Houston Car Accident Lawyer

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Car Accident Injury Lawyers With Decades of Experience Fighting For the Injured

Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., personal injury attorneys can help put your life back together and get you on the road to recovery if you have been injured in a car wreck.  Since 1979, our law firm has helped thousands of clients get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. If you have been in a car accident in the greater Houston-Katy-Woodlands areas, call the trial lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today for your free consultation at 1-800-298-0111. You pay no fees nor expenses unless we make a recovery.

Texas Car Accident Fatality Statistics

How many car accident deaths per year? There were 38,824 people killed in car accidents in 2020 across the United States.  In 2020, there were 3,619 people killed in auto accidents in Texas alone. This number is almost double the 1,876 people killed in Texas car wrecks in 2019. Despite pandemic traffic decreases, fatal crashes have increased dramatically in the Lone Star State.

Most Common Type Of Accidents in Houston

Not all car accidents are the same. They vary depending upon the vehicle you are operating, the vehicle the other driver is operating, the insurance coverage available or the driver’s mental state and/or degree of intoxication. Not all car accident attorneys you hire for accidents and injuries are the same either. You need an attorney with decades of experience handling the tricks that adjusters will throw at you. Here are some of the different types of accidents we handle:

Types Of Car Accident Injuries We Handle in Houston

There are multiple types of injuries victims of car accidents can experience. The following are the most common types of injuries our attorneys handle.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?

We handle car accidents in Houston every day. We also offer a free consultation and we charge no fees unless we make a recovery. We always fight to make a recovery for you while assisting you to obtain the medical care you need to get on with your life. Our team can help make your road to recovery easier by:

  • helping you get the medical care you need
  • cutting through the red tape and filing all available insurance claims
  • pursuing compensation for all of your losses
  • locating the responsible parties
  • investigating the causes of the wreck
  • proving liability
  • drafting a demand letter
  • negotiating a settlement
  • negotiating liens
  • litigating the case

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    Do I Need A Houston Car Accident Attorney for My Car Accident Injury?

    While there are many considerations in deciding whether to hire an attorney, you should consider these two factors:

    • Were you physically injured and to what extent? There more serious the injuries are, the more likely you need legal representation.
    • Do you have the means to get the medical care you need now? Insurance companies usually expect you to come out-of-pocket to get medical care after a wreck and settle the case at the end. This can cause a great financial burden on the victim–making it impossible to get the care you need. Insurance companies will then use your delay in getting care against you.

    Injury claims are often hotly contested by insurance companies even where liability is clear.  Thus, if you were involved in an auto accident and suffered serious injuries, you cannot leave it up to the other party or their insurance company to fairly compensate you. Non-injury accidents or accidents requiring little or no medical care with undisputed liability may not require an attorney.

    Sadly, many people wait to talk to an automobile accident lawyer until after they have attempted to handle the case on their own with a friendly insurance adjuster who promised they would take full responsibility for the accident. These same adjusters will often return with an offer that doesn’t even begin to cover your out-of-pocket medical expenses much less compensate you for car accidents with pain and suffering.

    These tactics cause you to delay in collecting and preserving critical evidence you should have gathered from the start. Even worse, they cause you to delay in getting the medical care you need. The absence of evidence and the delays are then used against you to justify a low-ball offer when it comes time to settle the case. This is why you should get a lawyer involved right away, especially when you have sustained injuries. Even what seems to be a simple rear-end accident can be a battle with insurance companies in Texas.

    How Much Does Hiring an Attorney for a Car Accident in Houston Cost?

    In Houston, Lawyers for car accidents are typically paid a percentage of what they recover plus they get reimbursed for any expenses they payout along the way. The percentage you pay is determined by the contract and typically varies depending upon when and how the recovery is made.

    Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. works on a contingency fee and way pay all the litigation expenses upfront.  This means that you pay nothing unless we make a recovery in your case. And, if we do not make a recovery in your case, we eat our expenses.

    Contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today for a free consultation.

