Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Have you recently been injured in a car accident in Houston, Texas? You may be entitled to significant compensation if someone else is responsible for the wreck. The Houston car accident lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers can help you recover substantial damages for your medical expenses, loss of income, and suffering.
Led by a Board Certified civil trial specialist, our law firm is known for getting top results for crash victims and their families. We stand up to insurance companies and defendants with deep pockets every day, winning millions in life-changing compensation in the process on behalf of our clients.
We want to give you a voice, fight for accountability, and the hope you need to move forward. Contact our Houston law offices, with three convenient locations in Houston, give us call at (713) 500 5000 to schedule your free consultation now.
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How Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Car Crash
Getting into a car accident has the potential to change the course of your life forever. Whether the ripple effects are small or large, it is important to demand accountability from those at fault. That’s where the Houston personal injury lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers can help.
We’ve been fierce advocates for car accident victims and families throughout the greater Houston metro area for decades. Founding attorney Brian White is Board Certified in civil trial law, something that only 3% of attorneys in Texas can say.
More importantly, we have a proven track record of winning. Our skilled legal team has won tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.
Each client we represent benefits from a dedicated, detailed approach to their case that involves:
- Handling each step of the personal injury claims process from start to finish
- Conducting a thorough investigation into the crash to gather evidence, determine causation, and establish liability
- Working closely with respected car accident experts and professionals to better understand the more technical or complicated aspects of a collision and/or injuries
- Leading all conversations and negotiations with insurance adjusters, third parties, and defendants
- Considering all potential avenues for financial recovery, from insurance claims to lawsuits to workers’ compensation benefits and beyond
- Preparing a strong case that allows us to negotiate fair and favorable terms in a settlement
- Having an award-winning Houston trial attorney bring the case before a judge and jury, if necessary.
You got injured because of someone else’s negligence. Let our Houston car accident attorneys hold them accountable. Get a team with 45+ years of experience in your corner. We’re here for you when you need us most. Contact us to arrange a free case evaluation today.
Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Do you need to call a lawyer after a car accident? Should you hire a lawyer if you’re just going to go through insurance? Is a lawyer really worth the cost?
These are all questions you might find yourself asking in the hours after a car accident.
The answer is: yes.
Insurance companies don’t want you to hire a car accident lawyer
Adjusters want to keep the odds stacked in their favor. They are notorious for making lowball offers and expecting you to take it. They know the claims process – you probably don’t. A lawyer can take away any advantage they might have had.
You’re more likely to win and walk away with more money
People who have a Houston car accident lawyer on their side tend to win their cases more often than those who don’t. The amount of money you can recover is also typically higher.
You’ll have someone to protect you when the negligent driver starts to blame you
Whoever’s responsible for the crash probably won’t be quick to accept responsibility. A common strategy is to point fingers and blame the victim. An attorney can stop these tactics from working or limit how much damage the blame game can do to your case.
You can’t know what happened without an investigation
Sure, the insurance company will investigate the crash. However, they are looking for information to help them limit how much they have to pay out. When you hire a lawyer, you’ll benefit from an independent investigation to support your case.
You’ll face a lot of pressure to settle for less than you deserve
In the end, adjusters have one job: to get you to walk away with nothing or accept a settlement for less money than your case is worth. Anything less is not a victory for the insurance company, whose primary focus is on profits. The insurer will try to leverage the stress, emotions, and chaos you’re experiencing against you. They’ll try to delay or even deny your claim, making your recovery more difficult. Your lawyer will be there to deal with them and steady the waters to help you move forward on a path that gets you full compensation.
You deserve to be compensated if someone else is responsible, even partially, for your auto accident. The bottom line is that an attorney can help to make that a reality.
What’s My Car Accident Case Worth?
Whether you’re dealing with a car insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit, it’s reasonable to want to know what it’s worth.
Valuing a case, especially early on in the process, is difficult.
Every car accident is different. Every victim is unique.
However, how you respond the following questions can provide some insight into your case’s worth:
- How serious are your car accident injuries?
- Will you be able to recover fully?
- Did you have any pre-existing conditions that got worse due to the accident?
- How long will it take to reach maximum medical improvement?
- Can you go back to work right away, or will you have to take time off?
- Will your injuries affect your ability to work and generate an income in the future?
- What kind of out-of-pocket costs do you have because of your car accident?
- Can your car be repaired, or does it have to be replaced?
- What type of trauma are you experiencing because of the collision?
As a general rule, the more serious the injuries, the more an injury case is worth.
According to the National Safety Council, the average value of a car accident resulting in “possible” injuries was $160,000 in 2019. For a car accident resulting in “disabling” injuries, the average value exceeded $1.2 Million.
