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 Houston car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation.
Houston Car Accident Lawyer
16 Things to Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents can be a jarring and overwhelming experience. In the immediate aftermath, victims often find themselves in a whirlwind of emotions, uncertain about the steps they should take. We understand that every second counts, and having a structured plan can make a significant difference. Our law firm has curated a comprehensive 16-step guide to ensure you’re well-prepared and informed about the actions to take following an accident. This guide aims to provide clarity during chaotic moments, safeguard your rights, and help you navigate the complexities that may arise. Remember, safety and due diligence are paramount. Let’s walk through the essential steps together.
1. Don’t Leave
If you’re in a car crash, you need to stay put at the accident scene if there’s damages, especially if there are other crash victims. Even though it might seem like a no-brainer, leaving the scene of a car accident (hit-and-run) is against Texas law and can land you in big trouble. So, stay put and wait for the police. You could also be hurt and might not know it, so let the paramedics check you out when they arrive.
2. Stay Safe
If your car is in a dangerous spot where it could cause more trouble, try to move it out of the way. Pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot if you can. Once you’ve done that, check to see if anyone else involved in the crash needs emergency medical attention. Start with your passengers, then the other driver. If there are babies or kids with you, gently make sure they’re okay. You might be the first one who can help or stop something worse from happening until the ambulance or fire truck gets there.
3. Call 911
Call 911 to report the crash. Don’t wait for the other driver to do it. They might try to talk you out of it, saying it’ll raise their insurance rates or because there isn’t much damage to the cars, but it’s important to get a police officer there to help you and everyone else out. The officer will file a Texas Crash Report with all the drivers’ info, their insurance companies, and policy numbers. The officer will also look into what caused the crash and decide who was at fault. If the officer gives anyone a ticket, it can help a lawyer get money for anyone who got hurt in the crash.
4. Swap Information
While you’re waiting for the cops, you should swap insurance info with the other people involved. Texas law says you have to do this at the scene of the accident. Don’t wait for the police to get this info because sometimes they don’t. Even if the officer does get everyone’s info, you might have to wait until the official Crash Report comes out to get it (which can take a week or more). So, if you can, snap a picture of the other driver’s license and insurance card. If you can’t get the insurance info for any reason, ask for the car registration info instead. Also, jot down the type of car, the license plate number, and anything else you notice about their car.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
If you feel any pain or discomfort after a car accident – even something small like feeling dizzy or having a headache – ask for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. After a car crash, it’s extremely important that you get medical help right away. Some serious problems like internal bleeding, broken bones, or concussions might not show up until later, but doctors can find them during an initial check-up. Also, the medical records from the crash help to show you have the right to get money by explaining how you got hurt and showing your injuries. Once you leave the hospital, keep all this paperwork because your lawyer will want to look at it. And most importantly, don’t share details about your accident to anyone unless it’s your attorney or necessary for medical attention.
6. Save All Evidence
If you can, write down notes about what happened before you forget any important details. You don’t want to neglect anything that could help your case. If you have a phone that can record voice notes, use it to make notes faster so you can look at them later. You can also use your cell phone to take video of the scene of the accident. Try to get positions of the cars, tire marks, broken glass, deployed airbags, and other relevant material. Record everything.
7. Call Your Insurance (Not Theirs)
As soon as you can, tell your car insurance company about the car accident. Make sure to let them know if you got hurt, even if you’re just a little sore. If your insurance covers car crashes, you can choose to get your car checked out and fixed right away, or you can wait until the other driver’s insurance company takes the blame. Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurer without a lawyer. Even if you think the crash was totally the other driver’s fault, insurance companies try to figure out the facts for themselves and they might try to blame you after they talk to you. Your lawyer will likely stop the insurance adjuster from talking to you and speak instead on your behalf.
8. Get the Accident Report
Make sure to get a copy of the crash report. The officer who looked into the crash will fill out a police report with all the info you need for your car accident claim. You can usually get police reports from the local police station about a week or so after the crash. You can also buy them online through the Texas Department of Transportation website.
9. Call A Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t say you caused the crash, say you’re sorry, or admit anything about the crash before you talk to an experienced car accident lawyer. Once you tell your side of the story to a personal injury lawyer, they can help you figure out if you said or did anything you shouldn’t have when you talked to the police. Picking knowledgeable, experienced attorneys can make a big difference in what happens next after your accident.
10. Keep Notes
Since car crash claims and lawsuits are all about facts and evidence, it’s important to write down the details of what happened. You can also use a voice recorder if that’s easier. Your version of what happened can help to prove your innocence and get you compensated for damages.
11. Save All Your Records
You should save all your medical care bills and records if you went to a doctor because of an accident. Things like car repair estimates or receipts are very important to keep. The goal is to get as much evidence as possible to show who caused the crash or how damages should be split. The more evidence, the better; your lawyer or insurer will never say you did too much. We work hard to negotiate with insurance companies and we know how to litigate personal injury claims in court.
12. Continue Taking Care of Yourself
After a crash, it’s crucial to look after your health. If you’re feeling bad or notice something different, don’t ignore it. Go to the doctor and get yourself checked out, just to be on the safe side. Sometimes, you might not notice an injury right away because of the shock from the crash. Even if you start to feel better, keep all doctor appointments. A record of consistent medical treatment is key to proving your car accident claim.
13. Stay Quiet
Don’t talk too much about the crash, especially on social media. Anything you say or post could be used against you later on. It’s fine to share information with your personal injury attorney, but avoid talking about your case with anyone else until everything is sorted out.
14. Don’t Rush the Process
An insurance adjuster might pressure you to settle quickly, but it’s best not to rush. Talk to your Houston car accident lawyer and make sure you understand all your options. You want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
15. Don’t Skip Appointments
If you have doctor’s appointments or meetings with your lawyer, don’t skip them. It’s important to show that you’re taking the situation seriously. Plus, missing appointments can slow down your case and make things take longer than they should.
16. Follow Up Regularly
After the accident, make sure to follow up with everyone involved – that includes the police, your insurance company, any doctors you saw, and especially your car accident lawyer. It’s good to stay in the loop and know what’s happening with your case. Don’t just sit back and wait for people to contact you. Be proactive.
What Can an Auto Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
Here are some of the ways a qualified car accident lawyer can help you after a motor vehicle crash:
- Gather evidence that shows who was at fault for the auto accident
- Identify every liable party involved in the car accident
- Handle communications with the negligent driver’s insurance company
- Keep track of your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses
- Estimate future medical bills and accident-related losses
- Communicate with your medical professional to obtain complete records
- Recover lost wages from losing your job
- Represent you at depositions, hearings, and in court
- Deal with lien holders and debt collectors on your behalf
- Lower your medical bills (physical therapy and surgeries are expensive)
When Should I Talk to A Texas Car Accident Lawyer?
The best time to consult with a Houston car accident lawyer is immediately after your car accident.
If you need medical treatment 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, time is of the essence. Also know that, when you hire our Houston car accident attorneys on a contingency fee basis, you aren’t being billed by the hour, and won’t pay a dime in legal fees unless we recover money for 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.
It’s absolutely worth talking to an experienced car accident lawyer about your situation. Our injury law firm will also review your case for free.
Should I Hire a Houston Car Accident Lawyer If I Wasn't Hurt?
While a car accident injury 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 seek medical treatment and then consult with an experienced attorney after a car accident.
Not consulting with a Houston car accident lawyer could be a bigger mistake on your part and that can play into the hands of the insurance companies. Watch the video below to learn more.
Even if you had a low-speed accident, there is a significant body of research showing that 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 accident is “minor” is that the insurance companies might pressure you to settle your claim right away so that they don’t have to cover you or even all of your property damages. But don’t fall for this. For help dealing with the insurance company and your accident, contact our car accident lawyers right away.
If I'm At Fault, Can I Still Sue?
First off, you should never admit fault for an automobile accident. Even if you are certain that it was your fault, there is no benefit to admitting this.
In fact, it’s best that you say as little as possible to any parties until you’re able to speak with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer. You may have to exchange insurance information and provide law enforcement with a statement and 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, it is your right to speak to an attorney at any point. Watch this quick video below.
Your insurer will work with the other driver’s insurer to determine fault, based on the facts. Again, your statements on who caused the car accident could come back to hurt you. You may be convinced you’re at fault, but additional details could come to light that show another driver was actually at fault, either in whole or in part. And most of all, do not make a statement to the insurance company—yours or anyone else’s.
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 at-fault driver was texting and driving. You were at fault—but they were, too.
Texas personal injury law allows you to 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 compensation 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.
Before talking to the insurance company, you should first talk to one of our experienced Houston car accident lawyers.
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.
Head-on Car Accident
These can be devastating car accidents that can result in major injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, or even death.
Rear-end Car Accident
These are the most common type of roadway accidents that most often occur in congested traffic or in the context of distracted driving.
Rollover Car Accident
These types of accidents are often seen with SUVs and other tall vehicles. They usually occur when there’s too much speed and a loss of contact with the pavement.
Fatal Car Accidents
These types of accidents can happen in almost any situation and occur due to a variety of reasons such as not wearing a seatbelt and high speed impacts.
Hit-and-Run Car Accident
Hit-and-Runs typically involve two or more parties and one (or more) drivers leaving the scene of the accident.
Uber/Lyft/Rideshare Car Accident
Rideshare drivers are typically employed as “contractors.” Insurance coverage from Uber/ Lyft may be available, but proving fault in a rideshare accident may require a personal injury attorney.
These are similar to rideshare accidents. You’ll want protection from a car accident lawyer as the taxi cab company may do anything it can to refuse liability.
Public transportation is not always the safest form of transportation. These accidents can require the assistance of a qualified car accident lawyer because they can raise complex insurance issues.
Motorcycle crashes are among the most devastating forms of vehicular accidents. For more information, see our motorcycle accidents page.
Bicycle accidents typically require the help of an attorney. Far too often, these particular cases are devastating, if not fatal.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Every year in Texas, hundreds of people are killed, and thousands are injured by drunk drivers.
Work Zone Car Accident
Increased congestion, slow-moving heavy equipment, temporary barriers, and vehicles making frequent and sudden stops make Texas work zones an accident waiting to happen.
Texting and Driving Accidents
Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors, contributing to thousands of auto accident fatalities and injuries every year.
Drugged Driving & DUI Car Accident
Drugged driving includes illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine, as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications. Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Intersection Car Accident
Intersection car accidents caused nearly 5,000 fatal crashes and 34,000 serious injury crashes in Texas over a recent six-year period.
Severe Weather Car Accident
Texas generally enjoys good weather year-round, but thunderstorms, fog, tornadoes, wind, hurricanes, hail, and even snow storms, when they do occur, increase the risk of a severe weather car accident.
Vehicle Defect Accidents
While the vast majority of car accident cases are attributed to human error, some result from mechanical defects, such as problems with tires/wheels, brakes, steering, and suspension.
Wildlife and Livestock Accidents
There are tens of thousands of animal-related crashes annually in Texas. Drivers injured by wildlife or livestock may be able to file a claim against the animal’s owner or their own insurer.
Dangerous Roadway Accidents
Degraded road surfaces, potholes, water that doesn’t drain properly, poor lane markings, and lack of signs, signals, and lighting can increase the likelihood of an auto accident and lead to a claim against a government agency, maintenance company, or other party.
Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Accidents
State law requires drivers to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance. Nonetheless, there are millions of drivers on Texas roads that fail to purchase insurance.
What Types of Injuries Can Happen in An Auto Accident?
A variety of serious injuries and medical problems can occur from vehicle crashes. Some common car accident injuries include:
- Cuts, lacerations, and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries (sprains, strains, and contusions)
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries/TBI (concussions)
- Serious Burns
- Exsanguination (severe blood loss)
Some injuries can even be considered “hidden” injuries and are more common than you may think. Watch the video below to learn more.
If you or a family member sustained any of these types of injuries in your accident, consult with one of our experienced Houston car accident lawyers right away.
What is the Difference Between a Bodily Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Claim?
