Top Things To Consider After An Accident

Auto accidents account for the vast majority of personal injury claims in the US. After being involved in an auto accident most people aren’t sure what steps they should take immediately following the accident and in the days after.

The first thing to consider if you’ve been involved in an auto accident is the statute of limitations. This will vary among states and in Texas specifically, you have two years to file a case related to your accident. This two-year time limit begins the date of the accident, but it only applies to cases filed in court. For this reason it is important to file insurance claims as soon as possible – if negotiations or settlements break down along the way, you still have time to pursue damages through court. This two-year limitation doesn’t apply if a government entity was involved in the crash – for auto accidents which involve the government (say, an accident involving a public bus or unsafe public property) you have as little as 60-90 days to file an “administrative claim”. Even in a situation where a government entity was involved but didn’t seem to be at fault, it is important to file a claim as they might be more liable than you realize.

It’s important to consider who is at fault, as there are likely more parties involved than you realize. Perhaps there was a mechanical failure of the car which hit you; this would assume the automaker, and possibly auto part maker, are also at fault. Perhaps there was a large pothole which caused the other car to lose control; a situation like this might determine the government partially at fault for not maintaining road safety. It’s difficult to know who’s involved if you don’t have extensive knowledge of personal injury cases involving auto accidents and seeing the outcomes; this is why it’s always wise to consult with an attorney immediately following an accident.

The way fault is determined in Texas is also important to understand, as each state’s Comparative Fault laws will differ. Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule to determine how damages are awarded to injured parties, assuming that there isn’t only one party who is 100% responsible. For example, if you are seeking $100,000 in damages but the court determined the accident was 10% your fault, you will be awarded $90,000 (damages- fault =award). Texas’s modified comparative fault law doesn’t apply if you are found to be 50% or more at fault, however; if you are 50% or more at fault, you won’t receive any award at all. This is why it is a “modified” comparative fault rule, as opposed to a “pure” comparative fault rule.

There is a lot to consider if you’ve been involved in an auto accident. Knowing when to file certain types of claims, how to file them, who all the involved parties are, and everything to include in your case can be very confusing, and is often done wrong. For example, administrative claims filed against the government are often dropped because the claimant didn’t include some necessary information. For these reasons it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney. Contact The Salazar Law Firm for a free case evaluation if you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident.