Automobile accidents are sudden and traumatic. They often leave the victims in a state of shock and disbelief. The losses incurred upon people by such events can have long-lasting impacts on their lives and financial state. Many people gather themselves and file personal injury claims to secure fair compensation for all that they had to go through. Appearing in court for a car accident is not always required, but may be necessary in some situations.
This process is not as simple as what most people presume at first look. Instead, the at-fault driver, their insurance company, and legal reps may use all means at their disposal to minimize their payout or avoid paying at all.
Some don't even bother to linger at the accident scene, instead, they drive off leaving you with your misery – such 'hit-and-run' accidents are especially hard to deal with.
The amount of property damage, degree of physical trauma, and severity of psychological stress depends on how the accident happened.
No two accidents are the same.
But when all doors for help are shut at your face, you only have one way to go: the court.
By law, when an auto accident happens, the drivers must get off and exchange their information with each other. This includes names, driver’s license information, license plate number, make and model of vehicles, and so on.
However, it is not uncommon for at-fault drivers to panic at the sight of an accident and flee the scene. Hit and run accidents can be filed under misdemeanor by the police, however, in the case of a severe accident, a felony will be filed.
So, you may or may not get to talk to the other guy after an accident, but you will be talking to the police, this much is certain.
It is a legal requirement to call 911 immediately after an accident and wait at the site of the crash for the reporting police officers to show up. They will ask you about what happened and give you a copy of their accident report.
You will also have to deal with any injuries that the accident may have caused. But before you go on patching things up, gathering evidence should be your top-most priority. Photographing the whole scene including your smashed up car, the injuries you sustained, and those of any passengers accompanying you should be a good start.
If you can, then you should ask for the contact information of any eyewitnesses – their testimony will be very important for your case.
Within 72 hours of the accident, you must visit a doctor to get diagnosed for any physical trauma that the accident may have caused. This may also include a psychiatric therapy session in case of major accidents because the victims may have taken the event quite badly on their minds.
During this whole time, you must keep track of your expenses, all of your financial drains due to the crash, not a single penny should go unaccounted for.
While trying to secure fair financial compensation, having an experienced attorney by your side will make all the difference. In some cases, it is hard to assign fault and the responsible party may use any technicality to evade the blame.
Things can get dirty with the insurer as well. Insurance companies often find excuses to pay less than they should, and sometimes they may refuse to pay altogether. This is not as uncommon as you’d want it to be: insurers will try to find loopholes to avoid giving you your right.
They may also get you to downplay your pain and suffering – remember that anything you say can be used against you.
Thus having a Houston personal injury lawyer with you in such important meetings is imperative for success.
As noted earlier, insurers will try to safeguard their own interests above everything else. This means that you may be denied your rightful reimbursement. Several other technicalities may also necessitate taking matters to the court for a car accident, these usually are:
In such situations, it becomes important to get your voice heard by a Houston court of law and to secure compensation for all the losses that the accident incurred upon you.
So to answer the question: yes, sometimes, going to court is unavoidable.
The law holds all people as equals, hence, both parties will get the opportunity to present their side of the argument. Your attorney will help solidify your claim with all relevant details, including some of the evidence that you gathered yourself.
Your attorney will also add weightage to your side through eyewitness testimonies, your medical records (and expenses), proofs of the accident, evidence of the injuries you sustained, and so on. Lawyers are pretty resourceful and will help further strengthen your case via independent investigations to fill in any gaps left by your evidence and witnesses.
Of course, in the meantime, the other party's lawyer will have the option to object to your moves and cross-examine your witnesses.
The final decision will rest on the shoulders of a judge or jury – in the latter case, your attorney will try to get them to sympathize with you and give the ruling in your favor.
While nothing can be guaranteed, getting in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible does increase your odds of securing a decent compensation.
We believe in offering nothing but the best for our clients and have done so repeatedly in the past. If you were wronged by another driver or if you have been falsely accused of causing an accident that you didn't, we will help you develop your case and get your voice heard.
Justice shall be served to all, and that’s our business motto at Calhoun, Meredith, and Sims, PLLC.
The initial consultation is FREE, so don't hesitate to call us!