A bodily injury (BI) claim is an insurance claim, while a personal injury (PI) claim is a lawsuit claim. A personal injury lawsuit may be necessary in a couple of different scenarios:
- Insurance is delaying, denying, or disputing your car accident settlement. In this scenario, you would file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
- Insurance accepts your claim and pays you the full amount allowable under the policy, but that amount is not enough to fully compensate you. For example, the insured has the minimum amount of bodily insurance liability coverage ($30,000 for one person), but your losses are worth $100,000. In this scenario, you would file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver for the remaining balance.
When you file a BI claim, you are trying to get compensation from the car insurance company by negotiating with them directly. When you file an injury lawsuit, you are relying on the court to hear the facts of your case and determine how much the insurer, or the other driver, owes you.
How Does the Car Accident Settlement Process Work?
You’ve been in an auto accident. You aren’t at fault. You’re injured and need medical treatment. You make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Here’s a best case scenario of how the insurance claim process could play out:
- The other driver’s insurer investigates the claim.
- During the investigation, an insurance adjuster contacts you to gather evidence about the accident.
- You are asked to give your side of the story about what happened. You are also asked to provide photos of the accident scene and your injuries, medical care records, proof of medical costs, and proof of lost wages.
- The insurance company determines that the their insured is at fault for the accident.
- Once you have completed all medical treatments for your injuries, insurance offers you a settlement amount based on the total cost of your losses (the amount of your medical bills and lost wages), up to the policy limit.
This may sound simple. And it is—in theory, at least. But in reality, the claims process is rarely this straightforward. A lot could go wrong, such as:
- The insurance company denies that their driver caused the accident, either in whole or in part, instead claiming that you are partially or totally at fault for the crash.
- There is a disagreement about the extent of your injuries and/or the amount of your insurance claim.
- The insurance company alleges that your accident-related injuries are preexisting and not caused by the crash.
- Insurance delays paying you the BI claim settlement and ignores your attempts to contact them.
You have the right to speak to a Houston car accident lawyer at any point in the injury claims process. Ideally, you contacted a car accident lawyer before you filed your claim. Hiring a lawyer can make the claims process much easier, especially if you are seriously injured. An attorney can provide help with documentation and negotiating a bodily injury claim settlement. They can handle all communications with the insurance company and speak to them on your behalf.
However, if you do not have a car accident lawyer and your negotiations break down, at this point, you should strongly consider hiring legal representation and filing a personal injury lawsuit.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
Texas personal injury law specifies a two-year statute of limitations. In other words, you have no more than two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injury.
This two-year deadline might be pushed back if you only find out later that you have injuries, but this could raise insurance claim questions about why the injury wasn’t discovered earlier. This is why seeking prompt medical attention is so important after a car wreck.
You should also never wait until the last minute to report a car accident to the insurance company. In Texas, insurers have 35 business days to settle a claim after it is filed. They also have specific time frames in which they must acknowledge car accident claims and decide whether to accept it before paying a settlement.
If you are unhappy with a settlement offer, and the insurer won’t offer more, you may have no option other than filing a lawsuit. But if you wait more than two years to file, the statute of limitations may already be expired.
Talk to our experienced attorneys as soon as possible after a crash to make sure you are keeping every option on the table.
Car Accident FAQs
- What should I do if I had to get medical treatment after my accident?If you or a loved one had to seek medical treatment 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, a qualified accident lawyer can help you recover maximum compensation.
- What should I do if my vehicle was damaged?If a car accident damages your vehicle or completely totals it, we urge you to speak with a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible. Purchasing another vehicle is expensive and vehicle repairs cost money.
An experienced attorney can help you receive the full amount of property damage owed to you so that you can afford to replace what you’ve lost from the car accident.
- What records do I need to prove the other person is at fault for the car accident?After your accident, you should gather and hold onto the following documents to help prove your case:
- 1. Police Report
- 2. Pictures of the entire scene (your car, their car, damages, etc.)
- 3. 911 call records
- 4. Surveillance videos
- 5. Phone records
- 6. Medical records
- 7. Any additional/miscellaneous records
- What documents do I need to prove my damages?You should keep all financial records on hand. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- 1. Medical and billing records
- 2. Insurance records
- 3. Prior medical records
- 4. Payroll records from your job
- 5. Pictures (see above)
- How much insurance coverage should I have?Texas has minimum insurance coverage requirements. As of 2023, Texas requires at least:
- $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP):
- Purpose: Covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-medical costs regardless of fault. Useful for immediate expenses while waiting for the at-fault party's insurance to settle.
