How to Claim Lost Wages and Income From a Car Accident

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A car accident can interrupt your life in many ways, leading to both financial and nonfinancial losses. One of the most common types of losses associated with car accidents in Texas is lost wages. Lost wages can refer to both the income lost while you are undergoing medical treatments as well as any future lost capacity to earn due to a long-term disability.

How to Seek Lost Income in a Car Accident Case

The first phase of a car accident lawsuit in Texas is filing an insurance claim with the carrier of the at-party. The driver at fault for causing your car accident will be financially responsible for losses since Texas is a fault-based state.

When you file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s provider, you will list all of the financial losses you suffered in the car accident. You also have the right to seek financial compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Before you can receive insurance benefits for these losses, however, you will have to prove that a) the defendant caused your car accident through an act of negligence and b) the car accident gave you compensable damages. A car accident lawyer can help you with this burden of proof.

Collect Proof of Your Lost Wages

To receive financial compensation for lost wages, you must present evidence of this type of loss. An insurance company, judge or jury will need to see enough evidence that proves you suffered a loss in income, and that this loss was directly connected to the auto accident. Common types of evidence used to prove lost wages are:

  • Most recent pay stubs before the injury
  • Payslips for special projects
  • Proof of tips or commission
  • Letter from your employer
  • Proof of employment benefits
  • Customer invoices
  • Tax return documents or W2s from previous years
  • Medical records proving the longevity of your injury
  • Letter from a physician proving you cannot return to work
  • Testimony from an economic expert

A car accident attorney in San Antonio can help you gather evidence of your lost wages connected to the car accident. An attorney will take over negotiations with an insurance company on your behalf to prevent the carrier from taking advantage of you or offering less than your losses are worth. An attorney will also help you project the value of your future lost capacity to earn if you suffered an incapacitating injury.

Calculate Lost Future Capacity to Earn

With a long-term or permanent disability, you could be eligible for lost future capacity to earn in a car accident case. This is an amount of compensation that represents what you reasonably would have earned from your job in the future had the accident not occurred.

If the accident gave you an injury that will temporarily or permanently take you out of work, a lawyer can help you calculate this type of economic loss based on what you used to earn, what you can earn now (if anything) and how long you will foreseeably have your incapacitating injury.

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

The value of your claim will depend on several factors unique to your case, including your average income pre-injury and the severity of the auto accident. An attorney can guide you through the steps necessary to accurately calculate your lost income, including the correct calculation method depending on whether you earn an hourly wage or salary.

The best way to accurately estimate the value of your case is by consulting with an attorney. An attorney will work hard to maximize the financial relief you receive from a car insurance claim or injury lawsuit, including an amount in lost wages. Hiring an attorney can be critical if a car accident in San Antonio took you out of work for any amount of time.

Posted by admin at 6:04 pm

Can I Get Punitive Damages After a Car Accident in San Antonio?

Monday, March 22, 2021

Damages are the financial compensation you can receive for your economic and noneconomic losses after an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, such as a car accident in San Antonio. There are two main types of damages available: compensatory and punitive. Most car accident claims result in compensatory damages; punitive damages are much more rare.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Compensatory damages make a victim whole again by restoring him or her to the state he or she would have been in had the accident never happened. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish a defendant for his or her wrongful actions. The goal of punitive damages is to dissuade the defendant and others from committing the same type of wrongdoing in the future. They act as a warning against similar negligence in the community.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded in a Car Accident Case?

Although most successful personal injury claims will result in compensatory damages for a victim’s tangible and/or intangible losses, not all claims will result in punitive damages. The laws regarding punitive damages differ from state to state. These damages are not available in some states. In Texas, punitive damages are only awarded by a judge in special cases to punish the defendant for gross negligence, fraud or malice.

If a defendant is guilty of egregious wrongdoing, severe carelessness, a wanton disregard for the safety of others or a malicious intent to harm, the injured victim may receive punitive damages to penalize the defendant. To recover punitive damages, a plaintiff in Texas must specifically request these damages and prove the severe nature of the defendant’s tort. The plaintiff may need a lawyer’s assistance with this burden of proof.

What Types of Car Accident Cases Are Most Likely to Receive Punitive Damages?

A judge will award punitive damages on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not a victim receives this type of award depends on the unique factors of the case. For a car accident case in San Antonio to result in punitive damages, the defendant must be guilty of extreme negligence or recklessness.

Common examples of car accident cases that may receive punitive damages in Texas are:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Road rage or aggressive driving
  • Excessive speeding or racing
  • Driving while distracted
  • Hit-and-run accident
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • A bus driver texting and driving
  • A manufacturer concealing known auto defects

A plaintiff’s eligibility for punitive damages in San Antonio will depend on the specific situation. Punitive damages will depend on factors such as the defendant’s actions in causing the accident, how much the defendant’s tort affects the sense of justice in the community and the defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages.

Texas’ Punitive Damages Cap

Like many states, Texas has a cap on punitive damages available in a personal injury case. There is a limit to how much you can receive in punitive damages as a plaintiff during a car accident lawsuit in San Antonio.

A jury in Texas cannot order a defendant to pay more than $200,000 in punitive damages if you did not receive an award in economic damages. If you did receive an economic award, the punitive damage cap increases to twice the amount of your economic damages plus an equal amount in noneconomic damages, up to a maximum of $750,000.

When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio

If you believe the person or party who caused your car accident in San Antonio is guilty of extreme negligence, malice or a wanton carelessness for the safety of others, consult with a car accident lawyer for assistance with your claim.

A lawyer can help you request punitive damages and prove your eligibility for this type of compensation using evidence such as eyewitness statements, a police report and any citations given to the driver. The best way to secure the compensation you deserve, including a punitive damage award, is by hiring a lawyer to represent you.

Posted by admin at 6:02 pm

What Happens If I’m Driving Without a License in Texas?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the State of Texas must have a valid driver’s license. A license is proof of the legal authorization to operate a motor vehicle. Driving without a license in Texas is a misdemeanor that can come with serious penalties – especially if you cause an accident as an unlicensed driver.

Consequences for Driving Without a License in Texas

Driving without a license is a crime in Texas. This means you could face a criminal conviction, an arrest and even jail time. Under state law, your driver’s license must be legally authorized, valid, up-to-date and the correct class for the vehicle you drive. If you operate a commercial truck, for instance, you need a Class C license.

Operating a car without a driver’s license in Texas can lead to:

  • Impoundment of your motor vehicle.
  • A ticket for committing a moving violation.
  • A fine of around $200 for a first offense and more for a second offense.
  • A fine of $500 and up to six months in jail for a third offense.
  • An arrest and jail time for a misdemeanor crime.
  • A permanent conviction on your criminal record.

If you were driving with an expired driver’s license, the penalty is a fine of up to $200, plus a $100 surcharge for three years. You can avoid this fine, however, if you get your driver’s license renewed, pay a $20 fee and bring proof of the renewal to the courthouse. If you fail to follow up with renewal and miss your scheduled court date, however, you could face a class C misdemeanor on top of the traffic infraction.

If you were driving on a suspended or revoked license, the penalties can be even steeper. This is called Driving While License Invalid in Texas (Texas Transportation Code 521.457). It is a class C misdemeanor that can come with consequences such as a second suspension of your license, a fine of up to $500 and a surcharge of $250 for the next three years. These penalties can increase for a second or subsequent offense, up to six months in jail and $2,000 in fines.

What If You Cause an Accident While Driving Without a License?

You can face life-changing penalties for causing an automobile accident while driving without a license. You may get arrested for this offense, as it is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this crime include up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. If you cause a car accident that results in injuries or wrongful death to another person while driving on a suspended or revoked license, it is also a class A misdemeanor.

You will face civil liability for causing a car accident while unlicensed as well. Civil liability means financial responsibility for the injuries and losses suffered in the car accident. Your auto insurance provider will be responsible for covering the medical bills and property repairs of all injured victims. If you were also driving without auto insurance, these expenses may become your responsibility to pay out of pocket.

What Is Negligent Entrustment?

If someone negligently entrusted his or her vehicle to you while knowing you were unlicensed, that person could bear a portion of liability for a car accident. For example, it is against the law for a parent to knowingly allow a child who is unlicensed to operate a motor vehicle. If you get into a car accident in this scenario, the person who negligently let you drive may have to pay some or all of the financial damages through his or her auto insurance provider. This could lead to an increase in that party’s insurance premiums.

What to Do After an Accident While Unlicensed

Stop your vehicle at the scene of the car accident whether or not you were driving with a valid license. Fleeing the scene can result in much more severe penalties than driving without a license. Then, contact a lawyer for assistance. A San Antonio, Texas car accident lawyer can help you understand your options and rights after a collision while driving without a license.

Posted by admin at 6:01 pm

What Happens If Someone Else Is Driving My Car & Gets in an Accident in Texas?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

You may not think twice before letting a friend or family member borrow your car. If that person gets into an accident while driving your vehicle, however, it is you who must deal with the insurance process. Find out what to expect from your insurance company if you were not the one driving your car in an accident.

Insurance Covers the Car, Not the Driver

It is a common misconception that the auto insurance a driver pays for covers the driver. In reality, auto insurance covers the car. This means no matter who was driving your vehicle, your car insurance company has to pay for damages. Unfortunately, this can mean paying a large deductible and dealing with an increase in your insurance premium – even if you were not the driver involved in the accident.

First-Party vs. Third-Party Insurance Claim

In Texas, the car insurance of the party at fault for causing the collision is financially responsible for damages. If your friend was at fault for causing the crash, therefore, your auto insurance company will pay for victims’ medical bills and property repairs. You will need to file a first-party insurance claim with your own insurance provider for coverage. How much your insurance company pays for the accident will depend on your policy.

If you only have the minimum required amount of liability insurance in Texas, your insurance carrier most likely will not pay to repair the damage to your own vehicle. The minimum required amounts of automobile insurance only pay for the damages of others in a crash. You must have an additional form of coverage, such as collision or comprehensive insurance, for coverage for your own car. If you do not have this insurance, the insurer of the person you let use your car should pay for your losses.

If the person you let borrow your car was not at fault for the accident, you will seek financial compensation from the auto insurance carrier of the at-fault party. You will file what is called a third-party insurance claim against the other driver’s carrier in pursuit of compensation for medical bills and vehicle repairs. In this scenario, your own insurance premiums should not increase, as your company did not pay for the damages.

Primary and Secondary Insurance Coverage

A car accident when someone else is driving your car may involve both primary and secondary insurance. Primary insurance coverage is your insurance policy as the vehicle’s owner. Secondary insurance is the automobile policy of the person who was driving your car. As the owner of the vehicle, your insurance policy will provide the primary (first) coverage for related losses. If you do not have enough insurance to cover 100% of the damages, the driver’s liability insurance will provide secondary coverage.

For example, if the victim of the car accident suffered $35,000 in medical expenses but your auto insurance policy only covers up to $30,000, the person who was driving your vehicle will cover the remaining $5,000 through his or her auto insurance policy. Primary and secondary auto insurance work together on cases involving a vehicle owned by one party but driven by another to fully cover a victim’s losses.

Potential Challenges With Your Claim

For the most part, your auto insurance company will cover someone else driving your car. If, however, the person driving your car did not have your permission to do so, such as in an incident of theft, your insurance may not cover the driver. Coverage would come from the at-fault driver’s insurer instead.

If you are guilty of negligent entrustment, you could also encounter challenges. If you knowingly allowed an intoxicated individual or unlicensed driver to drive your car, for example, someone injured in a subsequent accident may be able to hold you personally responsible for the collision as well as seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Due to the complexity of these types of cases, it is wise to consult with a  San Antonio car accident attorney to discuss your rights. An attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process in San Antonio.

Posted by admin at 5:59 pm

How to Report a Car Accident in San Antonio, Texas

Monday, March 15, 2021

If you get involved in a car accident in San Antonio, Texas, there are steps you must take to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver. There are also steps you should take to protect your physical health and legal rights, such as reporting the car accident. If you need assistance with crash reporting, consult with a San Antonio car accident attorney.

When Do You Need to Report a Car Accident in Texas?

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident and call the police, if legally required, is the crime of a hit-and-run in Texas. Texas law requires a driver to report an accident to the police if it causes physical injury or death suit to one or more people, or property damage that appears to be valued at $1,000 or more to any one person’s property. If your car accident meets this definition, you lawfully must call 911 as soon as possible – usually from the scene of the crash.

Contact Your Auto Insurance Carrier

You must report a car accident to your auto insurance company. Your car insurance company needs to know about any collisions that involve your vehicle. Most car insurance companies require reporting as soon as possible, or within 72 hours of the wreck. You can also call the other driver’s insurance company to report the accident if you believe he or she caused the crash.

When speaking to an insurance company, be careful what you say. The insurer will look for ways to reduce or reject coverage for your auto accident. Do not admit fault for the crash, do not sign anything and do not agree to give a recorded statement. Always tell the truth when answering questions from an insurance company. Keep your answers short and simple and do not offer any information that is not specifically requested.

Report the Accident to the TxDOT

Texas Revised Statute Section 550.062 states that if a law enforcement officer investigates a motor vehicle accident that causes injury, death or at least $1,000 in property damage, the officer must make a written report of the collision. The officer must submit this report to the police department and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) no later than 10 days after the car accident.

If the police officer does not make an accident report, it becomes your responsibility to report the crash to the TxDOT within 10 days. The TxDOT needs to know about all auto accidents in Texas – even minor ones – to maintain accurate crash records. You must fill out the appropriate forms and submit them online or print them out and mail them to the TxDOT. You can also visit the closest TxDOT office near you to report your collision in person.

Get a Copy of Your Police Report in San Antonio

It is important to report your car accident in San Antonio for many reasons. One is to officially document the car accident so you can use the crash report as evidence in your car accident claim later. An auto insurance company will ask for your police report number as one of the first steps in investigating your claim. Try to write this number down before you leave the scene of your car accident.

Once you have gone to a hospital for your injuries and made your initial crash report, request a copy of your police report for your records. This report should become available within 10 days of your accident. Car accident reports are only available to those involved in the wreck. You can contact the San Antonio Police Department to request a copy of your report. You can also request a copy of the police report submitted to the TxDOT through the department’s website.

If you need assistance reporting a car accident in San Antonio or obtaining copies of your accident reports, contact a lawyer near you.

Posted by admin at 5:57 pm

What Is the Average Settlement for Whiplash in San Antonio?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Whiplash is a common injury suffered in auto accidents in San Antonio, Texas. Whiplash describes soft-tissue damage to the muscles or tendons in the neck. If you have whiplash from a San Antonio car crash or another accident, you may be curious about how much you could receive in an insurance settlement or jury verdict for your medical bills and losses. The answer to this question depends on your situation.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury most commonly caused by car accidents. However, it can also be caused by falls, sports and other incidents, such as physical assault. It occurs when something jerks the head and neck rapidly backward and forward, whipping the neck around hard enough to stretch, tear or damage the soft tissues.

Whiplash can cause many painful and debilitating symptoms, including:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness or lost range of motion
  • Shooting pains, tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Back pain or tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble sleeping

Medical care for a whiplash injury may involve pain medications and physical therapy. A victim with whiplash might be unable to return to work right away. If the victim was not at fault for the incident that caused the injury, he or she could be eligible for financial compensation for these losses from the negligent party.

Settlement Amounts Vary Significantly

It is not possible to estimate the value of your whiplash injury settlement based on average award amounts in prior cases. Insurance companies and courts in Texas do not assign damages based on average settlements. Instead, every personal injury settlement or jury verdict for whiplash is unique and tailored to the victim’s needs and losses.

Some injured accident victims can receive $10,000 or less for their whiplash injuries. Others might receive around $5,000. Still other crash victims could receive substantially more than $10,000 if they have significant injuries, such as a serious spinal cord injury. The factors that go into determining a whiplash settlement amount include the level of the injury, the victim’s prognosis, how long he or she will need medical care, health, age, income, and more.

Types of Damages Available

Although there is no average settlement for whiplash in San Antonio, you can get an idea of how much your claim might be worth with help from an attorney. An attorney can estimate the value of your case based on the compensable losses you suffered in the accident. A defendant may be financially responsible for many of your past and future damages:

  • Health care bills
  • Long-term treatments such as physical therapy
  • Medications or medical devices
  • Lost wages and capacity to earn
  • Property repairs
  • Disability-related expenses
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages

A personal injury lawyer in San Antonio can help you list all of the damages you and your family have suffered as a result of a defendant’s negligence or recklessness. Then, your lawyer can help you pursue maximum financial compensation for these losses. Although most whiplash cases settle, a lawyer will have the power to go to trial against a defendant, if necessary.

