There’s no sugarcoating it: Houston has the deadliest roads and drivers in the country. If you’re a Houstonian that has to get behind the wheel everyday, you know how dangerous it can be. From trucks ramming into the back of cars at breakneck speeds, pedestrians being run over, and motorcyclists being struck on their bikes, our car accident lawyers have seen it all when it comes to some of the deadliest cases in Houston.
What should I do right after a car accident?
There are several steps to take after a car accident to protect yourself and Texas has laws surrounding this. Let’s take a look at step by step instructions on what to do after a car accident.
Ensure that you’re okay and anyone in the vehicle with you are okay. Also check on anyone else involved in the wreck to see if they’re okay. Then, if you’re able, move as far away from oncoming traffic as quickly as you can. The accident site itself will increase the odds of another accident. Keep yourself safe.
Call 911 if there seems to be an emergency situation. If you still have your cell phone on you, call 911. If you don’t have a cell phone, see if anyone else has one. If you’re near other buildings where people are, ask them to call 911. Find a way to call 911.
If there isn’t a direct emergency after the accident, call the local police department to report the accident.
Once the police arrive, and they see the need for you to sign a traffic citation, you should sign it. This does not mean that you’re guilty of anything.
Always get the police officers’ names and division. This is important information that you’ll have to add to your personal file for documentation purposes.
Always get the contact information from the other drivers that were involved in the accident. We even advise you to get the contact information for the other passengers if they’re adults.
Check for any witnesses on the scene that can vouch for your support. You will also want their contact information in case you may need them for further clarification during the accident case.
If you have a camera or cell phone, remember to take photos of any damage to all the vehicles that are involved in the car accident. You’ll also want to capture photos of the area so that the weather conditions and road conditions are clearly visible. Traffic signs are another important thing to capture in your photos.
Request a copy of the police car accident report. Sometimes it will be available on the scene. If not, you can get a copy of the report from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Once you get a copy of the police accident report, learn how to read it so that you may know what type of information it has. It’s really important to be schooled on your situation and how it has been recorded.
If you have any injuries, immediately seek medical attention from the nearest hospital or physician. Even if you think that you don’t have any injuries, it’s still very wise to get checked out by a doctor.
Get a medical record from your physician on your injuries.
You need to contact your insurance company to report the car accident. The insurance company may ask for a recorded statement about the accident. However, you’re not required to provide this immediately and can consult with your attorney before complying with the request.
Keep in mind that it’s absolutely crucial to stick to the facts and be truthful when sharing your account of the accident. However, always be very cautious when sharing your story with the insurance companies. They are trained to search for loopholes in your story so that they may find any viable reason to deny your claim. The last thing you need to do is say something to them that will compromise your legal rights.
This is where a qualified car accident lawyer will benefit you tremendously. It’s our job to ensure that your legal rights are protected and secured. Never let anyone pressure you into saying something or signing something before speaking to your car accident attorney. You have the right to temporarily withhold that information.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
If you’ve suffered due to a car accident, it is completely normal to take care of your health first. For many people, hiring a car accident lawyer to start the legal process sounds stressful. But keep in mind, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to file.
Every state’s statute of limitations surrounding car accident cases is different. So, what does “statute of limitations” mean? It means that there is a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. In the cases of personal injury and claims surrounding property damage, you have two years to file a petition with the courts in Texas (there are some exceptions to this). Two years is not an unlimited amount of time so don’t procrastinate. The sooner you take action, the better.
Keep in mind that contacting a lawyer should NOT add stress. An attorney’s goal is to relieve the stress of your legal claim and handle the process entirely ourselves.
Why should I hire a Houston car accident lawyer?
Not every car accident case needs a lawyer. Although it is perfectly fine to file a personal injury claim against an insurance company by yourself, this route may only be suitable if you’ve suffered minor injuries in your car accident.
