Like other types of car crashes, a rear-end collision can cost you a considerable sum of money in Odessa, Texas. Besides the damage to your car, you might also suffer from severe injuries or even lose a family member.
However, the law does let you take action against the liable motorist and reach a settlement with them. Discover how an Odessa rear-end collisions lawyer from Loncar Lyon Jenkins can guide you through the various processes and requirements involved in getting compensated.
How Liability Works in Rear-End Collisions
According to Texas Transportation Code § 545.062, motorists must keep their distance when following other cars. If they are too close, they would not have enough time to react accordingly if the vehicle in front suddenly swerves or brakes to a complete stop. In addition, a driver who violates this rule would likely be more liable if they rear-ended the other car.
But the rear driver is not necessarily always the negligent one in rear-end collisions. For example, the front motorist could be more liable if they were found brake-checking or driving more recklessly in general.
A rear-end accident lawyer can help find evidence of the other driver’s negligence, such as dashcam footage. The attorney also studies the local traffic laws and can check for violations, which you can use to prove the motorist’s negligence further. They can also compile your medical records to prove that the crash did cause your injuries.
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Options for Compensation in a Rear-End Accident Claim
You generally have two ways to seek reparations after your collision in Odessa: file an insurance claim or take a civil lawsuit to court. Your attorney can serve as your legal representative when facing the insurance company or court.
Filing a Liability Insurance Claim
Texas requires motorists to carry auto liability insurance or other forms of financial responsibility. The coverage will help the at-fault motorist pay for damages. Under Texas Transportation Code § 601.072, the minimum amount that drivers should have are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death liability per person
- $60,000 total liability for injuries or deaths of multiple persons in one accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability
You can bring the liability claim to the other driver’s auto insurance provider. Their claims adjuster will review the rear-end accident before offering a settlement.
Bringing a Rear-End Collision Lawsuit
If the insurance provider’s offer is unsatisfactory or the driver’s liability coverage is not enough, you could file an accident lawsuit. The civil court will preside over the case, not the claims adjuster. They will decide how much you can receive in the settlement.
When the rear-end accident case settles, the liable driver will be responsible for paying you, not their insurance company. Unfortunately, that means they may have to use personal assets to fulfill the amount ordered by the court.
Types of Damages Available for Rear-End Car Accidents in Odessa
You can typically recover economic and non-economic damages if the rear-end collision claim or suit settles successfully. Economic damages refer to your financial expenses, while non-economic damages pay for your pain and suffering.
Some damages you can get compensated for include:
- Medical treatments and medications
- Lost wages (you might be unable to work due to your injuries)
- Auto repairs or replacements
- Funeral and burial costs (if the collision killed a loved one)
- Disabilities or disfigurements
- Loss of consortium
It would be best to start compiling records of your expenses early on, such as medical bills and other receipts. Doing so would help in calculating your total damages faster and more accurately. Again, your rear-end collisions attorney can provide an estimate for you.
Comparative Fault May Reduce Recoverable Damages
Due to the comparative negligence rules in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.012, you may recover less than your estimated damages. If the court or claims adjuster finds you partially liable for the rear-end collision, your settlement will get deducted based on your shared fault percentage.
For instance, suppose that you were distracted while driving and did not notice a road hazard until the last minute. This caused the car behind to collide with yours. However, it turns out that the rear driver was also tailgating you out of road rage.
The court then decides that the rear driver is more liable and places 45 percent fault on you. As a result, you can only recover 55 percent of your total damages.
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Statute of Limitations in Rear-End Collision Cases
The statute of limitations is a time-sensitive requirement in your rear-end collision case. It is essentially your suit’s filing deadline that you should strictly follow. Otherwise, the court will automatically reject the case, barring you from recovery.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 gives you up to two years from the accident’s date to file your case. The time limit is the same regardless of whether you suffered injuries, vehicular damage, or a loved one’s death.
Tolling Exceptions Can Move Filing Deadlines
Although following the statute of limitations is a must, the statute clock can toll or stop counting under special circumstances. One instance will be if the liable motorist is currently away from Texas. In this case, the timer will not count the period when the driver is absent from the state.
A rear-end accident lawyer can track the case’s progress to see if you can still file on time. They can also check for tolling exceptions that would help extend your deadline.
Discuss Your Case With Our Rear-End Collision Attorneys in Odessa Today
If you are dealing with significant expenses after a rear-end collision caused by another driver, the law office of Loncar Lyon Jenkins is here to help. You can consult with our rear-end collisions lawyer in Odessa on proceeding with your claim or case. They can also help you understand and comply with the filing requirements.
For nearly 35 years, our attorneys have handled personal injury cases in Texas. Besides auto accidents, our practice areas include dog bites, product liability, and slip and falls. If you have any legal concerns, you can call anytime. You can also message us online for a free case assessment.