    Steps You Should Take If You’ve Been In A Car Accident in Houston

    The six steps you should take after a car wreck are:

    • Assess the injures and seek medical care
    • Move the vehicles out of the road if it can be done safely
    • Contact the police and request a report be done
    • Photograph the scene and injuries
    • Obtain a copy of the police report
    • Call an Attorney for your Car Accident

    Should I Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Car Accident in Houston?

    If you are involved in an automobile accident you need to assess all injuries and determine if an ambulance is required. Often, individuals experience a rush of adrenaline after a car accident and do not feel their injuries until time has passed. Remaining safe after a car accident is the most important thing, so any injuries sustained should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.

    Should I Move My Car After I’ve Been In A Car Accident?

    If you can steer it, clear it. That is the rule in Texas. If you can safely move the vehicles out of traffic to a safe area, you should do so. If you cannot do so safely, you can wait for the police to arrive to assist in this process.

    Should I Contact the Houston Police After a Car Accident?

    Always call the police when an accident occurs. Regardless of the severity, be sure to request an accident report. This helps ensure no facts about the accident can be skewed. Some habitually bad drivers use fake insurance information and may change their story after the accident. This is just one step you can take to protect yourself from this kind of negligence.

    What Should I Photograph After A Car Accident Collision in Houston?

    Take photos of everything involved in the car accident. Use your phone to take pictures of the following:

    • The vehicles
    • The defendant
    • The other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license
    • The police officer’s name and badge number
    • License plates
    • Business cards of the wrecker driver, witnesses, and officer

    One of the great aspects of smartphones is having a quick convenient way to document things at your fingertips.

    From property damage to insurance cards, documenting each aspect of the initial accident can help ensure you are fully protected. Storing the information in your phone can be beneficial since little things like cards and written notes can be lost easily in the wake of a car accident. Additionally, you should just down in the notes section of your phone the name, address, and phone number of any eyewitnesses.

    Obtaining a Crash Report in Houston

    All police reports associated with car accidents in Texas eventually end up in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Reporting and Analysis for Safer Highways (C.R.A.S.H.) where you can download them online.  The time it takes to get a report may vary depending upon what city or county department the report comes from, but 7-14 days is the norm unless there are special circumstances. Sometimes, you can obtain a copy of the police accident report sooner by contacting the local department that investigated the collision. Below are links to pages with more detail on obtaining accidents locally:

    Download a Free Accident Checklist

    car accidentWe have created a free one-page checklist that you can keep in your glove box in the event you are involved in a collision. This will help remind you of everything you need to document when the time comes. Download the free Car Accident Checklist now.

    How is the Value of an Auto Accident Claim Determined in Houston, Texas?

    There is no exact formula for determining the amount of a car accident settlement in Houston, TX. Factors that contribute to a settlement amount include:

    • The severity of a person’s injuries, scarring, disfigurement, pain, and emotional duress.
    • The cost of necessary medical expenses and predictable future medical expenses
    • The total amount of your property damage
    • The total amount of your lost wages and lost earning capacity
    • How much you contribute to the cause of the accident
    • Your lawyer’s ability to present evidence and argue your case

    Each accident has unique circumstances that will impact the amount of a claim. As a “fault” insurance state, the laws in Texas allow an injured person to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Furthermore, Texas law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. However, the presence of insurance coverage does not mean a person will recover the entire amount of the policy.

    Filling A Car Wreck Claim in Houston

    The typical life of a
    car accident claim

    Typical Life of a Car Accident Claim Infographic

    How Much Auto Insurance is Required in Houston, TX?

    Title 7 of the Texas Transportation Code sets minimum coverage amounts for Texas drivers at $30,000 for injury to one person in an accident, with a total of $60,000 for two or more people injured. It must also provide $25,000 for damage or destruction of property.

    While Texas law requires this level of insurance, there are many circumstances where this insurance would be insufficient. For instance, hospital bills for severe injuries can easily add up to $75,000 or more, or a car accident may cause damage to several vehicles or buildings that exceed the $25,000 minimum. Still, other accidents may involve drivers without insurance at all. For this reason, we recommend additional coverage for any driver who can manage it. Supplemental insurance should include underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage.

