Have you been injured or lost someone you love in an auto accident? You may be able to recover damages. Speak with a Houston car accident lawyer at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. by calling (713) 224-4878. We offer a free consultation. Our attorneys will help you fight to get all of the money you need and deserve.
We have more than 45 years of combined experience fighting on behalf of injury victims just like you. As a result of our hard work, we’ve been able to recover life-changing settlements and awards on behalf of our clients. Let us put our vast financial resources, winning track record, and experience to work for you.
Why Should I Hire a Houston Car Accident Attorney?
Hiring a Houston personal injury lawyer with extensive experience handling car accident claims like yours can make a world of difference – both for your physical and financial recoveries. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney to handle your case can make a world of difference in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Here’s why you should call Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. for assistance with your car accident case:
- Provide moral support, legal guidance, and whatever assistance you might need to get through this difficult time in your life
- Handle all aspects of your case from start to finish, while keeping you in the loop at all times
- Launch a detailed and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding your Houston car accident
- Consult with leading experts in Texas – including accident reconstructionists, forensic specialists, medical professionals, former law enforcement officers, and anyone else who can provide critical insight- whenever necessary or beneficial
- Dig deep to determine causation, fault, and liability, and then using that information to hold at-fault parties accountable for your injuries
- Step in to defend you if and when insurance companies attempt to blame you for getting hurt
- Negotiate with insurance companies and work to secure a full financial recovery on your behalf.
The attorneys at Brian White & Associates, PC, have more than 45 years of experience fighting on behalf of crash victims in Houston. Brain White is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law – a qualification only shared by about 3 percent of all attorneys in the state of Texas. This means that he’s an extremely talented, accomplished, and successful trial lawyer who regularly wins battles in the courtroom.
To get started, just give our law office a quick call to arrange a free initial case evaluation. Our team is always standing by to take your call – 24/7/365.
What are the Costs of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, our car accident lawyers in Houston work on a contingency basis. This means that:
- There is no upfront cost to hire our lawyers to handle your case
- Our law firm will assume all of the risks and take care of all of your case-related costs, and
- We only get paid if we successfully recover a financial award or settlement on your behalf.
You don’t have to worry about paying us from your own pocket, either. Our lawyers will simply receive a pre-agreed-upon percentage of your financial recovery. It’s that simple.
Houston, TX Car Accident Statistics
As the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston is not just one of the busiest cities in the state of Texas, but also the nation. It’s home to more than 2,325,500 people. The population swells as workers, students, and tourists travel into the city’s limits every day.
This means that Houston’s roads are congested. According to one study, Houston traffic ranks as the worst in all of the state of Texas, 13th nationally, and 77th globally. That’s based on time wasted in traffic and overall congestion.
So, it’s probably no surprise that car accidents are fairly common in and around Houston. Despite efforts to keep Houston’s roads safe, accidents have only happened with more frequency in recent years.
Total Crashes in Houston
As you can see, the total number of car accidents has risen considerably over the past few years:
- 2014: 59,981
- 2015: 66,193
- 2016: 66,664
- 2017: 64,720
- 2018: 64,126.
The total number of collisions in Houston, Texas has increased by approximately 7% since 2014. That equates to about 10 additional car accidents in the city every single day.
Injury Crashes in Houston
While some accidents in Houston are minor fender benders where no one gets hurt, many are not. Every year, tens of thousands of people are injured in auto collisions in the city. In 2014, there were a total of 45,223 injuries classified as either serious, non-incapacitating, or unknown. By 2018, 48,155 car accident victims were classified with injuries falling into those categories. That’s about a 6.5% increase in injury-causing crashes in just a few short years.
Fatal Car Accidents in Houston
While the total number of crashes and injuries has gone up over the past few years, the number of fatal car accidents in Houston has actually declined.
- 2014: 214 fatal crashes resulting in 227 deaths
- 2015: 192 fatal crashes resulting in 204 deaths
- 2016: 237 fatal crashes resulting in 245 deaths
- 2017: 228 fatal crashes resulting in 245 deaths
- 2018: 189 fatal crashes resulting in 197 deaths
However, just because fatal accidents have declined doesn’t mean that things are great. Houston is still one of the most dangerous cities for drivers in the nation. One study suggests that drivers and pedestrians in Houston are 40% more likely to die than those in Los Angeles. In 2018, there were between 16 and 17 car accident fatalities in the city every month. That’s more than one death every other day.
Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Houston, TX
Car accidents can – and do – happen anywhere in the city of Houston. However, statistically speaking, traffic accidents tend to occur at some places more than others. In Houston, intersections are particularly dangerous. In fact, Houston has been ranked as the worst in the nation for red light accidents.
Every year, thousands of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are injured – and hundreds more are killed – at intersections in Houston. Some intersections and crossroads in Houston are more dangerous than others. Studies of Houston crash data have revealed that accidents tend to happen most frequently at the following intersections:
- Gessner Road & Long Point Road
- W Bellfort Ave & Fondren Road
- Bissonnet Street & Wilcrest Drive
- Shepherd & Allen Pkwy & Kirby Drive
- Taylor Street & Spring Street & MKT Trail
- Hawthorne Street & Spur 527 & Holman Street
- Fannin Street & Pierce Street
- Bellaire Blvd & Ranchester Drive
- West Street & Airline Drive
- Bellaire Blvd & S Gessner Road
- Nicholson Street & W 11th Street, and
- Patterson Street & Washington Avenue.
Other roads that are known as hot spots for accidents in Houston include Westheimer Road, S Dairy Ashford Rd, FM 1960, the Cullen Boulevard pedestrian crossing, and Louetta Road.
