When the fault of another driver causes a car accident, legal action may be taken to hold them responsible. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving injury, death or property damage, you should contact a Houston car accident attorney for legal advice. You may be entitled to compensation from the other driver and their insurance provider.
Houston Car Accident Resources
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What Types of Injuries Can Give Rise to a Lawsuit?
You may have grounds to file a car accident claim in Houston if you’ve been diagnosed with any type of injury from a car crash that was caused by someone else. Car accidents may result in several different types of personal injuries. These are devastating events that can inflict injuries that stay with the victim for life. Common injuries include:
Aggravation of existing health issues
Property damage to the body of the vehicle, mechanical parts of the vehicle, clothing, personal belongings, accessories, and jewelry among other things may also result from a car accident. Anyone who has experienced damage, loss or injury caused by another driver may have a claim for damages.
Who Pays for a Car Accident in Houston, Texas?
Determining who is responsible for paying for your crash requires an understanding of Texas’s insurance laws. There are two systems: fault and no-fault. All but 12 states use a fault law. Texas is in the majority as a fault-based or tort-based state. Under this insurance rule, after a car accident, the driver or party most at fault for causing the crash pays for the damage using his or her automobile insurance. All drivers in Texas are required to carry at least the following amounts of insurance:
$30,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury per person
$60,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury per accident
$25,000 in coverage for property damage
This is what’s known as 30/60/25 coverage. Other types of insurance are optional for Texas drivers, such as uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage. To receive benefits from another driver’s car insurance, you must prove that that driver is at fault for your crash using clear and convincing evidence. If someone other than a driver caused your crash, they may have to pay for your losses through their insurance, instead. Even when an accident is caused by a state or local government entity, our attorneys can help.
How Much Do Houston Car Accident Lawyers Cost?
One of the main concerns you may have after a vehicle accident occurs is how you could possibly afford an attorney to help with your case. After all, most people think that attorneys are much too expensive to use on a regular basis. However, a personal injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm will handle your claim on a contingency fee basis.
When an attorney takes a case on a contingency fee basis, this means that they will be the ones to handle all the upfront and out-of-pocket costs related to the vehicle accident. This includes covering the investigation, filing fees, any prep work, negotiations with insurance carriers, and preparing for a trial by jury if necessary. The personal injury victim doesn’t have to worry about any of these costs, and they will not even have to worry about legal fees until after their attorney successfully recovers the compensation they are entitled to. The attorney will collect an agreed-upon percentage out of the final settlement or jury verdict to cover the legal fees.
What to Expect From a Car Insurance Company
Even if the fault for your car accident is clear, you may encounter issues obtaining fair financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. This is because insurance providers are for-profit companies that tend to care more about their bottom lines than their clients. It is important to know what to expect from an insurance company during the recovery process so that there are no unwelcome surprises. Use these tips for dealing with an insurer during your car accident claim:
Be wary of the insurance claims adjuster. This is the person assigned to review your case. He or she works for the insurance company and does not have your best interests in mind.
Keep your answers to questions short and simple. Don’t offer up any information that is not specifically requested.
Politely say no when asked to give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster. This is a tactic used to twist your own words around and use them against you later.
Don’t admit fault for the car accident. Even if you fear that you contributed to the crash, don’t confess any guilt to the insurance company.
Don’t rush into a fast settlement. The initial settlement offer is often lower than a crash victim deserves, as the insurer anticipates counteroffers and negotiations.
If you do not wish to deal with an insurance claims adjuster on your own after a car accident, you have the right to hire a lawyer to take over these conversations for you. Your lawyer can communicate with a car insurance company on your behalf, preventing bad-faith insurance tactics and protecting your right to recover fair and full financial compensation.
When Should You Hire a Houston Car Accident Attorney?
It can be confusing to understand when to hire an attorney after a vehicle accident occurs. Often, individuals think that the insurance claims process will go smoothly and that they can handle the situation on their own. However, insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with, and they will likely put up a fight from having to pay out fair compensation for your claim.
