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What you should know about Texas car accidents

What you should know about Car Accidents in Texas

Tylka Law has been in business for several decades, and every year we see dozens of Texas car accident victims.  The changes in law and technology can be as helpful as they can be confusing, so we like to go over what you should do in a car accident every year.  Our article for 2017 goes over law and technology in three facets, “before”, “during”, and “after”.

Before a Car Accident

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  This is equally true for car accidents.  If you do not prepare for a car accident, you will face significantly greater obstacles if you are in one.

Insurance

If you recently purchased a car or are a new driver, you will need to purchase car insurance.  Even though this is a Federal requirement, being an insured driver will help you out financially whether or not you are at fault.  Though there are lots of different variations of insurance, we can break auto insurance down into two types, “liability only” and “full coverage”.

Liability insurance is the simplest type of insurance.  It essentially covers bodily damage and property damage caused in an accident, and in some cases will help with legal fees if you are sued.  In Texas, liability minimums (per accident) are 30/60/25, meaning $30,000 per injured person, $60,000 total, and $25,000 for property damage.  While liability insurance is typically very inexpensive (we’ve seen prices at $20/month), an important point about liability insurance is that it typically does not cover the cost of your car.  This is something you will either have to cover out of pocket or purchase a different insurance plan for.

Full coverage insurance more-or-less covers the full value of the accident, including your own car, medical bills, and lost wages (in some cases).  Full coverage insurance can also cover your car in cases unrelated to accidents such as theft and storms.  While full coverage insurance offers peace of mind, it can be very costly.  At cursory glance, we have seen some full-coverage insurance go for $80/month, but typically over $100/month.

Technology

Every year technology changes and improves, and there are a few notable pieces of tech that we recommend keeping on hand or installing on your car to help you with an insurance claim or court case:

  1. Dashcam: If the old saying goes “A picture tells a thousand words”, the new saying goes “A video tells a million words”.  Having a dashcam installed on your windshield can tell an accurate story to a jury or an insurance adjuster, and it will be hard for anyone to argue against the dashcam’s video.  A good dashcam may also capture a hit-and-run driver’s car make/model and license plate.  There are lots of dashcams available, however we recommend the Rexing V1 from Amazon.  It has a wide angle of viewing, records in 1080p, and handles low-light situations very well.
  2. Rear-View Camera: A dashcam can help show an accident, but a rear-view camera can help prevent them.  If you live in a family-oriented neighborhood with kids playing in the streets, a rear-view camera could literally be a life-saver.  We recommend the PLCM7500 from Amazon as it has proximity lines, good quality resolution, and functions well in low-light.
  3. LED Road Flares: You and your car may not be visible in the case of a night-time accident.  Traditional magnesium road flares are a bright safety tool, but can burn out quick and are flammable.  An alternative to magnesium road flares are LED road flares.  These are great as they are very bright, last for hours, and pose no burn risk.
  4. Cell Phone with Camera: If you don’t have a cell phone with a camera already, purchase one the next time you are able to renew your cell phone plan.  Having a cell phone with a camera offers a way to photograph and record an accident that took place.  This shows everything from damage to your car to the state of the drivers and passengers, and can help you tell your story to a court or to an insurance adjuster.

During a Car Accident

If you are in a serious car accident, there are two things you should do immediately.  Check on yourself and your passengers and make sure there are no obvious injuries.  Try not to twist your head or move too much as whiplash can cause significant damage.  Call 9-1-1 and report the accident.  Let them know where you are; if you don’t know, give the 9-1-1 operator mile-markers or landmarks.

If you can leave your car, check on the other driver(s) and begin photographing the scene.  Any damage (or lack of damage) is important to photograph.  The interior of a car can show possible causes of a crash; for example if a driver appears drunk, a bottle of alcohol may be present in the car.

When the police arrive, you will need to file a police report.  Afterwards, contact your insurance company and a car accident attorney to help you with your case.

After a Car Accident

After your car accident, you will have to file a claim with an insurance company.  This can be tricky, so we have a write-up on how to negotiate with your insurance adjuster.   Texas does not require drivers to carry under-insured or uninsured motorist coverage.  Obtaining a proper amount of money in order to pay for any medical bills or lost wages may require you to go to court.  If this is the case, contact a car accident lawyer.  An attorney can help you get the full value of the claim (and in some cases even more).Contact Tylka Law Firm today with questions or for help: (281) 557-1500



Tylka Law Firm represents clients in League City, Texas, and throughout surrounding areas, including Galveston, Houston, Jefferson County, Chambers County, Alvin, Angleton, Texas City, Baytown, Pearland, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Harris County and throughout the Texas Gulf Coast.