Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Protecting Your Rights
In 2021, 42,939 people lost their lives in car accidents. Insurance companies are not in the business of fairly compensating people injured in a car wreck–no matter how negligent the other driver was. A car accident lawyer balances the playing field by fighting for your rights when someone else causes a wreck and injures you. If you have been injured in an auto accident, Our car accident lawyers are based in Houston and can help put your life back together and get you the financial compensation you need to get you on the road to recovery.
There are many injury & accident law firms to choose from in Houston, Texas, but few can say they have been exclusively speaking up for the injured since 1979.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers today. Dial 800-298-0111 to schedule your free car accident consultation now.
Our Award Winning Houston Car Accident Lawyers With Decades Of Experience
Paul H. Cannon tried his first car accident trial in 1996 and is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has tried over 50 car accident injury cases to verdict and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in Texas Monthly Magazine by Thompson-Reuters from 2017 to 2021 and Top 100 Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association from 2017 to 2021.
Sharon Simmons-Cantrell earned her Texas bar license in 1991 and has been practicing personal injury law with Simmons and Fletcher ever since. She was recognized as a Top Lawyer by H Texas Magazine from 2013-2019. Her years of experience working on motor vehicle accidents in this field give her great insight and understanding of what her clients endure and how to help them.
Christopher Keith Fletcher earned his law degree from Baylor Law School and passed the bar in 2009. Since then his relentless aggressive representation of clients has earned him recognition published in Texas Monthly Magazine as a Rising Star by Thompson-Reuters in 2020 to 2023 and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney by the National Trial Lawyers Association 2016-2023.
Schedule a Free Case Consultation
You don't pay unless we win
Most Common Types of Car Accidents in Houston, TX
Not all car accidents and injuries are the same. Types of car accidents vary depending on 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. Types of car accident injuries vary based on the vehicles involved and the severity of the car crash.
Not every auto accident attorney in Houston is the same either. You need a car crash lawyer near you with experience handling the tricks that insurance adjusters will throw at you. Here are some of the common types of accidents in Houston that we handle on behalf of our clients:
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Dram Shop Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Uber Accidents
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
- Passenger Claims
- Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
Five Common Reasons Car Accidents Happen
Five of the common reasons we see car accidents happen are:
- Running Stops Signs & Lights
- Sideswipe Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Wrong-Way Driving Accidents
A complete list can be found at: Tips of Filing Accident Claims.
Common Types of Injuries vs Uncommon Injuries
Our car accident attorneys have years of experience handling cases involving injuries ranging from common whiplash of the neck to the most serious brain injuries and even death. Keep in mind, that while many injury law firms know how to file insurance claims, an experienced injury attorney can help you document the full future impact of your injury and seek a recovery that considers your future needs. From brain injuries to broken bones to simple soft tissue injuries, our attorneys have seen it all. Some of the types of injuries that we have helped people recover from over the years include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI is a very serious injury that can be mild or severe. It may be a result of the impact or as a result of the skull being bounced back and forth in an impact.
- Bone Fracture. Broken bones are very common in car wrecks ranging from fingers all the way up to the spine.
- Whiplash Rear-end collisions and head-on collisions commonly cause a whipping of the head back and forth that may result in the tearing of the soft tissues and ligaments along the neck and back. This is probably the most common injury in a car wreck.
- Retinal Detachment/Eye Injury. Eye injuries such as a detached retina occur when occupants are thrown face-first into the dash, steering wheel, back of a headrest, or even the airbags. Flying glass can easily get into the eye and cause issues as well.
- Disfigurement & Scarring. Any contact with parts of the car in the impact may result in lacerations that require surgery/stitches.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. The spine is not made to be a crash test dummy. Injuries including herniated discs, bulging discs, ruptured discs, broken vertebrae, and even paralysis may result from blows to the spinal cord.
- Ruptured Spleen. Direct blunt-force trauma to the abdomen from the steering wheel, dash, or airbags can cause the spleen to tear and allow blood to pour into the abdomen.
- Amputation/Limb Loss. The loss of a finger or limb may result from a serious impact, particularly with 18-wheelers and other large commercial motor vehicles.
- Catastrophic Injury. Injuries that have a life-long effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal everyday functions may occur in a serious auto accident.
What Do Our Clients Say About Us?
Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “This firm is very efficient and nice to work with. I was kept in the know on every aspect of the case. I would recommend this firm for their knowledge and expertise.”
– Rebecca P., actual client.
Working With Insurance Companies After Your Car Accident in Houston
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. It is their job to devalue your case.
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. These same adjusters will often return with an offer that doesn’t even begin to cover your out-of-pocket expenses and may stop returning your emails and calls when you do not sign your rights away.
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 getting the medical care you need. The absence of evidence and the delays are then used against you to justify a lowball offer when it comes time to settle the case. This is why you should get an aggressive lawyer involved right away, especially when you have sustained injuries.
