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Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Involved in a car accident? Call a lawyer.

There’s no sugarcoating it: Texas is growing and that means exponentially more drivers are on the road. If you have to get behind the wheel every day, then you know how true this is.

Knowing what to do after you’ve been in a serious crash and trying to figure out how much you can get when you file a claim can be extremely overwhelming.  This is where an experienced car accident attorney can help you.

Jim Adler & Associates has over 40 years of experience helping people get the money they deserve and getting their lives back on track.

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Why Should I Hire A Car Accident Attorney?

Although it is perfectly fine to file a personal injury claim against an insurance company yourself, this route is not ideal for everyone.

Car accidents can result in severe injuries and expensive medical bills, so you may want to hire an attorney that will be able to help you fight the insurance companies on your behalf. A qualified attorney will have knowledge of the laws surrounding your case and will be there to help you through everything. They will represent you throughout the life cycle of your case and will act only in your best interest.

However, there are many people that are uncomfortable with hiring a lawyer. They are often misled to believe that it will complicate things or is not affordable. This lack of understanding usually causes more problems for you in the long run.

Here’s the thing: many people don’t realize how complicated car accident claims can be.

Insurance companies say that they have your best interest at heart, but in reality, their job is to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. In addition to this, the more severe the accident was, the higher the likelihood you’re going to need a lawyer.

Most drivers don’t realize the importance of needing legal protection in serious car accidents. You can never trust the other party to do right by you.

There are many people out there that prefer to handle matters completely on their own. But it isn’t always the best option. We have encountered situations in which those that were injured in car accidents were taken advantage of by the insurance companies. With the right attorney by your side, you can claim what is rightfully yours without the added stress of dealing with the insurance companies on your own.

9 Reasons Why You Might Need an Attorney:

  1. Multiple parties were involved in the car wreck,
  2. One or more people were killed by the accident,
  3. One or more people were injured by the accident,
  4. The police report doesn’t match with the actual incident,
  5. One or more parties involved did not have car insurance or health insurance,
  6. There was a hit and run situation,
  7. The other parties did not share their contact information with you,
  8. You cannot afford the medical bills,
  9. You cannot afford to repair or replace the vehicle.
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What Are Some Ways an Attorney Can Help Me?

If you were involved in a serious car accident, a qualified attorney can help you lower your medical bills. Keep in mind, an average emergency room visit can cost upwards of $20,000 and hospital stays and surgeries can even cost up to three times more. Even physical therapy is expensive!

You do not want to be handling these financial burdens on your own.

Once you hire an attorney, they will fight for you so that you can take care of yourself. This gives you an opportunity to recover without the added stress of the legal process.

So many people accept lowball settlements that rob them of money, proper medical care, vehicle repairs, getting another car, their jobs and even their peace of mind. Never let this happen to you.

  • Your attorney 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 the at-fault party’s insurance company for negotiation.

7 Steps To Take After A Car Accident

  • Step 1. Ensure that you’re okay and anyone else in the vehicle with you are safe. Also, if possible, check on the other parties involved in the wreck to see if they’re okay. Then, if you’re able to, move as far away from oncoming traffic as quickly as you can. The accident site itself may increase the odds of another accident. Keep yourself safe at all times.
  • Step 2. Call 911 and request that a police officer come to the scene of the accident.
  • Step 3. Even if there isn’t a direct emergency after the accident, you should still call the local police department to report the accident.
  • Step 4. Take pictures of the damages to all vehicles involved.
  • Step 5. Obtain the insurance information and driver license from all parties involved in the accident.
  • Step 6. Get the police officer’s information and police report number.
  • Step 7. Seek immediate medical attention to address and document your injuries.

Remember that it’s absolutely critical that you 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 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 an experienced attorney will benefit you tremendously. It’s an attorney’s 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.

When is the best time to hire an attorney?

