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Personal Injury Archives | Fort Worth Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and Family Law

Car accident Police Report

What if I Didn’t Get a Police Report for My Car Wreck?

By | Car Wreck, Personal Injury

Do I still have a case if the police didn’t make a report on my car wreck?

Car accident Police ReportMany people involved in motor vehicle collisions may not have police or accident reports documenting the specifics of the wreck. Sometimes it could be because the wreck was not reported and the police were never called. Other times, the police may have been called but simply did not respond. Law enforcement agencies often lack the resources to respond to each and every car wreck that occurs in their jurisdiction. More and more police agencies are putting policies into place that do not require them to respond to what the agency deems a “minor” wreck. The problem is that sometimes a wreck that law enforcement deems “minor” may actually have major long-term consequences (and injuries) for the individuals involved.

What can I do if the police never made a report of my accident?

If you are involved in one of these types of wrecks, and there was no accident report filed with the police, you can still have a valid personal injury case. Regardless of the reason, you may find that you do have a legitimate case and still need to file a personal injury lawsuit to be fairly compensated for your injuries. Having a police report can be an advantage when filing a personal injury lawsuit, but even without one it is possible to file and win your case.

Other Ways to Investigate

Police reports are helpful because they provide the parties and the court with relevant facts about the accident based on the observations of unbiased law enforcement officers. But, police officers are not the only people who can provide evidence demonstrating that the other party was negligent. A private investigator can help too.

When necessary, our personal injury attorneys work with private investigators to collect evidence about cases, find and contact witnesses, and gather information to determine which party was at fault in an accident. You will not be required to pay for these services up front. The cost for these services will most likely be presented as an expense that will be deducted from the total sum of your award or settlement.

Other Sources of Information

In addition to an accident report as well as witness testimony, other documents and materials can also be gathered as evidence of your injuries and their cost. These include medical records, videos, photos and other relevant documents. Your attorney can help you obtain these records and reports during the investigation and discovery stage of your case. These documents can help to build up a solid evidentiary basis for your case that your attorney will use to negotiate a settlement or represent you in court.

Your Own Statement

You are most often your best witness. You were present when the wreck occurred and personally went through it. It is always in your best interest to first provide an account of what happened to your attorney directly. Communications between an attorney and client are confidential, so before speaking with anyone about your case you should consult with your attorney regarding what you should or should not disclose and to whom. It is best to retain one of our attorneys so that we can speak confidentially about your case and determine the best course of action to proceed.

Ultimately, it is important to put together an accurate and coherent account of what occurred. Being injured in an accident is almost always a very emotional experience. Your attorney can help you establish a timeline of the events that is logical and provides a clear picture of how the accident happened and the injuries that resulted from it. This can be very similar to the type of narrative that the police would provide if they had written a report.

If you were seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, and there is no police report, don’t worry. You may still have a very valid case for which fair recovery for your injuries can be obtained. Our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers can help you determine the best course of action in these situations.

UM UIM Claims Texas

UM/UIM Insurance: When the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance is Not Enough

By | Insurance, Personal Injury

UM UIM Claims TexasTexas law is clear that every driver must maintain financial responsibility (auto insurance). But, the truth of the matter is that there are thousands of drivers on Texas roads who are underinsured with a minimum policy or not insured at all. What this means is that if you are hit and injured in a car wreck by one of these uninsured or underinsured drivers, you may have to use your own insurance to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, lost ability to work and/or other damages.

What can you do to protect yourself if you are injured in an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured driver?

We recommend that you carry a significant amount of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) protection insurance. These policies, which typically only cost you a few dollars per month, ensure that if you are injured by an underinsured or uninsured motorist you and your attorney will have a policy to pursue to properly compensate you for your injuries.

What are the minimum requirements of insurance in Texas and what else can you do to protect yourself?

