Getting into a serious accident can change the course of your life. When another driver behaves recklessly, it can damage far more than just your car. Bodily injuries are almost inevitable when you mix heavy machinery and speed with human negligence, and they can have devastating consequences on everything from your job to your personal life.
Immediately after an accident, stop, don’t leave the scene and make sure everyone is okay. If there are injuries, the first call you should make is to 911. You should always call the police in the event of an accident, and cooperate and be respectful to the police and the other driver. Gather as much information as you can, including collecting the other driver’s contact information, taking photos of the vehicles and scene and collecting the contact information of any witnesses.
To file a claim against the at fault driver, it is best to have a copy of the accident report, photos of the vehicles involved, the accident scene and any of your visible injuries, your own automobile insurance information, and a list of all of the medical providers who have treated you for your injuries. You are not required to give the other driver’s insurance a medical authorization or agree to a recorded statement.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for negligence actions like a car accident is two years. In cases involving local, county or state governmental entities, the Texas Tort Claims Act has a notice provision that requires written notice to the governmental entity within six months of the accident. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for a car accident is 3 years. If a government owned vehicle is involved in the accident, the statute of limitations against the governmental entity is 2 years in New Mexico.
Gather as much information as possible about the other driver, including the driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number and insurance information. Take photos of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. If you have cuts, bruises, or other injuries and are in shape to take photos, do so. Also, get the name, address and phone number of any witnesses to the accident and do not assume that the police will keep that information or include it in the accident report.
Negligence is a legal term and is defined as failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances. Negligence also means doing that which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under the same or similar circumstances. When a driver’s negligence causes another harm, that person is responsible for the damages, harms and losses occasioned by that harm.
You can generally handle your own car accident claim when the injuries are very minor (subjective injuries that resolve quickly after the accident) or where there is only property damage involved. Any time there are more serious injuries or death involved, a lawyer should be hired immediately. There are just too many considerations that you either aren’t aware of or don’t have the experience to handle.
Your lawyer will undertake any investigation that is necessary to establish the other driver’s fault. That might mean talking to witnesses, speaking directly with the responding officer, reviewing or taking photos of the accident scene, inspecting the vehicles involved and going to the scene of the accident to take measurements. If the other driver’s insurance company does not agree to accept liability for the accident, a jury is ultimately responsible for determining who is at fault for causing the accident.
Your own insurance contains uninsured motorist protection and applies if the at-fault driver has no liability insurance. In Texas, uninsured motorist protection is mandatory unless you reject that coverage in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage also applies if the accident is a hit and run. In Texas, there must be contact with the uninsured vehicle for the uninsured motorist protection to apply.
These are the elements of damages that the negligent driver is required to pay if he or she causes an accident: all reasonable medical bills (past and future), lost wages and the lost ability to earn wages in the future, loss of household services, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent impairment and disfigurement. A reasonable settlement offer should include all of your medical bills, lost wages and a significant sum for pain and suffering and your other harms and losses.
I have a pre-existing medical condition that was aggravated in my accident. Can I still pursue a claim?
You are entitled to recover from an aggravation of a pre-existing injury caused by an accident. The insurance company will make every effort to discover any and all of your pre-existing injuries in an attempt to minimize or deny your claim; therefore, we strongly advise talking with a lawyer before providing the insurance company blanket medical authorizations.
What rights do I have if there are injuries, the first call you should make is to 911passenger in a car accident?
If you sustain significant injuries in an accident, you should call 911 and go to the emergency room as soon as possible after an accident. The hospital must treat you regardless of your financial ability to pay and even if you do not have health insurance.
Your own underinsured motorist protection found in your automobile insurance applies if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover all of the damages suffered by the at-fault driver. If you are seriously injured and your medical bills and other damages exceed the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver, then you will be entitled to underinsured motorist protection.
Proportionate responsibility laws determine the effect of your own potential partial fault in causing an accident. Your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility for causing an accident. In Texas, a person may not recover anything if he or she is more than 50% at-fault for causing an accident.
Your own insurance contains uninsured motorist protection, which is mandatory in Texas unless rejected in writing, and applies if the accident is a hit and run. In that case, the hit and run driver is considered to be an uninsured motorist pursuant to your uninsured motorist coverage.