The best time to consult with an attorney is immediately after your car accident. Although the details of your accident are important, and not every case may require legal assistance, an attorney can help you:

  • Gather evidence that shows who was at fault for the accident, including working with accident reconstruction specialists and other experts
  • Identify every possible liable party
  • Handle communications and negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company
  • Keep track of your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses
  • Estimate future medical costs and accident-related losses
  • Communicate with your medical care team to obtain complete records that document your losses in detail
  • Recovering your lost wages
  • Represent you at depositions, hearings, and in court if necessary
  • Deal with lien holders and debt collectors on your behalf
  • Reducing your medical bills

What is your time worth to you? You might be surprised at how long it takes to deal with the various aspects of a car accident claim—even a seemingly straightforward claim involving minor injuries and minimal property damage. If your injuries are severe, your time is best spent focusing on making a full recovery, as fast as possible. Not only that, but any misstep along the way could reduce your chances of recovering maximum compensation. Insurance companies are adept at wearing people down by dragging out the claims process.

Keep in mind: insurance companies are some of the largest and most profitable companies on earth. And their adjusters are trained to delay, underpay, and even deny claims.

It’s worth talking to an attorney about your situation. After all, our law firm will not charge you anything to review your case. Our Houston car accident lawyers can get to work right away by protecting your rights and maximizing your recovery.

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Should I hire an attorney for a minor accident?

While a car accident may not appear to be serious at first, appearances can be deceiving, especially when it comes to certain types of bodily injuries and even trauma to the brain. And just because you feel fine after an accident, that doesn’t mean you’re not injured. Later, you may start to notice symptoms of a potential injury. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to consult with an attorney after a car accident.

Not consulting with a lawyer could be a bigger mistake on your part and that can play into the hands of the insurance companies.

Even if you had a low-speed accident, there is a significant body of research showing that even low-speed accidents can cause chronic injuries, including whiplash and concussions.

For example, a 2021 scientific article published by the National Institutes of Health found that the use of the “biomechanical approach” (the defense tactic used by insurance companies) vastly underestimates the actual risk of real-world, low-speed impacts.

Emerging evidence also shows that there’s no such thing as a “mild” concussion. Some people develop headaches, fatigue, brain fog, memory problems, and other symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. These symptoms can last for months or even years. Similar symptoms, which can also be long-term, may result from whiplash. Both whiplash and concussions can happen in relatively low-speed collisions.

The problem with assuming your injuries are “minor” is that the insurance company might pressure you to settle your claim right away so that they don’t have to cover you. But don’t fall for this. For help in dealing with the insurance company and seeking advice on medical treatment, contact us.

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If I'm at fault, can I still sue?

First off, you should NEVER admit fault in a crash. Even if you are certain that you caused the accident, there is no benefit—and potentially, a lot of harm—to admitting this to a police offer at the accident scene, the other driver, or the insurance company—including your own insurance company.

In fact, it’s best that you say as little as possible to any of these parties until you’re able to speak with an attorney. You may have to exchange insurance information and provide law enforcement with a statement. But when you do, stick to the facts. Even a simple statement like, “I didn’t see the other driver” could be taken as an admission of guilt. If you aren’t sure of what to do or say, know that it is within your right to speak to an attorney at any point.

Your insurer will work with the other driver’s insurer to determine fault, based on the available facts. Again, your statements on who caused the accident could come back to hurt you. You may be convinced you’re at fault, but additional details could come to light that show the other driver was at fault, either in whole or in part. You certainly should not make a statement to the insurance company—yours or somebody else’s—right away. Allow some time to pass so you are not making a statement when emotions are running high and you haven’t had time to process what happened.

You may have to report the accident to your insurance company within a certain amount of time. Don’t rush. Let the claim play out. With the passage of time, information may emerge that helps your case. For example, maybe you were speeding, but maybe the other driver was texting and driving. You were at fault—but they were, too.

In Texas, you can recover compensation for a car accident as long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible. What that means is, if you are 50% or less at fault, you can still recover money to pay for losses like medical bills and/or property damage.

You may ultimately be at fault for the accident but still have significant injuries. In this scenario, you’ll be going through your insurance company for payment. Just because a company is your insurer doesn’t mean they have your best interests in mind. Remember: no matter what they promise about being “on your side,” “like a good neighbor,” or “in good hands,” the insurance company—whether yours or somebody else’s—is not your friend. Before talking to the insurance company, you should first talk to one of our experienced attorneys.

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What are the most common types of car accidents?

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.
  • Rollover Accidents
    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.
  • Bus Accidents
    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.
  • Motorcycle Crashes
    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
    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.
  • ATV Accidents
    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.
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What are the most common causes for car accidents?

