Who Pays for Property Damages and Injuries After an Accident?
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Many people are unfamiliar with their rights to receive compensation for damages to their personal property and for their injuries after an auto accident. On this page we will take a look at some of issues that can be the most confusing to accident victims and then discuss how an auto accident lawyer can help accident victims earn a fair settlement of the injury claims following accidents.
The Differences Between “Fault” and “Liability”
After an accident occurs there is usually an investigation conducted at the scene of the accident by a law enforcement officer. This investigation is concerned only with the “mechanics” or the “why” an accident occurred. If the investigator determines that traffic laws were violated, he or she may issue traffic citations to the offending party. Based on the findings of the on-scene investigation, “fault” for the accident is determined.
The issue of “fault” is always decided based on an established standard of conduct such as, in this case, traffic laws. A driver who violates a traffic law is thus deemed to have been “at fault” in an accident. “Fault,” however, is not the same as “liability.”
“Liability” is not always attached to the party who is at fault in an accident. Liability is determined by a jury in a civil court rather than in a criminal court. This is because there may be factors that are unaddressed in the accident report that can shift responsibility away from one party to the other or even to a third party whose negligence may have contributed to the accident. These issues are best discussed with an attorney familiar with auto accident cases.
Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
There are two “myths” or “misconceptions” that you will hear about motorcycle accidents: “The driver of the vehicle is always at fault” and “If a person on a motorcycle isn’t wearing a helmet, they can’t sue.” Both of these statements are false!
Motorcycle drivers are required to obey all traffic laws, just as are all car and truck drivers. It is also a fact that, in many situations, motorcycles are difficult for the driver of a car or truck to see in their mirrors. This difficulty in seeing a motorcycle is probably the origin of the belief that the driver of the car or truck is always at fault.
Texas law exempts bike riders who have met certain qualifications, such as medical insurance that is specific for bike rider and state-approved safety courses, from wearing a helmet. If a motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet in violation of state law, this has absolutely no bearing on who caused an accident! If another driver caused the accident, that other driver is liable for damages regardless of what the bike driver was or wasn’t wearing.
Insurance Adjusters and Auto Accidents
Before signing anything at the request of an insurance adjuster you should seek the advice of an attorney who has experience in auto accident and personal injury claims. Insurance companies hire adjusters for one purpose only: to limit the amount of money the company must pay to settle a claim. If you sign a release document, you will lose the right to seek additional damages should you become aware of an accident-related problem at a later date.
Time Limits and Personal Injury Lawsuits
In Texas, as in other states, time limits have been established that have set a “cutoff date” after which a personal injury lawsuit cannot be filed. For an auto accident injury this date is set at two years from the date the injury occurred. As an example, if you were injured in an accident on June 1, 2015, your lawsuit must be filed no later than May 31, 2018.
If you have not filed a personal injury lawsuit by the cutoff date, you will forever lose your right to sue for any damages resulting from your accident injuries. The Texas courts are legally bound by state law to strictly adhere to this rule and will dismiss these cases as soon as they appear on the court’s docket.
The Amarillo Auto Accident Lawyer Will Work For You
As we have seen, the question of who is liable for property damage and personal injuries resulting from auto accidents can be quite difficult to resolve. This is why, if you have been injured in an auto accident, you need the Amarillo auto accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to work for you to get the best possible settlement of your auto accident injury claim.
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