The phrase “pedestrians always have the right of way” is not always true. In certain circumstances, pedestrians are not allowed to cross highways, bridges, and busy roads. Further, certain roads have rules, traffic signals, and signs that instruct pedestrians on how and when to cross a street. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important for you to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer who knows these laws.
If I am injured by a motor vehicle or a loved one is killed as a pedestrian, can I sue the motor vehicle that hit my family member or me?
If a driver negligently hits and injures or kills a pedestrian, then the at fault driver is responsible legally for the injuries and losses caused by the accident. Also, a pedestrian’s own automobile insurance provides certain protection to the pedestrian, including medical payments and personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
I think the driver was texting when I was hit but he claimed I ran out into the street. How can I prove he was texting and driving?
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driving hazards and contributes to injuries and deaths every single day. In a recent year, there were 3,450 fatalities caused by distracted drivers. If you believe the other driver was texting, always inform the police. If the police are able to corroborate that the other driver was using their cell phone, the responding officer may issue a citation to the other driver for texting while driving. The best evidence may also be found in the driver’s cell phone records and data found in the cell phone itself. Cell phone records will need to be subpoenaed from the cellular carrier by your attorney. Also, the information from the other driver’s cellphone can be downloaded and analyzed by an expert.
My pedestrian accident was clearly the driver’s fault and he was cited. Why should I hire a lawyer and have to pay him out of my settlement?
A good personal injury lawyer can dramatically increase the value of the case. Don’t just take my word for it. The results of a 1999 study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that the decision to hire an attorney pays substantial dividends for automobile accident victims. In the report from the IRC titled “Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs,” the IRC found that insurance payouts are, on average, 3.5 times higher for clients who have hired an attorney than for those without one.
What if I was partially at fault for the accident because I was walking outside of a crosswalk or running across the street?
Proportionate responsibility laws determine the effect of your own potential partial fault in causing an accident. Your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility for causing an accident. In Texas, a person may not recover anything if he or she is more than 50% at-fault for causing an accident. New Mexico has pure comparative fault rules, which means that the other driver may still be required to pay for their fair share of your injuries even if you are more than 50% at fault for causing the accident.
If I am a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle, is there anyone else I can sue other than the motor vehicle driver?
In certain circumstances, a homeowner or other property owner may be responsible for causing a pedestrian accident if there was some obstruction on the property that caused or contributed to the pedestrian accident. For example, if a homeowner allows an overgrown tree to obstruct a stop sign and the driver continues into an intersection not seeing the stop sign, the homeowner may be responsible for your injuries.
What happens if the driver who hit me was uninsured or had insurance but his insurance is less than my case is worth?
You do not have to be in your own vehicle to claim benefits under your own automobile insurance. A pedestrian’s own automobile insurance follows the pedestrian, not the pedestrian’s motor vehicle. Therefore, a pedestrian’s own automobile insurance provides certain protection to the pedestrian even when they are not in their vehicle, including medical payments and personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
The fact that a pedestrian is in or near a crosswalk does not mean that the other driver is automatically responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries. Pedestrians are always required to obey all traffic signals. If a pedestrian enters the crosswalk when not allowed, the other driver may be able to either wholly or partially escape legal responsibility.
What if I or one of my family members are injured or killed by an uninsured/underinsured motorist while we were pedestrians?
A pedestrian’s own automobile insurance follows the pedestrian, not the pedestrian’s motor vehicle. Therefore, a pedestrian’s own automobile insurance provides certain protection to the pedestrian even when they are not in their vehicle, including medical payments and personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Pedestrians injured by negligent drivers are entitled to recover all past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and all other legally recognizable harms and losses. If the negligent driver and her insurance company is not willing to fairly pay you in a settlement, a good lawyer is ready, willing and able to take your case to trial.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for personal injuries in a pedestrian accident is 2 years. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit for injuries involving a pedestrian accident 3 years. It is important that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to help ensure that all evidence of the crash is properly preserved.
Being involved in a bicycle accident is a devastating experience. Due to the sheer size and weight of motor vehicles, bicyclists who are hit often sustain serious, life-altering injuries. Many bicyclists are even killed in such accidents. If you were injured in a bicycle accident or had a loved one who was killed by the negligence of someone else, Harmonson Law Firm can help.