Texas law requires that a driver have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, and a total of $60,000 per accident. Insurance companies also offer an option called personal injury protection (PIP). While some states require that drivers carry PIP, Texas does not. PIP is an additional option that provides coverage specifically for injuries sustained in a car wreck. Most people carry $2,500 in coverage under their PIP – this is the minimum coverage required to be “offered” in Texas when you purchase an auto insurance policy. PIP not only pays medical bills but, 80% of your lost income and reasonable household duties. You can purchase even higher limits of PIP through your insurance company and you should get as much PIP coverage as you can. Most insurance companies will sell you at least $10,000 in coverage under PIP, some even more.

Ultimately, if you are injured in a car wreck, your own PIP insurance would be the first policy to pay towards your damages before you can start to pursue the driver’s insurance who hit you.

Why the minimum coverage (and PIP) typically aren’t enough.

Often times, when you’re seriously injured, using your PIP and having the minimum amount of coverage to go after against the driver who hit you just isn’t enough. This is especially (and obviously) the case if the at-fault driver is uninsured. This is where your UIM/UM policy kicks in. If you don’t have UIM/UM coverage under your own policy, then you could be out of luck.

With UM and UIM insurance, claims that exceed your own PIP and the at-fault driver’s insurance will be covered up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy. Because of the vast amount of driver’s in Texas who are either underinsured or uninsured, in many cases UM/UIM policies are one of the only coverages available for your attorney to seek to compensate you for your injuries.

Do you need an attorney for UM/UIM cases?

Yes you do. First and foremost, you need an advocate to make sure you’re getting the most out of your claim against the at-fault driver. But if the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured and you have UM/UIM coverage, that doesn’t just mean that your own insurance company is going to automatically hand over the limits of your own UM/UIM policy.

When a driver seeks to be compensated out of their own UM/UIM coverage, they are often times still met with resistance by their own insurance company. The insurance company will still do what they can to pay you as little as possible (they’re a business and unfortunately, you’re often times still treated more like a number than an injured person). An attorney’s job is to break this mentality and advocate for you to be treated fairly and be taken seriously by these insurance companies – not just treated as another number in their computer programs.

What can you do if your own insurance company is not fairly compensating you under your UM/UIM policy?

The first step is to retain our firm to represent you. We’ll advocate for you and work to maximize your claim not only against the at-fault driver’s insurance company but with your insurance provider as well if you’re covered under a UM/UIM policy. Ultimately, if negotiations do not produce a fair offer from your insurance company, you may even bring suit to pursue a fair outcome against your UM/UIM policy.

To speak with an attorney about insurance policies that might be available in your case – including UM/UIM coverage – please contact our office for a free initial consultation.

Best Tarrant County Car Accident Attorney

Uber Lyft Accident Claim Liability Texas

Suing Uber and Lyft for the Accidents of their Drivers

By | Car Wreck

Uber Lyft Accident Claim Liability TexasRideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have risen to prominence over the last several years, grabbing a sizable market share from traditional taxi cab and town car companies. Additionally, there has been a surge in food delivery services (like DoorDash) and contract delivery drivers for Amazon. With more and more of these companies offering rides and deliveries from their part-time drivers, we are also seeing accidents involving the drivers for these companies. These accidents can sometimes have confusing liability issues that accompany them. It is important to know how to proceed and what you are entitled to if you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, as a passenger or another driver.

Can You Sue the Rideshare company? Who is Liable in a Lyft or Uber Accident?

As with most legal questions, the answer is, it depends. Liability for an Uber or Lyft accident will depend upon whether the driver is logged on to his rideshare company’s app, and if so, whether the driver is waiting for a ride request or actively giving a ride or making a delivery. The Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1954 requires rideshare drivers to carry specific insurance policies that provide coverage regardless of their activity, so you will need to ascertain a few facts before you determine your course of action.

Was the Driver Logged on to the Rideshare App?

If the driver was NOT logged onto the ridesharing app, then the driver’s personal insurance will be responsible for covering the driver in the event of an accident. There generally will not be any ramifications for the rideshare company, and no real reason to pursue any claims against them. Of course, we would need many more facts to determine the exact course of action. If the driver is logged on to the rideshare app, you will need to determine whether they are in-between rides, or actively participating in a ride.

Was the Driver in-between Rides When the Accident Happened?