Accidents on these roads and at these intersections, in particular, have prompted the city to announce plans for a Vision Zero initiative. Like many other cities across the county, Houston will invest time and resources into making its roads safer, with the ultimate aim to eliminate all traffic accident deaths by 2030.
Can you guarantee that you won’t get into an accident by avoiding these roads and intersections? No. However, you can perhaps reduce the likelihood of a collision as you use different roads or navigate these crossroads with additional caution.
Common Types of Car Accidents in Houston
There are thousands of car accidents in Houston every year. However, no two crashes are the same. They happen for different reasons. They happen under different conditions. They involve different types of vehicles.
Ultimately, all of these things will impact the right and ability of crash victims to recover compensation. At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., our attorneys have decades of combined experience handling the most complicated and challenging car accident cases. We represent clients who have been injured as a result of:
Every day, 30 people across the United States are killed in drunk driving accidents. Thousands more sustain severe and debilitating injuries. Sadly, drunk driving is quite common in Houston. In 2018, there were a total of 1,908 drunk driving car accidents in the city. Of those, there were 49 fatal crashes and 53 fatalities. That’s an average of 4 fatal drunk driving accidents in Houston every single month.
Why are drunk driving accidents so common? Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to reason, react, and think clearly. As a depressant, it also causes extreme fatigue and drowsiness. The more a person drinks, the less capable they become to drive with care and caution. However, many people underestimate how the alcohol they’ve consumed affects them and get behind the wheel, anyway.
As smartphones have exploded with popularity, so has the practice of distracted driving. While cell phones aren’t the only thing that cause drivers to lose focus on the road, they are certainly one of the most common distractions.
Distracted driving contributes to thousands of car accidents in Harris County and Houston every year. In fact, in 2018, there were more than 12,000 distracted driving accidents in the area. Distracted driving accidents are almost entirely avoidable, yet claim more than a dozen lives and change thousands more every year.
Alcohol isn’t the only thing that’s not safe to consume before you drive. Drugs – including prescription pharmaceuticals and illicit substances – can also significantly alter a driver’s state of mind and ability to navigate safely. Every year, there are more than 3,000 drug-related car accidents in Texas.
A head-on collision – also known as a frontal collision – occurs when two cars that are traveling in opposite directions collide. Frontal crashes only account for about 2.3% of all traffic accidents. However, 10% of all fatal accidents are head-on collisions. Compared to other types of crashes, head-on collisions tend to be the most dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHI), 58% of drivers and front passengers in head-on collisions die in these types of accidents.
Hit and Run
A hit and run occurs when a driver doesn’t remain at the scene after being involved in a traffic accident. It doesn’t matter whether they flee for a few minutes or try to evade the police for weeks – it’s considered a hit and run if you leave. Hit and run accidents are quite common in Texas. In fact, Texas has the 8th highest number of hit and run crashes in the nation.
Hit and run accidents can be particularly stressful, as it can make recovering compensation much more complicated. However, just because a driver leaves doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. Our attorneys can carefully assess the circumstances surrounding your crash and determine all possible avenues for getting you the money you need.
In a rollover accident, a car either tips on its side, flips onto its roof or literally rolls over from side to side. Only 2% of all car accidents are classified as rollovers. However, 35% of all motor vehicle fatalities are caused by rollover crashes. In 2018, alone, 6,538 people died in rollover accidents across the nation. Rollovers are more likely to involve SUVs and pick-up trucks than other types of passenger vehicles.
Most rollovers happen because there’s a “pre-rollover” impact. This means that the vehicle “trips” on something on the road (e.g., pothole, debris, barrier), is struck by a vehicle from the side, or is thrown off-balance because of a sharp turn.
Rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle is struck from behind. These tend to happen a lot at intersections, particularly when the driver in the front vehicle isn’t paying attention. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes are the most common type of accident. Roughly 28% of all accidents involve a rear-end collision.
While rear-end accidents aren’t typically the cause of fatalities, they can still cause some very serious injuries. This includes internal organ damage, back and neck injuries (such as whiplash), and spinal cord damage.
There’s a reason that Houston – and just about everywhere else in the United States – has speed limits. The faster you drive, the more catastrophic the consequences if you’re involved in a crash. Speeding also increases the risk of getting into an accident, in the first place. In fact, studies show that reducing your speed by just 1 km/h can reduce the risk of a crash by 2 to 3 percent.
However, a lot of drivers exceed the speed limit in Houston. Whether it’s because they’re trying to make up for lost time spent sitting in traffic or are just in a rush, it happens every day. Speeding drivers also cause a lot of accidents here. In 2018, speed was a factor in more than 1,500 auto accidents across Harris County.
Texting and Driving
When you text, you typically look down at your phone for at least 5 seconds. That’s true whether you’re reading or typing. However, you only have to be distracted for three seconds for an accident to happen. So, needless to say, texting and driving is quite dangerous. It’s also the cause of way too many accidents in Texas. In fact, there are between two and three accidents every day caused by drivers who are texting.
Taking an Uber might be more convenient than driving, but it’s not always safer. You don’t know who your Uber driver is. You don’t know what their driving record is like or if they’ll be careful. Uber drivers tend to be more distracted than others because they’re looking for passengers, focused on the GPS on their cell phones, and almost constantly monitoring the Uber app. These drivers are also earning money based, in part, on how many rides they can complete. So, they might be tempted to speed and engage in other risky behaviors behind the wheel to get you to your destination in record time.
As a result, accidents involving Ubers, especially in a city like Houston, are becoming more commonplace. Keep in mind that Uber treats its drivers as independent contractors, not employees. This can make recovering compensation after an accident with an Uber particularly challenging. It can be extremely beneficial to enlist the help of qualified and experienced Houston car accident attorney for help getting the money you need.