Bicycles generally have the same rights and responsibilities as cars and trucks on the roadway. However, there are many laws that apply specifically to bicycles on the road, including the right to take the lane and ride two abreast. A good bicycle lawyer will know the rules of the road applicable to your crash in order to hold a negligent driver accountable for the bicyclist’s injuries.
Bicycles generally have the same rights and are subject to the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles. Unless a speciﬁc statutory right or duty is altered by, bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as cars and trucks. We look to Texas Transportation Code Chapter 551, sometimes called the “Rules of the Road” when determining who is at fault for causing a bicycle accident.
There is prejudice that needs to be overcome when it comes to representing bicycle accident victims, because some people simply do not believe that a bicycle enjoys the same rights and privileges as passenger vehicles. While the law is clear that bicycles have a right to be on the road, a good personal injury lawyer needs to beware of the prejudice and work to educate the insurance company, their adjusters and members of the jury about the law and cyclists’ rights.
These are the types of damages you can recover if you are injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver :
- All Reasonable Medical Bills (past and future)
- Lost Wages and Lost Ability to Earn Wages in the Future
- Loss of Household Services
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Permanent Impairment
Can a cyclist claim damages against a car driver when there was no contact between the car and bike?
There is no requirement to have contact between a bicycle and a car to make a claim for injuries against the other driver. However, if the other driver leaves and you make a claim against your own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage, there is a physical contact requirement between the other vehicle and your person or bicycle.
A dog chased me on my bicycle and I lost control and broke my leg. Can I sue the dog’s owner for my injuries even if it didn’t bite me?
Leash laws require the owner of a dog to control the dog on a leash when off the owner’s premises. If a dog runs loose and causes you to crash your bicycle, even if the dog did not bite you, the owner of the dog can be held liable for your injuries. In that case, a good personal injury lawyer will make a claim against the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy for your injuries.
Your own uninsured motorist protection covers the person, not the vehicle. Therefore, if you are in a bicycle accident with an uninsured driver, your own uninsured motorist coverage will apply to help pay for your injuries and replacing your bicycle. Our firm has helped many cyclists in exactly this same situation.
A car door opened into me just as I was riding past the car. Do I have a claim against the car’s owner?
Bicycles generally have the same rights and are subject to the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles. If a person does not see a cyclist and negligently opens their car door as the bicycle passes them, then the driver can be held liable for failing to see the cyclist.
Generally, it will be very difficult to sue the city or other governmental entity if a bicyclist is injured by a defective roadway condition. The government is protected by laws designed to make these claims as difficult as possible. Plus, there are caps on the amount of money the government will be responsible to pay for your injuries. Our firm has never undertaken one of these cases; however, please call us to discuss you particular circumstances.
According to federal statistics, driving a taxi is one of the most dangerous and stressful occupations in the United States. Day and night, these exhausted drivers face poor road conditions, angry motorists, and even deadly passengers. However, between isolation, reckless behavior, and driver fatigue, taxi drivers are responsible for a significant amount of motor vehicle collisions each year.
If you are a passenger in a car that is involved with a taxi, you may have potential claims against the taxi company, the taxi driver and the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding. Claims against the taxi company may be more difficult because its’ drivers are normally independent contractors. In that case, it is important to learn if the taxi company negligently entrusted ints taxi to an incompetent driver. A good personal injury lawyer will know exactly who to sue to help insure that the passenger’s recovery is maximized after the accident.
The taxi driver and the taxi company may be held liable for your injuries if the taxi driver was at fault. If another vehicle caused the accident, then the other driver may be at fault. In a taxi accident, it is important to sue all parties that may be legally responsible for your injuries.
I was a pedestrian, crossing the street in a crosswalk, when a taxi hit me in the crosswalk causing me a severe injury. Who can I sue?
As a pedestrian involved in a taxi accident, you may be allowed to make a claim against the taxi driver and the taxi company. You may also have claims under your own automobile insurance even though you were not in your vehicle, including personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
I was the driver of a taxi that was involved in a collision with another vehicle. I received a severe injury in the accident. Can I sue the other driver?