We suggest at least speaking to an attorney for an initial consultation very soon after the incident occurs. After you are medically stable and the scene has cleared, one of your first phone calls should be to a skilled lawyer who can advise you about what to do next. An attorney can examine every aspect of your claim and help determine the best steps moving forward, including whether or not it would make sense for an attorney to take the case.
If you decide not to work with an attorney when you first start your claim with the insurance carrier but later realize that you may need some help in order for the claim to be successful, there is no problem contacting an attorney. You can call a lawyer anytime you feel pressure from the other parties or if you feel like you are not receiving a good deal. However, keep in mind that the earlier an attorney gets involved, the more likely your case will be successful earlier. We know how important it is that you receive the compensation you are entitled to as quickly as possible.
Top Causes of Houston Car Accidents
Determining the cause of your car accident in Houston is necessary before you can begin the claims process by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Most car accidents throughout Texas are avoidable. They happen when someone is negligent, or fails to use the right amount of care. Driver error is the number one cause of vehicle collisions in Houston, Texas. Common causes of car crashes include:
Once you determine the cause of your accident and identify the defendant, you or your lawyer will need to gather evidence proving that another party caused or significantly contributed to your accident with at least a 51 percent certainty. This is known as a preponderance of the evidence, and it is the burden of proof in all car accident cases in Texas. An attorney from The Doan Law Firm can help you meet this burden by collecting clear and convincing evidence immediately after your crash.
How Many Car Accidents Occur Annually in Texas?
When we examine information available from the Texas Department of Transportation, we can see that there was one crash every 57 seconds across the state during the latest year of data we have on file. Overall, there were 552,224 total crashes reported in Texas during the lasted year of information available.
Unfortunately, these incidents led to 4,489 total fatalities. Overall, there were approximately 240,000 individuals injured and crashes across Texas during that same year, and out of those injuries, around 20,000 were considered serious.
Looking further into these statistics, we can see that individuals inside vehicles are not the only people affected by these crashes. 521 motorcyclists, 824 pedestrians, and 90 bicyclists lost their lives as a result of crashes during that same reporting year.
The data indicate that speeding remains the leading cause of vehicle crashes, though 24% of all motor vehicle accident deaths involved a driver under the influence of alcohol.
Which Texas Counties Are the Most Dangerous to Drive In?
Looking more in-depth at the data provided by the Texas DOT, we can see that there are certain counties across the state that present more hazards for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists than others. When looking at the total number of crashes, we can see that the deadliest counties are as follows:
Harris – 114,674
Dallas – 55,634
Bexar – 46,3836
Tarrant – 30,696
El Paso – 18,404
Travis – 16,838
Collin – 12,204
Denton – 11,380
Montgomery – 10,684
Please do not take these numbers and think that other counties across the state are not hazardous for drivers. Any other area is certainly going to present the same types of risks as these areas, though maybe not as widespread, particularly in the more rural areas of the state. No matter where you are, defensive driving should be your number one tactic for avoiding accidents. Even if the roadways are fairly clear, dangers can pop up where you least expect them.
How Can a Houston Car Accident Attorney Help?
Attorneys with experience representing victims of car accidents can assist with recovering damages against the other driver. An experienced attorney will know the necessary elements which must be shown to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit. They will also be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your potential case to help you make an informed decision about your situation.
The court system is complex and requires all participants to comply with rules of evidence and procedure. Attorneys can make sure that your case complies with all of the rules. They will also make sure that the other driver and insurance companies likewise follow the rules.
Attorneys have experience negotiating settlement offers and presenting a case at trial if settlement negotiations fail. Car accident cases can involve technical aspects which require the careful attention to detail an experienced attorney can provide. An experienced attorney will know how to prepare for trial and effectively present your case to the judge or jury.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Accept at The Doan Law Firm
It’s important to find an attorney who has experience with your specific type of case. If you get injured in an automobile accident, you need to hire a lawyer who has represented clients with your type of crash. As the biggest personal injury law firm in Texas, with offices from McAllen to Amarillo, The Doan Law Firm has lawyers and staff members with experience in many different types of vehicle collisions. We handle all of the following, and more:
Regardless of the specific details of your crash, consult with our lawyers to find out how we can help. Our Houston car accident lawyers are prepared to take any case, no matter how complicated. Whether you need to go up against a vehicle manufacturer, government entity or another driver for compensation for your wreck, we can represent you with aggressive legal strategies.