Collisions With a Truck
In Texas, it’s fairly common for drivers of small passenger vehicles to share the road with large trucks. Unfortunately, that means that some car accidents can involve big rigs, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks. While it might be the truck driver who is to blame, they’re not the ones who tend to suffer the consequences. When a truck accident involves a car, it is generally the occupants of that smaller vehicle that get hurt. If victims are fortunate enough to survive, they still often struggle with injuries that are painful, expensive to treat, and permanent.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone who is involved – including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bystanders, and anyone else on the road.
When you’re involved in a car accident, there are a lot of different factors that can influence the type and severity of your injuries from the crash.
This can include:
- The type of car accident
- Where you’re seated in the car
- If you’re wearing a seatbelt
- Whether or not the airbags deploy
- The speed of the crash
- Whether your vehicle is in motion at the time of the collision, and
- If you suffer from any underlying health issues.
Injuries might be minor or catastrophic. Some motor vehicle accident victims will suffer from several different injuries from all over the spectrum. Some injuries will heal in a matter of days, others will last a lifetime. However, it doesn’t matter if your injuries are mild or severe. If someone else caused you to get hurt, you could potentially recover a financial award. Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. represents all car accident victims in Houston, including those who suffer:
Head injuries – which include trauma to the skull, scalp, or brain – can happen quickly and cause a lifetime of damage. Many times, head injuries are the result of blunt force trauma, such as hitting your head on the dashboard or pavement. If the skull fractures, that can lead to other serious injuries, including internal bleeding and brain damage. Other fractures, including those to the face or jaw, can leave victims permanently disfigured and significantly alter the ability to see, hear, speak, and even eat.
Brain injuries can be caused by internal trauma (e.g., toxins, poisons, asphyxia) or external damage (e.g., blunt force trauma, penetrating wounds). Regardless of the cause, any brain injury can fundamentally change a person’s life forever. Brain injuries can impair motor function, alter speech and cognition, and cause significant behavioral and mental health issues. Some brain injuries can be treated with surgery and medication, others will cause damage that lasts a lifetime.
Neck and Back Injuries
The neck and back might seem strong, but they’re actually quite delicate. This is where the spinal cord calls home, which is a complex column of bones, discs, and nerves that plays a critical role in everything that we do. The back and neck also have considerable muscle tissue and tendons.
In an accident, the force of a collision can cause your head and neck to move back and forth rapidly. This can cause moderate soft tissue injuries like whiplash or cause much more extensive damage to the cervical spine. Additionally, blunt force trauma from an accident can severely injure the large muscles and connective tissue in the back, ultimately limiting your ability to participate in your normal everyday activities.
Chest injuries are extremely common after a car accident. In fact, together with head trauma, chest injuries account for 80% of all car accident injuries. This includes broken ribs, organ damage, and puncture wounds. Chest injuries aren’t just common – they’re also among the most serious. Chest injuries – also known as thoracic injuries – account for about 35% of all car accident fatalities.
Some chest injuries occur because vehicle occupants fail to wear seatbelts. Others suffer chest injuries when their seat belts tighten to restrain them in a crash. When airbags deploy, the force of impact can cause extensive damage to the chest. If airbags fail to deploy, occupants can make direct contact with the steering wheel or dashboard, causing blunt force trauma to the chest. The force of this trauma can break the ribcage. It’s not uncommon for shards of broken bones to move inward and cause extensive damage to the heart, lungs, and diaphragm.
In an accident, you can sustain serious injuries to your abdomen. Unlike the chest, the abdomen isn’t protected by a strong cage of bones. Instead, it’s soft and vulnerable. So, when you get into a car wreck, trauma can cause significant internal damage to your organs, including the liver, spleen, stomach, and intestines. Injuries to the organs include lacerations, punctures, and tears. Complications can include internal bleeding and organ failure. If not treated immediately, these abdominal injuries can be life-threatening.
Leg and Knee Injuries
It can be difficult to protect your legs and knees in a car accident. Depending on the type of collision you’re involved in, your legs might bend or stretch in unnatural ways, crushed under the weight of a collapsed vehicle, or partially or fully amputated. Trauma to the legs and/or knees can cause excruciating pain and change the way you move for the rest of your life. Some victims might require knee replacement surgery or several corrective surgeries to repair and set multiple fractures in the leg. These types of injuries often limit your ability to walk and move in the short-term, which can put victims at risk of serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and embolisms.
Hand and Foot Injuries
The hands and feet contain dozens of small bones and a lot of connective tissue. They’re both instrumental in pretty much everything we do on a daily basis – eating, drinking, walking, driving, bathing, and more. In an accident, the hands and feet can bend unnaturally, break, or overextend. Crushing injuries can cause degloving or complete amputation. These injuries tend to be quite physically and emotionally traumatic and require immediate medical care. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that the extremities never work properly again, which can alter the way a crash victim must live their life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord runs from the base of your skull to your tailbone. It’s a system of bones, connective tissues, and nerves that relay signals from the brain to the rest of your body. The trauma of a collision can cause significant damage to any or all of the parts of the spinal cord. The higher on the spine the injury, the more catastrophic the consequences.
High spinal cord injuries (to the cervical and thoracic spine) can cause quadriplegia – paralysis of all four limbs – as well as impair a victim’s ability to regulate their body temperature, speak, eat, and control their bladder and bowels. Low spinal cord injuries (to the lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal) can cause paraplegia – paralysis of the trunk and/or legs – as well as limit a victim’s ability to use the bathroom and control sexual function.
Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious. These injuries often cause temporary or permanent disabilities, require lifelong medical care, rehabilitation, and/or around-the-clock nursing care, and fundamentally change a victim’s life forever. Between medical bills, lost income, and disability, severe spinal cord injuries can easily cost a victim millions of dollars over the course of their life. When you factor in the pain and suffering caused by these catastrophic injuries, the costs can be incalculable.
