Get Your Car Wreck Questions Answered Here
As the survivor of a devastating car wreck that wasn’t your fault, you are likely to have more questions than you can find the answers to. Consult our Frequently Asked Questions page to browse the topics that get to the heart of the answers you need to take the next step towards recovery.
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What if the other driver had a medical condition that led to our collision?
If the at-fault driver had a medical condition that led to the accident, the outcome of your case will likely depend on your ability to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent.
A determination of liability in a vehicle accident caused by a medical emergency is complicated by the fact that the driver who caused the accident was dealing with circumstances beyond his control. Of course, since the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t be expected to assume responsibility for your accident-related expenses. Driving with a medical condition can be viewed as a negligent act, meaning that the driver could still be held liable. If a driver knows that he is unfit to drive due to a medical condition, and he chooses to get behind the wheel anyway, he will likely be held responsible for your injuries. However, drivers generally are not liable for conditions that are considered to be beyond their control. This is where the sudden medical emergency defense comes in.
Sudden Medical Emergency Defense
Texas recognizes the sudden medical emergency defense. The idea behind this defense is that a driver who has experienced a sudden medical emergency should not be held liable for circumstances beyond his control. A driver isn’t considered negligent for failing to overcome conditions that he could not anticipate. Some of the medical emergencies that might cause a driver to lose control of his vehicle include:
- Panic attacks
- Heart attacks
- Asthma attacks
- Sudden drops in blood pressure
You Need an Attorney
When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident with a driver who suffered a medical condition, you deserve compensation. You need representation by an experienced attorney who will fight to preserve your recovery. To learn more, contact the Cain Law Firm by using the form on this page.
What does it mean to receive compensation for pain and suffering?
Vehicle accident victims may be able to recover damages for both economic and noneconomic harm caused by a collision. While economic damages reimburse victims for their out-of-pocket expenses, non-economic damages are intended to compensate them for other types of harm caused, such as pain and suffering.
Types of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is the mental and physical anguish resulting from an accident. Any damages collected are intended to compensate you for the emotional and mental distress you have already experienced and that you may continue to endure in the future. Some of the harmful outcomes of an accident you may be compensated for might include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional pain
- Damage to reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Physical impairment
Damages for Pain and Suffering
To collect damages, you must first prove the extent of your pain and suffering. You need evidence that demonstrates how your accident has caused you to suffer. Proof can take a number of different forms, and the more evidence you can provide, the better. To do so, you may need to produce various types of supporting documentation, including:
- Previous, current, and future medical expenses
- Receipts for over-the-counter medications
- Personal journals detailing physical and emotional pain
- Photographs of your injuries
- Prescription records
- Proof of treatment by a mental health professional
- Documentation of missed work and lost income
You Need an Attorney
Assigning a monetary value to your pain and suffering can be one of the most challenging aspects of pursuing a vehicle accident claim. A variety of factors must be considered, including your unique physical injuries, the emotional distress you’ve experienced as a result of being injured, and the impact your injuries have had on your daily life. Due to the complex nature of personal injury claims, you need an experienced attorney who understands how to properly value a case. To learn more, contact the Cain Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Can a vehicle owner be responsible for a crash when he isn’t driving?
Most of the time, a vehicle owner is responsible for the damage caused by his vehicle in an accident because he was driving the car. However, under certain circumstances, an owner may be held liable for injuries resulting from the crash when he isn’t even present.
Vehicle Owner Liability
Vehicle owners can be held liable for an accident, even when they weren’t driving. Common scenarios in which the owner is responsible include:
- Negligent entrustment. If a vehicle owner allows someone to drive his car who is unfit, the owner is guilty of negligent entrustment. The driver may be incapable of driving responsibly because he is intoxicated, unlicensed, a minor, or has a history of reckless driving.
- Negligent maintenance. If you fail to maintain your vehicle properly, and a mechanical failure leads to a collision, you may be held liable for the resulting injuries.
