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McKinney Car Accident Lawyer

Most American states have limited public transportation systems, making driving the primary mode of getting around in the country. 

According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average American spends over 17,600 minutes, or approximately 293 hours in the car. That’s hundreds of hours on the road with others, raising the chances of a crash.

Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. understands that even though car accidents are relatively common occurrences, they are still jarring, traumatic, and often very expensive. With years of education and experience in the legal system, your McKinney car accident lawyer is ready to offer their vast resources to help you out of a difficult situation.

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McKinney Car Accident Lawyer

What to Do After a Car Accident in Texas

Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or a five-car pileup on the highway, there are certain steps that you need to take following your McKinney car accident.

Get Medical Attention for Your Car Accident Injuries

Firstly, no matter how you are feeling, it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible following your accident. This is not only for your health and well-being but for documentation to help your case later on down the line.

Seeking medical assistance promptly following your accident, and getting the extent of your injuries documented in an official setting, leaves no room for the other party’s lawyer to argue that you sustained your injuries elsewhere.

If you have been in an accident and you don’t feel injured, don’t just go home. It may be tempting to simply go home after a traumatic incident, or attempt to get straight back to work, but you will only be harming your case and potentially your health.

Following a traumatic experience, the body goes into shock and produces adrenaline. Adrenaline is a neurotransmitter and a hormone that plays a major role in your body’s fight-or-flight response. Adrenaline speeds you up, keeping you alert and ready to deal with the aftermath of whatever predicament you’ve found yourself in, until you can get to safety.

Adrenaline also functions as a painkiller. Unfortunately, in situations like car accidents, this can actually be a detriment, because the adrenaline in your system can trick you into thinking you aren’t injured when you actually are. That is why it is vital to get examined by a medical professional as soon as possible so that you have on record the direct results of your accident.

After your visit, make sure to keep any paperwork and documentation in a folder that is neat and accessible so that you can go over the information with your attorney. It is also wise to compile any receipts from the pharmacy related to your accident.

Photo Evidence of the Car Crash

Once you are certain that you are not in medical jeopardy, start taking photos. Document everything. You never know what might end up being useful to your case. Be as thorough as you possibly can.

The sooner you take photos, the better. If you are in a physically capable state to take photos at the scene of the accident while you are waiting for the authorities or the emergency medical services to arrive, do so. Take photos of the other vehicle and the scene from as many angles as you can. Only do so if you are physically able and don’t push yourself if you are hurt.

Getting visual evidence of what the scene looked like immediately following the incident can help support your telling of events.

Once you get home, take photos of your vehicle from every angle you can think of. This way, if you need to get your vehicle repaired before the case is concluded, you have evidence of the damage caused by the accident. It is also wise to take photos of any injuries you’ve sustained on the day that you sustained them.

Filing an Accident Report with the McKinney Police

Legally, you are only required to report a Texas car accident to the police if there is an injury, a death, or property damage over $1,000. If the police arrive on the scene, drivers are not obligated to file a report, as the police will take care of it themselves.

Even if you aren’t legally obligated to report your accident, it is wise to do so. This will help illustrate your responsible nature and credibility. It can also help by including additional details that can affect how insurance adjusters respond to your demand letter. 

Keep in mind that your insurance company will always try to give you the least amount of money they can give you so that you will, essentially, leave them alone. If they offer a settlement too quickly, it is likely a lowball. With the help of an attorney, additional information, and official documentation, you are more likely to get the appropriate value for your claim.

Negligence in a McKinney Car Accident Claim

Over 50,000 car accidents occur every year in Texas. Following the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Texas crash statistics have changed significantly. Despite there being fewer vehicles on the road altogether, car crashes and resulting fatalities have increased.

Car accidents can occur due to a variety of factors. Many are related to human error. Sometimes things outside of people’s control, such as inclement weather like hurricanes, floods, and excessive heat, can come into play.

All too frequently, though, accidents are caused by human error and negligence.