Negotiate Your Settlement With Help From a Whiplash Attorney in San Antonio

If you suffered a whiplash injury in an accident in San Antonio that significantly interferes with your life, consult with an attorney for assistance with the claims process. An attorney will have the knowledge, resources and legal tactics to successfully negotiate or litigate your injury claim.

Handling your case without an attorney may expose you to insurance bad-faith tactics. Your lawyer will fight for maximum compensation on your behalf, as he or she will want to optimize your award. An insurance company, on the other hand, will want to devalue your whiplash claim.

An insurance company may wrongfully deny your claim, for example, or underestimate your future medical needs. If you hire a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio to represent you, he or she can negotiate for just compensation. This will increase the odds of receiving a fair settlement offer. A lawyer can demand the financial outcome you need to finally move forward from a whiplash injury.

Posted by admin at 5:40 pm

What to Do After a Rear-End Accident in San Antonio

Monday, March 8, 2021

A rear-end accident can cause an injury that interferes with the rest of your life, such as whiplash or a concussion. If you’ve been injured in a rear-end car accident, the driver that hit you may be financially responsible for your injuries and losses. Take the following steps to increase the chances of collecting the compensation the law entitles you to in San Antonio, Texas.

Pull Over and Check for Injuries

Texas’ hit-and-run law requires all drivers involved in auto collisions, minor or major, to stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible. You must pull over and check yourself and others for injuries. If someone is injured, you have a legal responsibility to render aid, meaning to call the police or drive the victim to the nearest hospital.

Report the Rear-End Collision to the Authorities

Texas law also requires you to report any car accident to the police that causes physical injuries, fatalities or more than $1,000 in property damage. You may also wish to call 911 from the scene of a more minor accident to receive an official report that documents the rear-end accident. Having the police at the scene of the accident can benefit you in many ways. For example, the other driver may receive a ticket for reckless behavior such as speeding, tailgating, driving drunk or driving while distracted.

Do Not Admit Fault

It is important not to admit fault for a rear-end collision. Even if you are the rear driver and will most likely take responsibility for the collision, do not admit fault to the other driver or the police. Claiming fault right away will eliminate the need for a crash investigation. If you do not admit fault, on the other hand, an investigation may find proof of other liable parties, such as the other driver’s shared fault.

Take Pictures

If you can, take photographs while at the scene of your rear-end car accident in San Antonio. Capture pictures of the damaged vehicles, your injuries and some wide-lens shots of the entire crash scene. Photographs can paint a picture of how the collision occurred and who is liable, such as by capturing brake marks in the road or a hidden stop sign.

Exchange Information

Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information with the other driver. Since Texas is a fault-based car insurance state, you will need to bring your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Ask for the name of the driver’s auto insurance company while still at the scene. You can also reference the police report for this information later.

Go to a Hospital in San Antonio

Get medical care immediately after a rear-end car accident. Common injuries suffered in these collisions are whiplash, soft-tissue injuries, back injuries, herniated discs, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and knee injuries. Prompt medical care can show an insurance company that you did your part to mitigate your physical damages.

Call the Insurance Company

Call the other driver’s insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. Most insurance carriers have deadlines on filing. Be careful when discussing the accident with the insurance company, however, as the carrier will want to minimize your financial recovery. Do not admit fault or allow the claims adjuster to record a statement Also, do not sign anything sent to you or agree to a settlement offer without an attorney’s approval.

Consult With a Car Accident Attorney in San Antonio

Your next step should be to contact a car accident lawyer in San Antonio to schedule a free legal consultation. You have nothing to lose in arranging a consultation and potentially a lot to gain. A lawyer can review your case to help you understand and protect your rights.

If the other driver is to blame for your rear-end collision, that driver’s insurance company will be financially responsible for your losses. An attorney can help you prove fault and negotiate for maximum financial compensation so you can move forward after a rear-end accident in San Antonio.

Posted by admin at 5:37 pm