Should I Accept an Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer After an Accident?
Only if it’s been negotiated and/or reviewed by a qualified attorney. Insurance companies care about profits, not your wellbeing.
So, many of their early settlement offers propose less than cases are typically worth. Adjusters are hoping you’ll be happy to have cash in hand and agree to resolve your claim.
But, there’s a huge risk in doing that. Taking an offer means that getting money in the future won’t be an option. You will waive your right to seek additional damages. That could be disastrous if you learn that you will have medical expenses for the rest of your life or won’t be able to go back to work. You will be left with the original cash from the settlement agreement and nothing more.
Having your attorney deal with the insurer and take care of settlement negotiations means that insurers won’t be able to pull a fast one on you. Your lawyer can carefully investigate all the details of your case, present a demand letter that’s backed by facts, evidence, and solid legal arguments, and advocate to obtain an offer that accurately reflects what your case is worth.
Houston Car Accident Statistics
As the city grows, its roads and highways are seeing a significant increase in traffic. At the same time, car accidents have become increasingly problematic.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were at least 58,167 car accidents in Houston in 2020. While this reflects a drop from 2019, when there were 68,932 collisions, it was a time when accidents were at a near all-time low nationwide (thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic).
How Serious Are Houston Car Accidents?
Breakdown of the consequences of car accidents in 2020:
- Fatal Crashes: 263 (resulting in 274 deaths)
- Serious Injury Suspected Crashes: 1,194 (resulting in 1,378 injuries)
- Non-incapacitating Injury Crashes: 4,444 (resulting in 5,939 injuries)
- Possible Injury Crashes: 12,146 (resulting in 18,649 injuries)
What Are the Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Houston?
Motor vehicle accidents can happen anywhere in and around the city. However, certain areas of the city tend to see more collisions than others.
Statistically speaking, some of the most dangerous intersections and roads in Houston include:
- JFK and Aldine Bender
- Shepherd and Allen Pkwy and Kirby
- Hawthorne and Spur 527 and Holman
- West Little York Road
- South Post Oak Road
- Airline Drive
- North Shepherd Drive
- Fondren Road
- Clay Road
- Kuykendahl Road
- Fry Road
- Beechnut Street
- Bellaire Boulevard
- Westheimer Road
- N. Sam Houston Parkway and Hardy Street
- FM 1960 and Tomball Parkway
- South Loop and Main Street
Any intersection can be particularly dangerous. About 40% of all motor vehicle accidents happen at or near a crossroads. Avoiding dangerous intersections and exercising extra caution when passing through can help to decrease the likelihood of a car wreck.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Houston?
The things you do immediately after a motor vehicle accident matter.
Even minor missteps can put your health and financial future in danger.
Here are some important things to do (and not do) after your car crash:
- Remain at or near the scene of the accident. Move to the side of the road or a safer location nearby, if necessary.
- Call and report the accident to the Houston Police Department. An officer and other first responders can be dispatched to the scene. Under Texas state law, an accident must be reported if there’s an injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000.
- Don’t apologize or accept any responsibility for the accident. Even seemingly harmless statements can be used against you down the line.
- Exchange information with other parties, including names, license plate number and insurance coverage.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures, record some videos, write down the details, the names of any witnesses, and document anything that might be useful. Remember to also include damage of the other vehicle.
- Seek medical attention as soon as you can. This will help to ensure that all of your injuries are diagnosed and treated. Additionally, your medical records will help to establish a causal link between the crash and your injuries.
- Don’t provide an insurance company a recorded statement. Adjusters are searching for reasons to deny your claim. The best rule of thumb is to provide basic information, such as your name and address, and direct all other questions to a lawyer.
And finally, call an attorney with experience handling car accident cases. The more experience your attorney has dealing with car accident cases, the more they can help.
Our attorneys have handled hundreds of car accident insurance claims and lawsuits in Houston, Texas. We deal with insurance companies every day and have developed tried-and-true strategies to win financial compensation on behalf of our clients. We know what you’re up against and have the knowledge and resources you need to win. Contact our attorneys to review the details. We offer free initial consultations.
What Causes Most Car Accidents in Houston?
Motor vehicle accidents are commonplace in Houston, Texas. But why? Here’s a look at some of the leading causes.
Texting and Driving
Texting while behind the wheel is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Your entire focus shifts from the road to your phone.
Just how dangerous is texting and driving? One study compared drunk driving to texting and driving. It found that drivers are six times more likely to get into an accident if they’re texting than if they are driving intoxicated.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
Texting isn’t the only reason drivers get distracted.
