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What Are My Rights in a Car Accident in Huntsville, TX?

What Are My Rights in a Car Accident in Huntsville, TX?

Understanding Your Rights in a Car Accident in Huntsville, TX

One of the most important pieces of advice you can get from a car accident lawyer Huntsville TX is, “know your rights.” Understanding how your legal rights work provides you with a lot of protection. By knowing your rights, you could potentially avoid legal consequences or even receive monetary compensation.

Your Rights When Managing the Accident

What should you do when you get into a car accident? No matter the situation, you always have the same exact rights. Following any accident, you have the ability to do these things.

Report the Accident to the Huntsville Police

One of the most common issues car accident victims face is pressure to not contact the authorities. The other party in the wreck might try to convince you it’s easier to settle things without the authorities or even try to intimidate you into not reporting the accident.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you always have the right to call the police. They can help you sort out disagreements, and their report can be valuable evidence for your car accident attorney Huntsville TX later on. In fact, according to Texas state laws, you’re legally required to report the accident if someone is injured, if the vehicle is immovable, or if more than $1,000 worth of damage has occurred.

Request and Gather Information

If you get into an accident and the other party refuses to give you their name they’re breaking the law. Texas Transportation Code § 550.023 requires the operator of any vehicle in a crash to provide basic contact information to anyone they injure or anyone whose property is damaged.

You have the right to get their name, address, registration number, and the name of their insurance company. If the other party does not provide this information, you can obtain it from the police. You also have the right to do things like take pictures and ask to interview nearby witnesses, so don’t let anyone intimidate you into not collecting evidence.

Seek Medical Care

While all the details of talking to the police and exchanging insurance information are important, don’t let it prevent you from getting medical help. All parties in a car accident have the right to seek assistance for any injuries they face. For serious injuries, the paramedics will need to be called, and for milder injuries, you might need to make an immediate visit to the emergency room or urgent care. Even if you do not have any visible injuries, it’s wise to get a check-up from a doctor.

In some cases, the right to get medical care will supersede other legal requirements. For example, if you need emergency assistance, you don’t necessarily have to sit around at the accident site answering questions instead of letting the paramedics attend to your injuries.

Your Rights When Interacting With the Police

Don’t forget that you still retain a lot of rights when the police show up at the scene of the accident. While you do need to cooperate with them to a certain degree, don’t forget that they’re also investigating the incident to see if anyone behaved criminally. To avoid potential issues, you need to remember that any interaction with the police includes these rights.

Avoid Unnecessary Searches

Due to Constitutional clauses about unnecessary searches and seizures, police cannot just start rummaging through your personal belongings. Usually, the only way they can legally search your car after an accident is if they have permission or if they have reason to believe you broke the law.

For example, if you get in a wreck and smell like alcohol, they’ll probably search your car for other evidence of drunk driving. However, if they just ask to search your car without insisting, you have the right to say no. Keep in mind that this right does not apply to objects in plain sight. If the police see drugs sitting on the seat of your car after an accident, they can use this information to arrest you.

Contact Your Auto Accident Lawyer Huntsville TX

In any car accident, you have the right to an attorney. Getting in touch with an auto or motorcyle accident attorney Huntsville TX can be a great way to figure out the rest of your rights. If you’re unsure of how to handle the situation or what to do, your lawyer can advise you on the appropriate steps to take. Of course, police and other emergency responders can continue to investigate and handle the accident while you wait on your attorney, but there is nothing stopping you from calling a lawyer as soon as you get into a wreck.

Refuse to Incriminate Yourself

The standard “right to remain silent” that you’ve probably heard about technically does not apply until you are in police custody. However, even before that, you do not have to answer questions that would incriminate yourself.

While you’re required to provide law enforcement with basic information like your name, you don’t have to say anything that would equate to admitting fault in an accident. This includes statements like saying you’ve had a few drinks or mentions that you ran a red light. When in doubt, it’s best to remain as silent as possible until you can consult with an auto accident attorney Huntsville TX.

Your Legal Rights After the Accident

If your car accident led to physical, mental, or financial damages, understanding your rights becomes even more important. You can use the legal system to assert your rights and seek fair compensation. Here are the main ways that you can protect your rights following a car accident.

Seek Legal Compensation

The most important legal right you have after an accident is the right to seek compensation. If an accident caused you any sort of harm, you have the right to take the other party to court and request that they pay you damages. This right applies to all sorts of injuries. In addition to suing for physical injury, you can ask for compensation for damaged vehicles, lost wages, disfigurement, mental suffering, and more. You can even work with a wrongful death lawyer Huntsville TX to seek compensation if a loved one died in an accident.

Keep in mind that this right is governed by the statute of limitations though. Since the other party in the accident has the right to a trial that isn’t harmed by outdated and forgotten memories, you have to file your case within two years of the incident. However, there can be some extenuating circumstances that extend the statute of limitations. For example, if a minor’s parent died in a car crash, the underaged child would have until the age of 20 for their wrongful death attorney Huntsville TX to file a suit. Even if it’s been more than two years since an accident, you might want to check with a lawyer and see if your right to sue is still available.

File Legal Actions Against Insurance Companies

Not all legal cases after car accidents are between you and another driver of a vehicle. Many Huntsville residents find that they need to take legal action against their insurance company too. If your insurance company denies your claim, you aren’t forced to abide by their decision.

You always have the legal right to appeal their decision in court. Since your insurance policy is a legal contract, you can ask the court to help you uphold your policy and force the insurance company to pay. These types of cases usually involve your car accident attorney Huntsville TX submitting proof that you followed all guidelines laid out in your policy and deserve to have your claim fulfilled.

Collect Information for Your Case

In any car accident lawsuit, one of the most important steps is gathering information. Things like witness statements, video footage, and vehicle examinations make a big difference to the outcome of your case. However, since the other side is your opponent, asking them for these details can be tricky. Even if they are difficult about providing evidence, the reality is that both sides have a legal right to view all potential evidence for their case.

If they will not submit the evidence freely, your car accident lawyer Huntsville TX can file a formal discovery motion. This legal document requires the other party to turn over the information unless they can explain a valid reason for keeping the information private. Discovery motions are ultimately a very helpful way of getting the evidence you need to plead your case in court.

Choose Between Settling and Arguing in Court

If you are able to file a lawsuit after your car accident, you have the right to decide when you want the case to end. Most people picture lawsuits as court cases where your car or motorcyle accident lawyer Huntsville TX argues on your behalf in front of a jury. However, the reality is that the majority of personal injury cases end up being settled out of court. Before you go to court, you’ll have a negotiation period where both sides can present potential settlements to each other.

Though your car accident lawyer Huntsville TX will advise you, the decision is ultimately left up to you. If you are tired of dealing with legal matters and just want funds as quickly as possible, you have the right to settle. However, if you aren’t happy with their suggested settlement, you’re entitled to have your day in court and get a judge to decide the case for you.

Request Compensation Even If You Were Partially at Fault

In the state of Texas, you still have a right to ask for compensation even if your actions contributed to the accident. Texas courts use a type of decision-making called comparative negligence. This means that in any personal injury case, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party. As long as you do not bear more than 51% of the fault for the accident, you can still get damages. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault you bear.

This concept is important to know about because it means you always have the option of filing a lawsuit even if you weren’t driving perfectly. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they won’t get any compensation just because they were speeding or braking abruptly. However, the reality is that you still have the potential to get some financial compensation.

Ultimately, car accidents result in a lot of different situations where you’ll need to know your rights. If you have any questions about how car accidents work, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer Huntsville TX. With the right legal counsel, you can assert your rights and increase your chances of getting a positive resolution.