    It is important to remember that liability insurance only covers the other party’s injuries and property damage. If you are at fault for the accident and are also injured, your liability coverage will not compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, or damage to your car. Supplemental insurance policies include:

    • Collision Insurance – this policy will cover the cost to repair your car if you cause an accident
    • Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Insurance – this policy covers your injuries and property damage when you are involved in an accident that was caused by a driver without insurance or whose insurance did not cover all of your damages.
    • Comprehensive Insurance – This policy covers the cost to repair or replace your car if it is stolen or damaged by weather, fire, or other incidents not included in collision insurance.
    • Medical Coverage Insurance – this policy will cover medical and/or funeral expenses incurred from an auto accident regardless of fault. If you collect from an insurance claim against the at-fault party, you must reimburse your medical insurance coverage company.

    What is Auto Insurance Bad Faith?

    An insurance company is prohibited from engaging in certain tactics to deny or delay claims under state Insurance Codes, particularly when it is your own insurance company. Violations of these provisions are considered insurance bad faith. These actions may include:

    • Making slow, late, or incorrect payments
    • Denying valid claims
    • Canceling policies or refusing renewals
    • Denying of necessary medical treatment
    • Lying about policy coverage

    These tactics are unethical and often illegal. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) sets strict standards for insurance companies that protect consumers and accident victims. If you believe an insurance company has treated you unfairly, you can file a formal complaint with the TDI.

    Having an attorney on your side can help you steer through these unethical tactics. At Simmons and Fletcher, we know the law and we know how to get insurance companies to pay what they owe you. Simply having a good accident attorney on your side will often discourage insurance adjusters from engaging in these tactics.

    Why Won’t My Auto Insurance Company Pay for My Medical Care as I Go?

    Auto insurance companies often refuse to pay your medical as you get the care because it is in their best interests for you to not get the care you need timely. By doing so, you reduce the potential settlement value of your case.  They also know that delays and gaps in care make juries second guess whether you were really hurt. Thus, stalling your case is in their best interest and saves them money in the long run.

    Do I Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Accepts Full Responsibility for the Collision?

    Accepting full responsibility does not mean the insurance company will pay you a fair settlement for your pain and suffering. Having a lawyer to advise you can keep the adjusters from getting away with tricks that devalue your claim.

    When an adjuster tells you ‘we take full responsibility,’ it does not mean they will pay all of your medical bills and compensate you fairly for other losses from your car accident. Liability is rarely the biggest fight. Insurance adjusters know that just because their client is liable for causing the accident, doesn’t mean they must pay for all of the medical care that you receive. They will fight you over the value of the medical services regardless of what the doctor or hospital actually charged you. This is why having an experienced car accident lawyer fighting for your rights can make a big difference.

    Is the Other Parties Insurance Responsible for All of My Medical Bills in Houston?

    Texas law only requires the other party to pay for the reasonable and necessary medical care that is caused by the collision. If you fail to seek medical care promptly or you seek alternative medicine instead of medical care that conforms with accepted medical care guidelines, defendants can use your actions or omissions against you to convince a jury to not award you all of your bills. Your best course of action is to seek prompt, appropriate care if you have been injured.

    Additionally, you need to be aware that the Texas Supreme Court has recently ruled that insurance companies do not have to accept and pay the full bill that you incur from a medical provider even though you have no control over the charges. They can now use a computer program to challenge even the emergency room bills to show that they are above the ‘average’ rates that doctors routinely accept. By doing so, you could get left owing the hospital more than the insurance company is ordered to pay even by a jury! You need a lawyer fighting for your rights because when it comes to holding insurance companies responsible, the deck is stacked against you in Texas.

    Do I Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Pays My Property Damage?

    Payment of property damage to your vehicle is not an admission of liability for your personal injuries suffered in an accident. A lawyer can still fight for compensation and advise you on how not to do things that might harm your case.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking an insurance adjuster is going to treat you fairly on your personal injury claim just because they promptly paid for the damage to your car. Paying for property damage before denying an injury claim is a common tactic used to try to prevent a jury from ever seeing photos of the property damage. When your case goes to trial, you are typically not even allowed to tell the jury that the insurance company paid for the property damage their insured caused.