But for catastrophic and serious car accidents that result in severe injuries and expensive medical bills, you should hire a qualified car accident lawyer that will be able to help you fight the insurance companies. Your car accident lawyer will have knowledge of the applicable laws surrounding your case and will be there to help you with all of the legal filings. They will represent you throughout the life cycle of your case and will act on your behalf.
There are many people that are uncomfortable with hiring a lawyer for matters like car wrecks and injuries. They often believe that it further complicates the problem or is completely unaffordable. This lack of understanding usually causes more problems in the long run.
Here’s the thing: many people don’t realize how complicated car accident claims can be. Insurance companies proclaim to have your best interest at heart, but in reality, their job is to do the least amount for you as possible. In addition to this, the more severe the accident was, the higher the likelihood you’re going to get taken advantage of.
People don’t realize the importance of protection needed in cases that involve serious car accidents. You can never trust the other party to do right by you. For example, if a car pulled out in front of you, hit you and then a passenger in that car passed away as a result, you cannot trust that they won’t accuse you of the difficult situation. Protection means everything and a car accident lawyer is a necessity.
We aren’t saying that you don’t have the right to deal with your own claim. There are many people out there that prefer to handle their matters completely on their own. But it isn’t always wise. We have encountered countless situations in which those that were injured in car accidents were short-changed by insurance companies. Don’t let that person be you! With the right attorney, you can claim what is rightfully yours and without the added stress of dealing with the insurance companies.
Let’s take a look at some specific reasons to hire a Houston car accident lawyer:
Multiple parties were involved in the car wreck
One or more people were killed by the accident
One of more people were injured by the accident
The police report doesn’t match with the actual incident
One or more parties involved did not have car insurance or health insurance
There was a hit and run situation
The other parties did not share their contact information with you
You cannot afford the medical bills
You cannot afford to repair or replace the vehicle
How can a Houston car accident attorney help me?
A qualified lawyer can help you fight the insurance companies. If you try to do it on your own, it will usually spell disaster. Insurance companies earn their money by ensuring that you receive as little as possible from the car accident. If you sustained serious injuries from the accident, you absolutely cannot rely on the insurance company to honor you. It’s crucial for you to reach out to a car accident lawyer so that you may have the proper guidance in dealing with the insurance company and all other parties involved.
A car accident lawyer can also help you lower your medical bills. An average emergency room visit can cost in upwards of $20,000 and hospital stays and surgeries can cost several thousand dollars. Even physical therapy can be expensive!
Here are some ways in which a qualified Houston car accident lawyer can help you:
Your lawyer will listen to all of your concerns,
They will determine the liable parties for your pain and suffering,
A lawyer will work on your legal claim and file it on your behalf,
They will gather all necessary evidence to prove your injuries and/or damages,
And they will present this to your insurance company for negotiation.
And of course, once you hand this burden over to us, we will fight for your care so that you can take care of yourself. This gives you the much needed opportunity to heal from your injuries and endure any medical treatments without the added stress of the legalities. You will KNOW that you’re protected. Too many times have we watched people accept settlements that were robbing them of money, medical care, vehicle repairs, vehicle replacements, jobs and peace of mind. This does not have to be the case for you! We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to fight for what’s rightfully yours.
Important questions to ask after a car accident in Houston
After a car accident, there’s often a lot of confusion as to what you should do. We stated earlier what to do immediately after the accident. What about in the days afterward? If you’re struggling with what you should do in terms of dealing with only the insurance company or hiring a car accident attorney, ask yourself these important questions.
1. Were there any injuries? Were there any fatalities?
If you or a loved one had to seek medical care for the car accident injuries, then you need to talk to us as soon as possible. We will help you to determine the cost of all medical expenses and treatment. Be sure to keep all transaction receipts and bills of medical services.