Drivers can become distracted when they:
- Eat and drink
- Talk to passengers
- Have children in the backseat
- Attempt reaching for an object or item on the floor
Even daydreaming counts as distracted driving. Anytime you divert your hands from the wheel, take your eyes off the road, or let your mind wander, you’re considered a distracted driver.
In 2020, there were at least 2,355 reported drunk driving car accidents in Houston. That’s an average of 6 DUI accidents every single day. These accidents aren’t just common. They also tend to be quite serious. At least 521 people suffered serious or non-incapacitating injuries, and another 675 people were possibly injured. At least 79 were killed in drunk driving wrecks that year.
According to a study by Texas A&M, Houston ranks third in the nation when it comes to “worst traffic.” In 2020, drivers spent 49 hours stuck in traffic, costing an estimated $1,097 in gas and lost time.
In order to make up for lost time, many drivers hit the gas and try to get to their destinations as quickly as they can. According to the Department of Transportation, speed was a factor in a reported 1,832 motor vehicle accidents in Houston and other cities in Harris County in 2020.
Other common causes of car accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Aggressive drivers
- Inexperienced drivers
- Driving at night/limited visibility
- Dangerous road conditions
- Color of the vehicle
- Poor road design
- Tire blowouts
- Defective vehicle equipment, such as brakes and airbags
A thorough investigation can help to ensure that every possible cause of your car accident is identified. When you know what caused an accident, you can begin to understand liability.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Reach out to a Houston car accident lawyer near you as soon as possible after your car crash.
- The sooner your attorney can investigate, the better. Witness’ memories will fade. Evidence can erode over time or disappear altogether. If your attorney is able to visit the crash scene with specialists, that’s even better.
- You need time to focus on getting better, not a lawsuit. Hiring a car accident lawyer from the start means allowing yourself to concentrate on your physical recovery and emotional well-being. Let your attorney handle insurance claims, court filings, deadlines, and complicated legal issues.
- It won’t cost more hiring a lawyer early. Car accident attorneys in Texas get paid based on results, not time spent on a case. So, the benefits of getting them involved early easily outweigh any potential drawbacks.
The attorneys at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers are always standing by to take your call – 24/7. We have three law offices conveniently located throughout the city. Contact us today to know your legal rights. Your first consultation is free.
Is Texas a Fault or No-Fault State For Auto Accidents?
In a “fault” or “at-fault” state, the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for damages arising from a car accident.
In a “no-fault” state, each victim must seek damages from their own insurance carrier, regardless of who’s to blame.
Texas is an at-fault state. So, if you’re involved in an accident, you can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance carrier. In doing so, you can avoid a claim with your provider and conceivably watching your premiums go up.
If your damages exceed the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy, then you can file a lawsuit against the driver (and/or other parties who share liability).
Should I Still Hire a Lawyer If I’m Responsible For an Accident?
Absolutely. There are several reasons why it can help to have a lawyer on your side if you’re responsible for an accident.
The biggest reason is that you might not be entirely at fault. Accidents occur for many different factors.
There can be many contributing factors. Hiring a Houston car accident lawyer can help you know your legal rights.
You may be partly responsible, but that would mean you are only on the hook for some of the damages. A lawyer will determine other potential causes and help to limit your liability, saving you money and conceivably finding a way for you to recover compensation, as well.
What Happens If I’m Partly At Fault For My Car Accident?
Texas has modified comparative fault rules with a 51% bar to recovery.
Simply put, you can still file an insurance claim or lawsuit and recover a percentage of compensation as long as you’re not mostly at fault.
However, sharing some of the fault will affect your financial compensation. Your damages will be reduced to reflect your role in the crash. It depends on your percentage of fault. If you’re 30 percent at fault, your damages will be reduced by 30 percent.
Under comparative fault rules, once your liability exceeds 50 percent, your right to compensation from the at-fault party or their insurer disappears.
Do I Have to Prove Negligence If I File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
In simple terms, negligence means that someone else acted unreasonably and caused you to get injured.
There are four elements you will have to prove if you’re arguing that your car accident occurred because someone else was negligent: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty: the defendant owed you a duty of care (e.g., all drivers have a duty to obey state and local laws when they get behind the wheel)
- Breach: the defendant failed to act reasonably under the circumstances and breached that duty (e.g., they were talking on the phone, driving drunk, or didn’t have their headlights on after dark)
- Causation: the defendant’s actions were the direct and proximate cause of your injury (e.g., the driver rear-ended you at a traffic light because they weren’t paying attention, causing you to suffer serious neck and back injuries)
- Damages: you have suffered identifiable harm (e.g., medical expenses for your injuries, lost wages for the time you’ll miss at work, the cost of repairing damage to your car, and the emotional trauma of the car crash).