    Do I Need an Attorney if the Houston Police Ticketed the Other Driver?

    Yes. A traffic citation is not admissible to prove fault unless the offending driver admits to the crime in open court. Since they usually plead no contest, rarely are traffic tickets admitted into evidence. Moreover, the fight is often over damages, not fault.

    Should I Give a Recorded Statement?

    Do not ever give a recorded statement without having an attorney who represents you present. Recorded statements can be used against you. Your own company’s insurance adjuster or the other parties involved may use recorded statements to deny your claim or trick you into settling your claim before you know all of the long-term effects associated with your injuries.

    Can the Insurance Company Refuse to Disclose Policy Limits in Houston?

    Each state is different. In many states like Texas, insurance companies do not have to tell you how much insurance coverage their insured has unless you file a lawsuit and force them to disclose the policy limits under oath.  Thus, if your damages are likely to exceed $30,000 (the minimum limits required), you may need to file a lawsuit to find out how much coverage there really is.

    Do I Have to Reimburse My Health Insurance Company?

    You may have an obligation to pay back your health insurance company out of any settlement or judgment. If you have health insurance, the policy usually contains what is known as a subrogation clause. In plain language, this means that both you and the car insurance company may have an obligation to reimburse your health insurance company out of your settlement.

    Beware: The insurance adjuster does not have to tell you before you accept a settlement offer that a chunk of that offer must be paid directly by the auto liability insurer to your health insurer, leaving you with little or nothing.

    Should I Sign a Release Without Legal Counsel?

    It is best to have an attorney review all releases before you sign so that you completely understand what you are giving up. When you sign a Release, it is legally binding. When an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement in exchange for signing a release, you are giving up all of your rights specified in the release for injuries you know of now, as well as those you discover in the future. Don’t sign a property damage release until you are sure they have covered all of the damage and you have verified that your bodily injury claim is not incorporated in the release.

    Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

    While we urge you to hire an attorney to deal with the insurance adjuster for you, here are some helpful tips if you choose to deal with them on your own.

    • Don’t delay. Don’t wait to get medical attention or a quote for car repairs. Long delays can negatively impact your case and make adjusters less likely to take your claim seriously. If you suspect an injury, go to a doctor immediately and get documentation of the costs you incurred and any diagnosis or treatment plans. Get a detailed quote from a reputable auto shop to repair your car.
    • Get a Free Consultation. Even if you choose not to hire a personal injury attorney, the advice you receive during a free consultation can get you started in the right direction and prepare you for the process ahead.
    • Avoid hostility. This can be trickier than it sounds. If you’re trying to deal with an insurance adjuster, chances are you’re injured and worried about how to pay medical bills and get your car fixed. You may be unable to work or without insurance coverage to help get you on your feet. Playing polite may seem impossible, but anger and threats will not move your case forward. Even if the adjuster seems rude or callous, try to remain calm and professional.
    • Be prepared. Insurance adjusters answer to shareholders who want to increase their own profits and keep payouts low. The adjuster’s low settlement offer isn’t a personal insult. Be prepared to decline an unfair offer and offer evidence for why a larger settlement is necessary.
    • Remember that settlements are forever. Once you sign a settlement offer and accept the check, it’s too late to hire a lawyer to get more money. Make sure the settlement covers your current and future damages. If you cannot return to work for some time because of your injury or require ongoing medical treatment, make sure your settlement covers those expenses.

    What Damages Can I Recover in a Houston Car Accident?

    Texas law allows for the recovery of many kinds of damages. If you have suffered injuries due to an auto collision, you are entitled to assert a claim for the following damages:

    • Lost Wages & Lost Wage Earning Capacity
    • Pain & Suffering
    • Mental Anguish/Emotional Distress
    • Medical Expenses
    • Scarring & Disfigurement

    What Damages Can My Spouse Recover in a Houston Car Wreck?

