If you're looking to estimate how much your car accident claim will be worth, I'd suggest reading my helpful article - How Much Is My Case Worth? - which brakes down a case piece by piece.
If you're curious to know what kind of compensation is available after you've been in an accident, I cover that topic here.
You Must Answer This Question First...
...who's at-fault for the wreck? After an accident, determining "fault" is the first (and one of the most important) steps. The person who caused the wreck will be responsible for paying for the damages and injuries that resulted. Similarly, all dealings will be done using their insurance company.
So if the wreck was your fault, you'll need to contact your own insurance company. If the wreck was another driver's fault, you'll need to contact the other driver's insurance company.
In many cases, car accidents are partly the fault of both drivers. Texas is one of a handful of states that recognizes partial fault for an accident and is something you should keep in mind when making your insurance claim.
The rest of this article will work under the assumption that the wreck was NOT your fault and you're filing a claim against the other driver's insurance company.
(If you aren't sure who's at-fault, you should start by reading my article: How to Determine Fault After an Accident).
Naturally, after a car accident you'll need to get your car fixed. The at-fault driver's insurance company should pay for this. If you need a rental car, you can often get that covered too. I've written on the subject in more detail, and you can find that article here.
Past and Future Medical Expenses
If you were hurt in a wreck that wasn't your fault, you went to the hospital or to your family doctor and you've incurred medical bills as a result. You can claim compensation for those bills, regardless of whether or not you have health insurance (the other driver's insurance company will pay for them). Some examples of past medical bills include your ride in the ambulance, ER visits, appointments with doctors, surgeries, physical therapy, prescriptions, injections, and so on.
You can also claim compensation for future medical expenses. In some cases, victims are hurt badly enough in a wreck that they will need ongoing care for years to come. You can get money for this in a car accident claim. A doctor can help estimate what your future medical bills will cost.
There are, of course, many stipulations before the insurance company will pay you. You must prove that the injuries were a direct result of the accident, and you must prove that the accident wasn't your fault. Sometimes this is easy (the at-fault driver admits they were at-fault). Sometimes it's not (the at-fault driver says the wreck was your fault and you don't have any evidence to prove him wrong). If you need help with this part of your claim, you can always consult your personal injury attorney.
Pain, Suffering and Mental Anguish
This category is more obscure but no less important. Depending on the severity of the injuries, car accident victims can undergo an enormous amount of pain, stress and anguish. Particularly in cases where victims are scarred or disfigured as a result of the wreck or have lifelong pain from there on after, the pain and suffering they experience should not go ignored.
Unfortunately, pain and suffering is hard to claim for since you must prove that the wreck caused your anguish. To learn more about recovering money to compensate you for your pain after an accident, read this helpful article I wrote on the subject.
Disfigurement and Impairment
As mentioned above, if the car wreck caused any kind of scarring or disfigurement to your body, you can be compensated for it. The more noticeable the scar, the more money you can get for it.
Past and Future Lost Wages
The auto and medical bills you wrack up aren't the only costs associated with accidents - lost wages play a big factor, too. If you missed work because of an accident, you have a right to compensation for your lost wages. Even more so, if the wreck caused you to lose earning capacity (for instance, a back injury that forced you to quit your job as a mechanic or a brain injury that took you out of the workforce permanently), you also deserve money to cover those costs.
Even if you used sick time or vacation time after the wreck, you can still recover the money you lost on those days.
Loss of Consortium
If a wreck has caused you to lose intimacy with your spouse, the law allows you to recover for that loss.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Not everyone needs a lawyer. I often tell people that if they could afforod to pay for their damages and injuries out-of-pocket if they had to, then they can also likely manage their claim alone. However, if you're unsure, I'll point you here: How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
The Anderson Law Firm offers free consultations to those who have been hurt in a car wreck. To find out about your legal options, call us at 817-294-1900.