Car accidents can be quite violent. A crash can cause debris to fly and even eject passengers onto the pavement. It’s not uncommon for crash victims to suffer injuries to the face. Many times, these injuries cause permanent disfigurement and scarring. These injuries – which are also known as maxillofacial injuries – can impair the ability to see, eat, and speak, as well as inflict extreme emotional distress and suffering.
Not all car accident injuries are visible to the naked eye. Accidents can do extensive internal damage, as well. Common internal injuries include whiplash, soft tissue trauma such as sprains, strains, and bruises, organ damage, and internal bleeding. Many times, its the internal injuries that go undiagnosed that cause the most damage, death, and destruction.
That’s why it’s critical to seek medical attention immediately after any car accident in Houston. A doctor can perform a preliminary medical assessment to determine if you might have sustained any internal trauma. Diagnostic tests – including MRIs, CTs, and X-Rays – can help to ensure that all internal injuries are identified and treated in a timely manner. Without prompt treatment, complications can arise and cause permanent disability or, in some cases, death.
Sometimes the trauma of an accident is so severe that victims are unable to survive their injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and chest injuries tend to be among the most fatal of all car accident injuries. Additionally, undiagnosed or severe internal injuries can also lead to death.
How to Get Compensation For Your Houston Car Crash
You could be entitled to a financial settlement or award if you’ve been injured in a car accident in Houston. Here’s what you need to know about pursuing compensation and getting money in your hands after a wreck.
What is the average settlement for a car accident?
Most car accident injury cases settle. That means that most victims can get money from an at-fault party or insurance company without ever having to go to court. However, it’s hard to say what an “average” car accident settlement is. That’s because every car accident case is different. There are a lot of different factors that can influence what your case is worth.
- Were your injuries mild, severe, catastrophic, or fatal?
- Have your injuries affected your ability to work?
- Will your injuries limit your ability to earn an income?
- Have your injuries caused a permanent disability?
- Do you now require medical equipment, medical devices, or nursing care because of the extent of your injuries?
- Are you able to take care of yourself? (e.g., eat, shower or bathe, use the bathroom, drive)
- Do you struggle with emotional distress because of your car accident?
- If so, how pervasive is your suffering?
- Did your accident cause disfigurement, scarring, or paralysis?
- Are you unable to participate in aspects of your life that you enjoyed before, such as playing sports or spending time with your family?
- Was property in your accident damaged or destroyed?
Every crash victim will answer these questions differently. The answers will ultimately impact how a case is valued and, in turn, what type of settlement is extended. The best way to make the most of your injury claim is by having a skilled attorney on your side.
How should I deal with insurance company adjusters?
The best course of action is to limit any interactions and communication you have with insurance adjusters. Provide basic information – such as your name, address, and phone number – but do not expand and provide any additional details. Don’t put anything in writing or allow adjusters to record you.
Why? An adjuster’s job is to investigate your accident, determine fault, and calculate what your claim might be worth. Since they work for the insurance company, they’ll work hard to find a reason to deny your claim or drive down its value. They could take something you say out of context and use it against you, or word a question in a way that’s confusing, trucking you into saying something that harms your case. Let our car accident lawyers handle any communications with adjusters to be safe.
What to do when an insurance company offers a settlement?
Car accidents can be incredibly expensive; there’s no doubt about that. So, you might get excited when you’re offered money not long after the crash. You might even be tempted to take it. However, you need to understand that early offers are usually for much less money than a case is worth. Insurance companies might be offering an early settlement because they know you have a solid case and want to limit how much they ultimately pay out.
When you accept a settlement offer, you’ll typically sign a paper that waives your right to pursue any additional money in the future. That’s true, even if you find out that you accepted way less money than you deserved. So, while that offer might make a difference in the short term, accepting it could really do more harm than good. The best thing to do is bring the offer to our lawyers and have us take things from there.
Can I sue an insurance company without hiring a lawyer?
Sure. However, that’s what insurance companies would prefer. They’d much rather deal with you, not an attorney who has experience and considerable financial strength. You might be able to get an insurance company to extend an offer, but know that it’ll probably be for less than your case is worth. By hiring an attorney, you can take away any advantage the insurer might have had and really force them to take your demands for compensation seriously.
Steps to Take After a Houston Auto Accident
The decisions you make and the things you do after a car accident can have a huge impact if you ultimately decide to file an injury claim or lawsuit.
Whether or not you decide to hire a car accident lawyer, there are several things you can do to make the aftermath of your accident a lot smoother. Here’s what you need to know.
Make sure everyone is okay
First, stop your vehicle and make sure that everyone is okay. This includes yourself, your passengers, and anyone else who was impacted by the crash. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s legally required under Texas state law. Leaving the scene without checking the damage is considered a hit and run. That can ultimately trigger criminal consequences and make things much more challenging if you want to pursue compensation.
Contact the authorities
A police report can be instrumental in any personal injury case. So, make sure that you call the police to report the crash as soon as you’re able to do so. When an officer arrives on the scene, they’ll ask some questions and conduct a preliminary investigation. They might also issue citations if anyone involved in the accident violated a safety law. Down the line, the fact that someone else got a ticket could be extremely helpful in your injury case.
Get the other driver’s information
Texas law mandates that, after an accident, you must stop and exchange information with other parties. Make sure that you get the other driver’s name and insurance information before you leave the scene.
Speak to any witnesses
You might think that you know exactly why an accident happened. However, you only witnessed the crash from one perspective. To get a more comprehensive understanding of what happened, it’s helpful to speak with anyone else who was involved in or witnessed the crash. So, do your best to find witnesses, ask them to recount what happened, and write down their names and contact information.