- Vicarious liability. If an employer allows an employee to drive a company vehicle and the employee causes an accident, that employer may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
- Family purpose doctrine. Texas follows the family purpose doctrine. When someone purchases and maintains a vehicle for general family use, the owner is responsible for the actions of any family member driving that car.
Stolen Vehicle Liability
The owner of a stolen vehicle is generally not held liable for damages caused in an accident, since the car was taken without his consent. Liability is dependent upon the express or implied consent of the owner, which is absent in the event of theft. Therefore, the vehicle owner can’t be held responsible for the actions of the thief.
Damages that you may be entitled to recover due to a vehicle accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, it’s important to identify all of the responsible parties in order to maximize your recovery and get the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Cain Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Who is allowed to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas?
While many people may suffer when someone dies prematurely, only a few individuals are permitted to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. Unlike most other civil lawsuits, in a wrongful death claim the injured individual isn’t the plaintiff. The only individuals who are permitted to sue are those who have legal standing, meaning that they have been directly harmed as a result of the wrongful death. Some of the ways a plaintiff may be harmed include loss of the deceased’s financial support, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of companionship. While there’s no way to make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim can compensate those left behind for their losses. Liability is accounted for only in the form of monetary damages.
The Texas wrongful death statutes allow certain individuals to bring suit for the damages they have sustained. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 4, Chapter 71 establishes that only the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, or parents have standing to file a wrongful death claim. An adoptive child may file a wrongful death claim for the death of his adoptive parent, but not for the death of his biological parent. Adoptive parents are permitted to file a claim if their adopted child dies, as well. Unadopted stepchildren, siblings, girlfriends, boyfriends, and grandparents do not have standing to sue, regardless of how close they may have been to the deceased.
Each of the qualified individuals may file his or her own separate claim, or they can file the claim together as a group. If no wrongful death claim has been filed within three months of the date of death, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim instead. However, surviving family members do have the right to request that the wrongful death claim not be filed.
You Need an Attorney
If you have legal standing in a wrongful death claim, you need professional representation. To learn more about protecting your rights, contact the Cain Law Firm by using the form on this page.
What should I do after a vehicle accident?
When you’re involved in a vehicle accident, the accompanying adrenaline and stress can be overwhelming. However, the following are important steps that you should take in order to stay safe and protect your rights:
- Look for injuries. Check with all drivers and passengers involved in the accident to ensure that no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone is in need of medical attention.
- Call the police. If the accident is more than just a fender-bender, or if anyone is injured, you should call the police. Even if the damage is minor, and the police don’t visit the scene, you can still file a police report.
- Don’t leave. Stay at the scene of the accident until you’ve talked with the police. Don’t leave until you’ve verified that everyone else involved in the accident is okay.
- Obtain driver and witness information. Get names, contact information, and insurance details from all drivers. If there are passengers, collect their names and addresses, as well. Ask each witness what he saw, and get his name, phone number, and address.
- Photograph everything. Take pictures of any injuries you’ve sustained and damage to your vehicle. Also photograph the accident scene, and any other vehicles involved in the collision.
- Notify your insurance company. Tell your insurance company that you’ve been in an accident.
- Protect your rights. Don’t sign any documents, except for the police or your insurance company. Don’t apologize or claim responsibility, even if you believe the accident was your fault.
- Talk to a lawyer. If you were injured in the accident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can represent you when dealing with the other parties involved in the accident.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you need the guidance of an experienced legal professional to help you protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Cain Law Firm by using the form on this page.
Is it legal to ride in the back of a pickup truck in Texas?
It is legal for adults to ride in a truck bed in Texas, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Truck beds are designed to carry cargo, not people. They lack safety restraints, and even seemingly minor low-speed crashes can result in serious injury or even death.