2. Was your vehicle or anyone else’s vehicle damaged?
When car accidents happen, depending on the severity of the crash, it’ll cause some serious damage to your car. Some vehicles become completely totaled from the car crash. Others obtain minor damage, but are damaging to the pocketbook. It’s important that you have a vehicle to transport yourself and your family to school, work, church, and other daily tasks and routines. Thus, if a car accident damages your vehicle or completely totals it, you need to quickly discern the best course of action to repair or replace the vehicle. This is usually not easy for the average person to do unexpectedly. Vehicles cost money. Vehicle repairs cost money. Let us help you receive the full amount owed to you so that you can afford to replace what you’ve lost from the car accident.
3. Were the police called and involved after the car accident?
If the police were called to the scene of your car accident, this can help you tremendously in proving who should be held liable for your insurance claim. The police officers will have documented everything from the vehicles involved, the location, the scenario that caused the accident and all people involved. If someone broke the law with something such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs, they will have a report on that. If any traffic violations caused the accident, they will also have documentation of that as well. All of these details will help you on your insurance claim.
4. Were there any insurance or medical costs due to the car accident?
Remember that you’re searching for compensation on your situation. If you had to endure any type of financial loss due to insurance or medical bills, you’ll want to show these as proof for your claim as well.
If you were able to answer “yes” to these questions, give us a call. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you and lose out on what is rightfully yours!
Client Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The insurance company was being extremely difficult and vague with me when I tried to file the car accident claim, downplaying the damage to my vehicle and the injuries to me. I told them to talk to my lawyer! I called Jim Adler and they gave me more insight and help than I thought was possible. They did a great job!
– Michael Warden
Common causes of car accidents in Houston
There are a lot of people that live and travel through Texas every day. This means that vehicle accidents are going to happen. However, there are many causes of these unfortunate events. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of car accidents in the great state of Texas.
Distracted drivers area a dime a dozen in Houston. They can be distracted by the children in the backseat that are arguing. They can be distracted by adjusting the temperature dial in the dash. They can be distracted by a conversation with a passenger. Regardless of the distraction, it only takes one second to look away from the road and then find yourself in an unfortunate event.
Despite the laws surrounding texting and driving in Houston (and Texas), texting has become a major problem for Houston drivers. People think that they can safely text and drive at the same time. What they don’t realize is that texting pulls their attention away from the road for a long time. In many cases, drivers are looking at the phone for a solid 20 seconds instead of the busy roadway in front of them.
Speeding is another major contribution to Houston car accidents. There are speed limit signs for a reason – your own protection. When you’re speeding, you’re increasing the risk of losing control of your vehicle as well as reducing your response time to sudden objects in your way.
Sadly, there are far too many people that consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. This has been a major cause of many devastating Houston car accidents. Never, ever get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Period.
With similar effects to drinking and driving, street drugs AND prescription drugs have caused many devastating Houston car wrecks as well. Anything you consume that compromises your physical and mental ability to independently operate a vehicle will cause immeasurable damage to your life and the life of others.
Wildlife is a very common cause of car accidents in Houston. Nighttime poses the biggest risk of wildlife related accidents as it’s harder to see when a deer will suddenly appear from the trees. Accidents also occur when wildlife animals such as opossums, armadillos, dogs, cats, foxes, birds and squirrels suddenly jump in front of your vehicle. A person’s natural instinct is to swerve from hitting the animal. And sadly, if the animal is large like a deer, the animal can force the car off the road before the driver has time to swerve. Wildlife causes many types of unfortunate accidents.
Severe weather such as thunderstorms, hail, snow, ice, and wind causes many car accidents. Such circumstances often lower the driver’s visibility or their ability to keep the vehicle on the road.
Bad tires are another common incident that leads to car accidents. If the quality of your tire is compromised by something the car ran over or if the tire is slowly eroding, a blowout can happen unexpectedly. When they do, they often jerk the driver’s steering wheel hard and unexpectedly from their hands. Always do your best to maintain proper tire care for this very reason.
