Car Accident Injury Attorneys in McAllen, TX
Driver error causes most accidents, but other factors, such as poorly maintained roads, defective cars, or hazardous weather conditions also contribute to a McAllen car accident. If you or someone you love has been in a McAllen car accident, you understand the terrible personal and financial consequences. Contact an experienced McAllen car accident lawyer at the Patino Law Firm to discuss your legal options today. Our experienced car accident attorneys in McAllen Texas are ready to get you the compensation you deserve.
Car Accident Laws in McAllen TX
Texas is a fault car insurance state, which means that an at-fault driver can be held liable for any damages and injuries they cause in a car accident. Most people purchase liability insurance with at least the required minimum limits. Insurance companies must also offer optional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, but drivers may decline to purchase it as a part of their insurance policy.
Minimum insurance requirements are:
- $30,000 for each injured person;
- $60,000 total for injuries per incident; and
- $25,000 for property damage.
Determining Fault in A McAllen Car Accident
However, the injured person can sue the at-fault driver for expenses beyond these minimums covered by insurance. If someone’s negligence caused your accident and your resulting injuries, you might recover compensation under car accident law. The definition of negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
Meeting the legal definition of negligence requires proving four elements about the defendant’s conduct:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached that duty of care;
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries;
- The plaintiff suffered injuries that a court can compensate for, known as “damages.”
Who Is Responsible For My McAllen Car Accident?
Many of the most common accident causes involve a failure on the part of a driver. If you believe that another party was responsible for the accident, you will need to prove that they acted negligently or intentionally and that the negligent action was the cause of your injuries.
The most common responsible parties are:
- A negligent driver. If another driver acted negligently, they are likely responsible for your injuries and any damage to your property. Evidence of negligence includes violation of traffic rules and regulations, including some of the most common causes of accidents like speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving.
- A negligent driver’s employer. If a negligent employee is acting in the course of their employment, their employer could be responsible for their actions. Common employees involved in traffic accidents include delivery drivers and commercial truck drivers. It is often advantageous to pursue recovery from the employer as they have larger insurance policies and more liquidity than the driver themselves.
- Vehicle manufacturer. If a vehicle manufacturer failed to appropriately assemble or test a vehicle or part, they could be responsible for any injuries that occur due to that failure. Establishing that a vehicle failure was at fault for the crash requires extensive testing and the potential involvement of experts.
- Local government. It is the responsibility of the local government to maintain streets and traffic signals, including crosswalks, traffic lights, and stop signs. If the local government fails in this responsibility and this failure causes an accident, the local government could carry a degree of fault for the resulting injuries. It can be very difficult, however, to secure recovery from a governmental entity. An attorney could work with you to determine if recovery may be possible.
The more evidence you can compile of the other party’s negligence, the stronger your claim for recovery could become. It could also determine how seriously you should consider any settlement offer made by the defendant.
What Are Recoverable Damages in a McAllen Car Accident Claim?
Once you have established that another party may be responsible for your injuries, you will need to compile the financial impact of those injuries into a damages demand. It is important to include all injuries in your damages demand, as this number will affect any potential jury award or settlement offer.
Common damages recovered after a car accident injury include:
- Medical expenses: You may be able to recover all medical expenses associated with your injuries. This can include doctor’s bills, hospital stays, prescription medicine, ambulance rides, and long-term costs like physical therapy. Be sure to include anticipated future expenses. Input from a medical expert may be necessary.
- Lost wages and income: Injuries often necessitate the victim to miss work resulting in lost wages. If your ability to perform your job duties or to work full time moving forward is affected, you could also recover for these future losses. An economic expert would evaluate your future earning potential and the impact of your injuries on this number.
- Property damage: Very few cars make it out of an accident unscathed. If your vehicle, or any other property, suffered damage in the accident, be sure to include the costs of repair or replacement in your damages demand.
- Emotional distress: A car accident can be a jarring experience. As a result, long-term emotional effects such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression are common for victims to experience as a result of their car accident. While often difficult to quantify, you may be entitled to recover for these damages.
- Loss of enjoyment: Injuries often limit a victim’s ability to participate in activities they previously enjoyed. An athlete might find themselves unable to participate in a sport, or a gardener might not be able to bend over to tend to their flowers. An attorney could help you evaluate whether you have suffered from a loss that could entitle you to additional compensation.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages, referred to in Texas as exemplary damages, may be awarded to a victim to punish the defendant for actions that constitute malice or gross negligence.
While many damages can be straightforward—like doctor’s bills—many others can be complicated and difficult to quantify. Work with an experienced attorney to coordinate with experts, if necessary, and to ensure all your injuries are included.
Should I Accept an Insurance Settlement Offer?
It is very common for car accident lawsuits to settle before or during the trial. It can be tempting to accept an early settlement offer because settlements offer a quick and certain resolution to the matter, with immediate compensation. Be wary of accepting an early settlement offer because it might be much lower than you deserve. Any settlement offer should be considered based on the strength of your case and all of the evidence.
Work with an attorney to determine the settlement strategy for your case.
How Long Will A Car Accident Trial Last?
Only a small percentage of cases end up at a jury verdict because trial results are difficult for either party to predict. In some cases, however, pursuing the trial to completion is the best strategy. This will depend on the strength of your case and the quality of the settlement offer proposed. If you proceed with a trial, the process can take awhile due to the need to compile your evidence, file relevant court documents, complete discovery, and file and respond to motions.
Going to trial, however, could result in you recovering far more compensation than a settlement.
Should you need to go to trial, we could help set reasonable expectations for the trial process and timeline, as well as the pros and cons of settling or proceeding with a lawsuit. Whichever way offers you the greatest advantage, we will strive to get you through the process as quickly as possible so you can move on with your recovery.
When Should You Start To File a Claim?
DO NOT HESITATE! Even car accidents that seem simple at first often involve complicated legal issues. Texas, like all states, has time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitations. If you have to file a lawsuit to pursue damages, in most cases, the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the car accident. Therefore, discuss your case with a dedicated, experienced McAllen car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.