This is the largest gray area in the new insurance law. While coverage is required, there is no requirement regarding who must cover the driver. Many insurance companies exclude coverage on drivers using their personal vehicles for ridesharing purposes, and rideshare companies are hesitant to provide the additional coverage since they are not required to by law. Ridesharedashboard.com lays out the coverage options in Texas, pointing out that currently, only GEICO and Farmer’s offer coverage to both Uber and Lyft drivers, while MetLife will cover Lyft drivers only, and Allstate is currently working on their rideshare policy.

Nonetheless, the Texas Insurance Code Sec. 1954.052 requires rideshare drivers to be covered by a 50/100/25 policy. This means that they must be covered up to $50,000 for bodily injury or death of each person in an incident, $100,000 for bodily injury or death of a person per incident, and $25,000 for damage or destruction of property of others. This is a higher level of coverage than the standard 30/60/25 policy required for Texas drivers. This should not be an issue as drivers are required to notify their insurance provider if they are driving for a rideshare company. However, it will be very important to determine who is covering the driver in the event of an accident. Fortunately, there is a safeguard in Sec. 1954.054 that requires the rideshare company to cover claims in the event the driver’s policy has lapsed or does not cover the claim. If you find yourself in this situation, please get as much information from the driver as possible and contact an attorney immediately.

For driver’s logged onto the rideshare app but currently in-between rides:

  • Uber Provides: 50/100/25 coverage for its drivers and can supplement the personal policy
  • Lyft Provides: 50/100/25 coverage in the event a driver’s personal policy does not cover this much.

Was the Lyft or Uber Driver Engaged in a Ride?

The term “engaged in a ride” can mean two things: either the driver was on his way to pick up a passenger, or the driver currently had a passenger in the car. If the driver involved in the accident was currently engaged in a ride, that driver MUST be covered by a $1 million coverage policy according to Texas law. Recent legislative action in many states has pushed for this coverage, influencing these companies to adopt these insurance policies. Should you be involved in an accident with an engaged rideshare driver, whether as passenger or third party, this insurance should provide coverage for damages caused by the driver.

For drivers “engaged in a ride:”

  • Uber Provides:
    • $1 million coverage for damages caused by driver
    • $1 million coverage for damage done by an under/uninsured motorist
    • Supplemental coverage for collision and comprehensive personal policies
    • These will cover the rider if a rider is in the car with the Uber driver
  • Lyft Provides:
    • Lyft will take over as primary provider
    • $1 million coverage for damages caused by driver
    • $1 million coverage for damage done by an under/uninsured motorist
    • Supplemental coverage for collision and comprehensive personal policies

What Should You Do if You are Involved in an Accident with a Rideshare Driver?

  1. Get to a safe place and call 911. Safety and health are the first priority.
  2. Take pictures of the accident and surroundings.
  3. Get the names, phone numbers, addresses of everyone involved and any witnesses.
  4. Get the name of the rideshare driver, determine whether they were logged on to the rideshare app, whether he/she was engaged in a ride, and get a picture of the insurance policy
    • Under Sec. 1954.056b, the drivers are required to provide this information in the case of an accident
    • If you are the passenger of a rideshare when the accident occurs, screenshot the app on your phone
  5. Call your attorney.

 

To review companies’ insurance policies, click on their Logo below:

Uber Accident Coverage TexasLyft Driver Liability in Texas

Airbag Injuries Texas

Airbag Injuries

By | Car Wreck

Airbag Injuries TexasAirbags can often mitigate chances of severe or deadly injuries to the driver and other passengers. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives in the United States alone. In some cases, however, an airbag can malfunction during a collision or can be deployed improperly during a non-accident, leading to additional injuries. In many of the car or truck accident cases that we handle, our clients sustain injuries from the airbag. Because airbags were designed to operate instantaneously by using a range of sensors and an internal explosion, even the tiniest malfunction within its system can create devastating effects.