A good personal injury lawyer will make claims against all responsible parties if you are seriously injured in a taxi accident. This could include claims against the taxi driver, the taxi company and the other vehicle involved in the accident on a case by case basis. Claims may also be made with your insurance company for personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
Passengers in taxis have the same rights and protections as other passengers in motor vehicles. If you are a taxi passenger, you may have claims against the taxi driver, the taxi company and the other driver. You may also have claims for uninsured motorist protection from the taxi company’s insurance if that insurance covers passengers. You may also have claims under your own automobile insurance. Any taxi accident has complexities that only a good personal injury lawyer can unravel.
These are the elements of damages that the negligent taxi driver and taxi company is required to pay in a taxi accident: all reasonable medical bills (past and future), lost wages and the lost ability to earn wages in the future, loss of household services, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent impairment and disfigurement. A reasonable settlement offer should include all of your medical bills, lost wages and a significant sum for pain and suffering and your other harms and losses.
Perhaps the single most important you will make after a taxi accident is hiring the right personal injury lawyer. A good injury lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold. A good injury lawyer can discover all potential claims to pursue against the taxi driver, the taxi company and the other driver who cause or contribute to the accident all with the goal of recovering the most money possible for your injuries.
Often, such accidents are the result of negligence—on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the truck manufacturer. When this is the case, the negligent party or parties are responsible for your injuries. Harmonson Law Firm can help you fight for the just recovery you are owed after you suffer life-altering injuries in a trucking collision.
The most important thing you should know is that accidents involving 18-Wheelers and other big trucks are different than a “normal” car accident with another driver. Big trucks like 18-Wheelers are governed by federal laws that are designed with public safety in mind. You should consult with an attorney that knows these laws to hold the trucking company responsible for your injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern big commercial trucks like 18-Wheelers. These laws are designed to protect the motoring public from negligent truck drivers. These federal safety laws are also designed to ensure that trucking companies who hire negligent drivers are also accountable when their drivers ignore the safety rules of the road.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a trucking company involving an 18-Wheeler is 2 years. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit involving an 18-Wheeler is 3 years. It is imperative that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to help ensure that all evidence of a crash is properly preserved.
Driver fatigue is a major problem on our roadways. Trucking companies push their drivers to stay on the road as long as possible no matter the consequences. Often, profits trump safety and drivers falsify their service hours records to stay out on the road. Driver distraction is also a major problem amongst truck drivers who use their smartphones despite federal law that prohibits there use while driving. The use of a smartphone can have devastating consequences in the hands of a truck driver carrying an 80,000 pound load.
Truck drivers who drive 18-wheelers are required to possess a Commercial Drivers Licence, also called a CDL. Bus drivers are also required to carry a CDL. If you are involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, it is important to know whether the driver is required to carry a CDL and whether that driver in fact has met all of the requirements necessary to qualify and maintain their CDL.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, FMSCAs, have many regulations that are designed to protect the motoring public, including limits on the hours of service, driver qualifications, bans on the use of hand held mobile devices, driving in bad weather and many, many more. Generally, truck drivers cannot work more than 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days. Drivers may be on duty for up to 14 hours following 10 hours off duty, but they are limited to 11 hours of driving time. Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty.
In any claim or lawsuit involving a company vehicle, we always look to hold the employer of the negligent truck driver liable for your damages, harms and losses. Trucking companies have “deeper pockets” than those of their drivers and we always look to hold the company primarily responsible for your injuries. Did you know that a company is liable to pay for the damages caused by the conduct of its employee when the employee is working in the course and scope of his or her employment? A company can also be responsible for negligent hiring, training and supervision if the employee has a bad driving record or is not properly trained on the rules of safe driving.
If you are the victim of a negligent truck driver, you are entitled to recover all of your past and future medical bills, lost wages and a significant sum for pain, suffering and your other harms and losses. If the company and its insurance company is not willing to fairly pay you in a settlement, a good lawyer is ready, willing and able to take your case to trial. Our firm regularly files lawsuits against companies whose drivers negligently injure our clients to help ensure that our clients are paid fairly for their injuries.
Proportionate responsibility laws determine the effect of your own potential partial fault in causing an accident. Your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility for causing an accident. In Texas, a person may not recover anything if he or she is more than 50% at-fault for causing an accident. New Mexico has pure comparative fault rules, which means that the trucking company may still be required to pay for their fair share of your injuries even if you are more than 50% at fault for causing the accident.
