Car accidents can be stressful and overwhelming experiences. Unfortunately, many of these collisions result in catastrophic, life-altering injuries. When facing mounting medical expenses and lost income while you recover, the financial burden can be crippling for you and your family. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. The Austin car accident lawyers at Shaw Cowart are here to help.
Austin Car Accident Resources
- Why Choose Us For Your Austin Car Accident Lawyers
- How An Austin Accident Attorney Can Help
- Texas Car Accident Statistics
- Car Accident Statistics In The United States
- Fatal Car Accidents In Texas
- Texas Car Accident Laws
- How Long Does It Take To Receive A Settlement In Texas?
- Austin Car Accident Statute Of Limitations
- Types Of Compensation Available
- How Car Austin Accident Settlements Are Calculated
- Austin Car Accident Injuries
- Accidents With An Uninsured Driver
- Defective Automobiles And Car Accidents
- Meeting With Your Austin Accident Lawyer
Why Choose Our Austin Car Accident Attorneys?
At Shaw Cowart LLP, our auto accident lawyers know how to deal with the insurance company. We’ve been doing it for years and we will fight tooth and nail to ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. Our attorneys have handled every type of car accident claim, and we are aware of the tactics used by insurance companies to unfairly reduce or even deny your compensation.
Some of the most important reasons to work with Shaw Cowart LLP after a car accident include:
- Trial lawyers with experience – Many law firms do not try a lot of cases. We do. We are trial attorneys with experience defending claims so we know how your opponent works.
- We prepare each case to go to trial – Although most cases are resolved by settlement, we are always ready to take your case to trial if a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached. Our opponents know our history and that we are willing and able to go to trial. That puts us in a better position to negotiate a favorable settlement for you.
- Our attorneys have the credentials you can count on – Ethan L. Shaw is a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer. He holds an AV Preeminent rating with Martindale Hubbell. It is the highest rating available. In addition, Mr. Shaw was selected to Super Lawyers in 2003 and from 2012 – 2017.
- Unlike many larger firms, we will not pass you off to a paralegal – You will meet personally with the attorney handling your case and can contact that attorney directly if you have questions.
- Action plan for your case – Every case is unique and you have unique priorities, needs and goals. We will create a meaningful action plan to work toward a resolution that maximizes your damages and meets your needs.
- Attention to detail – Thorough investigation is the bedrock of any auto accident lawsuit. Your claim will rarely be as straightforward as it may seem. We look at every detail to uncover every underlying cause and factor that contributed to your accident and your injuries. This is how we establish liability, and it allows us to pursue every avenue of compensation so that you can recover the maximum amount to which you are entitled.
- Maximizing your compensation – Insurance companies typically try to settle claims for less than the actual medical expenses and lost wages you’ve incurred. Rarely, if ever, will an insurance company offer you any consideration for your pain and suffering. We will make sure all current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages are considered in order to maximize the value of your compensation.
How An Austin Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case
We understand that a car wreck can change your life. Our injury lawyers in Austin have a proven track record of success in helping people with serious injuries from auto accidents, and we will fight for maximum compensation for you.
The most important thing for you to focus on during this difficult time is recovering from your injuries. You don’t need the added burden of trying to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. We will take care of your claim so you can take care of yourself and your family. If you’ve suffered serious injuries during a car wreck, it’s crucial that you have an experienced lawyer handle your case. The insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to settle with you quickly and for as little money as possible. They have a team of investigators and attorneys at their disposal to minimize the amount of money they will have to pay out on your claim.
You can learn about your legal rights and options by speaking with our attorneys in person. Please call 512-499-8900 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve clients in the Austin, Texas area.
When you come in for your complimentary consultation, we will share our track record with you, so you can see our history of success for yourself.
Car Accident Facts And Statistics In Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas has some of the worst car accident-related outcomes in the United States. Reports by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show that 1.56 deaths occur for every 100 million vehicle mile traveled in Texas.
As a part of the TxDOT’s report on car accidents in 2021, the research team shared the following shocking statistics:
- Every 1 hour and 57 minutes, one person dies while operating or riding in a motor vehicle
- Every two minutes and 12 seconds, a person in Texas is injured on the road
- Every 57 seconds, there was a car crash in Texas
These facts further illustrate the lasting impact of car accidents on all living in the Lone Star State.
Car Accident Facts And Statistics In The United States
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that motor vehicle crashes are one of the primary causes of death in the United States for individuals ages 1-54. Compared to other high-income countries, the United States had one of the highest rates of motor vehicle fatalities.