What Elements Must Be Shown to Recover Damages?
In order to be successful in recovering damages from another driver, you must be able to prove certain elements. These elements are: 1) duty of care, 2) breach of duty, 3) causation and 4) damages. In general, you must show that the other driver drove in a manner or did something else to cause the damages. Proving this can sometimes be difficult without certain types of evidence to show the fault of the other driver.
The fault of the other driver can be demonstrated through many different methods. In some cases, the other driver will make statements to prove fault, such as “I wasn’t paying attention.” Fault may also be shown through eyewitness testimony or expert witnesses who can determine fault based on their experience and the available facts.
Often, the most difficult element to prove is that the other driver caused the damages or injuries. The doctors, nurses, or paramedics who provided treatment can provide insight into this issue since they observed the injuries firsthand. Also, expert witnesses may be called to show a connection between the accident and the injuries.
How Are Damages Determined?
Because every car accident is different, there is no set amount or formula to determine the amount of damages. Some damages can easily be identified, such as medical expenses and car repair costs. Other damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement are more difficult to determine. An attorney can assess your situation and compare the damages you sustained to other cases to give you an idea of how much you may receive. Also, there are expert witnesses available who are able to place a money amount on these types of damages.
Sometimes insurance providers will agree to pay out damages on behalf of the other driver. While policies typically have limits on how much that can be paid, sometimes an attorney can negotiate a fair settlement amount that the insurance provider will pay. Payment from the insurance company is beneficial because the payment is guaranteed and will not be delayed. In some cases, an attorney can arrange for quick resolution through this method.
Steps to Take After a Houston Car Accident
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver in Houston, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled lawyer as soon as possible. However, there are various steps that you can take both immediately after the crash and in the days and weeks that follow that can help ensure that you recover in the most compensation you can.
Get to safety. It is crucial that you get to safety and check yourself and your passengers for injuries right away. If your vehicle is able to move but in a dangerous situation in the middle of a busy highway, you may need to pull to the center or the shoulder of the road. However, if the vehicle is disabled, you may have to get out and get to the safest location. If you cannot get to a safe location, remain inside the vehicle.
Call 911. You need to dial 911 and let the dispatcher know that an accident has occurred and where you are located. Give them as much information as possible so they can direct the appropriate resources to your location.
Seek medical treatment. It is vital that you seek medical treatment after a vehicle accident occurs. Even if you do not feel much pain right away, that does not necessarily mean you have not sustained an injury. Either immediately take an ambulance to the hospital for an evaluation or, if your injuries are not catastrophic, you need to go to an emergency clinic or emergency room on your own for an evaluation. The signs and symptoms of some of these injuries may not appear until hours or days later, but having that medical visit linking the incident to any injuries you sustain is important.
Gather evidence. If you can do so at the scene of the incident, gather as much evidence as you can. You can use your cell phone to take photographs of everything at the scene, including vehicle damage, debris, your injuries, traffic and weather conditions, causes of the incident, and more. If there are any eyewitnesses you see, get their names and contact information written down immediately.
Report to your insurance carrier. You need to contact your insurance carrier to let them know the incident occurred. Do not go into much detail with your first interaction, but they need to know who was involved.
Call an attorney. Reach out to a skilled Houston vehicle accident lawyer who can help guide you through this entire process.
Continue medical treatment. You must continue all medical treatment prescribed by a doctor until after you have fully recovered, or at least recovered as much as you can with medical treatment.
The Doan Law Firm Can Help With Your Car Accident Case
The Houston personal injury attorneys at The Doan Law Firm have represented many victims of car accidents. They are familiar with the issues which commonly arise and the appropriate amount of damages in car accident lawsuits. If you are a victim of a car accident as a result of another driver, contact The Doan Law Firm to schedule a consultation. Their attorneys can review your case and provide advice about the likelihood of success in a claim against the other driver.