Wrongful death laws allow the family members of the deceased to sue the negligent truck driver and trucking company for causing your loved one’s death. Generally, wrongful death statutes allow surviving spouses, children and parents of the deceased to make wrongful death claims. The law also allows the estate of the deceased to make claims for medical bills, funeral expenses and any conscious pain and suffering of your loved one.
Bus accidents often result in very serious injuries for those involved. Whether you were hit by a bus or were a passenger in a bus accident, you may be dealing with severe, life-changing injuries. It’s important that you seek quality legal representation after a collision involving a bus, as the private or public company that owns the bus or represents the bus driver will likely begin building a defense immediately after the incident.
The first thing you should do after a bus accident is to seek medical help for your injuries. The next thing to do is to call a qualified personal injury lawyer that has experience suing bus companies. A bus accident is not like a “normal” car accident and there are many complex federal, state and local laws that can affect your claim. Hiring the right lawyer to pursue your bus accident case is perhaps the single most important decision you will make. Do your research and make the right decision.
The federal laws that govern commercial motor vehicles like passenger buses and the companies that operate them are known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The primary purpose of the FMCSRs are to help keep us, the motoring public, safe from the inherent risk of large commercial vehicles like buses. Bus companies that own and operate these buses are only allowed to operate on our roads if they agree to comply with the safety rules set forth in the FMCSRs. If a bus causes an accident, the primary source of recovery is the bus company that owns and operates the bus.
Passengers of a vehicle that are involved in a bus accident can potentially sue the bus driver, the bus company, and the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding. A good personal injury lawyer will know who to sue in order to insure that the passenger’s injuries are taken care of after the accident.
Drivers of another vehicle that are involved in a bus accident may bring claims against the bus driver and the bus company that employs the bus driver. Because the bus company has deeper pockets than the bus driver, our focus is always on the bus company that employs the negligent bus driver. A bus company is liable for the negligence of its bus driver employee acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. The bus company may also be liable for negligent hiring, retention and supervision of its employee bus driver. The bus company may also be liable for negligent bus maintenance. For example, the bus company will be held liable if it allows the bus to run on bald tires that detread or otherwise cause an accident.
Pedestrians may sue the bus driver and the bus company for negligently causing a bus accident with a pedestrian. Buses are commercial vehicles and are governed by state law and also federal laws called the Federal Motor CArrier Safety Regulations. In addition, if you are involved in a bus accident with a city owned bus, like Sun Metro, there are certain state and local laws that can significantly alter your legal rights and shorten the length of time you have to make a claim, in some instances as short a 60 days after the accident. If you were a pedestrian and hit by a bus, it is very important for you to call a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as practically possible after the accident to insure that your rights are protected.
In a bus accident, the bus driver and the bus company may be held liable for their negligence in causing a bus accident. If another driver causes the bus accident, then the other driver may also be responsible for causing your injuries. A good personal injury lawyer will know who to sue for your injuries and losses to help maximize your recovery.
Passengers on a bus have the same rights as other passengers in motor vehicles. The passenger may have a claim against the bus driver and the bus company if the bus driver is at fault. Passengers may also have claims against other vehicles that negligently cause a bus accident. City buses like Sun Metro are governed by a law called the Texas Tort Claims Act. The TTCA has certain technical notice requirements and caps on damages that can dramatically alter your legal rights. Because of the complexities involved, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after a bus accident to protect your legal rights.
If you are injured in a bus accident, you are entitled to recover all of your past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and other legally recognizable harms and losses. If the bus company and its insurance company is not willing to fairly pay you in a settlement, a good lawyer is ready, willing and able to take your case to trial.
It is important to understand that a bus accident is much different than a “normal” car accident.
Buses are governed by federal safety laws called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, FMCRs. A good personal injury lawyer will understand these laws and use them to help you get the best possible outcome for your bus accident. Hiring the right bus lawyer may be the single most important decision that you make.
School bus accidents in Texas are governed by the Texas Tort Claims Act, the TTCA. The TTCA has certain time restrictions that can significantly shorten the amount of time you have to notify the school district of the accident and bring a claim. There are also caps on the amount of money your child can recover under the TTCA. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, it is essential that you immediately contact a qualified personal injury lawyer to protect you and your child’s rights under the TTCA. New Mexico has similar laws that shorten the amount of time to file a lawsuit against the school district for causing your child injuries in a school bus accident.