Causes of Malfunctioning Airbags and Resulting Circumstances

Common reasons airbags malfunction may include:

  • Nonactivated sensors;
  • Defective airbag sensors;
  • Faulty electrical components; and
  • Defective crash sensors;

If the airbag malfunctions for any of these reasons, it may result in a variety of problematic circumstances:

  • The airbag may be deployed during a non-accident;
  • The airbag may fail to deploy during a collision;
  • The airbag may deploy in the wrong area of the vehicle; or
  • The airbag may deploy too late (after the accident has already occurred)

Common Injuries Related to Airbags

Airbag injuries can occur even if the airbag functions properly during a collision. Airbags may lead to a range of injuries to various parts of the body. The force of the airbag, which is estimated to deploy at 100 to 220 mph, along with the chemicals used within the device, may create significant trauma to the body. Common injuries include:

  • Abrasions;
  • Burns;
  • Broken bones;
  • Eye injuries;
  • Brain injury;
  • Internal bleeding; and
  • Broken ribs

What Are Your Options and Solutions if You are Injured by an Airbag in Texas?

If you experienced airbag-related injuries due to the negligence of another driver in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to recovery. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain after an airbag related injury, it is important to seek medical attention. We do not charge a fee on injury cases unless we collect damages for you. Call us today at (817) 993-9249 or contact us online.

Left Lane Passing Texas Law

Why Driving Slowly in the Left Lane Can Cause Accidents

By | Car Wreck

We’ve all been there…stuck on the highway while the driver in the left lane (i.e. the “fast” lane) is going slower or the same speed as the cars on the right. This can cause congestion and considerable frustration to drivers wanting to pass. Texas Transportation Code Section 545.051 actually requires slower drivers to use the right hand lane. However, it would appear that many drivers are unaware of this requirement.

Does Driving Slowly in the Left Lane Cause Accidents?

As personal injury attorneys, we have seen many car accidents that happened on the highway due to unsafe passing. This typically happens when the faster driver weaves in and out of lanes trying to pass the slower drivers. Vox published a helpful video that does a fair job explaining the danger of driving slowly in the left lane.

 

Texas is Cracking Down on Driving in the Left Lane

Texas DPS has ramped up its enforcement of left-lane citations in the last several years. DPS officials have noted that driving slowly in the left lane is a hazard and requires enforcement.

Whether it was a car wreck, a truck accident, or a wrongful death, if you or a loved one have been seriously injured on a Texas highway, contact our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Texas Stowers Doctrine Insurance Settlements

The Stowers Doctrine | Good Faith in the Settlement of Claims

By | Car Wreck, Personal Injury

What is the Texas Stowers Doctrine and How Does is Apply to a Personal Injury Case?

Texas Stowers Doctrine Insurance SettlementsUnder the typical Texas liability insurance policy both the insurer and the insured have mutual obligations and rights. The insured pays a premium to their insurance company to protect against unexpected losses and claims. On the other hand, the insurance company has a duty to defend against claims covered under the policy and a right to control the defense of litigation should it arise.1 Included in the right to control litigation is the insurer’s authority to make the decisions concerning policy coverage, the merits of claims made by third parties against the insurance company, and the settlement of such claims.2 But what happens when an insurance company refuses an offer to settle within the policy limits?

According to the Stowers Doctrine, the insurer has an implied duty to act in good faith and accept reasonable settlement demands within policy limits.3 This is called the Stowers duty. Through this duty the insurer protects the insured against judgements in excess of policy limits. Under the Stowers Doctrine, if an insurance company negligently failed to accept a reasonable offer within policy limits and a jury then returns a verdict in excess of the policy limits, the insurance company may be liable for the entire verdict, even though it exceeds policy limits.4

History of the Stowers Doctrine

The Stowers Doctrine originated in 1929 from the Texas Supreme Court case G.A. Stowers Furniture Co. v. American Indemnity, Co., 15 S.W.2d 544 (Tex.). Stowers Furniture Co. had an auto insurance policy with American Indemnity for $5,000. During the policy term, a furniture employee’s truck was involved in an accident and suit was brought by the injured passenger, claiming $20,000 in damages. While the suit was pending, the injured party served Stowers with a letter offering to settle for $4,000—within policy limits. The letter gave a deadline to accept the offer and provided proof of the excessive damages. American Indemnity refused to settle and went to trial with the intention of saving money. They lost at trial and a jury awarded the injured party more than twice the amount of the policy. The terms of the insurance policy stated iStowers was responsible for a judgment in excess of the policy limits. Stowers paid the judgement and then sued the insurance company for reimbursement.