Improper Vehicle Maintenance
If you’re unable to maintain the health of your car, this can often lead to unnecessary accidents. Blown head gaskets, transmission problems and more can compromise a driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle and cause an accident.
It happens far too often here in Houston: a driver leaves work and is in a rush to get home. They encounter road work on the interstate and compromise their safety driving habits. You get the point. Always slow down when you encounter road work. Not only for your safety, but for the safety of others as well.
Many serious car accidents happen at popular intersections. So many times, drivers will pull out in front of an unseen driver or they encounter confusion over who had the right of way.
Improper Signs or Lights
Sometimes, accidents are caused by improper signs or lights. Perhaps there’s a yield sign when it should be a stop sign. Regardless of the reason, these types of occurrences cause confusion and car accidents.
Potholes and Pavement Cracks
Many times, a huge pothole can be hit at just the right speed to cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. These can appear expectantly or unexpectedly.
Types of car accidents in Houston
There are several different types of car accidents. Here are some of the most common:
Single Vehicle Accidents
These only involve your car and no one else’s Depending on the scenario, they can be very minor or very serious.
Head-on Crash Accidents
These are often devastating car accidents. You often see these type of car accidents on interstate highways.
Rear-end Crash Accidents
With these, you may be sitting at a stop light and minding your own business when a car from behind you crashes into your backside.
These types of accidents are often seen with SUV vehicles and other high ride vehicles. They usually occur when there’s too much speed and a loss of friction from the wheels to the pavement. Making a turn with a high speed often causes rollover accidents.
Fatal Crash Accidents
These are the most heartbreaking cases that we deal with. These involve a driver or passenger that didn’t survive the accident.
Hit and Run Accidents
These types of accidents involve one driver hitting another and then escaping the scene before you can communicate with them. In these cases, it’s often hard to capture a description of the vehicle or even a tag number. However, it’s very helpful in your case to have any details that you possibly can.
Uber Crash Accidents
These type of accidents involve a stranger transporting you to another location in their personal vehicle. Due to this particular circumstance, it’s definitely important to not handle these type of cases on your own.
Taxi Cab Crash Accidents
These are similar to Uber accidents. You’ll want protection from the car accident attorney as the taxi cab company may do anything it can to refuse liability.
Public transportation is not always the safest form of transportation. If you were involved in a bus accident, be sure to have as many details as you can of the scenario. Even obtain information of the driver and other fellow passengers.
These are often one of the most devastating forms of vehicular accidents. A motorcycle driver has little protection when he or she crashes into an oncoming car, truck or even a tree or power pole.
Bicycle accidents always require the help of an attorney. Far too often, these particular cases are devastating, if not fatal. Whether the bicyclist stayed in his lane or not, there’s no physical protection once hit by another vehicle.
These are widely considered fun vehicles, but they’re rarely taken as seriously as they should be. A vehicle is a vehicle whether it’s an on-road or off-road vehicle. ATV accidents can also be devastating depending on the scenario.
What are the most common car accident injuries in Houston?
With any accident can come a variety of injuries and medical problems. Some are more common than others depending on the type of vehicle accident that occurred.
Whiplash. This involves irritation to the neck muscles that’s caused by the sudden stop of the accident,
Cuts, scrapes and bruises,
Soft tissues injuries such as torn tendons, ligaments or muscles,
If you had any of these injuries in a Houston car accident, there’s no doubt that huge medical bills come along with it. Give us a call TODAY for your free consultation! There’s no reason to suffer needlessly. Let us help you!
Are there any upfront costs for hiring an attorney for my car accident?
People believe that they’re unable to afford help from a Houston car accident lawyer, so they skip out on seeking answers altogether and accept major losses from the deceptive insurance companies. This should never be the case! There are no up-front costs to hire one of our car accident attorneys. We work on a contingency fee basis. To define this, if we lose the case, you pay us nothing. And if we win the case, we are only paid a portion of the settlement. There’s absolutely nothing that comes from your own pocket. There are no up-front costs and never will you give us any of your money.