Here are a few additional key statistics for car accidents in the United States in 2020:
- The leading causes of fatal crashes in the United States were failing to stay in a single lane, driving under the influence, and speeding
- An estimated 2.9 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States
- The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes to the U.S. economy was over $800 billion
- An estimated 5.4 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes in the United States resulted in over 2.5 million injuries
The numbers demonstrate that car accidents are a serious issue in the United States, and it is important to be aware of the risks and take the necessary steps to reduce them.
Are Fatal Car Accidents Increasing In Texas?
Yes, according to TxDOT. Reflecting a deadly trend nationwide, 20,160 people died due to car crashes in 2021, up 15% from years with prior data.
What could be a reason for the increased rate of car accidents? First, traffic is likely increasing, which strains the existing infrastructure, despite a shift in focus to implement new roadway design features that can save lives.
Additionally, there is as also the fact that drivers are not following the rules of the road or taking the necessary precautions when driving. TxDOT found that driver behavior is one of the leading causes of fatality increases.
By focusing on engineering, enforcement, and the importance of driver responsibility for road safety, the leaders of TxDOT think they can reduce overall vehicle fatalities in the future.
However, this doesn’t do anything for those who have already been injured or died due to another driver’s negligence in Texas, but it does provide protection against future incidents. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident, working with a trusted Austin wrongful death attorney can help you to secure compensation and hold the negligent driver accountable.
Important Texas Car Accident Laws
The laws governing car accident cases in Texas are very complex. Texas adheres to the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which states that your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. In addition, if you are determined to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will not be entitled to receive any compensation.
For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you are found to be 25% at fault, you will only recover $75,000. However, if you are found to be 60% at fault, you would recover nothing. These negligence laws make it crucial that you prove the other driver was predominantly at fault for the accident. Our lawyers know the comparative negligence laws impacting your case, and we will examine every detail in order to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault.
Texas also requires all vehicle owners to carry the following minimum levels of liability insurance coverage:
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person per accident
- $60,000 of bodily injury liability total per accident
- $25,000 of property damage liability per accident
Keep in mind that these are the minimum levels of coverage required by law. Often, accidents will result in more damages than is covered by these minimum limits. For this reason, you may want to consider purchasing higher coverage levels as part of your insurance policy.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Settlement in a Car Accident Case in Austin?
The amount of time it takes to receive a settlement from a car accident varies case by case. Before the insurance company or defendant makes an offer, there are a few things that must happen.
First, you need to be at maximum medical improvement. This means that any major medical treatments needed due to your injuries have been completed. Second, you will need to obtain all medical reports that indicate potentially lost wages or future medical bills due to ongoing treatment. Finally, you need to send a demand package to the insurance company with all of these details. Depending on the insurance company you are filing a claim with, the response takes anywhere from 15 to 90 days.
Sometimes this entire process will take months. Sometimes it will take years. That’s why having a positive working relationship with your legal team is critical. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, and if you don’t have a good rapport with them, it can be challenging to work with them in such a close capacity long-term.
At Shaw Cowart LLP, we value our relationship with all of our clients – and we encourage anyone with questions about our firm and how we work to reach out for a free car accident case review today. In a case review, we’ll help you better understand what it’s like to work with our firm.
Statute Of Limitations In Austin Car Accident Cases
In addition, there are certain deadlines, called statutes of limitations, which apply to filing a car accident lawsuit. In Texas, you have two years from the date of the car wreck to file a lawsuit. After this deadline passes, you may lose your eligibility to pursue damages in court.
Some exceptions to this statute of limitations can change or modify the timeframe you have to file your case.
- The victim’s injuries become fatal: if an individual was injured in a vehicle accident in Texas and ended up dying from their injuries, the family of the individual would have two years from their death to file their lawsuit.
- Construction defects: if a piece of motorway or road was considered defective and caused the car accident, you may have up to 10 years to file your claim.
- The defendant was a government official: adding the government as a defendant in your case adds another layer of complexity to your case. The Texas Tort Claims Act does allow individuals to sue the government, but the claim does have to be brought within six months of the incident occurring at maximum. Some municipalities (like Austin) shorten this window to less than two months.
As you can see, some of the issues surrounding your car accident cases’ statute of limitations can become extremely complex.At Shaw Cowart LLP, we know how these laws impact your case, and we will ensure that all laws are followed so that you don’t jeopardize your ability to recover the maximum allowable compensation.
When Should You Get a Lawyer For A Car Accident?
Ideally, you should retain a car accident lawyer as soon as you are injured in a crash. While you may be tempted to file your insurance claim on your own, the insurance company will have a large legal team working against you to make sure you get as little compensation as possible. By hiring one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to represent your interests, you gain a trusted expert who knows the intricacies of your case as well as access to several legal resources.