Non-injury accidents or accidents requiring little or no medical care with undisputed liability are claims you may be able to handle on your own without a lawyer. But if you are injured, you need an experienced Houston car accident lawyer on your side.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you still have questions about your car accident injury claim? Below you will find some of our car accident FAQ. If you don’t find the answers you seek here, please feel free to call our legal team at (800) 298-0111 and see how an attorney can help you understand the process. We have recovered millions of dollars for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Houston and are here to serve you!
What are My Legal Options if I Was Not at Fault for a Collision?
When you are injured but not at fault you have two main legal options. Your options include handling the case on your own or hiring a lawyer to pursue the claim for you. If you chose to handle your auto accident claim on your own, you need to be aware of the risks. Everything you say to the adjuster can and will be used against you. They may take recorded statements to use against you as well. They will also likely try to settle your injury claim quickly before you know the full amount of the bills or the full extent of your injuries. If you agree to a settlement and wake up in pain the next day or get a bill you did not know was coming, you are out of luck. You also need to be aware that many of the usual medical providers you see under health insurance will not see you for an accident because your health insurance will deny their claim in many cases. If this occurs, you must pay out of pocket for your medical expenses to get treated.
Your second option is to hire a lawyer. A Houston personal injury lawyer does the talking for you and prevents you from giving a statement that will be used against you or agreeing to a settlement you misunderstand. They can also help you find doctors who will see you on a letter of protection–a promise to be paid after the case is resolved if they delay any collection efforts. A lawyer near you is likely to know doctors near you who will work with you on getting needed medical care on credit.
Should I Hire a Houston Car Accident Attorney?
While there are many considerations in deciding whether to hire a car accident lawyer in Houston, these are the two most important factors to take into consideration:
- Were you physically injured and to what extent? There more serious the injuries are, the more likely you need legal representation in your accident case.
- 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 accident victims–making it impossible to get the care you need. Insurance companies will then use your delay in getting care against you. Gaps and delays in the amount of time you took to seek medical care are common excuses insurance companies use to reduce the amount of compensation in their settlement offers.
How Much Does a Houston Car Accident Attorney Charge?
In Houston, Car Wreck Lawyers are typically paid a percentage of what they recover plus they get reimbursed for any expenses they payout along the way. It is common to pay 33.33% if the case is settled without a lawsuit filed, 40% if a lawsuit is filed, and 45% if the case is appealed after trial to a higher court.
What Is A Contingency Fee Structure?
Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers will work on the same contingency fee basis as above. As the case is being prosecuted, we pay all the litigation expenses upfront so you do not have to come out of pocket and we only get reimbursed these expenses out of any recovery we make. This means that you pay nothing unless we win your case. And, if we do not make a recovery in your case, we eat our expenses.
How Can a Houston Auto Accident Attorney Help Me?
After a serious injury, there are many factors to take into consideration. A Houston auto accident lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., can help you with:
- locating doctors who are willing to see you and provide you with the medical care you need
- identifying and notifying all of the potential parties and their insurance companies and employers
- pursuing compensation for all elements of damages the law allows you to seek recovery for
- investigating the causes of the wreck, preserving evidence, and taking witness statements
- drafting a demand letter
- negotiating a settlement
- negotiating medical, insurance, and government liens
- litigating the case and trying the lawsuit.
How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
There is no exact formula for determining the amount of a car accident settlement in Houston, TX or whether you can recover damages at all. 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 your property damage costs to repair
- The total amount of your lost wages and lost earning capacity
- How much you contributed 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. If the insurance company and you ultimately cannot agree to a settlement, then you make have to take the case to trial and let a jury determine whether you recover compensation and how much.
Should I Go To The Doctor After a Car Accident in Houston, TX?
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.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations for a car accident in Texas for an adult is 2 years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions. For example, the statute of limitations on minors’ claims for their intangible damages and medical bills beyond the age of 18 does not run until their 20th birthday. Check with a Houston car wreck law firm to find out if any exceptions apply to your situation. Once a lawsuit has been filed, there is no car accident law setting any time limit on how soon the case must go to trial–it is up to the judge. However, service of process must take place within the SOL or reasonably soon thereafter with the exercise of due diligence. Failure to exercise due diligence in obtaining service on the defendant will result in your case being dismissed and barred by the statute of limitations.
How do I Obtain a Crash Report in Houston?
All Texas crash 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 police report from your local law enforcement may vary depending upon what city or county police department the report comes from. You should be aware that 7-14 days after you report the accident is the normal waiting time unless there are special circumstances such as fatality accidents or rollover accidents with complex issues. Sometimes, you can obtain a copy of the police accident report sooner by contacting the local department that investigated the collision. A Houston car wreck lawyer can also order one for you. Below are links to pages with more detail on obtaining accident reports to support your claim locally:
Why Won’t the Other’s Driver’s Insurance Company Pay for My Medical Care as I Go?
Auto insurance companies often refuse to pay your medical as you get the care during the claims process because it is in their best interests for you to not get the medical treatment you need timely. By doing so, you reduce the potential settlement value of your case. They also know that delays and gaps in getting necessary medical care make juries second guess whether you were really hurt. Thus, stalling your case is in the insurance company’s best interest and that of the driver who caused the accident.