- Texas Minimum Requirement (2022): $2,500 (opt-out available in writing)
- Recommendation: Retain this coverage and consider a higher limit, such as $10,000 or more, especially if without health insurance or with a high-deductible health plan.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM/UIM BI):
- Purpose: Protection if hit by a driver without insurance or with insufficient insurance.
- Recommendation: Consider limits at least equal to desired Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage to ensure coverage of medical expenses and potential lost wages.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UM/UIM PD):
- Purpose: Covers vehicle damage from an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Recommendation: Match this with your vehicle's value, ensuring enough coverage for repairs or replacement.
- Collision Coverage:
- Purpose: Pays for vehicle damage from collisions, regardless of fault.
- Recommendation: Essential for vehicles with a loan or lease. For older, low-value cars, consider opting out; for newer or valuable cars, it's recommended.
- Medical Payments (MedPay):
- Purpose: Covers medical expenses for passengers, regardless of fault.
- Recommendation: Optional with PIP but can offer added protection. Consider based on health insurance circumstances.
- Comprehensive Coverage:
- Purpose: Covers damage from non-collision events like theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.
- Recommendation: Required for some loans or leases. Consider based on car value and local risks.
- What if the other driver doesn't have enough insurance coverage or no insurance at all?In Texas, every driver is REQUIRED to have a certain amount of insurance coverage. The minimum is $30,000 for each person hurt, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for damage to property in each accident.
If you're involved in a car accident and the other driver either doesn't have enough insurance or none at all, we can assist you in taking legal action against them to get the compensation you need.
Sometimes, taking legal action is the only way to ensure you get the funds to cover your medical bills and other losses/damages.
If you've got insurance, it might include coverage for accidents with drivers who are uninsured or don't have enough insurance (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). This means your insurance could help pay for the damages you incur.
Dealing with accidents involving uninsured/underinsured drivers can be tricky. Our team of car accident lawyers in Houston is here to guide you through it and make sure you get what you're owed.
- Is Texas an at-fault state?In the State of Texas, liability for car accidents is determined based on the "at-fault" system. This means that the individual deemed responsible for causing the accident is also responsible for any resulting damages and injuries. Consequently, drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover potential claims. The minimum liability insurance limits in Texas are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury per person;
- $60,000 total for bodily injury per incident; and
- $25,000 for property damage.
Additionally, Texas adheres to the modified comparative fault rule. In situations where both drivers are found to be at fault, a claimant can still recover damages, provided they are deemed 50% or less at fault. However, the compensation awarded will be reduced by a percentage equivalent to the claimant’s degree of fault, as determined by the courts after thorough investigation.
- What if someone wrecks my vehicle and they aren't on my insurance?If you permit another individual to operate your vehicle, and they are not listed on your insurance policy, it may still be possible to submit a claim with your insurance provider. This is because insurance coverage is often linked to the vehicle, rather than the specific driver. Therefore, with your consent, the individual operating your vehicle is typically covered in the event of an accident.
In the event of an accident, the driver deemed "at fault" is primarily responsible for addressing any resulting damages or injuries. If the individual you permitted to drive your vehicle was not at fault, there shouldn't be any issues. On the other hand, if they were found to be responsible for the accident, they might bear liability.
It's worth noting that while some insurance policies cover any driver operating the insured vehicle, others may only cover designated drivers. To find out the specifics of your coverage, you should consult with your insurance provider.
- What if I don't have medical insurance?If you get hurt in a car wreck and don't have health insurance, it's important to talk to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
You might need to file a personal injury claim to get money to pay for your medical care. Medical bills can add up quickly, and some people even go bankrupt trying to pay them. A car accident lawyer in Houston can guide you through this tough time.
- What injuries are considered serious in car accidents?A severe car accident can result in injuries ranging from bone fractures and internal bleeding to spinal damages and burns. While these injuries are frequently observed, others, such as traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and even amputations, might also occur. Tragically, in the gravest of situations, fatalities can happen.