In Texas, you must establish these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that your arguments, as supported by facts and proof, are more likely true than not. If you can satisfy this burden of proof, you can win your negligence case.
What Kind of Evidence Will Help Me Win My Car Accident Case?
Evidence refers to different pieces of information involved in your car accident case that help to support your argument for damages.
It can be direct, meaning that it directly proves a fact you’re arguing. It can also be circumstantial, meaning that, when considered in context and relation to other additional information, it helps to prove your point.
It that can help establish negligence and increase the likelihood of winning your car accident case might include:
When an officer is dispatched to the scene of an auto accident, they’ll complete an accident report (CR3 Peace Officer Report).
In this document, also known as a police report, they’ll document information about the crash, such as:
- The specific time and date of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Names of all involved parties
- Damages to vehicles
- The officer’s preliminary thoughts on liability and fault
- Whether any drivers were issued citations
- Laws that may have been violated
- The order of events leading to the collision
These are details that can be lost, forgotten, or confused over time. Understanding a police report can be complex, and while it can’t be introduced as evidence in court, it can really help your attorney during their investigation to break it down for you.
Note, if an officer isn’t sent to the scene, you may still be required to report the car accident on your own.
Photographs From the Scene
Different pieces of proof from the scene of the crash can help you with your case, including pictures of:
- Property damage
- Damage to vehicles
- Tire tracks and/or skid marks
- The location and surrounding areas
- Road defects or hazards
Video footage of the accident itself or the scene shortly after can also be beneficial.
You will have to prove the car accident caused your injuries. One of the best ways to establish this is through your medical records. When you go to the doctor after a collision, your visit will be memorialized in a record. It will include the time of your visit, the reason you are there, and diagnoses, treatment, and care.
Evidence of Damages
You will also have the burden of showing that you have suffered damages because of your accident and injury. Keep any records of financial expenses, costs, or losses associated to the accident.
This can include:
- Emergency room or medical bills
- Receipts for co-pays
- Out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications and OTC medications
- Invoices from a mechanic or repair shop
- Receipts for a rental car
- W2s and pay stubs to show a loss of income
Keep all receipts, invoices, and bills related to your car crash. Your attorney might need them as proof that you have sustained damages.
Experts can provide invaluable guidance during a car accident case. Additionally, your attorney can introduce their findings or expertise into the record as evidence.
Some of the following professionals might be able to provide critical pieces of information to help establish your case:
- Accident reconstructionists
- Former law enforcement officers
- Forensic scientists
- Medical specialists
- Highway safety specialists
- Vocational rehabilitation specialists
You might want expert testimony to support your arguments or to dispute expert evidence presented by other parties.
Interrogatories are a series of questions that are answered under oath. They can be helpful if you need to get certain parties, including the at-fault driver, to answer questions truthfully.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Car Accident Report in Houston?
You are entitled to a copy of the police report after your car accident.
City of Houston
The easiest way to obtain a duplicate of your crash report is by visiting the Houston Police Department’s website.
It will have a link to the Crash Records Information System (CRIS), where you can buy a duplicate of your report.
Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Department
If the Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Department was involved in investigating your accident, you’ll have to call the Sheriff’s Precinct 3 Records Department at (713) 274-9730.
Texas State Police
If the Texas state police were investigating the accident, you can enter the “Crash Reports and Records” page on the Texas Department of Transportation’s website. You’ll find a link to purchase a copy of your report.
Texas Car Insurance FAQ
What Are the Car Insurance Requirements in Texas?
Texas requires all drivers to carry car insurance.
There are minimums for these policies.
Drivers must be able to show proof of the following coverage:
- $30,000 in bodily injury, per person
- $60,000 in bodily injury, per accident
- $25,000 in property damage, per accident
These requirements are typically referred to as 30/60/25 coverage.
You can purchase coverage beyond these minimums. You can also add other types of coverage to your policy, such as uninsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
Not everyone has to have insurance, though. Drivers just have to be able to show that they are financially capable of covering the costs of an accident. Alternatives to insurance in Texas include surety bonds or deposits with the state Comptroller or a Harris County judge.
Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
Yes and no. You can certainly provide basic information such as your name and address. However, don’t talk about the accident in any capacity. Adjusters are trained to find information to help them minimize and deny claims.
Often, questions that seem harmless or even compassionate are designed to elicit information to hurt you, rather than help you.