Types of Damages You Could Receive in a Car Accident Claim
Depending on the specifics of your case, you might be entitled to recover the following damages as part of an auto accident claim:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Impairment of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Property damage to your vehicle
Case Win: A woman and her children were in a car accident. We resolved their case for policy limits of $360,000.
How Your Settlement Will Be Calculated in Your Car Accident Case
In personal injury cases, the settlement can be calculated in several different ways. Generally, a settlement is divided into two categories: special damages and general damages. These are also known as economic and non-economic damages.
Special damages are defined as any tangible monetary losses you experience as a result of the accident, This includes:
- Vehicle Repairs
- Past and Future Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Lost Future Earning Potential
- Long-Term Care, Assisted Living, or At-Home Care
In contrast, general damages address non-economic impacts, such as:
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Anxiety and Depression
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of Society and Companionship
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
In some calculations, general damages serve as a multiplier for special damages. For instance, if you sue the government in Texas, there are caps on damages in Texas. These are capped at $250,000 and $500,000 per incident. That means that if there were multiple victims in a Texas personal injury case, they will have to all share a pool of $500,000 in damages for their compensation.
However, this is just one example of a possible calculation. One of our skilled car accident attorneys in Austin will be able to explain the calculation for your case in greater detail.
What Are Some Common Injuries Associated with Car Accident Lawsuits?
Car accident lawsuits can cover a variety of injuries caused by a crash. However, the most common injuries claimed in a car accident lawsuit include:
- Broken Bones
- Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises
- Internal Bleeding
- Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety and Depression
- Limb Amputation
In general, as long as your injury was caused by the car accident, you should include it in your claim. When assembling the facts to create a car accident injury claim against a negligent third party, it’s always better to give all relevant information to your legal team. That way, your team of legal experts and choose what would be the most relevant to include in your case. Furthermore, if you were in an accident with a commercial truck, please don’t hesitate to call our Austin truck accident lawyers today.
What if You Are In an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist In Austin?
There are many more uninsured motorists on the road than you may realize. According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 14% of drivers in the United States do not have auto insurance. That equates to roughly one out of every seven drivers on the road.
In the state of Texas, all drivers are legally required to carry the minimum liability insurance limits discussed above. However, many people choose to ignore this law and drive without insurance, while others simply do not have enough coverage to adequately compensate you for your injuries. It’s important to be prepared in the event that you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
While dealing with an uninsured motorist may seem like a straightforward case, these claims can become complicated by individuals who want to avoid taking responsibility and insurance companies that don’t want to give you the compensation you deserve. It is not uncommon for completely innocent drivers to end up with far less monetary compensation than they deserve due to the sly practices of insurance companies or dishonest drivers. Fortunately, the experienced car accident lawyers in Austin, TX, know how to help you fight for a fair settlement.
Types Of Negligence That Cause Vehicle Accidents In Austin
While it doesn’t necessarily mitigate or negate the injuries and the pain and suffering you have experienced because of an at-fault party, it’s important to understand all the potential causes of a car accident. In addition to your legal team’s extensive research, all information you can collect on behalf of your lawyer will only help your case in the future.
Understanding what caused the negligence of the at-fault party will help further your case, regardless of if it is settled pre-trial or if it does go to court. Here are a few of the most common examples:
Distracted Driving Car Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that distracted driving was one of the leading causes of car crashes in the United States.
As handheld electronic devices have increased in popularity over the past few years, distracted driving has emerged as one of the leading causes of car accidents. While the use of these portable devices is a major cause of driver distractions, there are other ways for people to lose focus behind the wheel.
Common driver distractions include:
- Talking or texting on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Operating a GPS device or in-dashboard vehicle navigation system
- Adjusting an iPod or other music system
- Reading maps or directions
- Applying makeup in the rearview mirror
- Talking to other passengers in the vehicle
Of these distractions, cell phone use while driving has become one of the greatest dangers to other vehicles sharing the road. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use is a causal factor in approximately 28% of car accidents.
Uber or Lyft Car Accidents In Austin
Similarly to distracted driving, a ridesharing driver will likely be more distracted while on the road with other motorists. In Texas, while there is a statutory prohibition against texting and driving, there is no such provision or rule against a ridesharing driver using their ridesharing work app while driving.
Individuals who are ridesharing drivers may use this app for things such as:
- Accepting or declining rides
- Calling and messaging riders
- Using GPS applications to navigate to their destination
There is no requirement in Texas state law that mandates these activities be hands-free. This can mean a ridesharing driver may get in an accident because they have turned their attention from the road to utilizing their ridesharing app for business.