Negligence refers to a person’s failure to behave prudently, with the level of care and responsibility that the given situation warrants. It involves four specific elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages.

Duty of care is the idea that every person must behave with a certain level of caution, responsibility, and respect in a given situation. Causation comes into play when the breach of a duty of care causes harm to someone else. 

Causation can be direct or proximate. In the example we have been using, the driver is the direct cause of the harm. However, let’s say that instead of colliding with a vehicle at the intersection, the speeding car just blows through. 

While the speeding car did not cause a collision, it did cause an inexperienced young driver approaching the intersection to panic and swerve into a tree. While the speeding car did not hit the young driver, the young driver would not have swerved if it weren’t for the speeding car.

Negligence comes in multiple forms: gross negligence, comparative negligence, and vicarious liability. Because these different forms of negligence have different impacts on your case, it is important to consult an attorney and fill them in on all the details of your situation so they can help you determine the best way forward.

Common Causes of McKinney Car Accidents 

Distracted drivers are more common than ever, now that most people have a pocket-sized computer on their person at all times. While navigation apps are useful, electronic devices, especially cell phones, are often the culprit of distracted driving incidents. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can have disastrous results.

Drunk drivers are a classic example of how poor decision-making can lead to brutal, sometimes fatal consequences that can follow someone around for the rest of their life. You are considered legally intoxicated in Texas when your blood alcohol level reaches 0.08, but you are breaking the law as soon as the substances in your system affect your ability to operate a vehicle.

Speeding is another factor that significantly increases the risk of getting into a car accident. Many drivers see speeding as no big deal, but that is far from the truth. Exceeding the speed limit has contributed to many fatal accidents according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Inexperience can also contribute to accident risk. Young drivers with minimal real-world driving experience are understandably more prone to making mistakes, which can cause accidents. This can sometimes be traced back to improper or incomplete driving education, which alters the liability ratio, but every individual case is different.

Improperly maintained roads can also cause accidents. If the government has allowed a road to fall into disrepair to the point that it poses a distinct risk to drivers, the government agency responsible can be held liable in certain civilian car accident claims.

Defective vehicle parts can also cause an accident. Whether the parts are improperly installed or simply nonfunctional, the various companies involved in the car’s production could potentially be held liable. This includes the vehicle’s designers, manufacturers, distributors, and mechanics who have since been responsible for maintaining it.

Every situation is different, but regardless of the cause, car accidents are never a desirable experience.

Damages Available in Texas Car Accident Claims

A motor vehicle accident can cause all kinds of damage. You may experience physical damage in the form of injuries. But not all of your damages are obvious and clear-cut. You may need a lawyer’s help to determine what damages you’re due. 

Your damages are split between economic and non-economic damages, and punitive damages for non-compensatory damages, but what does this mean? Read on to learn more. 

Economic Damages in Accident Claims

Damages can fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. 

Economic damages are things with a clear value attached. Compensation for your medical expenses is an example of economic damages. Using receipts and analyzing data, a monetary value can be calculated.

You will likely have to deal with some degree of property damage to your vehicle, whether it is the car’s body, the inner mechanisms, or even items inside the car’s carriage that were damaged in the collision. 

Economic damages in car accident cases include:

  • Lost Income and Earning Capacity – These damages are pursued if you have been forced to take time off work due to your injuries, or are unable to return to your preferred employment due to your injuries limiting you in some way.
  • Property Damage – In car accident cases, the car is usually the property that is damaged. However, depending on the severity of the collision and the contents of your vehicle at the time, other items may be involved. For example, if you are rear-ended with your laptop in the backseat, it may be crushed and would qualify as damaged property.
  • Rental Car Expenses – If the center you are receiving medical treatment from is not accessible by public transportation, or you are not in a state to walk to and from the bus, you can seek compensation for any vehicle you may have to rent to get around.

