Getting into a car accident is undeniably one of the most stressful things that can happen to a person. After a wreck, it’s common to have tons of questions about the wreck, your rights and options, and the legal process ahead of you.
At the Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers, our Dallas car accident lawyers have been advocating for crash victims in Dallas, TX, for more than 25 years. We have an in-depth understanding of the car accident injury claims process and the road that lies ahead.
To help you navigate this difficult time, we’ve compiled answers to some of the car accident questions we get most often. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Dallas car accident attorneys at (214) 855-1420 to schedule a free consultation.
What’s the First Thing I Should Do After a Car Accident in Dallas?
The most important thing to do after a car accident in Dallas is to seek medical treatment at a local hospital.
However, seeking medical care is rarely the first thing you’ll do.
Here’s a rundown of the first steps you should take after a crash.
- Stay at or near the scene. It’s considered a hit and run if you leave without exchanging information with other parties.
- Call 911 or contact the local Dallas police. You’ll be legally required to report your accident if it caused more than $1,000 in damage to property, or if anyone was injured or killed. It’ll be essential to get a police officer down to the scene, along with emergency medical professionals to render aid and get you to the hospital.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of damaged property, tire tracks, injuries, and the scene of the accident. Record a quick video if you can. These snapshots and recordings can help your attorney investigate your accident and build a stronger case for you.
- Resist the urge to apologize. Exchange personal and insurance information with other parties, but don’t admit fault for the wreck. This could put a stop to your legal claim before it even has the chance to get off the ground.
Once you’ve sought medical care, it’s important to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney near you in Dallas. Your lawyer can explain your rights and options for recovering compensation and help you navigate your injury claim.
The Insurance Company Wants a Statement – Should I Give Them One?
No. The insurance adjuster might appear to be sympathetic to your situation. They might seem like they’re on your side and want to help. They don’t. Insurance companies are for-profit entities. They’ll prioritize money over your well-being in a heartbeat.
They’ll ask questions designed to elicit details and information that can be used to hurt your case. If they get you on the record, they can use your words against you in the future.
The best thing to do is decline these requests and direct all questions and inquiries to your car accident attorney. Your attorney will be familiar with the insurance company’s playbook and strategies. They’ll be able to protect you and safeguard your opportunity to get the money you deserve.
What’s Comparative Negligence and How Can It Affect My Car Accident Settlement in Dallas?
Car accidents can be complicated. Many times, there’s more than one underlying cause of a wreck. When multiple parties are responsible for causing an accident, they all share liability for the resulting consequences.
In simple terms, you can recover compensation for a car accident in Dallas as long as you’re less than 51 percent to blame for the wreck. Once your liability exceeds 50%, you lose the right to a third-party financial recovery.
What if you’re just partly to blame? In these situations, your damages will be reduced. The reduction is proportionate to your degree of fault. For example, if you’re 10 percent to blame, your settlement or jury award will be reduced by 10 percent.
Don’t be surprised when the insurance company tries to blame you – in whole or in part – for your car accident. They’ll try to use the state’s comparative negligence rule in their favor. If they can shift blame, they can limit your payout or deny your claim in its entirety.
You can protect yourself from these tactics by enlisting the help of an experienced car accident attorney near you in Dallas.
How Do I Get a Car Accident Report in Dallas, TX?
Accident reports can contain valuable information about your crash. The details can really help your attorney build a strong claim for damages.
Dallas Police Department
After a car accident in Dallas, you can obtain a copy of your accident report by:
- Requesting a copy in person at the Open Records Unit located at 1400 Botham Jean, Dallas, Texas 75215; or
- Mailing a request to the same address.
Reports are generally available within 5 to 7 days after an accident. You can call (214) 671-3345 for additional help obtaining the record.
Texas Department of Transportation
If your accident was investigated by Texas Peace Officers, you can purchase a copy of the report online.
When you access the TxDOT Crash Report Online Purchase System, you’ll need some or all of the following information:
- Driver name
- Driver license number
- Vehicle VIN, or
- TxDOT crash ID
Accident reports are typically available two weeks after the date of a crash.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim For Property Damage, Personal Injury, or Wrongful Death After a Dallas Car Accident?
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations that applies to car accident injury claims involving:
The deadline begins to run on the date of the auto accident, the date an injury is discovered, or the date of a victim’s wrongful death, whichever is later.
You will lose the right to file a legal claim and demand compensation once the statute of limitations expires.
Is Texas a No-Fault State For Car Insurance?
No. Texas follows a fault-based system for car insurance. Under state law, all motorists are legally required to purchase minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage before they can operate a vehicle.
State minimum requirements include:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage: $25,000 per accident
This is known as 30/60/25 coverage and simply reflects the least amount of coverage you have to have when you drive.
Following a car accident in Dallas, the party that is responsible for causing the wreck is liable for the resulting damages. Their insurance company will pay benefits up to the policy limits. If the at-fault party only purchased the state minimum, this means that you’ll be limited to $30,000 for your medical bills and lost wages, and another $25,000 for your property damage.
What if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits? You’re not out of luck. You can file additional legal action to hold the at-fault driver personally responsible for additional costs. Alternatively, you can seek damages from another liable party and/or their insurer.
What Can I Do If I’m Hurt in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver in Dallas?
Even though insurance is required, not all drivers in Texas follow the law. In fact, about 8.3 percent of drivers in the Lone Star state don’t have insurance.
So, what happens if you get into a car accident with another driver and they don’t have insurance? You have a couple of options.
First, you can sue the at-fault driver personally. However, if they didn’t have insurance, there’s a chance that they won’t have the ability to pay for your resulting damages, even under a court order.
Second, you can seek damages from another liable party through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Other parties will be liable up to their degree of negligence. This can help you get a portion of your financial award.
Finally, you can file a claim with your insurance company to recover Uninsured Motorist (UM) benefits – if you added that kind of coverage to your policy. Insurance companies in Texas are required to offer UM coverage. If you want to decline, you have to do so in writing. UM benefits essentially take the place of the insurance coverage the at-fault driver should have had.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Car Accident Law Firm Near You in Dallas After a Crash
No matter the circumstances of your crash, it’s important to seek out the help of an experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas. At the Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers, founding attorney Jay Murray has 25+ years of experience and a proven ability to take on powerful insurance companies and win top results.
Benefit from his experience, insight, and top-tier reputation. Call our Dallas law office at (214) 855-1420 to get the answers to your most compelling car accident questions and set up a time for your free case evaluation.