For example, let’s say you call another driver’s insurance company after your accident. The adjuster is incredibly nice. They might ask how you’re feeling and tell you how sorry they are that you’ve been injured. They might try to make some small talk and ask you questions about your day – “what were you up to on this beautiful day” or “how was your day going before the wreck?”
They’ll be listening to your answers very closely, searching for any detail that could be used to the insurer’s advantage.
Maybe you say you’ve been fighting a cold or that you’ve been working long hours. (Adjuster hears “the driver was sick and fatigued).
Maybe you mentioned you were running around trying to get a bunch of errands done for an upcoming party for your kids. (Adjuster hears “the driver was rushing and possibly speeding). Maybe you explain that things have been tough lately because a family member is sick. (Adjuster hears “the driver may have been distracted by life events”).
These are all seemingly harmless questions and responses. But, as you can see, the adjuster might be able to twist your words to damage your claim. Letting an attorney handle conversations with the other party’s insurance company prevents conversations like these from happening in the first place.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Resolve A Claim?
Insurance companies are legally required to act in good faith when considering your car accident claim.
Texas state law dictates how long insurance providers typically have to respond to and act on claims once they are filed.
Once you’ve submitted a claim, the provider must acknowledge it within 15 days. They’ll also have to send you a proof-of-loss form and other paperwork within that 15-day window and request any other additional information they need.
They will have another 15 days after the receipt of all paperwork to review and render a decision on your claim.
Once a final settlement is reached, the insurance carrier has 5 business days to pay.
How Long Will it Take to Settle a Car Insurance Claim?
There’s no set time limit. If it’s a simple claim with moderate injuries, your claim could settle within a couple of weeks.
If it’s more involved or if you’re unhappy with an offer, it could take more time to settle.
Ultimately, there are many different factors that can influence how long it takes to settle an insurance claim after a car accident.
For instance, you might get the proof-of-loss forms shortly after your accident. However, it can take a while to put together your response, gather information as proof, build an argument, and send the documents back to the provider. If your injuries are serious, it’s important to wait until your condition improves or you have a better idea regarding its scope and impact. The longer it takes to send back the forms, the longer it will take to settle your case.
Alternatively, you’re not required to accept a settlement offer made by the insurance company. You might go back and forth a few times with different offers and counteroffers. If no offer is reached, you might find yourself in arbitration or heading to court to file a lawsuit.
Can I File an Insurance Claim Without Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer?
You can file a claim without a lawyer, but it can be risky. The insurance claims process can be complex – and that’s by design. They want you to be confused. They are counting on it. They want you to be overwhelmed so that you leave out important information or pieces of evidence. They don’t want you to submit the strongest claim you can.
Car accident attorneys have tons of experience navigating the claims process. Understanding how the Texas laws work is important to secure your right to compensation. Your attorney will know how each insurance company operates and understand what you will need to submit to make a strong argument. They’ll be there to guide you, answer questions, and make important decisions.
What Can I Do If I’m in an Accident With Someone Who Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may have a few different options for recovery (depending on the circumstances).
File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Just because Texas is an at-fault state does not mean you can’t turn to your own insurer after an accident. You might have to pay a deductible, but you can conceivably attempt to recover that amount of money (and other crash-related damages) in a first-party claim.
Utilize Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Benefits
Did you opt to purchase uninsured motorist coverage when you bought your car insurance policy? If so, you can submit a claim with your carrier and receive benefits to cover the costs of your accident with the uninsured or underinsured driver.
File a Lawsuit Against the Driver or Another Party
Insurance might be your primary source of compensation after a crash, but it’s not necessarily your own option. If an uninsured driver causes an accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
However, keep in mind that they might not have the ability to pay, even if you win your case. This is where it can really help to identify all potentially liable parties. If someone else contributed to your accident, even slightly, you can fight to hold them accountable through a lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Traffic Accident in Houston?
Two years is the statute of limitations for most car accident lawsuits in the Lone Star State.
There are some situations when a different timetable might apply.
For instance, claims involving the government are subject to much shorter timeframes. You will have 90 days to file a notice of claim with the city of Houston if a government employee contributed to your crash.
Alternatively, you might have more time to file a lawsuit if the statute of limitations can be tolled. Tolling – or pausing – can occur if a victim is a minor or if a defendant can’t be located within the state.
The important takeaway is that you will lose the right to recover compensation if the deadline that applies to your case expires before you act.
Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Medical expenses associated with auto accident injuries can be extremely expensive. Many find themselves faced with bills for thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars.
Who will pay for these medical bills after a car accident, especially if you’re not at fault?
In the short term, insurance can be extremely helpful covering these costs. Call your health insurance provider when you go to the hospital or to the doctor for your injuries. Let them know that you’ve been in an accident. Share your health insurance information with your medical team.