The Texas Supreme Court held that American Indemnity owed a duty to Stowers to exercise ordinary care in the settlement of claims. American Indemnity was responsible for protecting the insured up to the policy limit. The Court remanded the case to the district court to allow testimony of the serious nature of the passenger’s injuries to determine if American Indemnity was negligent in refusing the settlement offer.5 If American Indemnity rejected a reasonable settlement within the policy limits, they would potentially be liable for the entire judgement, even that in excess of the policy.6

The purpose behind Stowers is to put pressure on insurance companies to settle claims for the policy limit. Because insurance companies have complete power over litigation, they have a corresponding duty to their insured to exercise the same degree of care that a prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances. Failing to exercise such care is deemed negligent on the part of the insurance company.7 Put simply, the insured is protected from the insurance company taking a risk when a reasonable person would have settled.

How Does a Stowers Demand Work?

The Stowers Doctrine is a tool unique to Texas law and has created a new type of settlement demand: the Stowers demand. This demand is a time-sensitive letter sent to a third-party insurance carrier with an offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits.8 For a Stowers demand to be valid, five requirements must be met:

  1. the claim against the insured is within the scope of coverage;
  2. liability is reasonably clear;
  3. the demand is within the limits of the policy;
  4. the settlement terms are such that an ordinarily prudent insurer would accept it when considering the likelihood and degree of the insured’s potential exposure to an excess judgment; and
  5. the demand offers the insurer an unconditional, full release for liability.9

If these requirements are met and the insurer fails to accept the offer by the deadline, the defendant’s insurance company may be held responsible for verdict in excess of its insured’s policy limits.10

Footnotes:

  1.  Stephen G. Cochran, Texas Practice Series: Consumer Rights and Remedies § 5.13 (3d ed. 2017).
  2.  Id.
  3.  American Physicians Ins. Exch. v. Garcia, 876 S.W.2d 842, 846 (Tex. 1994).
  4.  See G.A. Stowers Furniture Co. v. American Indemnity, Co., 15 S.W.2d 544, 547 (Tex. 1929).
  5.  Id. at 548
  6.  Id. at 547
  7.  Texas Farmers Ins. v. Soriano, 881 S.W.2d 312, 314 (Tex. 1994).
  8.  American Physicians Ins. Exch. v. Garcia, 876 S.W.2d 842, 844–45 (Tex. 1994).
  9.  Id. at 849; Trinity Universal Ins. Co. v. Bleeker, 966 S.W.2d 489 (Tex. 1998).
  10.  See Ecotech Int’l, Inc. v. Griggs & Harrison, 928 S.W.2d 644, 646 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1996, writ denied); Stowers Doctrine, Int’l Risk Mgmt. Inst.
Chest Pain Auto Accident Reasons

Reasons for Chest Pain After an Auto Accident

By | Car Wreck

Why Do I Have Chest Pain After an Auto Accident?

Chest Pain Auto Accident ReasonsCar accidents are common sights on Texas roads. Whether on busy highways or country backroads, accidents happen daily. Even though improvements in vehicle safety features continue to lower a driver’s risk of injury or death on roadways, the chances of completely avoiding an injury as a result of a collision are pretty slim. Most drivers will walk away with at least some bruising, small cuts and scrapes, or whiplash. These drivers would most likely consider themselves lucky to have avoided more serious injuries. Unfortunately, though these “minor” injuries are easily seen, they may not necessarily be the complete extent of a person’s injuries.

Should I Be Worried if I Experience Chest Pain After a Car Wreck?

