Fort Worth, TX – When they’re injured in a car accident, most people would assume that getting compensation for their losses isn’t such a big deal. You get the other driver’s insurance details, file a claim and they give you money. If only things were that simple.
To recover damages from an accident you must file a personal injury claim and prove that the other driver was negligent and therefore liable for your losses. Speeding or drunk driving are clear cases of negligence, yet, to get damages, you’ll probably need help from experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyers to prove your case.
In personal injury law, to prove a case of negligence four elements must be established.
Duty of care
Simply put, you have to prove that the other driver was supposed to watch out for your safety. This is sort of implied as anyone holding a driver’s license in Texas is supposed to obey traffic rules and drive carefully to avoid accidents.
Basically, this isn’t hard to prove. If the guy had a license and was driving around Fort Worth, he was supposed to be careful.
Breach of duty
This is the part where your accident lawyers will have to show in what way the other driver failed in his or her duty of care. In other words, the cause of the crash. If you are injured in a car accident you must call the police right away. The police report is your first piece of evidence, although you may need more than that to show what happened.
At the same time, you must keep in mind that Texas follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine. If you are found to be 51% responsible for the crash you lose your right to recover damages.
As a rule, after a crash, never say you’re sorry or admit to any part of the blame. Anything you say can be misinterpreted and may hurt your chances of recovering the damages you deserve. For instance, if you admit to being a bit distracted at the time of the crash, you risk seeing your damages reduced by a percentage corresponding to your share of the blame, say 10 or 20%. This can mean a lot of money if you sustain severe injuries and have considerable damages to recover. If the circumstances of the accident are not crystal clear and comparative negligence may come into play, do the smart thing and contact knowledgeable Texas car accident lawyers.
This is where you show you were injured as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence. Always see a doctor after a crash, even if at first the injury appears minor. You need medical records to prove that you were injured in the crash. If you cannot prove that, the insurance adjuster may argue you may have had previous health issues and now you’re trying to scam them.
Your accident lawyers will help you calculate the value of your claim, including both economic losses and pain and suffering damages. In Texas, pain and suffering damages are calculated using the multiplier method. This means that the total value of your economic damages will be multiplied by a factor between 1 and 5. For a minor injury, the multiplier will be low, but if you sustained serious injuries your lawyers will do their best to obtain a factor of 4 or 5. And, in certain cases, you may also get punitive damages.