Your health insurance company will work to coordinate payment with whoever’s auto insurance company will be responsible for your damages. Your insurer will take out a lien on your medical bills and probably be aggressive in making sure that they’re paid.
You may have some out-of-pocket costs for your medical expenses – such as your deductible or cash expenses at the pharmacy. Remember to keep a record of these and submit them as evidence of your damages in your auto insurance claim or lawsuit.
What If I Don’t Have Insurance?
Speak with an attorney immediately. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if you don’t have insurance and can’t offer proof of the ability to pay for damages. Without insurance or an alternative, you may be personally liable for the costs.
While criminal penalties might still apply, a personal injury attorney can potentially help you minimize the financial consequences you could face. Liability might not be clear. Under Texas state law, you will only be liable if your negligence contributed to the crash.
Your Houston car accident attorney can review the situation, gather evidence to show that you’re not at fault, and work to disprove the allegations against you. At best, your lawyer will establish that you weren’t at fault at all. If you did share fault, your attorney can work to limit how much liability you’re assigned – driving down how much you will eventually have to pay.
Do I Have to Pay Back My Insurance Company If They Pay My Bills?
Let’s say you are injured in a car accident and go to the hospital with severe injuries to your back and leg. Your private health insurance provider will cover your immediate costs. You then file an insurance claim and are compensated damages to cover the costs of your medical bills. After filing a claim, your provider will expect to be reimbursed from the money you’re awarded.
And, there’s almost certainly a clause in your policy to this effect. This is known as a subrogation clause, and it means that you can be expected to pay your insurance company back for any bills it covers if you receive damages from a third party.
It’s important to have an experienced injury lawyer involved if your insurer wants to exercise its right to subrogation. These claims can often be negotiated, especially if the amount of money you’re compensated doesn’t cover the total cost of your injuries or damages.
What Damages Can I Get If I’m Hurt in a Houston Car Accident?
Compensatory awards – in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages – are available to plaintiffs in most Texas car accident cases.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are awarded to help offset the financial costs of a car accident. These are expenses or losses that can be proven with receipts, supported by bank account statements, or verified in some other manner.
Examples of this type of damages in car accident cases include:
- Hospitalization, surgery, medical devices, medications, follow-up medical care, and other medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- The cost of replacing or repairing damaged property
- Losing income while recovering, including wages and benefits
- Reduced earning capacity
- Disability, both temporary and permanent
- Home modifications made necessary by a catastrophic injury
- Nursing care
Funeral and burial costs and loss of support can also be awarded to surviving family members when a car accident is devastating.
What Are Non-Economic Awards?
Not every consequence of a car crash will have a set financial value. Some of the repercussions will be incredibly personal and subjective. That’s where non-economic damages come into play.
Examples of this type of compensation – often referred to as pain and suffering damages – include:
- Chronic pain
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress, such as PTSD or depression
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Don’t underestimate the impact of these types of injuries. The impact of your emotional and psychological suffering can be just as devastating as any serious physical trauma, they can also require short to long-term treatment. When someone else is liable for putting you in this situation, they can be held accountable under the law.
How Do Courts in Texas Value Pain and Suffering Damages?
How do you put a value on “pain and suffering,” though? What’s an appropriate dollar amount for physical pain or depression?
Ask yourself these questions, and it becomes clear why valuing pain and suffering damages is incredibly challenging. These things are incredibly personal and will vary from person to person.
Generally, there are two ways to value non-economic damages after an auto accident in Texas. There’s the multiplier method and the per diem method.
With the multiplier method, courts or insurance companies will give your case a score of 1-5 based on the extent of your injuries and suffering. Then, your economic damages are multiplied by that score. The total is the value of your non-economic compensation.
Let’s say you suffer a spinal cord injury in your car accident. As a result, you are paralyzed from the waist down and can’t do the things you once loved – like hiking and boating. There are also many daily tasks you can’t do on your own, which is humiliating and demoralizing. Suppose your case is assigned a multiplier of 4. If your economic damages equal $1 Million, your non-economic damages would equal $4 Million. Therefore, your total financial recovery would be $5 Million.
With the per diem method, you place a specific dollar value on the pain and suffering you experience every day because of your accident. Then, you calculate how long it will take for you to reach maximum medical improvement. You multiply your per diem by that number of days, and you’ll have the value of your pain and suffering compensation. This method is used much less often than the multiplier method.
Are Punitive Damages Ever Awarded in Car Accident Cases?
Yes, but only in a very limited number of cases. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the victim for their injuries. Alternatively, punitive awards are, quite literally, intended to punish the defendant. So, punitive damages are only used when punishment is warranted.