Following an accident, a person may begin experiencing chest pain. If his external injuries were little more than some scrapes or bruises, he may be inclined to attribute the chest pain to the similar soft tissue pain that many experience in even low-speed accidents. This thinking could be very dangerous. Pain in your chest following an accident could indicate an injury to your ribs, your lungs, or even your heart. You should take every pain symptom seriously and get a full and thorough examination by a doctor to rule out any great chest injuries that could have occurred.

Common Causes of Chest Pain Following a Car Wreck

Having handled several hundred car accident cases, we have seen our share of chest injuries following a car crash. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Muscle Strains

  • Bruised Ribs or Broken Ribs

  • Internal Injuries (Heart and Lungs)

Chest Pain Injuries from Seatbelts and Airbags

The number of lives saved by seatbelts and airbags is undeniable. However, each year seatbelts and airbags are responsible for face, neck, and chest injuries. The impact to a chest from a sudden stop can break ribs and bruise delicate heart tissue. In the latter case, symptoms may not appear for weeks or months following an accident and can be incredibly painful when they do appear.

What to do if You Experience Chest Pain After an Auto Accident

If you are experiencing any chest pain following a car accident in Texas, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention quickly. Left untreated, chest pain can develop into more serious, sometimes life-threatening, conditions. If you or your loved one has suffered personal injuries due to a car wreck, please speak with an attorney. Our attorneys can help point you in the right direction to the best doctors that can help you with your pain and suffering. We do not charge a fee on injury cases unless we collect damages for you. Call us today at (817) 993-9249 or contact us online.

E-Cigarette Exploding Battery Texas

Pants on Fire! Who is Liable if your E-Cigarette Explodes in Your Pocket?

By | Personal Injury

Vape Batteries and E-Cigarette Explosions:
Who is responsible for injuries or deaths caused by an “Industry-Wide” problem?

There has been plenty of debate on the health and safety effects of “vaping”, but the most dangerous aspect of electronic cigarettes is likely the potentially explosive lithium-ion batteries used to power them.

Since 2009, there have been over 200 reported incidents of fires and explosions, and at least one death, caused by exploding e-cigarettes in the U.S. As more products enter the market, the number of these explosions will continue to rise, as will the number of injuries and deaths.

If you or a loved one have been injured by an exploding e-cigarette, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer or seller of the device. Our law firm has represented individuals that have suffered injuries from an exploding battery and we know how to pursue compensation.

What is an E-Cigarette?

An “electronic cigarette” refers to several different types of devices within a larger class. These devices come in varying shapes and sizes and are sometimes called e-cigs, personal vaporizers (VPs), mods, electronic nicotine deliver systems (ENDS), and vape pens. They are powered by lithium-ion batteries which produce a heated vapor that looks like smoke.

Risk of Injury Due to Explosion of Lithium-ion Batteries in E-Cigs is Exceedingly Dangerous

In 2016, the U.S. Fire Administration issued a report concluding that lithium-ion batteries should not be used in e-cigarettes due to the inherent risks of injuries due to explosion and fire. In reaching this conclusion, the agency examined 195 reported cases of e-cigarette battery explosions.

“The e-cigarette/lithium-ion battery combination presents a new and unique hazard to consumers. No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in close proximity to the human body. It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen.”

(McKenna, Lawrence. “Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions in the United States 2009-2016.” National Fire Data Center, U.S. Fire Administration.)

Who is Responsible if a Vape Pen Explodes?

In Texas, the manufacturer is generally responsible for the safety of its products. Only when the manufacturer is insolvent or beyond the reach of Texas courts can the sellers be held liable. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Sec. 82.003 (“Liability of Nonmanufacturing Sellers”).

Because most e-cigarettes and lithium-ion batteries are produced in China, it is often the vape shop or other retailer that sold the defective product who is responsible for the damages. As such, consumers should always purchase from reputable retailers who are more likely to be financially solvent and/or have insurance to cover the damages.

Under Texas law, any party who participated in the design, manufacture, or marketing of a defective product may be held responsible for damages. In the case of e-cigarettes, these products could be considered fundamentally defective because almost every product currently on the market requires the use of a lithium-ion battery, which is known to be potentially deadly.