There’s an old saying – a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure to take several photographs of the scene of the accident, vehicles or property that were involved, and your injuries. Those photos might capture details that (a) are likely to fade or disappear over time or (b) you just can’t see. Your lawyer can review the pictures you take and, if necessary, have forensic crime scene specialists take a look to identify any details that might be helpful to your case.
Request a copy of the police report
Don’t underestimate how helpful a police report can be after a car accident in Houston. Many times, these reports contain information that’s usually forgotten over time, such as what the weather was like or how bad traffic was at the time of the crash. The report might even contain the issuing officer’s assumption about why the accident happened and who is at fault. Even if the report it’s admissible as evidence in court, the information can be invaluable to your attorney during their own investigation.
Go to the Emergency Room
We can’t emphasize this enough – seek medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t think that you’ve been seriously injured. Here are three major reasons why this is important:
- First, you could have easily sustained injuries that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Internal injuries can be life-threatening or cause fatal complications if they’re not treated right away. By seeing a doctor after your accident, you’re simply making sure that all of your injuries are diagnosed in a timely manner.
- Second, you have a duty to mitigate your injuries. In other words, you have to keep your injuries from getting worse. Liable parties will only be responsible for the injuries they caused. If your injuries worsen or lead to other health issues, you might have a tough time recovering compensation.
- Third, in any injury case, you’ll have to prove that there’s a relationship between an accident and your injuries. When you seek immediate medical care, you’ll automatically generate a medical record. This can be used to establish a causal link and, in turn, help you recover much-needed compensation.
Contact a car accident attorney
Don’t think you have to handle everything on your own. In fact, you shouldn’t handle everything on your own. You need time to come to terms with what happened and focus on getting better. Let an experienced car accident attorney in Houston handle your injury claim. By calling Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., you can give yourself the opportunity to recover while resting assured that your case is in excellent hands.
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., we know that you probably have a lot of questions about your accident, your rights, and your legal options. That’s totally understandable. Unless you have legal training or have been in a serious accident before, there’s really no reason for you to know much about the injury claims process. So, questions are good! Questions are important! The more you know and understand, the better prepared and situated you’ll be to get the money you deserve.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident?
It will certainly help. You’ve got a lot going on right now. You need to focus on getting better, which is tough to do if you’re trying to figure out how to navigate an injury claim. At the same time, having a lawyer on your side can level the playing field and make sure that other parties involved take your case seriously.
At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., our lawyers really care about our clients. We know that we represent people who are struggling. To us, your case is about more than just fighting to get a financial recovery. It’s about helping you get through this tough time. We hope that the support we provide helps in a multitude of ways.
How do I know if I have a case?
Our Houston car accident lawyers offer a free consultation. This gives you an opportunity to get some legal insight and feedback about your case. When you sit down with our team, we will listen to your side of the story and analyze the details you provide. We can help you fully understand your legal rights, as well as provide a preliminary assessment of whether or not you have a case. If you have a case, we can discuss potential legal options for financial recovery and provide an overview of what your injury case might look like.
How long do I have to file?
It depends. If you decide to file a claim for insurance benefits with another driver’s insurance company, you’ll have to move quickly. An insurer will want to be notified that there’s been an accident as soon as possible. Once notice is provided, you will have a limited window of time in which to formally submit a claim for benefits, demand letter, and supporting evidence. The specific amount of time you’ll have can vary, depending on which insurance company is involved. Most require the claim to be submitted within a reasonable amount of time after a crash.
If insurance companies refuse to pay or if your damages exceed policy limits, you might want to consider a personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations that applies to most car accident lawsuits is two years. So, you will generally have a maximum of two years to file a civil claim. The clock will begin to run when you get hurt or discover your injuries, whichever is later. There are certain times when the statute of limitations could be accelerated or extended. However, those are the exceptions, rather than the rule. If you miss the deadline for filing a claim, you’ll be barred from getting any money, at all. The best course of action is to call an attorney for help as soon as you can after your car accident.
What if I was at fault?
First of all, don’t panic. You don’t want to rush to judgment. You only saw the accident from your limited perspective. There may have been other factors that contributed to the collision that you don’t know about. How could you? Knowing why an accident happened and who is to blame can only be discovered through a thorough investigation. So, do not admit fault after a crash. Don’t apologize or say anything that could be used to attribute fault to you. Make sure that everyone is okay and call a car accident lawyer. At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., our attorneys will make sure that your accident is scrutinized from every possible angle.
We’ll work diligently to determine all possible causes. Even if you are to blame, you might not be entirely at fault. Others might share responsibility, too. If they are, we’ll do everything we can to prove it. Texas has modified comparative negligence laws. This means that you can potentially recover compensation from anyone who contributes to an accident as long as you aren’t more than 50% responsible. If you are allocated any blame, your damages will be reduced to reflect that. So, we’ll fight to downplay your role in the collision and minimize the percentage of fault that’s allocated to you. The less fault that’s ultimately attributed to you, the money you can potentially walk away with at the end of the day.
Should I accept a settlement offer?
It depends. Remember, insurance companies are interested in limiting how much money you get after an accident. If they extend an offer right away or before you get an attorney involved, there’s a good chance that it’s for much less than your case is really worth. How can you know? Our lawyers will thoroughly review any settlement offers extended to you by at-fault parties or their insurance providers.
We’ll tell you if we believe, based on your case, we believe that it’s a fair offer. We’ll also discuss whether or not it makes sense to settle now, negotiate further, or push to bring your case to a jury. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind, and we’ll be fully transparent about the pros and cons of accepting and rejecting an offer.
