If you drive for long enough on Texas roads and highways, a car accident is practically inevitable. Almost every driver eventually experiences a minor fender-bender, and the vast majority of auto accident costs are settled without problems. However, there are many cases where car crashes cause extensive damages and big disputes. Many people have questions and wonder when to get a lawyer after an auto accident. Here is a brief guide to help you make that decision.
What Can You Expect After an Auto Accident?
Even a minor collision causes a big adrenaline response that can make it difficult to remember everything you need to do after a car accident. Fortunately, the most urgent steps are also the most intuitive. These include:
- Get your vehicle out of the roadway if possible
- Check all involved persons for injuries
- Note the time, date, and location of the crash
- Exchange contact and information with the other driver
- Get contact information from any witnesses
Texas law requires you to contact the police after any car accident when:
- A person is injured or killed
- Vehicles cannot be moved from the accident scene
- You suspect an involved driver may be under the influence
- One of the drivers has no auto insurance
- One of the drivers leaves the scene of the accident
When in doubt, always call 911. If the police have been called, remain at the scene to talk with the police and give your statement. Remain at the scene until they clear you to leave.
Should I Get a Lawyer After an Auto Accident?
Up to 95 percent of car accidents are minor, involving only minor damages to the involved vehicles, and settle quickly without dispute. In most cases, you do not need an auto accident attorney when:
- The accident caused property damage, but no injuries
- Property damage is less than $1,000 and within the auto insurance policy limits
- Both drivers, witnesses, and police agree on what happened and who was at fault
- The offered insurance settlement amount is sufficient for your damages
If the police were called to your accident scene, it is always a good idea to request a copy of the police report to make sure that it is correct.
When to Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Although most car accidents are settled without problems or disputes, you should get a lawyer after an accident when:
- Any person involved was injured or killed. Medical costs, lost wages, wrongful death, and other types of damages make car accident claims expensive and complex. It is always best to contact an auto accident attorney when there has been an injury or fatality.
- Drivers disagree about who caused the accident. Texas is an at-fault state, which means the person who caused the accident bears the cost of the damages. In car accidents where property damage exceeds $1000, the responsible driver may also have their license suspended. If you and the driver disagree about fault, or you disagree with the decision of the police at the scene, you should contact an auto accident attorney.
- Property damages are high. If your damages exceed insurance policy limits, or if the offered settlement does not compensate you for your damages, contact an auto accident attorney.
- The other driver was uninsured. If the other driver was uninsured, you often have little choice but to file a lawsuit. It is always best to consult with a qualified attorney first.
- There is a third party involved. The presence of a third party with damages (for example, if the auto accident caused a subsequent collision with another vehicle, personal property, or another person) makes car accident claims more expensive and more complicated. You may need an attorney to help settle these types of cases.
- The accident involved a professional or commercial vehicle. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle or a person who was driving professionally at the time, the company may be partly liable for your damages. The company will have the best attorneys and investigators on its side, and you should do the same.
In many cases, the other insurance company may pressure you to sign a quick settlement before the full scope of injuries or damages is determined. Accepting a settlement offer waives your right to pursue further damages in the future, so it is always best to get a lawyer after an auto accident if you have doubts about the settlement offer.
How Can Aaron Allison Help?
While most car collisions are resolved without problems, auto accident cases can also be complex, with different types of damages, differing levels of liability, and multiple involved parties. Due to the Texas statute of limitations, and complex liability laws, it is always best to discuss your case with an attorney before accepting a settlement.
Aaron Allison is a family-owned law firm that has been fighting for victims’ rights since 1978. We offer free legal consultations to discuss your case and don’t get paid if we don’t recover for you. If you or a loved one have been in an auto accident, and aren’t sure whether you are being fairly compensated, contact us today.