Non-Economic Damages in Accident Claims

Depending on the severity of the crash, you could suffer long-term emotional damage, resulting in the need to pay for expensive therapy appointments.

Non-economic damages are more amorphous and more difficult to assign value to. An example of non-economic damages would be emotional trauma, or pain and suffering. These concepts are valid things that deserve acknowledgment and recompense, but they do not have a direct monetary value attached, making them more difficult to estimate.

  • Emotional trauma – Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic, especially the more severe ones. Some people suffer lifelong, debilitating panic attacks following their experience.
  • Pain and suffering – In Texas, this includes physical suffering, mental anguish, and emotional pain. Texas does not have a cap for damages in personal injury claims, meaning there is no specific amount deemed “enough” by the state.
  • Loss of consortium – Loss of consortium is the idea that your resulting injuries – be they physical, mental, emotional, or financial – can have a deep, lasting consequence on your interpersonal relationships, specifically your marriage.

If you’ve experienced any of these losses, reach out to your car accident attorney. Your lawyer can help you calculate these damages, determine what your claim is worth, and get the funds you’re due following a serious accident. 

What If I’m Partly at Fault for My McKinney Car Accident? 

When you’re hurt in a car crash, you may be due damages for the suffering you’ve experienced because of your accident. But what if you’re also found partly at fault for your McKinney car accident? 

Typically, the fault for a car accident doesn’t fall solely on another person. Car accidents often happen because a number of things went wrong leading to a crash. Unfortunately, accepting partial fault for the accident can diminish the value of your claim. 

That’s because Texas has comparative negligence laws, which means your claim can be reduced or dismissed based on the percent of fault you’re assigned. 

For example, let’s say you were staying in your lane and driving well, but you were on the phone when someone else swerve into your lane. Because of the phone call, you were paying attention. In these cases, you can expect your claim to be reduced by a percentage, like 20 percent. Let’s say your claim is worth $100,000. If it’s reduced by 20 percent, you’ll only receive $80,000. 

That’s where a lawyer can step in. Your attorney can pursue the full value of your compensation, not just a portion of them. Your McKinney car crash lawyer can find the value of your claim and seek your total compensation, not a portion. 

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

In any legal predicament you find yourself in, it’s generally wise to consult a lawyer. With years of education, experience, and an abundance of resources, attorneys can make the whole process much smoother and less stressful.

In car accident cases, an experienced attorney can help you investigate your accident. They can help you access important evidentiary documents such as police reports, and have experts at their disposal to help better understand what exactly happened. This is important to properly assign fault in the case and to ensure that you recover the full extent of your damages.

Lawyers can also help by handling your insurance company. Unfortunately, despite the fact that they only operate thanks to your money, insurance companies are not on your side. They will do anything and everything to give you the smallest amount of money to get you to leave them alone. 

With legal knowledge and years of experience, an attorney can make paperwork and insurance negotiations go much faster and more smoothly.

If you have no experience in the legal system, it can be nearly impossible to factor in all of the elements necessary to get the maximum value of your claim. Without the help of an attorney, you could be vulnerable to accepting a lowball offer and cheating yourself out of the compensation that you truly deserve for your experience.

Seek Out the Right McKinney Car Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered a car accident in McKinney that resulted in injury or property damage, there’s no need to despair. Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. has your back. With years of legal education, in-depth experience, and a fierce well of compassion, our attorneys are ready to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve!

Chris Lewis, the founder of Chris Lewis & Associates P.C., has a stellar reputation going all the way back to his college days. Going from a four-year football letterman to a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and civil litigator known for excellence and dedication, his reputation sets him apart.

Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. is motivated by compassion and professionalism to help accident victims secure the maximum compensation available to them, with the least amount of stress involved as possible.

Call today at 241-984-3113 to get in touch with one of our stellar car accident lawyers, or fill out our convenient online form to request a consultation. We’re ready to discuss your claim. 

Our Car Accident Attorneys Serve McKinney, Texas

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