Should I see a doctor after a car accident?
Absolutely. There are several benefits to seeing a doctor after your car accident. First and foremost – your health and wellbeing. After an accident, you might not think that you’ve gotten hurt. Or, you might think that your injuries are relatively minor. However, some injuries aren’t symptomatic right away. Other injuries might not pose an immediate threat to your health, but quietly cause damage from the inside. The only way to avoid complications and keep yourself safe is by making sure that your injuries are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
A simple medical examination can accomplish that. Second, you have a responsibility to mitigate your injuries. You have to keep them from getting worse. If you don’t seek medical attention, that can happen. If you allow your injuries to worsen, at-fault parties will use that to make it difficult for you to recover compensation. They’ll only be liable to the degree they caused your injuries, not for the complications that arose when you didn’t seek help.
Which injuries did they cause, and which are the result of delayed medical care? Figuring that out can be time-consuming, difficult, and costly. Avoid this headache by getting to the emergency room or your doctor’s office right away. Finally, it’s important to seek help right away because, ultimately, you’ll have to prove that your injuries are a result of your car accident. When you visit the ER, there will be a record of your visit. This record will document your injuries and any care you receive. Your lawyers will be able to use this medical record to create a causal link between your injuries and the crash. The less time that lapses between the accident and your trip to the doctor, the stronger the link.
What happens in a personal injury lawsuit?
For most crash victims, insurance is the first source of compensation after an accident. This means that you’ll try to recoup damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company first. There are times when insurance companies deny claims in bad faith or the extent of your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits. That’s when you might have to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit to get the money you need.
The personal injury lawsuit process in Texas is fairly complicated. There are a lot of different rules and procedures that have to be followed. Mistakes can be costly, which is why it’s best to trust an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer with your case. At Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., our lawyers will handle all aspects of your injury case, including:
- Investigating, researching, and crafting a formal legal complaint
- Filing the lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations
- Serving copies of the lawsuit and relevant motions on opposing parties
- Navigating the discovery process, subpoenaing relevant documents and witnesses, and deposing interested parties
- Negotiating with the defendant(s) and interested parties
- Arguing your case before a jury in Houston, if necessary.
It’s true that most personal injury lawsuits settle privately before either side ever has to set foot inside of a courtroom. However, you never want to take the threat of a trial off the table. The thought of having to go head-to-head against our accomplished Houston trial lawyers can make a huge difference in how other parties approach settlement negotiations. It can force them to extend a serious offer, in the hopes that you’ll accept it and avoid a showdown in court.
Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?
Don’t underestimate the costs and consequences associated with a car accident – even one that seems relatively minor. A minor accident, such as a fender bender or low-speed collision, can still cause a lot of damage. You might have suffered injuries and just not know it right away. Those injuries could, over time, get worse and impact your ability to go to work and earn a living. Your car might have sustained more damage than is apparent at first glance. These costs can add up and put you in a really tough financial situation.
If someone else caused your accident, they should be held responsible. So, it helps to bring in a lawyer for help, even after a minor crash. Our Houston lawyers will make sure that your injuries are documented in full and that your accident is subject to a thorough investigation. If your injuries get worse or if the accident costs you anything, we’ll be prepared to move forward with a claim for damages. Remember, there’s no risk in asking for our help after a crash. We work on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf. If you get better, you’ve lost nothing in the process.
Should I get a lawyer for an accident that wasn’t my fault?
Absolutely. Remember, insurance companies would love for you to navigate your claim on your own. They’d much rather deal directly with you than with an attorney who will force them to play by the rules. If you negotiate on your own, insurance companies will attempt to confuse you, make you jump through unnecessary hoops, and try to extend the claim process for as long as they can. They’ll want you to accept a lowball settlement offer or give up before you’ve gotten the money you deserve. Our Houston car accident lawyers won’t stand for those practices.
We’ll stand up to these scrupulous companies and challenge them every step of the way. Our team will present them with solid, expert-backed evidence. When our attorneys are on your side, insurers will know that going to trial is a very real possibility, because we don’t shy away from litigation. So, insurance companies are often more inclined to extend a reasonable settlement offer to avoid court. This, alone, is reason enough to enlist the help of our lawyers, regardless of your role in an accident.
What damages are available after a car accident?
When you’re involved in a car accident in Houston, you’ll likely experience costs as a result. Those costs might be physical, emotional, and/or financial. You shouldn’t have to deal with these consequences on your own. You can potentially demand compensation – or compensatory damages – from anyone who contributed to your crash. This can include money for:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgery (corrective and cosmetic), medication, medical equipment, and devices), and other related costs
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- The cost of replacing or repairing property damaged in the crash
- Lost wages and income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Temporary and/or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring, and more.
Our attorneys will work closely with medical professionals, vocational rehabilitation specialists, mental health authorities, and other experts to make sure that we are able to identify your damages and value them accurately. As part of the valuation process, we want to ensure that we not only determine what your accident costs you today, but how the crash and your injuries will affect you for years to come.
What is pain and suffering?
Some accident-related damages are easy to identify – medical bills, lost wages, property damage. They’re relatively easy to calculate in terms of dollars and cents. Other injuries aren’t so straightforward, like the pain and suffering you endure because of an accident and resulting injuries. This includes your emotional distress and anguish, depression or anxiety, PTSD, embarrassment, and your overall loss of enjoyment of life. You can’t see or touch pain and suffering. These types of injuries are difficult to value because they’re so intimate and personal. They certainly don’t come with receipts. Despite that, pain and suffering are very, very real. And, you’re entitled to be compensated for your pain and suffering after an accident.