The Law and Exceptions to it in Texas
There is no law forbidding adults in Texas from riding in the back of a pickup truck. For those under the age of 18, it is generally illegal to ride in a pickup bed, with a few exceptions. Violators risk a misdemeanor traffic violation, which imposes a fine between $25 and $200. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. Children are permitted to ride in the back of a pickup during:
- An emergency
- A parade or hayride
- Farm-related activities
- Drives on a beach
Dangers of Riding in a Pickup Bed
An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and that’s what makes seat belts so crucial. They prevent passengers from flying through the air in the event of a collision. Even a minor fender-bender can toss an unrestrained passenger from the back of a pickup, dramatically increasing the risk of serious injury and even death. If the passenger isn’t ejected from the truck bed, he can still suffer from severe injuries caused while rolling around in the back during an accident. Rear-end collisions are particularly dangerous, since passengers risk being thrown from the bed, and in front of the truck. Common injuries resulting from this type of accident include:
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bone fractures
- Broken bones
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured while riding in the bed of a pickup truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If your employer required you to sit in the back of the truck due to a lack of seats, you likely have a case against the company. To learn more, contact the Cain Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Will I have to testify if my car accident case goes to trial?
For many people, a car accident injury is their first experience with the legal system. If you were injured by another driver, you may be understandably afraid of going to court and testifying before a judge and jury. How likely is it that your attorney will need to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial if you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company?
Why it Is Often Beneficial to Settle Your Auto Crash Claim Without Testifying in Court
The reality is that the majority of auto wreck cases do not go to trial, but instead are settled out of court. The chances are good that your case will settle too and that you will not have to testify at a trial or other court hearing. However, in some cases, the insurance company will not make a reasonable settlement offer. If this is your situation, your attorney may need to start the litigation process by filing a complaint and preparing your case for trial. In many cases, this investigation of your accident and trial preparation will strengthen your case and help your attorney settle your case for the compensation you deserve before your trial date.
There are a number of advantages to settling a case rather than taking it to trial. Some of these include:
- Time. Taking a case to trial is time-consuming, and it can take a long time before your case is scheduled for trial. When you are already dealing with the stress of your health problems and loss of income, you may feel that waiting for your jury trial is a drawback and may need to put the accident behind you more quickly.
- Expense. Trials can be expensive. You may need to pay expert witness fees, copying costs, deposition transcribing fees, and more as part of the preparation of your trial. These may be separate fees that you will owe in addition to attorney fees.
- Risk. There is always a risk when you take a case to trial that you could lose your case or be awarded less than what the insurance company offered in settlement. No matter how strong your claim appears, there is no guarantee of the outcome if you let a judge or jury decide it.
While your case will most likely settle without the need for you to testify, the bottom line is that you should not settle your claim for less than what you are entitled to. You need an attorney who is both experienced in negotiating settlements in cases similar to yours and who is not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary.
Were you or a family member hurt in a car crash caused by a negligent driver? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced legal team to discuss your options and learn of the possible compensation you could receive.
Should I call the police if I’m involved in a vehicle accident?
With millions of traffic accidents occurring every year, there may very well be a vehicle collision in your future. Every driver should know the steps to take in the event of an accident, including how to decide whether or not to call the police.
Call the Police
Generally, calling the police after you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident is a good idea. Having an officer present at the accident scene will expedite the exchange of information between all parties. If you feel that the other driver has committed a motor vehicle violation, and he doesn’t want you to call the police, ignore him and make the call. Furthermore, you should definitely call the police if:
- There is personal injury. You should call the police immediately for medical assistance if anyone is injured at the scene.
- Vehicle damage exceeds $1,000. It doesn’t take much of an impact to exceed $1,000 in damage, especially with late model vehicles. If this is the case, you should call the police from the scene to report the accident immediately.