- What if someone dies in a car accident?There are legal implications in Texas for car accidents that result in a fatality.
- Wrongful Death Claim:
- The immediate family—spouse, children, and parents—of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim against the party at fault.
- They can seek compensation for various damages, including loss of companionship and potential earnings of the deceased.
- If not filed by the immediate family within three months, the estate's executor or representative may file the claim, unless a family member opposes.
- Criminal Charges:
- If recklessness, intoxication, or felony involvement is proven, the at-fault driver may face charges like manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter.
- Survival Actions:
- The estate of the deceased can file a survival action, similar to a personal injury claim.
- This claim addresses the deceased's pain and suffering before death, as well as associated medical and funeral costs.
- At-Fault Driver's Insurance:
- The primary source of compensation typically comes from the insurance of the at-fault driver.
- However, policy limits might not always cover all damages.
- Modified Comparative Fault:
- Texas adheres to this rule, which may reduce compensation if the deceased had partial fault in the accident.
- If the deceased is more than 50% at fault, recovery might be barred.
- Statute of Limitations:
- Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death.
- Exceptions exist, but awareness of this timeline is crucial.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage:
- If the at-fault party lacks adequate insurance, claims might be made under the deceased's own policy, if available.
- Wrongful Death Claim:
How Much Do Houston Car Accident Attorneys Charge?
Our Texas car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything unless they recover money for you. Most attorneys will cover all of the upfront costs of handling a car accident claim. If your attorney obtains a recovery on your behalf, they will deduct their fees from your payout. The standard rate for contingency fees is usually between 35% and 40%, depending on whether the case settles or ends up going to court.
Keep in mind, however, that most cases are settled outside of court. Most car accident attorneys will also never file a lawsuit if they do not have the client’s permission to do so.
Here’s an example: if your attorney negotiated a $20,000 settlement on your behalf, 35% of that ($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 (by law) and the remaining amount goes back into your pocket. If no settlement is reached, then there would be no cost to you.
Settlement offers are almost always paid out in one lump sum by the insurance companies as they don’t typically like to split the amount into smaller payments.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
There’s really no such thing as an “average car accident” or “average settlement.” Every personal injury case is unique, and multiple factors can determine your car accident settlement offer. It all depends on how the accident occurred, the extent of your injuries, and other factors specific to every car accident claim. That’s why it’s critical to document everything and hold on to all records detailing your car accident case. Some factors that could affect the payment amount of your settlement are:
- Medical expenses related to any personal injury
- The cost of future medical care due to your car accident
- Disabilities, impairments, or disfiguration that resulted from the car accident
- Whether you require physical therapy
- Lost wages and future lost income due to your accident
- Any suffering that you experienced due to your car wreck
- The skill of your car accident attorneys
The amount or property damage to your motor vehicle and personal belongings
How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take to Settle?
Car accident personal injury claims go through several different stages. Every car accident case is unique and will be different in duration and outcome. Most settle fairly quickly (2-12 months), but some may take years.
A serious crash that causes major injuries usually takes longer to resolve because there will be questions about the victim’s future, such as whether they will be able to work again and the cost of their ongoing medical bills. Answering these questions requires working with experts, performing complex calculations, and sometimes-lengthy negotiations. And if the case ends up going to trial, the litigation process will have to play out in court, adding to the timeframe.
Why Should I Hire Jim Adler & Associates?
There are many car accident law firms in Texas, but there’s only one firm that’s home to The Texas Hammer®.
Founded in 1973 by Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler, we have a team of over 30 lawyers, a legal support staff of over 300 strong, and decades of experience representing injured Texans. We are dedicated to making sure car accident victims are treated fairly and honestly, and that they get the compensation they deserve.
This might be your first crash case, but the Houston car accident attorneys at Jim Adler & Associates have been handling these cases for more than 50 years. There’s no cost to discuss your case with an attorney at our firm. You can call us right from the accident scene to start getting help immediately.
We handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis because we believe that everyone deserves access to a quality attorney. From our offices in Houston to Dallas, and San Antonio to Channelview, we have Texans covered.
Jim Adler and associates are the best! Professional, caring, supportive individuals who have the skills necessary to handle your legal challenges! This firm is amazingly talented!