How are damages for pain and suffering calculated? Typically, pain and suffering – and other non-economic damages – are calculated after your economic damages have been determined. Insurance companies will take your economic award and apply a multiplier – a number between 1.5 and 5. The more severe your pain and suffering, the higher the multiplier. So, if your economic damages totaled $100,000 and your pain and suffering was quite severe, it might get a multiplier of 4-and-a-half. Your pain and suffering would be valued at $450,000 ($100,000 multiplied by 4.5). In total, you’d be awarded $550,000. For cases that proceed to trial, pain and suffering damages are calculated by a jury.
What if the collision happened on the job?
If you were driving a company car or driving your own car for company purposes at the time of the crash, personal injury lawsuit or claim might become more complicated. That’s because, in Texas, employers can be vicariously liable for accidents involving their employees. So, your employer could potentially be financially responsible for any damage you cause in an accident. Similarly, if the other driver was executing job-related duties at the time of the accident, their employer might be on the hook for your crash-related costs.
Are car accidents covered by Texas workers’ compensation?
Not all employers in Texas are required to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If yours does, and you’re injured in a car accident at work, you can potentially recover no-fault benefits. This means that you (or your family) can receive medical benefits, income benefits, and death benefits, regardless of who caused the accident. What does “at work” mean? It means that your accident occurred in the “course and scope of employment.” This includes any business-related activity that’s done in furtherance of your job duties.
Generally speaking, car accidents that occur while you’re commuting to and from work aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. On the other hand, a crash that occurs while you’re running an errand for your boss or delivering products to a consumer likely would. Claims for workers’ compensation benefits should be straightforward. Sadly, they usually are not. Insurance companies and employers will go to great lengths to draw out claims and limit how much money injured workers receive. At the same time, you might also be entitled to additional compensation through a lawsuit. So, it can be incredibly beneficial to have our Houston personal injury attorneys handle your injury case after an accident. We’ll fight tirelessly to make sure that you recover all of the money you deserve – from a workers’ compensation insurance policy and any at-fault parties.
What is subrogation?
After an accident, your insurance company might cover the costs of your medical bills – even if you weren’t responsible for the crash. Your insurer will probably want to recover those costs from whoever is actually responsible for your injuries. Subrogation refers to an insurance company’s right to do so. Specifically, subrogation means that the insurance company can step into your shoes – so to speak – and pursue monetary damages from a negligent third party. In other words, the insurance company can attempt to get reimbursed for the money it paid to you for your medical bills and other accident-related costs.
What does subrogation mean for you? In most cases, probably not much. Subrogation claims are typically done quietly behind the scenes without you knowing. After all, you more than likely gave your insurer the right to subrogation when you signed up for insurance coverage. However, it’s good to know that you could benefit from subrogation if you paid your insurance provider a deductible after your accident. If your insurer’s subrogation claim is successful, they might have to reimburse you for the amount(s) paid. After all, the at-fault party is responsible for your costs – not you.
What if the other driver had no insurance?
All cars driven in the state of Texas have to be registered. In order to register a car, it must be covered by insurance. So, in theory, all drivers should be insured. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 14% of drivers in Texas are uninsured. Many more might be underinsured, which means that they have insurance, but not enough to satisfy minimums set by state law. What happens when you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver? You’re not out of options. However, getting money can become more involved. Our attorneys will analyze your case from every angle and determine all potential avenues for recovering the money you need.
First, you can potentially recover money from your insurance provider, especially if you opted to add uninsured motorist coverage (UM) to your car insurance policy. UM benefits can cover the costs of an accident involving an uninsured driver (up to your policy limits). Second, the uninsured driver might not be the only one who caused your accident. Our lawyers will investigate your case thoroughly to determine every possible cause and, in turn, identify all liable parties. We can seek compensation from anyone who contributed to your injuries, even slightly. Third, a driver isn’t off the hook just because they don’t have insurance. You can always decide to file a personal injury lawsuit and attempt to hold the driver personally responsible for the harm they’ve caused.
Keep in mind, however, that if a driver is uninsured, they might not have the financial resources to pay you, even if you win your case. For that reason, it often helps to look for other at-fault parties, especially ones with deeper pockets and an ability to pay.
What if the adjuster keeps calling?
Insurance adjusters have one job – to protect insurance company profits. To do that, adjusters have to either deny claims or get crash victims to accept the least amount of money possible. After an accident, you might find that adjusters call you non stop. Why are they doing this? They want to get your case resolved as soon as they can. They want to get you to accept a lowball settlement and move on before you have the chance to hire a lawyer.
So, what should you do if they keep calling? Don’t feel pressured to answer or talk to them. You don’t have to – despite what they might say. You don’t have to give a recorded statement and you don’t have to explain yourself. Red button them and send them to voicemail. Tell your lawyer and have us return the call. Or, answer and firmly explain to the adjuster that all communication must involve your attorney.
How do I obtain a car accident car crash report?
A crash report can be invaluable as you pursue compensation after an accident. So, it will be important to secure a copy. Where should you look? It depends on where you got into your accident. Accidents in Houston: If your crash was within city limits, you’ll have to request a copy of the crash report from the city. After the report is submitted by a Houston Police Officer, it’s typically available within 5 to 8 business days. To get a copy, you’ll have to provide at least two of the following pieces of information: the incident number, date of the crash, location of the accident, and/or the name of someone in the accident.
Accidents in Harris County or Outside of Houston: If your accident took place near Houston, you’ll have to reach out to the County Sheriff or Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). For all accidents that occurred in 2018 or later, DPS crash reports are usually available online, typically within two weeks. To download your copy, you’ll have to provide at least one of the following pieces of information: driver’s name, driver’s license information, vehicle identification number (VIN), or the TxDOT Crash ID. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a small administrative fee to get a copy of your crash report.