Many of the risks associated with lithium-ion battery explosions occur due to improper handling of the devices. Because so little information is provided to consumers about proper handling, those responsible for the marketing of the devices may still be liable for any damages as a result of injuries or death.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by an exploding e-cigarette, it is important that you consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible who can give you advice specific to your case. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to help.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Time Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Texas

By | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Statute of LimitationsIf you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligent or intentional act, you have a set amount of time to file a lawsuit seeking a remedy for your injury. This time limit is known as a statute of limitations and it is outlined in Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code.

The Statute of Limitations is Two Years for Most Claims

In most instances, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of the accident or injury, meaning a lawsuit must be filed no later than two years from that day. Lawsuits filed after this two-year period will be summarily dismissed unless you meet one of the few exceptions to the statute. Missing this statutory deadline means giving up the ability to ever pursue a remedy (also known as damages) for your injury claim.

There Are Very Few Exceptions to the Limitations Period

If you are under a legal disability the statute of limitations is tolled (suspended) until the disability is removed. These legal disabilities include:

  • Minor person under the age of 18
    • The statute is tolled until his/her 20th birthday, two years after reaching the age of majority (Weiner v. Watson, 900 S.W.2d 316, 321)
  • Persons of “unsound mind” who are “unable to participate in, control, or understand the progression and disposition of a lawsuit.” (Grace v. Colorito, 4 S.W.3d 765, 769)
    • It would have to be proven to the court that a person did not have the “mental capacity” to pursue litigation for a definite period of time.

If you believe you have a personal injury claim it is better to seek out the advice of a qualified personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. A Texas personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your claim’s statute of limitations and take steps to protect your rights.

Accident Report Police Report

How to Obtain an Accident Report in Texas

By | Car Wreck

Accident Report Police ReportIf you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, an experienced Personal Injury Attorney can assist in obtaining all relevant records, including accident reports. Accident reports contain basic but necessary information needed to begin a personal injury claim.

Why Do Law Enforcement Officers Write Accident Reports?

Under Texas law, a law enforcement officer investigating a motor vehicle accident must submit a written report of any accident involving injury, death, or property damage believed to be greater than $1000 within ten days of the date of the accident (Texas Transportation Code, Subchapter D, Sec. 550). If no injuries occurred, or if the damage to property was less than $1000, no report is required.

Who Can Get an Accident Report?

The Texas Transportation Code states that accident reports can be made available to any of the following persons/entities after submitting a written request and paying any required fees:

  • any person involved in the accident;
  • a person authorized to represent any person involved in the accident;
  • a driver involved in the accident;
  • an employer, parent, or legal guardian of a driver involved in the accident;
  • the owner of a vehicle or property damaged in the accident;
  • a person who has established financial responsibility for a vehicle involved in the accident;
  • an insurance company that issued an insurance policy covering a vehicle involved in the
    accident;
  • an insurance company that issued a policy covering any person involved in the accident;
  • a person under contract to provide claims or underwriting information to a person with financial responsibilities for the vehicle or to an insurance company that issued a policy for a vehicle damaged in the accident or an individual injured in the accident
  • a radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications
    Commission;
  • a newspaper;
  • any person who may sue because of death resulting from the accident;

How Can I Get My Accident Report?

If you were involved in an accident, and an officer prepared a report, you may obtain a copy of your report by going to the website of the county, city, or municipality in which the accident occurred and submitting a written request. If an accident occurred outside city limits, you can go to the investigating agency’s website, i.e. Sheriff’s Office or Department of Public Safety. Be advised, you may be required to pay a fee for your report. Included below are some helpful links to various DFW city websites where you can request your report or find out more information.

County Websites to Request Accident Reports

DFW Metroplex City Websites to Request Accident Reports

Accident reports are important in personal injury cases because they contain information about the at-fault party, their insurance company, and the responding officer’s determination as to how the accident occurred and who was at fault, all information that an attorney would need to begin pursuing a personal injury claim. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain your accident report as well as provide you valuable information, support, and guidance while pursuing your personal injury claim.