What are attorney contingency fees?
An attorney contingency fee is simply a fee that’s charged for services ONLY if the lawsuit was a success and worked out in your favor. In addition to this, the attorney fees are usually pulled from the client’s settlement so nothing comes out of your own pocket.
What percentage of your settlement does your attorney receive as payment? Most lawyers charge 33% percent of the initial settlement if the case is resolved without the need of a lawsuit. However, if a lawsuit is necessary in order to settle the case, then the attorney fee can jump to 40% of the settlement. Keep in mind, however, that most cases are settled outside of court. We will never file a lawsuit if we do not have the client’s permission to do so.
To give you an idea of what this would look like, if we negotiate a $60,000 settlement on your behalf, then you will receive $40,000 of that. From the $40,000 that you would receive, your medical care and any other debts will be paid and you can keep the remaining amount. Then you can use the remaining amount to cover any lost wages and recover from the accident. The $20,000 is paid in attorney fees. And obviously, if the settlement isn’t reached, then there would be no cost to you.
The settlement is almost always paid by the insurance company. They almost always pay our clients in one large sum as they usually don’t like to divide the amount into smaller payments.
How do Houston car accident settlements work?
There are several factors that play into the settlement payment. This is why it’s really important to document everything and hold on to the proof of everything revolving around the car accident. Listed below are many of the factors that will determine the payment amount of your settlement:
The cost of medical care due to injury
The cost of future medical care due to the car accident
Disabilities or impairments from the car accident
Job loss or missed work due to the car accident
Any suffering that you experienced due to the car accident
Can I sue an insurance company without hiring a car accident lawyer?
Yes, you could. However, it’s highly recommended NOT to do so as insurance companies are notorious for offering extremely low settlements and even denying claims.
People who have never studied the law are not prepared to fight against an insurance company. Simply researching laws in Texas won’t instantly make you a schooled person of the law. The court will expect you to know every bit as much as a lawyer would know and they will hold you accountable for your case. And the insurance companies know this is where they can take advantage of you.
Consulting with a qualified Houston car accident lawyer is typically in your best interest. Visit our dedicated page to learn more about car accident settlements.
How to deal with insurance adjusters
Many people are misled into thinking that the insurance adjusters are your best friend when they are not. It’s easy to fall for their caring and sympathetic sounding words and become convinced that they’re on your side. In fact, most insurance adjusters WANT to convince you that they’re going to do right by you and give you the best deal. Never fall for this trick. Once you file your claim, the insurance adjuster will call you and start working on getting the lowest settlement for you. That’s the thing: their job is to offer you the LOWEST settlement while convincing you that it’s the best settlement.
They may tell you that you need to give them a recorded statement before you can receive a settlement. Unless litigation is in the works, they don’t have the right to obtain a recorded statement from you. Period.
It’s also a huge mistake to give the other party’s insurance company a recorded statement. This allows for them to deeply dig into every word you’ve spoken so as to find a loophole for not giving you what’s owed to you. It just takes one misspoken word or comment that can cost you a settlement. They are trained to find anything that you say that can work against you. It’s sad how deceptive they are in offering sympathetic vocal tones and words, but it’s a reality.
With this being said, it’s best for you to only give them your most basic information. Don’t carry on with casual conversation with them. Don’t cave into their seemingly caring comments. These are all designed to be a trap. They are looking for ways to prove that you’re either responsible for the car accident or that you’ve been dishonest in the amount of your losses or that your injuries weren’t as severe as you’re trying to claim. There are many things they search for to use against you. Thus, if they ask for a recorded statement, kindly tell them “no”. If they insist on a recorded statement, kindly tell them “no”.
