Texas Personal Injury Guide & FAQ
We know how confusing this process can be so we listed questions that we hear most frequently. But after 40 years, we also know that there aren’t any two cases alike, so if you have a question you would like answered, click the button below. We will be glad to help, free.
In a Car Accident?
Do I have the right to a rental car?
Yes, you have the right to a rental car. But generally, the following conditions apply:
1. Your car must be considered repairable.
2. They will only allow you to rent the car the amount of time that your car is actually being repaired.
3. If you have rental insurance under your own policy, you will have maximum rental coverage of 30 days.
4. Insurance companies allow you to rent cars comparable to what you were driving and they determine comparable size by the number of seats. For example, if you were driving a 5 passenger SUV, they can legally give you a 5 passenger sedan.
5. If your car is not repairable then you can ask the insurance company for the loss of use. This is usually $25-$30 per day for the duration of time you have been without a vehicle and is usually limited to the time frame of when the accident happened to when your car was considered a total loss.
What if the Police do not come to the scene?
During bad weather, heavy traffic, or if the accident is minor, the police may not investigate your accident.
1. Still, call it in.
2. Take pictures of the insurance card, driver’s license, and car the other person was driving.
3. Take pictures of the surrounding areas, especially if the accident happened at an intersection.
4. Look around for anyone who might have seen the accident (witnesses).
What if I am involved in a multi-car accident?
What to do in these situations are the same if not similar to other car accidents. (See Guide) However, there are some differences, such as the location of your vehicle within the multi-car accident. Also, information regarding the number of impacts, the sequence of impacts, and the extent of damage rendered by the impacts to each vehicle are important. Often the police officer will not give a ticket in a multi-car accident if it appears all parties are insured. It is essential to locate any witnesses, take photos of all vehicles, and talk to as many drivers as possible. Generally speaking, such multi-car accidents can take longer to settle in terms of both property damage and bodily injury claims due to the participation of multiple parties.
Should I talk to the insurance company?
You should notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. We always encourage people never to give a statement without an attorney present. The reason is that insurance companies love to place blame on someone else. For example, asking you a simple question whether you saw the other car or not, depending on the context can turn into a denial even if you were rear-ended. The insurance company will use your answer of “No I didn’t see the guy.” as a reason to argue that some of the fault is yours because you failed to maintain a proper lookout.
Never answer questions you don’t know. Don’t allow the insurance company to specifically label things or force you to agree to a term that you’re uncomfortable with. And don’t ever give a statement when you're taking medicine that could affect your mental responses.
What is PIP or MedPay?
PIP is for personal injury protection. This is a provision under your policy that comes in increments of $2500, $5,000, $10,000 and is for medical expenses you incur from an automobile accident or injury.
Med Pay is also a provision under your insurance company for medical expenses. But Med Pay has a right to recovery, meaning after your case settles, you have to pay them back.
What is the first thing I should do after an accident?
1. Check to see if anyone is injured. If someone is seriously injured call 911.
Do not call anyone else for the next 10 to 15 minutes on your cell phone. It has been noted in recent cases that cell phone messages left at or near the time of the accident are used by insurance companies to claim cell phone usage as a cause of the accident.
2. Do not move the vehicles unless traffic is being blocked. It may be necessary to determine the placement of the vehicles after the impact. If your vehicle is blocking traffic and it is safe to do so, move the vehicle a short distance. If it is unsafe, then wait for the police.
3. Get as much information as possible about the other driver, such as driver’s license number, license tags, insurance policy, and take descriptive notes on the appearance of the vehicle and the driver. Cell phone photos are very helpful.
4. Determine if there were any witnesses. If there are witnesses to the accident, so try to obtain their personal contact information. Witnesses, at times, have been known to make or break a case.
5. Take pictures. Cell phone pictures of the vehicles and the surrounding environment help to determine how the accident occurred, vehicle placement, speed limit signs, intersections, skid marks, drivers and passengers, etc.
Should I go to the hospital?
If after an impact you feel dizzy, nauseous, or have any sharp pains in your body, then seek emergency treatment. If an ambulance is called to the scene of the accident, they will advise you about going to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. Always consult your family physician after the accident if you are suffering any type of pain or discomfort as a result of the accident.
Does the amount of property damage effect my claim?
Extensive property damage generally means a more serious impact and a greater chance of injury. Recent trials in Harris County have indicated that juries usually place great value on the intensity of impact to determine the extent and duration of injuries. However, this isn’t always the case and we always encourage you to listen to your body. If you have sharp, stabbing, shooting pains anywhere, memory loss, headaches, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, seek medical attention.
Can I recover lost wages?
Under Texas law, you can recover time lost as a direct result of injuries from the accident. This does not mean recovery of the actual amount of lost money but rather lost time. In other words, if your employer uses your sick time or vacation time to cover your missed work time, you can still make a recovery for the lost time even though no actual money was lost. However, the treating physician must validate the lost time period.
What if the other driver appears to want to leave and not wait for the police?
Unfortunately, the number of hit and run accidents continues to increase each year, thus, it is important to get the license plate number of the other vehicle and to write down as much descriptive information as possible about the other vehicle and the driver. If the driver refuses to give you any vehicle information, take as many cell phone pictures as you possibly can and seek a witness if possible. Then just wait for the police to arrive. Do not threaten the opposing driver or attempt to physically restrain them. This could be very dangerous.
What is diminished value?
If your car is within 2 years old, then you may be eligible for diminished value if your property damages exceed $2500.00. This is general compensation under the law that asserts that your car isn’t worth as much now having been reported in a collision.
Do I have the right to choose where my car is repaired?
In Texas you can have your car repaired at any body shop you choose. We recommend that you choose a body shop that guarantees their work for as long as you own the car. If you choose a “preferred” shop that the insurance company recommends, typically repairs are completed faster and the insurance company actually guarantees the work for as long as you own the vehicle.