It does not matter whether the electronic source of distraction was a frivolous text message or related to work – five seconds of diverted attention from the road can cause huge, lasting consequences for fellow motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
If this situation describes something you or a loved one has experienced, reach out to our Austin Uber/Lyft accident lawyers for a complimentary case review.
Drunk Driving Car Accidents In Austin
The economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption is estimated at $249 billion to the United States annually, according to the CDC. While this can be attributable to multiple factors, this can also include injuries and car accidents due to inebriation.
In Texas, like most states across the country, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The Texas Penal Code defines drunk driving as driving while intoxicated (DWI) when a driver is “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” For instance, if an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher or they are “incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle,” they can be charged with a DWI.
There are several factors that are unique to drunk driving accident claims and can influence the outcome of your case, such as:
- The application of dram shop liability – Sometimes restaurants and bars can be held liable for damages if they are found to have served a visibly intoxicated person who then caused an auto accident.
- The inclusion of punitive damages – In order to punish the drunk driver at fault and to deter future offenses, further compensation may be awarded to the victim.
- The presence of a criminal conviction – When a drunk driver is charged with a crime, the conviction can be advantageous in your accident case.
If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver, contact our Austin drunk driving attorney. At Shaw Cowart LLP, we will pursue all avenues of compensation, including leveraging Texas dram shop laws and seeking punitive damages when appropriate, in order to help you maximize the value of your compensation.
How Defective Automobiles Can Lead To Car Accidents In Austin
Common vehicle defects that result in serious car accident injuries include:
- Airbag failure – An airbag can fail by either failing to inflate at all or inflating with such force that you suffer a serious injury to the head, neck, or shoulders.
- Seatbelt failure – Faulty seatbelts may fail to adequately restrain you during an accident, leading to injury or death.
- Door failure – An improperly designed door can open during an accident and allow passengers to be ejected from the car during an accident.
- Inadequate roof strength – When a vehicle rolls over, the roof must support the entire weight of the vehicle. This is why you frequently see roll bars in convertibles. But many hardtop vehicles lack enough strength in the roof to withstand rollover accidents.
- Inadequate protection in side impacts – Side impact accidents have the potential to cause considerable damage and injury. If vehicle doors are insufficiently reinforced, you can sustain serious injury or death.
- Faulty fuel systems – An inadequately designed fuel system or fuel tank can rupture in an accident and lead to a potentially deadly vehicle fire.
- Defective tires – Poorly designed tires can fail well ahead of their stated lifetime. This can result in tread peeling off of a tire while driving or a serious tire blowout. When this occurs at high speeds, it can result in catastrophic injuries.
Our Austin product liability lawyers cover cases involving injuries caused by a defective product, such as a vehicle. Our lawyers will work with a team of engineers who will carefully investigate your case and help demonstrate that your injuries were caused by a defective auto. This will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize the value of your compensation.
What To Bring To An Initial Consultation With A Personal Injury Attorney
When you have a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney in Texas, it’s important to come prepared. This will help the attorney understand the details of your case and determine if they can help you. While none of this is mandatory to bring to your initial free consultation with an attorney (like those at the firm of Shaw Cowart LLP), it does help set you and your potential legal team up for success as much as possible.
Here are a few things you should bring to your initial consultation:
- Police report and other official documents: if you have a police report of the accident, bring it to the consultation. This will provide the attorney with important information about the accident, such as the accident’s date, time, location, and the parties involved. Additionally, you should bring any other official documents related to the accident, such as an accident report from the insurance company.
- Medical records: bring any medical records related to the accident, such as doctor’s reports, x-rays, and medical bills. These documents will help the attorney understand the extent of your injuries and the treatment you’ve received.
- Photos and videos: if you have any photos or videos of the accident scene, bring them to the consultation. These can provide valuable evidence of the accident and help the attorney better understand the accident’s circumstances.
- Witnesses’ contact information: if you have the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident, bring it as well. This can help your attorney to build a stronger case.
- Insurance information: bring the insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. This will help the attorney understand the insurance coverage available and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
- A list of your questions: prepare a list of questions you want to ask your attorney to help you understand the attorney’s experience, the process of the case and the chances of success, and what to expect in terms of the potential outcome.
Remember to also be honest and upfront about your case, including any previous accidents, injuries, or extraneous circumstances that may affect your case. This will help the attorney understand the full scope of your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.
We recommend you save this list so that you can come back to it later before you prepare for your complimentary consultation with our firm Shaw Cowart LLP or another law firm in Texas.
Contact our Austin Car Accident Attorneys For Assistance Today
Please contact Shaw Cowart LLP or call 512-499-8900 today to schedule your complimentary car accident consultation. We serve clients in the Austin, Texas area.