This is why it’s best to let our team handle the communications with the insurance adjusters! We have spent years studying and practicing the law and know how to navigate through tricky conversations with insurance adjusters. Too many times, victims of car accidents that have had no training in the law also become victims to these sneaky insurance companies. Don’t let that person be you! Give us a call today if you’ve been in a car accident and are needing advice. Please don’t hesitate!
What should I do when the insurance company offers me a settlement?
Once the claim has been filed, the insurance company will contact you with a settlement offer; this is where it’s really important to have a car accident attorney on your side.
It can be a huge temptation to accept the first settlement that the insurance company has to offer you. They know that most likely, you have a lack of understanding in the law and what’s really owed to you. When you’ve been overwhelmed with stress, grief, financial loss and more, it can be a relief to hear that they’re going to send you a check. Don’t be that person that accepts the initial settlement offer! It will be a costly mistake for you, and it’s one that you cannot turn back from.
As we have stated previously, insurance companies want to do as much as they can to lower the amount of the settlement. Their main goal is to make a profit off of you. Yes, you read that correctly. They work to make money from your pain and suffering. Unfortunately, once an insurance company deceives a person into accepting their low payout, they then lock the doors on that person from being able to seek additional funds that are rightfully owed to them. It doesn’t matter how dirty their deal was – they will NOT waiver from their decision. This is because they are in it to make a profit. So many people lose out on what’s rightfully theirs, and that’s a shame.
If anything else, this is a huge reason to allow a car accident lawyer to handle all communications with these insurance companies. A car accident attorney will look over the insurance company’s offer and advise you on whether it’s a good deal or not. And if it isn’t a good deal, the lawyer will fight for you by convincing the insurance company to deliver a better settlement. It’s important that you have a high enough settlement that will cover your losses and suffering!
Keep in mind that insurance companies KNOW that lawyers understand their profit scheme and will not stop fighting them until the offer a fair settlement. With our team having this type of advantage over them, it gives us much higher success rates in winning that best settlement on your behalf.
Many people think that there’s no need to have a car accident lawyer when dealing with a claim. It’s not as simple as it seems and there are many reasons why you shouldn’t handle a case on your own. People that are not represented by car accident lawyers are targets for being wrongly treated. However, if an insurance company knows that you have a great lawyer working on your side, then they will likely shape up really quickly! Our law team does not stop until we get what is rightfully yours!
Typical Life Cycle of a Houston Car Accident Claim
Tell us about your car accident and let us help you!
Millions of people drive through Texas every day. With that being said, vehicle accidents are inevitable and often provide major issues for everyone involved. You can never trust the other party regardless of what they promise you. Far too often have we seen innocent people get pulled through the mud needlessly! In addition to the complications of legalities, these scenarios in life provide tremendous amounts of stress, heartache, money and worries. Our team is here to offer you solutions, comfort, compassion, guidance and relief. It’s a joy for us to provide you with honest support, good character, years of experience and knowledge of the law. Do you want the best results for your loved ones? For you? Then let us help you TODAY.
As we said earlier, insurance companies will do everything they can to deny your accident claim. That’s their job-to deny your claim so that more money goes into THEIR pockets. And if they see that there’s no way to NOT pay you something, they will then fight to pay you as little as they can. Is this something that you want to deal with on your own? If you don’t know your stuff, they can really take advantage of you. You will find yourself walking away empty-handed and with a ton of debt that you cannot pay. Think about it. This is how insurance companies earn money. They take advantage of you by promising to protect you.
When you talk to your insurance company, please, do not sign ANYTHING until you have first sought counsel from us. By simply signing with the insurance company before consulting us, you run the risk of losing everything that’s owed to you. Don’t make the mistake of being pressured by their forms without proper counsel from us!
If you’re worried that consulting us will result in another expensive bill that you can’t afford, remind yourself that consulting with us is FREE. Please contact us and let us help you sort out this bump in the road. The longer you wait, the more harm it can cause you. Give us a call today and let’s take care of this situation so you can receive the healing you need and the compensation that’s rightfully yours!