File Your Own Police Report
It’s best to call the police while your memory of the incident is still fresh. The police department may decline to respond to a minor accident scene if there are no injuries, but it’s still a good idea to make the call and let them decide. If the police should decline to respond, you can file your own police report. An official police document will be an asset for the following reasons:
- Future liability. Even if you’re in agreement with the other driver regarding the cause of the accident, you can’t be certain that his opinion won’t change over time. A police report can be very helpful in the event of future litigation.
- Facilitating a settlement. A police report can expedite the process of filing an insurance claim.
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, contact the Cain Law Firm by using the form on this page.
How is my attorney compensated for representing me in my vehicle accident claim?
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, the cost of hiring an attorney is an important consideration. Like many accident victims, you may not have hired an attorney before and might be unaware of fee arrangements in vehicle accident cases.
How Attorneys Are Paid
Attorneys charge fees on a contingency basis in vehicle accident cases. This compensation is specified in a contract known as a fee agreement, which details how, and how much, the attorney will be paid. This means that:
- Your attorney will charge you a percentage of your compensation as his fee.
- Your attorney doesn’t receive any fees if you don’t obtain a settlement or an award at trial.
- You may owe the expenses associated with your case, including: legal filing fees, the fee to serve the complaint on the driver, expert witness fees, and medical record copying fees.
Why Contingency Fee Arrangements Exist
When you’re involved in a vehicle accident, you may suffer from physical pain, the inability to work for weeks, months, or years, and medical bills that never cease. Many victims facing this dire situation understandably lack the funds necessary to hire a lawyer, which is why most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency basis. This arrangement means that you won’t owe legal fees unless your attorney is successful in obtaining a settlement or award at trial.
Advantages of Contingency Fee Arrangements
Contingency fee arrangements permit clients to defray upfront litigation costs, since they won’t owe any legal fees unless and until there is a settlement or court award. Clients on a tight budget can protect their rights by hiring the experienced attorney they need right away. Since he is only paid if you win, your attorney has every incentive to maximize the recovered amount, resolve your issue quickly, and keep any related expenses as low as possible. To learn more about contingency fee arrangements, contact Cain Law Firm by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.
- How You Can Afford to Hire an Attorney After an Accident
- How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
- Important Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Why is it important to seek medical attention right after an accident?
Many people just want to go home after they have suffered a serious accident. They may be embarrassed by all of the attention from police and emergency medical responders, or eager to show their family members that they are okay. Unfortunately, failure to see a doctor after an accident can not only be detrimental to your health, it can also affect your ability to sue for damages in a Texas personal injury case.
How to Protect Your Health and Your Injury Claim After a Crash
The longer you wait before receiving medical attention, the more difficult it will be to prove that your injuries are a result of the accident. No matter what kind of accident you have suffered, you should always take these steps:
- At the scene. If an ambulance arrives, always allow the medical team to examine you. Even if you think you are fine, they are trained professionals and know which symptoms to look for. If they think you should go to the hospital, allow them to take you. Even if you are released, you should still make an appointment for a checkup with your doctor in the next few days.
- While you're waiting in the emergency room. If you have your cellphone, take pictures of any bruises, scrapes, lacerations, and any other visible signs of injury. Use a video or voice recording function to make notes on how you feel, what happened, and anything else you can remember about the accident.
- During your visit with the doctor. It is important to submit to any tests the doctor thinks are necessary, since scans and x-rays often identify injuries that can be overlooked. Find out if the doctor has any concerns about your condition, and ask all of the questions you can think of about your injury. Ask about symptoms that could appear later and what to look out for as you heal. Also, ask if there are any recommendations and restrictions on your activity as you recover, such as whether you can go to work, sleep normally, or lift heavy objects.
- After your appointment. Be sure to document all of your medical expenses, including prescriptions and copays. The costs of an injury can add up fast, and you will need evidence of how much money you spent on your recovery for your insurance claim.
If someone else’s negligence caused your injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost income. Our law firm can explain your legal options and help you get the funds you need to move on after an accident. Simply fill out our online contact form to get started on your case review.