You will improve your chances of resolving all of the complex medical, insurance and legal issues and maximizing your compensation by seeking immediate advice from a good personal injury attorney. Here’s why.
Texas Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
Texas law generally imposes a two-year statute of limitations on bringing a cause of action. What this means is you only have two years from the date of your accident to sue the person who crashed into you. If you miss this deadline, you forfeit the right to sue.
However, like all laws, the rule has exceptions. For example, if you were younger than 18 years old when the accident occurred, the statute of limitations tolls — or stops running — until your 18th birthday, because the law presumes minors are unable to make legal decisions.
Insurance Deadline for Filing a Car Crash Claim
Your auto insurance company may require you to report your accident within a certain period of time. Provisions vary from policy to policy, but generally demand the policyholder to notify the company as soon as practicable.
One of the tactics insurance companies commonly employ is to claim it was not given the opportunity to investigate the accident because the policyholder delayed notifying an agent. You can avoid this defense argument by calling your insurance company from the scene or as soon as you are able.
Recorded Statement Traps
However, be careful about what you say. You do not have to, and should not, give a statement to your insurance company without your attorney present. Right after your car crash, you are generally not in a position to give an accurate statement. The moments after an accident are stressful and chaotic. Furthermore, you may have suffered head trauma or be in pain from other injuries. The emergency room doctor also may have given you strong painkillers. All of these conditions can cloud your judgment and may lead to a misstatement of the facts.
Your personal injury attorney can set up an interview with your insurance agent if necessary after you have had a chance to collect your thoughts and feel physically able to discuss the accident. I have seen insurance company lawyers argue that when you said you were ‘fine” when they said hello and asked how you were doing, you could not have been injured, when you were merely being polite.
Benefits of Early Investigation
As a personal injury lawyer for the past 35 years, I understand the steps that can increase recovery and prove my client’s claim.
As soon as a client retains me, I begin a full investigation of the accident. I may send an investigator to the scene to photograph debris, skid marks and various aspects that may have contributed to the crash — for example, dangerous potholes and broken concrete or an overgrown tree that blocked a stop sign. I also interview witnesses while their recollection of the events is still fresh.
Trucking companies often send lawyers and teams to clean up the debris and mitigate damages. Retaining an attorney gives you the opportunity to collect crucial evidence before it is destroyed.