    When you suffer a serious injury, spouses have the ability to assert claims for the following:

    • Loss of Consortium
    • Loss of Household Services
    • Loss of Spousal Support
    • Loss of Inheritance
    • Wrongful Death

    Types of Accidents

    There are many different ways auto collisions may occur.  Each type of wreck may present its own unique facts and circumstances that a car accident lawyer must weigh in determining liability in your case.  Our car accident attorneys have familiarity with all of these. You can learn more about the unique issues in your case below:

    Keep in mind that there are many reasons automobile accidents happen. There can be more than one cause of an automobile collision. Juries are often asked to sort out multiple causes and apportion liability among two or more drivers.

    What Does a Lawyer Consultation for My Car Accident Cost?

    Most accident attorneys offer free consultations.  Thus, It costs you NOTHING to speak to our lawyers. You need to know the consequences of your actions before you go down the wrong path and do damage to your own case. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we offer a 100% FREE initial consultation. You can come in and speak with an attorney about your car accident. We will tell you what to expect and what to look out for.

    At the end of your car accident consultation, if you decide not to hire us you do not owe us a dime. If you do decide to hire us, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means our fee is a percentage of the recovery we make on your case. If we do not make a recovery, you do not pay us a dime. Call 1-800-298-0111 to set up your consultation today.

    Houston, TX Autonomous Vehicle Liability Issues

    Are Driverless Passenger Vehicles Legal in Houston, TX?

    Texas law specifically states that ‘no human is required’ to operate a fully autonomous vehicle on a public roadway.  Texas Transportation Code 545.453 further states:

    1) the vehicle owner is the vehicle operator under the law, and

    2) the vehicle is considered a licensed driver under the law.

    Who is Liable When an Autonomous Vehicle Causes an Accident in Houston?

    When an autonomous vehicle causes a collision, the most likely liable person is the vehicle owner. The owner of the vehicle is considered the vehicle driver for purposes of traffic safety law compliance, thus, in the event of a traffic violation that would be considered negligence, the owner may be held liable for the vehicle’s actions. Texas Transportation Code 545.453.

    Can the Manufacturer of an Autonomous Vehicle be Held Liable When a Driverless Vehicle Crashes?

    If the collision was due to a defect in the vehicle or its navigation system, then there may be a direct cause of action under Texas product liability law against the manufacturer or designer. However, under Texas product liability law, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product manufacturer or seller is not liable for any injury if the product manufacturer or seller establishes that the product’s formula, labeling, or design in question complied with applicable mandatory federal safety standards. To get around the presumption, one must prove that:

    (1)  the mandatory federal safety standards or regulations applicable to the product were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage; or

    (2)  the manufacturer, before or after marketing the product, withheld or misrepresented information or material relevant to the federal government’s or agency’s determination of the adequacy of the safety standards or regulations at issue in the action.

    Only after this is met, does the injured party get to move forward and try to prove there was a product defect.  This burden is extremely high and such a case very costly to pursue.

    What Are the Minimum Insurance Requirements for Autonomous Vehicles in Texas?

    Autonomous vehicles are only required to carry the same minimum insurance limits as vehicles with drivers in Texas. So, a passenger car need only carry a 30,000/60,000 liability policy whereas commercial vehicles must comply with the state and federally mandated requirements for commercial motor vehicles. Fleet operators may also operate fully automated vehicles under a self-insured plan that complies with Texas self-insured laws. Texas Transportation Code 545.454(b)(5).

    What if I Only Have Property Damage?

    property damage claims guide

    Download our free property damage claim guide.

    If you have damage to your vehicle but no one was injured, you will likely need to handle the claim on your own. Like most personal injury lawyers, we do not take cases that involve property damage but no injuries. However, you can download a copy of our free property damage claim guide to help you get the most out of your claim on your own.

    Why Do Lawyers in Houston Not Take Property Damage Only Claims?

    The law is pretty clear that the obligation of a party who is 100% at fault is simply to return the car to pre-accident condition. This means that if the car is totaled, they pay you the fair market value as of the day of the wreck. If it is not totaled, they pay to repair it.  If you have to pay a lawyer out of the property damage settlement, you will likely not be left with enough to repair or replace the vehicle.

    Additional Resources

    If you would like to learn more about filing car accident claims, please read: Tips for Filing Claims Against Insurance Companies

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