In Texas, punitive damages might be applicable in drunk driving accident cases, fatal hit and run accidents, or where a driver intentionally caused an accident or serious injury.
What Should I Do If I’m In a Car Accident With a Rideshare Vehicle?
A car accident can potentially involve any type of vehicle on the road – including a large truck, a bicycle, or even a bus. Ubers and Lyfts can also be involved in accidents.
If you’re involved in an accident, there are certain steps you should take right away:
- Check to see if the driver had a rideshare passenger in the vehicle or had accepted a ride request
- Report the accident to the Houston Police Department or other law enforcement agency immediately
- Document the scene of the crash (be sure to grab some photos of the vehicle)
- Seek medical attention and call a lawyer
Car accidents involving Ubers and Lyfts tend to be complex. There can be many different parties involved, and insurance coverage will depend largely on what the rideshare driver was doing at the time of the wreck.
There might be millions in liability coverage if the Uber driver was actively engaged in their job – meaning they’d accepted a request and were on their way to pick up a passenger or had someone in the car already. However, benefits might be much more limited if they weren’t logged into the app or were waiting for someone to ask for a ride.
At the same time, the rideshare driver might try to say that you are responsible for the crash.
Hiring a lawyer to navigate these and other challenges typically associated with this type of accident is a great way to protect yourself. Our Houston car accident attorneys understand that all car accident cases have their challenges. We’ve worked hard to stay up to date on the latest in rideshare accident law and are here to help you secure substantial damages if you suffered injuries in a car wreck. Having our attorneys on your side is what you need to hold all parties accountable for your full financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help.
Car Accidents in Houston, TX Can Cause Serious and Catastrophic Injuries
It’s estimated that more than 3 million people suffer car accident injuries every year. These injuries can be mild, moderate, or downright catastrophic. Having our Houston car accident attorneys on your side will help you secure financial compensation when someone else is at fault.
Here are some common car accident injuries crash victims tend to suffer:
There are 206 bones in the human body. Each can be fractured or damaged in a violent car crash. Broken bones in car accidents are often located in the arms and wrists, ribs, lower legs, face, and skull. The vertebrae can also be fractured on impact in a car collision.
Burns occur if victims are exposed to extreme heat, chemicals, or electricity during an accident. Airbags can even be responsible for inflicting burn injuries, typically to the chest, hands, or face.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Despite the name, a traumatic brain injury can be mild, moderate, or severe. Some result in long-term and possible permanent disabilities. In the context of car accidents, or even truck and motorcycle accidents, brain injuries can happen when a victim’s head makes contact with the dashboard, windshield, windows, or another part of the vehicle.
Alternatively, victims who are thrown from their vehicles can sustain a TBI. Traumatic brain injuries can also result if projectiles – including objects in the vehicle or damaged parts of the car – break the skull and damage the brain.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are seen most often after rollover accidents and other high-impact collisions, like head-on collisions. Any damage can result in chronic pain, limited mobility, inability to control bodily functions, and partial or complete loss of mobility.
Whiplash is perhaps the most common consequence of a car accident, especially rear-end collisions. However, just because it’s common does not mean it can’t have a significant impact. Sudden back and forth motion on the head and neck can lead to neck and shoulder pain, blurred vision, and cognitive impairment. It can also cause more serious neck and back problems.
These injuries can happen from seatbelts, direct contact with the dashboard or parts of the vehicle, and the force of an airbag explosion. Chest injuries can include fractured ribs and clavicles, damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs, and internal bleeding.
Immediate medical attention should be sought if you suspect that you have suffered an injury to your chest in a car or truck crash. These injuries can be life-or-death, especially if internal trauma is not diagnosed and treated immediately.
Losing a limb is a reality for many car accident victims in the United States. Every year, roughly 185,000 people experience a traumatic amputation or require limb removal. About 45% of these amputations are a result of traumatic incidents, including motor vehicle accidents.
When you are in a crash, the stress on your joints can cause strains, tears, dislocations, and fractures. Common car accident joint injuries affect the knees, shoulders, elbows, and hips.
While these types of soft tissue injuries might not seem serious, they can require surgery, cause chronic health problems, and significantly interfere with a victim’s ability to work or enjoy life.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that can arise after a car accident. It’s associated with the limitation or disruption of blood flow in the body after a wreck.
Often, it happens to victims who aren’t able to move well because of their injuries or who are restrained in the wreckage for a period of time until first responders are able to get them out. With DVT, blood clots form in the leg.
The biggest threat with DVT is that these blood clots dislodge and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
Someone I Love Died in a Fatal Houston Car Accident – What Should I Do?
