damages
Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants for their bad behavior. However, not just any kind of bad behavior warrants punitive damages. According to Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 41.003(a), punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, may be awarded only if the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove this by clear and convincing evidence.
Certain factors might preclude the recovery of punitive damages. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 41.001(a), a plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages if they do not also recover some compensatory damages, even if the defendant’s actions meet the criteria for punitive damages.
There are also limitations on how much punitive damages may be worth. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 41.008(a), punitive damages may not exceed twice the value of economic damages plus an amount equal to non-economic damages not exceeding $750,000. Alternatively, punitive damages may not exceed $200,000. The court may go with whichever option is greater.
How Soon After a Dallas Car Accident Should You Take Legal Action?
Make sure to speak with an attorney about your case as soon as possible because there is a tight deadline for filing the case. According to Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 16.003(a), plaintiffs filing personal injury cases for things like car accidents have only 2 years to do so. If the deadline comes and goes with no case being filed, you risk losing your right to bring the cause of action.
Even still, there might be ways to buy yourself extra time. Talk to your attorney about possibly having the statute of limitations tolled. When the statute is tolled, the deadline is put on pause. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 16.001, the statute of limitations may be tolled for minors and people with disabilities that prevent them from filing the case on their own or understanding their right to sue.
If you were younger than 18 when the accident happened, our car accident lawyers can try to have the statute of limitations tolled until you turn 18. This would mean you have 2 years from your 18th birthday instead of the day of the accident.
For tolling purposes, a disability usually refers to a mental or psychological condition that prevents someone from taking legal action on their own behalf. In such cases, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the disability ceases. The disability normally must be present when you are in the accident. If it comes up sometime after but before you file the case, it might not allow you to have the deadline tolled.
What Happens if the Other Driver in My Dallas Car Accident Fled the Scene?
When a driver hits another driver and flees the accident scene, they have committed a hit-and-run. Hit-and-runs are extremely serious criminal offenses, and the police must be notified so they can investigate and hopefully find the other driver. In the meantime, it might be impossible to file a lawsuit if we do not know the defendant’s identity.
According to Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 16.063, the statute of limitations on your claim may be tolled if the defendant is absent from the state. The filing deadline is tolled until the defendant can be located and returned to the state or reached by long-arm statutes.
How We Can Begin Building Your Dallas Car Accident Case Right After the Crash
We can begin building a case for you almost immediately after the accident. Many people take photos and videos after an accident, usually to show an insurance company. If you have any photos like this, we might use them as evidence in a courtroom. If you could not take photos at the time of the crash, we can check with other drivers involved in the accident to see if they have photos.
After a crash, write down everything you remember as soon as possible. Details from the accident might fade from your memory over time. By writing everything down when the crash is still fresh in your mind, we might save important details vital to your testimony in court. Even if you are unsure whether some details are important, write them down anyway.
Next, we can help you get copies of the police report. Police reports are typically not admissible as evidence because of the rule against hearsay evidence. However, we can still use the police report as a guide to other admissible evidence. Additionally, the police often provide their own conclusions regarding how the crash happened in the report. While these conclusions cannot be used as evidence, they might influence how we handle the case going forward.
Avoid talking to other drivers, their attorneys, or insurance company representatives until you have a lawyer. It might be a good idea to make your attorney your main point of contact, and all communication should go through them. This might help you avoid inadvertently saying something that can be twisted and used against you, thereby protecting your rights and legal interests.
Do not talk about the accident with anyone. Avoid mentioning details about the accident and your legal case to anyone outside your immediate family. On top of that, stay away from social media. Photos and posts online may be taken by your opponent and used against you.
Why You Need Immediate Medical Attention After a Dallas Car Accident
Calling 911 after a car accident seems like the obvious thing to do, but not every accident is so simple. Sometimes, drivers feel like they are not hurt that bad and do not want to incur large hospital bills for injuries that might heal on their own. However, it is extremely important that you get to a hospital to be checked out by a doctor immediately.
First of all, you need treatment for injuries. If you feel as though you are not badly hurt, go to the doctor anyway. You might have internal injuries that might only be identified through proper medical care.
Getting checked out immediately is good for your overall health and physical well-being and creates an official record and paper trail of the accident and your injuries.
We might need to use your medical records as evidence of your injuries and treatment costs. If you wait to see a doctor, your medical records might be less than accurate. Injuries can heal on their own without medical intervention, at least to a certain extent, and your records might not reflect the true severity and magnitude of your injuries.
On the other hand, many injuries become worse without immediate medical care. This means your medical records will show injuries that are a lot worse than they were at the initial crash. This might give the defendant reason to argue that you contributed to your own injuries, thereby reducing your damages.
How Insurance Laws in Texas Affect Your Dallas Car Accident Claim
Texas insurance laws require drivers to file third-party claims with the insurance of the other driver in the accident. When you file a third-party claim, you must present evidence to the insurance company that shows how their customer or client is at fault for the crash. Only then will the insurance company cover your damages, at least up to the insurance policy limits.
Texas imposes minimum insurance requirements on drivers and insurance companies. All drivers must have auto insurance that meets these minimum requirements. Minimum coverage is often described as 30/60/25 coverage. You must have at least $30,000 in coverage for injuries per person, $60,000 of coverage for injuries per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage.
Minimum insurance policies do not always adequately cover injured drivers’ damages. If your damages and costs from the crash exceed the policy limits, you might have to file a lawsuit against the driver to get the full extent of your losses covered.
You might also need to file a lawsuit if the insurance company denies your claim. With a jury verdict in your favor, the insurance company may be legally required to pay for your damages.
Reporting Requirements for Dallas Car Accidents
Drivers often call for emergency help after a car accident, and medical personnel and law enforcement officials are usually dispatched to the scene. However, not all drivers feel the need to call for help. Maybe your vehicle is damaged, but you feel physically unharmed. People sometimes do not want to get the police involved, as they worry about making the situation more complicated. You might actually be required by law to report accidents to the police under certain circumstances.
According to Tex. Trans. Code § 55.026(a), you must report accidents involving injury, death, or enough vehicle damage to prevent the driver from safely driving the car away from the accident. On top of that, reporting the accident to the police means there will be a police report. Insurance companies often demand copies of police reports. Without one, you might have trouble getting your claim approved.
Contact Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyers for Help Right Now
For a free case review to get started, contact our car accident lawyers by calling The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797.