What are accident reports used for?
Accident reports can contain a lot of valuable information. This might include:
- The names and addresses of drivers, passengers, and other interested parties
- Witness information and statements
- Insurance information
- The time, date, and location of the crash
- Weather and traffic conditions
- A diagram of the scene or location of the collision
- The officer’s preliminary assessment of fault
- Information regarding citations or tickets issued at the scene, or
- Other details related to the crash.
So, there’s a lot of information there that you might not remember down the line. Our attorneys can use the information contained in this report to help us investigate your accident. It can paint a picture of what happened and point us to evidence that might be relevant to your case. We can also bring in experts to help us understand how certain factors – such as weather conditions or the time of day – might have potentially contributed to your accident.
Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers are Here To Answer Questions
Our attorneys have been helping crash victims for years. In our experience, we’ve found that our clients tend to have a lot of similar questions. We’ve done our best to address some of the questions and concerns we hear most from car accident injury victims like you.
Is there a question we didn’t answer? Call us today for more information.
Texas Personal Injury and Auto Collision Laws to Know
As a driver in Texas, you’re required to drive safely and with caution. This means that you have an obligation to follow any relevant state or local traffic laws.
In the event of an accident, Texas state law imposes certain responsibilities on anyone involved.
Here are a few that you should know:
Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death [Transportation Code § 550.021]
(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person shall:
(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;
(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident;
(3) immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident and, if a person is involved in the accident, whether that person requires aid; and
(4) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
(b) An operator of a vehicle required to stop the vehicle by Subsection (a) shall do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of this section.
IN A NUTSHELL: If an accident caused or might have caused injury or death, drivers are required to stop, check on others involved, render aid if required, and remain at the scene until the crash is reported. [§ 550.021]
Accident Involving Damage to Vehicle [Transportation Code § 550.022]
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary;
(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023 (Duty to Give Information and Render Aid).
IN A NUTSHELL: You must stop and remain at the scene of an accident, even if it only causes damage to vehicles or other property. When you stop, you must do so at a place that doesn’t impede traffic or create a hazard, if possible. If you need to travel a short distance to accomplish that, it’s okay. [§ 550.022]
Duty to Give Information and Render Aid [Transportation Code § 550.023]
The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) give the operators name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operators motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;
(2) if requested and available, show the operator’s drivers license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and
(3) provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.
IN A NUTSHELL: If an accident causes an injury or death, you must stop and exchange your personal details and insurance information with other parties. Additionally, if anyone was injured, you are required to help them secure medical help. That can be accomplished by calling 911 or even driving them to the hospital yourself. [§ 550.023]
Striking an Unattended Vehicle – [Transportation Code § 550.024]
(a) The operator of a vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle shall immediately stop and:
(1) locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle; or
(2) leave in a conspicuous place in, or securely attach in a plainly visible way to, the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.
IN A NUTSHELL: It’s a crime to hit a parked car and drive away without leaving your insurance information in a place where the owner can find it. [§ 550.024]
Striking a Structure, Fixture, or Highway Landscaping – [Transportation Code § 550.025]
(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a structure adjacent to a highway or a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway shall:
- take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the accident and of the operator’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving; and
- if requested and available, show the operator’s drivers license to the owner or person in charge of the property.
IN A NUTSHELL: It’s considered a hit and run if, after you hit a piece of property with your car, you leave the scene without attempting to notify the owner or leaving your insurance information for them to find. [§ 550.025]
Immediate Report of Accident – [Transportation Code § 550.025]
- The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the:
- local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality;
- local police department or the sheriff’s office if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or
- sheriff’s office or the nearest office of the department if the accident is not required to be reported under Subdivision (1) or (2).
IN A NUTSHELL: Any accident that causes injury, death, or significant property damage must be reported to the Houston Police Department or Harris County Sheriff’s Office immediately. [§ 550.026]
Statute of Limitations – Civil Code §16.003
(a) Except as provided by Sections 16.010, 16.0031, and 16.0045, a person must bring suit for trespass for injury to the estate or to the property of another, conversion of personal property, taking or detaining the personal property of another, personal injury, forcible entry and detainer, and forcible detainer not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues.
IN A NUTSHELL: If a car accident is the result of negligence, you will have up to two years to file a lawsuit for damages. The statute of limitations begins to run whenever you discover your injuries. [§16.003]
Liability of a Municipality – Civil Code § 101.0215
A municipality is liable under this chapter for damages arising from its governmental functions, which are those functions that are enjoined on a municipality by law and are given it by the state as part of the states’ sovereignty, to be exercised by the municipality in the interest of the general public, including but not limited to:
(3) street construction and design;
(4) bridge construction and maintenance and street maintenance;
(21) regulation of traffic;
(24) vehicle and motor-driven equipment maintenance;
(25) parking facilities;
(30) engineering functions; and
(31) maintenance of traffic signals, signs, and hazards.
IN A NUTSHELL: You might be able to hold the city of Austin responsible for your accident and injuries. If, for example, the city knew (or should have known) about a hazardous road condition but did nothing to fix it, it could be liable for resulting harm.
If someone involved in your accident failed to obey any relevant traffic laws, that’s something that might be beneficial to your personal injury case. Our attorneys can help you understand how. We’re here and ready to help. All you have to do is give our Houston law office a call to schedule an appointment with our team. As always, your initial consultation is 100% free.
Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Are Available For a Free Consultation
Car accidents can be scary. They can be overwhelming. You shouldn’t have to navigate the aftermath of a crash on your own. Call Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. to find out how our Houston car accident lawyers might be able to help. With more than 45 years of experience combined, our team will do whatever we can to secure the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today to arrange a free case assessment and learn more.
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