What Can I Sue for After a Car Accident in Texas?

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. You may have suffered injuries, property damage, financial losses, and emotional distress, among other things. The combined impact of these damages on your life is often significant.

During this difficult time, you may be wondering what legal rights and options you have in Texas to recover compensation after a car accident. This article provides an overview of the key aspects of personal injury lawsuits stemming from auto accidents in Texas. While we hope this article helps you understand your rights, it is not intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact our office. Our team of experienced car accident attorneys is happy to discuss your potential claim. Initial consultations are completely free.

What Legal Rights Do You Have After a Car Accident in Texas?

If another driver crashes into you and you are legally at fault, then Texas law allows you to recover from them for how you were harmed by the crash. In other words, Texas law allows you to seek compensation from the at-fault driver for the full extent of your injuries and other losses. These losses are referred to under the law as “damages.” While many such claims are resolved without going to court, Texas law gives you the right to take legal action and file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.

Understanding Negligence and Liability: How Can Negligence Impact Your Claim?

In Texas, car accident cases are typically governed by the laws controlling negligence-based claims. To bring a valid negligence-based claim, you must prove:

  • The other driver owed you a duty of care
  • They breached this duty through negligent driving
  • This breach caused your accident and injuries

If you can establish these elements, the at-fault driver will be liable for your damages. Their insurance company should compensate you for losses like medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Some common examples of negligent driving include:

  • Disobeying traffic laws (speeding, running red lights, etc.)
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, etc.)
  • Reckless driving
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to yield the right of way

Assessing Compensable Damages: What Can Be Recovered for a Car Accident in Texas?

There are two main categories of damages you can potentially recover in a Texas car accident lawsuit:

Economic damages, which cover losses like:

  • Past and future medical expenses: All reasonable costs for medical treatment related to the accident, including hospital bills, ambulances, physical therapy, medications, assistive devices, and future care.
  • Lost income and reduced earning capacity: Any wages you lost due to missing work because of your injuries. This includes sick days, vacation time, and future loss of earning capacity.
  • Cost to repair or replace your vehicle: Costs to repair or replace your vehicle or other damaged property.
  • Cost of hiring help due to injuries: Hiring in-home care for meals, cleaning, or other support.

Non-economic damages, which cover subjective losses like:

  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for any physical pain, discomfort, and mental anguish suffered because of your injuries.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Damages relating to how your injuries have affected your ability to participate in and enjoy day-to-day activities.
  • Disfigurement or physical impairment: For example, if the injuries negatively impact intimate relationships.
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress: Damages for any fear, anxiety, stress, depression, or other emotional harm caused by the accident.

Remember, keep detailed records of all accident-related costs and how the injuries impact your life. This evidence will help prove the extent of your damages and their value.

When Are Punitive or Wrongful Death Damages Applicable?

Punitive Damages

These damages are extra penalties against defendants guilty of gross negligence, such as drivers who were drunk or under the influence when they caused the crash and those who acted maliciously or recklessly in a way that led to someone’s injuries. This may include a company putting a person with a dangerous driving record behind the wheel of a company vehicle or ignoring a dangerous condition on their property after multiple people have been hurt by the same.

Wrongful Death Damages

In wrongful death cases, the damages are still categorized as either economic or non-economic. As described above, economic damages cover quantifiable monetary losses, such as funeral expenses, lost earnings, and medical bills. Non-economic damages compensate for more intangible harms, like the loss of companionship or mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members. 

If you have questions regarding the types of damages you may be entitled to, please contact our office to consult with an attorney at Sandoval & James. We can help you determine which types of damages might be recoverable in your specific case.

How to Prove Fault in a Texas Car Accident Case?

A key aspect of your claim will be proving the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. Your attorney will gather evidence to show who was at fault, such as:

  • Police reports from officers who responded to the scene
  • Photographs of property damage, skid marks, and injuries
  • Witness statements supporting your version of events
  • Data from the vehicles’ computer

Getting Legal Representation to Prove Fault for Injuries in a Car Accident in Texas

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is highly recommended when seeking compensation after a car accident in Texas. The attorneys at Sandoval & James can help you navigate the complex legal process and deal with suing car insurance companies after you were injured in an accident in Texas.

When choosing a lawyer, you’ll want to consider factors like their experience with auto accident cases, success rate, reputation, and whether you feel comfortable with their representation style.

At Sandoval & James, we offer free consultations to discuss your potential claim.

What Does the Legal Process Entail?

If negotiations with insurance companies fail to result in a satisfactory settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit. The typical process would involve:

  • Filing of a Complaint (also called a Petition) – This initiates the lawsuit in the proper court and county. It sets out your allegations against the defendant (negligent driver) and requested damages.
  • Discovery – This evidence-gathering process involves depositions, interrogatories, requests to produce documents, and more.
  • Expert testimony – Experts may provide opinions on liability and the extent of your injuries.
  • Settlement negotiations – Many cases settle out of court before a trial. Your attorney will negotiate to get the most favorable settlement.
  • Trial – If no settlement is reached, your case will go to trial, where a judge or jury will decide if the defendant is liable and, if so, the value of your damages.
  • Appeals – The losing party can appeal the verdict to a higher court. Your attorney handles this if needed.

While Sandoval & James often settles cases within just a few months, more complex cases involving serious injuries and disabilities, or where liability is contested by the negligent driver, may take several years.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas

Under Texas law, you typically have two years from the date of injury to either settle your car accident claim or file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. 

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations For Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Texas?

There are a few exceptions that can extend this timeframe:

  • If the injury victim is under 18 years old
  • If the injury led to death
  • If the injury was not immediately apparent

Again, consult with an attorney to ensure you understand the statute of limitations relevant to your case. Taking too long to act may bar you from pursuing a claim.

Sample Case Results

Every car accident claim is different. As a result, past results, even on very similar claims, may not be indicative of future settlement amounts. However, looking at previous car accident verdicts and settlements may give you a general idea of how much compensation is possible in successful cases. Review our Case Results page for successful client cases.

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Contact Sandoval & James Car Accident & Injury Attorneys in Austin, TX

A car crash can turn your world upside down. In Texas, understanding the legal landscape is crucial for seeking compensation for your losses. With an experienced personal injury lawyer guiding you through the claims process or lawsuit, you can maximize your recovery and avoid the mistakes that reduce the amount you receive. If you need an experienced injury attorney to help you with your car accident claim, call SJW for a free consultation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an experienced attorney at Sandoval & James to discuss the details of your case. Our team can help you make informed choices to protect your rights and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve!

Just one of our many client reviews: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “The results are beyond our expectations. This is the best personal injury law firm in town! Everything was great, thank you!” -Fernando G. on Google

As of 4/13/24, SJW Car Accident & Injury Lawyers Austin has a 4.9 rating from 1,596 total reviews on Google Maps.