Sadly, not everyone who is involved in a car accident survives their injuries. In 2020, there were at least 263 devastating car accidents in Houston, provoking 274 deaths.
If you have lost a family member in a car crash in Houston, it’s important to understand the legal rights and options that may be available to you. Money will not bring your loved one back or take away your pain, but it can certainly help ease the financial burdens you’re faced with.
The Estate Files a Car Accident Survival Action
Survival actions are filed by the crash victim’s estate and seek damages that the victim would have been entitled to if they survived.
To have a survival action, the victim must have survived for some time after the wreck. Damages can include money for medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
Compensation is awarded to the estate and distributed to heirs.
Family Members Can Potentially Recover Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Some surviving family members – including spouses, children, and parents – can file a wrongful death lawsuit after a crash. In Texas, filing a lawsuit allows families to be awarded compensation for financial losses (e.g., losing support and income) and non-financial losses (e.g., losing companionship) related to the loss of a loved one.
Losing a family member is never easy, especially when the circumstances are sudden and prevent you from saying goodbye. A successful wrongful death action can help to serve as a bit of justice for what you and your family are dealing with. Focus on dealing with your grief – let our attorneys handle your fight for financial justice.
Will the Type of Car Accident I’m In Affect My Case?
It certainly can. There are many different types of car accidents. Each type of crash has its unique qualities and poses its own challenges in litigation.
Investigating a rollover will be different from a crash involving a pedestrian. Different experts might be needed to investigate a hit and run as opposed to an intersection accident. Injuries caused by a head-on collision will typically be much different from a fender-bender or rear-end collision.
That’s why it’s important having an attorney with extensive experience handling all different types of car accident cases in your corner.
At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers, we represent clients who have been injured or lost family members as a result of:
- Frontal collisions
- Rear-end accidents
- T-Bone accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Left-hand turn accidents
- Right-hand turn accidents
- Red and yellow light accidents
- Accidents involving uninsured motorists
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Highway accidents
- Parking lot accidents
- Passenger negligence accidents
- Lane change accidents
- Self-driving car accidents
- Single vehicle accidents
- Accidents involving multiple vehicles
- Car and truck accidents
- Car and bicycle accidents
- Car and pedestrian accidents
- Car and electric scooter accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
Since 2007, our law firm has been a dedicated ally to crash victims across the great city of Houston. We’ve seen just about every type of collision you can imagine – and helped victims successfully pursue compensation for their damages. We’re here to help you during your time of need, as well. Reach out to us to find out how our knowledge, experience, and resources can benefit you after your car wreck.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Most Houston car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. The attorney’s fee quite literally depends on their ability to win the case. Many personal injury attorneys refer to this as a “no win, no fee” arrangement.
With a contingency fee arrangement, a car accident attorney agrees to take a case in exchange for a percentage of whatever compensation they’re able to win. Depending on the law firm and the case, it usually ranges anywhere from 33% to 40% of the client’s financial recovery.
At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re confident that we can help you secure substantial compensation for your car accident injuries and damages. So confident that we’re willing to cover all of the costs of negotiating and litigating your claim upfront. You pay absolutely nothing unless and until we win your case.
This gives you the chance to get a Board Certified civil trial specialist on your side without having to worry about the cost. Contact our Houston, Texas law offices to learn more about our contingency-based legal services today. We offer a free consultation.
Houston Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
There’s a lot riding on your personal injury case after a car accident. You have the power to choose an attorney to represent you. Choose an attorney with experience and a demonstrated ability to win cases like yours. And, don’t forget to hire an attorney who will genuinely care about obtaining the best possible results in your case.
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers should be your first call after a wreck. Our Houston car accident attorneys understand that you’re in the middle of a life-changing situation. You’re overwhelmed, stressed out, and unsure about what steps to take. We can help you understand your legal rights and discuss your legal options.
We’re available 24/7/365, and consultations can be scheduled at a time and location that’s convenient for you. An attorney can meet you at our law office, your home, your workplace, or even the hospital.
To get started, simply call our law firm or connect with us using our online form. A member of our team is standing by to help right now. Your first consultation is free and we also work on a contingency fee basis.
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Local Auto Repair Shops
- Dent Dogs Inc – 3900 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77056
- JJ Auto Body – 340 Erin St, Houston, TX 77009
- Brookston Body Shop – 1330 N Durham Dr, Houston, TX 77008
- Dent Sharks – 5090 Richmond Ave Ste 179, Houston, TX 77056
- Ryan Automotive Glass & Collision Center – 716 Fairview St – Houston, TX 77006
*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on our website.
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