One of the way I decide what to blog about is to think about some of the questions I hear from prospective clients over and over. One situation that I’m often asked about is the single car crash. People want to know if they can still make a personal injury claim if they are injured in a single car collision. The answer to that question may surprise you.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that up to one third of all accidents are single car events. Of course, these crashes can be just as serious as those involving more than one car, and many of these single car accidents result in serious injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. I can’t tell you the number of people that I’ve spoken to that just assumed that because there wasn’t another car involved that they couldn’t make a claim. There are many situations in which a personal injury claim can be made in a single car crash.
In Texas, if you are a passenger in a single car collision, you have an absolute right to make a personal injury claim against the insurance policy of the driver, even if they are a member of your own family. One of the most common situations I see involve mom or dad driving the rest of the family around when they are involved in a single car accident. Heartbreaking for those involved, to be sure, but often made worse by the need to pay for expensive medical bills. Legally, in Texas, a spouse or child has the right to make a personal injury claim against the family’s insurance policy when a family member is driving and causes an accident. I do most of the driving for my family, but I’m still human – I occasionally make mistakes, or let my attention be distracted. If God forbid, one of my family members were injured because I caused a single car accident, we would absolutely open a claim for them on our family’s auto policy. Such situations need not involve anger or emotion. The claim does not take money out of dad’s pocket, the claim is merely a means to allow the insurance policy to do what it was designed to do – pay the personal injury claims of those who are injured.
Often times the situations involve those who are a passenger in a car being driven by a friend or co-worker. Again, this is not a question of making a personal attack on the driver – making a personal injury claim in these situations is merely a means by which the insurance policy pays the claims that it was intended to cover. There is no reason you can’t remain friends with the driver or continue to car pool with the co-worker. Accidents happen, attention gets distracted. It really doesn’t need to be anything personal. Many passengers in these single car accidents do not realize that they have the right to make a claim and be compensated for their injuries. Many times they do and should, as it may be the only way to pay for the treatment of their injuries or be compensated for lost wages. Additionally, if you are a passenger injured in a single car collision, you may have additional coverage under your own auto policy, such as Personal Injury Protection, or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists, that provide additional benefits as well.
There are a lot of factors that go into the analysis of a personal injury claim, and there are plenty of tricks, traps, and hurdles to overcome when dealing with insurance companies. Frankly, the best way to determine if you have the right to make a personal injury claim and what that claim may be worth is to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer will tell you what the insurance companies won’t, and he or she will be able to guide and help you into getting the best recovery for your injuries no matter how many or how few cars were involved in the collision.
Stewart J. Guss is a Houston Personal Injury Attorney with 20 years experience helping people recover in single car crashes, two car crashes, and multiple car pile ups. Representing clients in Spring, Cypress, Tomball, Katy, The Woodlands and throughout Houston and Texas, he has the training, experience, and knowledge to help you take on the insurance companies. Call Stewart today at 800-898-4877 for a completely free consultation. There is no charge for him to evaluate your case, and there is no fee unless he wins.