There are a lot of people that live and travel through Texas every day. This means that car accidents are going to happen. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Distracted Drivers
    Distracted drivers are everywhere. They can be distracted by children in the backseat, by something on the radio, or even by a conversation with a passenger. Regardless of the distraction, it only takes a second to look away from the road and finding yourself in an unfortunate event.
  • Texting
    Despite the laws surrounding texting and driving in Texas, texting has become a major problem for 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
    Speeding is another major contribution to 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.
  • Drinking
    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 car accidents. NEVER get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Period.
  • Drug Influence
    With similar effects to drinking and driving, street drugs AND prescription drugs have caused many devastating 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
    Wildlife is a very common cause of car accidents across Texas. 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.
  • Inclement Weather
    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.
  • Tire Blowouts
    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.
  • Road Work
    It happens far too often: 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.
  • Dangerous Intersections
    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.
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What types of injuries can happen in a car wreck?

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,
  • Broken bones,
  • Fractured bones,
  • Spinal injuries of the neck and back,
  • Brain or head injuries such as concussions, internal bleeding, skull fractures and more,
  • Burn injuries from mild cases to severe cases.

If you sustained any of these types of injuries in your accident, there’s no doubt that huge medical bills may come along with it. Consult with an experienced attorney that can help you.

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Things To Keep in Mind After an Accident

Even if it's been days or weeks after your accident, you should ask yourself the following questions:
  • Did you seek medical care?
    If you or a loved one had to seek medical care for your car accident injuries, then we recommend speaking with us as soon as possible. If you were not at fault for the accident and do not have the money to pay for medical care, we can help.
  • 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. Purchasing another vehicle is expensive. 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.
  • 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 document everything from the vehicles involved, the location, the scenario that caused the accident and the parties involved. If someone broke the law with something such as driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs, the police report will show that too. If any traffic violations caused the accident, they will also document that. All of these details will help you on your insurance claim.
  • Were there any insurance or medical costs due to the car accident?
    Remember that you’re seeking compensation for medical costs you did not cause. If you had to endure financial losses due to health insurance co-pays or medical bills, you’ll want to show proof of these amounts to support your claim. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you and lose out on what is rightfully yours.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

Most firms work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything unless we recover money for you. We cover all the upfront costs of handling a car accident claim. Then, if we obtain a recovery on your behalf, in the form of a settlement or a verdict, you pay us a percentage of the amount we recover. If we don’t recover money for you, you owe us nothing.

An attorney contingency fee is simply a fee that’s charged for attorney services only if the lawsuit was a success and worked out in your favor.  In addition, the attorney fees are usually paid out from the client’s settlement award so nothing actually ends up coming out of your own pocket.

Most lawyers charge 35 percent of the initial settlement if the case is resolved without the need of a lawsuit.  However, if a lawsuit is necessary, then the attorney fee can increase to 40 percent.  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.

Contingency fee example: if a law firm negotiated a $20,000 settlement on your behalf, $7,000 would be paid in attorney fees.  You will then receive the remaining $13,000.  From that $13,000, your medical bills and any other outstanding debts will then need to be paid and the remaining amount goes back into your pocket.  You can then use the remaining amount to cover any lost wages or otherwise recover from the accident.  Obviously, if no settlement is reached, then there would be no cost to you.

Settlements are almost always paid out by the insurance companies.  They are also almost always paid out in one large lump sum as they do not usually like to divide the amount into smaller payments.

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What is the average settlement for a car accident case?

There are several factors that play into the settlement payment and the amount you can get will depend on the details of your case.  This is why it’s really important to document everything and hold on to the proof revolving around your car accident. Some factors that will determine the payment amount of your settlement are:

  • The cost of medical care due to any injuries,
  • The cost of future medical care due to your car accident,
  • Disabilities or impairments that resulted from the car accident,
  • Job loss or missed work due to your accident,
  • Any suffering that you experienced due to your car wreck.

How much time do I have to file a car accident 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 an attorney to start the legal process sounds stressful. But keep in mind, time is of the essence.

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 additional stress. An attorney’s goal is to relieve you of the stress of a legal claim and handle the process entirely ourselves.

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I’ve had two cases with Jim Adler and both have been successful. They take their job serious and help you until the case is over. I definitely recommend Jim Adler and Associates for any type of car accidents.

– Laura B.
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