Waco, TexasWaco has many beautiful parklands, a 52-acre zoo, a mammoth site, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and more. In short, there is something for everyone. Waco, however, does not escape the heavy traffic and severe traffic accidents that are common in Texas. In fact, media reports indicate that the intersection of Chapel and Old Lorena was the site of so many accidents it inspired thousands to petition for a traffic light, which is currently in the works. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury by another driver’s negligence, consult an experienced Waco car accident lawyer at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers.
The Elements of a Car Accident ClaimIf you suffered an injury in Waco, Texas due to another driver’s negligence, you’ll file your car accident claim with that driver’s car insurance provider. To file a successful claim:
- The other driver must have owed you a duty of care. This is generally an easy one because every motorist has a significant responsibility to the safety of everyone else on the road.
- The other driver must have breached the duty of care owed to you, and this is where the matter of negligence comes in.
- This breach must have been the direct cause of the accident that left you injured. In other words, it isn't enough that the other driver was speeding (for example)—their excess speed must have played a direct role in the injury-causing accident in question.
- You must have suffered physical, financial, and emotional losses.
The Duty of Care of DriversAs mentioned, every driver owes everyone else on the road a considerable duty of care, so it will be difficult for the motorist in question to deny this element of your claim. Driving is an immense responsibility, and everyone who gets behind the wheel accepts this fact—and shoulders the duty of care owed.
The Breached Duty of CareThe driver in question must have engaged in negligent actions that breached their duty of care or failed to live up to their responsibility to the safety of others. Unfortunately, such negligence can come in a wide range of forms.
Failure to Follow the Rules of the RoadThe most basic form of negligence involves simply failing to follow the rules of the road, which can include:
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
- Jumping a green light or pushing a red light
- Driving over the speed limit
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
Excessive SpeedDriving at excessive speeds is one of the most dangerous forms of driver negligence. The National Safety Council reports that excess speed played a pivotal role in a full 29 percent of all fatal traffic accidents recently. When a motorist chooses to drive far too fast:
- The driver reduces their ability to stop in time to avoid danger.
- They increase the distance needed for them to come to a safe stop.
- They increase the severity of any accident they might cause (as well as the chance that the accident will prove fatal).
- The driver's speed decreases the effectiveness of their car's safety features and the effectiveness of safety features on the roadway (such as guardrails).
DistractionWhen a driver's thoughts are anywhere other than on navigating the road ahead safely, it's known as distracted driving, and it's a dangerous but common practice. While distractions come in every shape and size, the most dangerous form of distraction is texting, which melds every category of distraction—including one's thoughts, hands, and sight—into one. Last year, 3,142 people lost their lives to fatal distracted driving accidents (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—NHTSA).
ExhaustionDrowsy driving doesn’t get the attention it deserves in terms of how dangerous it is. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drowsy driving causes about 91,000 traffic accidents yearly—leaving 50,000 people injured and another 800 dead—the numbers are considered underestimations. Falling asleep behind the wheel is exceptionally dangerous, but the issue doesn’t have to become this dramatic for drowsy driving to cause accidents.
- Exhaustion can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate on driving safely.
- Fatigue can slow a driver’s reaction times.
- Exhaustion can cloud a driver’s reasonable judgment.
ImpairmentDrinking and driving are a deadly combination, but while there isn't a driver out there who doesn't know this, far too many continue to get behind the wheel after having too many drinks. According to NHTSA:
- Over two recent years, drunk driving fatalities increased by 14 percent.
- In the United States, drunk driving kills someone every 45 minutes.
- 13,592 lost their lives in accidents caused by drunk drivers in one decade in Texas.
- The national average for self-reporting driving under the influence is 1.7 percent, but the average in Texas is 2.2 percent.
AggressionTaking out one’s aggression behind the wheel is a terrible idea that can lead to life-threatening accidents. Too many motorists allow the perceived anonymity of driving to bolster their aggressions, and it tends to come out in surprisingly dangerous ways. While excessive speeding is considered a hallmark of aggressive driving, these speed demons tend to group their unsafe driving practices with others, including:
- Tailgating (and refusing to let up)
- Zipping in and out of lanes without concern for others
- Lashing out at other drivers
- Passing by whatever means possible
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
- Ignoring traffic lights, signs, and signals
The Accident and Your Associated LossesThe next element of your car accident claim is that the driver's negligence must have caused the car accident that injured you. The last element of your claim is that you must have experienced associated losses, including:
- Property damage to your car and the contents of your car
- Medical expenses that may lead to long-term costs
- Lost wages can lead to lost earning potential
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Steps You Can Take to Help Protect Your ClaimYour car accident claim will be specific to the circumstances involved, but there are certain steps that everyone in your situation can take to help protect their claim.
Follow Your Doctor’s InstructionsThe most important step you can take in terms of both your recovery and your car accident claim is carefully following your doctor's instructions and advice. The insurance company is waiting for an opportunity to deny that your losses are as severe as you say. They may use your failure to follow your doctor's orders as evidence to signify as much. Not all severe injuries present noticeable physical symptoms immediately. Even if you don’t think you suffered a severe injury in a car accident, seek medical attention. That way, you can confirm that you are not severely injured, or, in the unfortunate circumstance that you were, you now have documentation to prove that.
Consult Our Dedicated Car Accident LawyersThe sooner you reach out to an accomplished car accident lawyer, the better prepared you’ll be to handle your claim effectively moving forward. Car accident claims are legally complex, and the insurance company is all too skilled at taking advantage of vulnerable claimants like you. Once you have professional legal counsel on your side, you’ll have put yourself in a far better position to focus on your recovery while your lawyer engages in skilled negotiations with the insurance company on behalf of your claim’s most favorable resolution.
Leave the Insurance Company to Your Car Accident LawyerThe insurance company will gladly take a statement about the car accident from you and then twist it to diminish your claim. You do not need to make such a statement, and we strongly encourage you not to do so. Your lawyer will not only communicate with the insurance company on your behalf but will also provide them with all the information they need. Leave the insurance company to your lawyer while you focus on your recovery.
Stay off Social MediaIt may strike you as odd to think about social media at a time like this, but the fact is that social media has played a negative role in far too many car accident claims to ignore the issue. We can’t emphasize enough that the insurance company is looking for a way to discredit your claim (so it can get away with settling for less), and it will be scouring your posts on social media for this very purpose. While your comments and photos may seem innocent, the insurance company will view them through its own lens and use the information found therein against you. The best policy is to take a break from social media until your claim resolves.
Discuss Any Settlement Offers with Your LawyerIf the insurance company gets back to you with a settlement offer, it may feel like a great day. After all, the goal is to settle the matter. You’re in the challenging position of keeping up with an avalanche of medical bills while potentially experiencing decreased earnings and the emotional pull of the pain and suffering you’ve endured. This can make an early settlement offer very inviting—until you recognize that it is very likely the insurance company’s attempt to finalize your claim before the full extent of your losses is known to you. Accepting a settlement offer before you discuss the matter with your knowledgeable Waco car accident lawyer is a mistake.
Seek the Help You Need from an Experienced Waco Car Accident LawyerYour best chance for total recovery is with help. The focused Waco car accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers have the experience, legal insight, and drive to skillfully advocate for your claim’s optimal outcome. The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If a Waco car accident injured you, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here. Your case is important, so please don’t delay.
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