Will the Other Party’s Car Insurance Company Pay For My Entire Medical Bills?
No. The Texas Supreme Court has 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. The insurance company will often use a computer program to challenge even the emergency room bills to show that they are above the ‘average’ rates that doctors routinely accept to settle their claims. By doing so, you could get left owing more than the insurance company is ordered to pay even by a jury for your hospital care, physical therapy, or other treatment! You need a Houston auto accident 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 Houston Car Wreck Attorney If The Other Insurance Company Accepts Liability in Texas?
If injured, yes. When an insurance company tells you they are accepting liability for an accident, this does not mean they are agreeing to pay for all of your medical bills and losses. It certainly does not mean they will pay you fair compensation for your pain and suffering. By telling you this, they know they are deterring you from seeking legal counsel and getting advice before you do something that might harm your own case.
When they say they are accepting that they are liable, they simply mean they are going to offer you what they think is fair for the bills they think are reasonable. This does not mean they will not dispute your medical attention and/or the amounts the doctors charged you for it. And it is not a promise to compensate you for your pain and suffering. You can bet that they will nitpick your medical records and your medical bills to make you a lowball offer to settle your case. They are not in the business of giving you maximum compensation for your injuries voluntarily. Keeping settlements low means they make more money.
Further, payment of property damage for your vehicle is not an admission of liability for your personal injuries suffered in an accident. Neither an adjuster’s acceptance of liability nor payment of the property damage are admissible in court to prove liability. Thus, if no agreement can be reached as to a fair settlement amount, then you start over from ground zero having to prove your case in court.
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. These tricks and tactics demonstrate why you need a skilled Houston car wreck law firm to protect your rights.
Do I Need An Car Accident Attorney If The Houston Police Ticketed The Other Driver?
Yes. In a trial for an accident in Texas, 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 what your claim is worth (the amount of damages), not fault. However, it is important to call the police and have a police report made at the scene because sometimes this can help the parties reach a settlement without having to file a lawsuit. It can also help document important facts like the direction of travel of the vehicles, statements made by the other driver, and seat belt use.
Should I Give A Recorded Statement After A Car Accident?
No. Do not ever give a recorded statement without having a lawyer 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 Other Driver’s Insurance Company Refuse To Disclose Policy Limits In Texas?
Yes. If you are filing a claim against someone else’s insurance policy in Texas, they do not have to tell you what the policy limits are unless you file a lawsuit. Each state is different when you file an insurance claim. 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. 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.
Read more on discovering the other driver’s policy limits after an accident.
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 claim the following damages:
- Lost Income & Lost Wage Earning Capacity
- Pain & Suffering
- Mental Anguish/Emotional Distress
- Medical Expenses
- Scarring & Disfigurement
What Damages Can A Spouse Recover in a Car Wreck That Happened in Houston?
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
How Long Does it Take a Houston Vehicle Accident Attorney to Settle a Car Accident Case?
Every auto accident claim and every auto accident injury is different. Some car accident settlements may occur relatively quickly in a matter of months if liability is clear and there are no significant injuries. Other car accident victims may have to wait several years or even take the case to trial when liability is disputed, there were vehicle defects causing product liability issues, or damages are hotly contested. On average, when cases do not require prolonged medical care and liability is not in dispute, cases will settle between 8-12 months post-accident. Some may never reach a deal and have to go on to trial.
What is My Accident Claim Worth?
No one can accurately tell you what your case should settle for without looking at all of the facts. Not even in the most common car accident case. Trying to value your case on the basis of statistics like the average settlement is fruitless because insurance companies do not divulge this information. When we give any sort of a case evaluation, the factors that we look at include:
- The severity of the injury;
- The duration of recovery;
- Your salary and/or earning capacity;
- The location and visibility of scars and other disfiguring marks;
- The nature of the accident;
- Aggravating factors such as alcohol use, drugs, criminal history, and mental status;
- You and other witnesses’ credibility;
- whether a commercial truck is involved;
- The court, judge, venue, and;
- The insurance company and attorney defending the claim.
Often, these factors cannot even be determined until a lawsuit has been filed and discovery has been conducted. Thus, any early case evaluation is subject to change as the evidence unfolds.
Do I Need A Lawyer If I Only Have Vehicle Damage?
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 understand driver’s rights and get the most out of your claim on your own.
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. So for most Houston accidents, we recommend the client handle the property damage claim without an attorney. Talk to a lawyer near you with any questions.
Who is Responsible if You Lend Someone Your Car and They Get in an Accident?
If you loan your car to another driver and they are not at fault for the accident, then the negligent driver is liable for your vehicle damages and his insurance should pay. If you loan your car out and the person you loan it to is at fault, then your friend is liable for the damage to your car and the other person’s damages and any injury or death. Both your insurance policy and his insurance policy may be liable depending upon the policy language. If neither of you has insurance, your friend will be liable to the other party and you may be too if you negligently entrusted the vehicle to an unlicensed or unsafe driver. So that is why it is important to know who you allow behind the wheel of your vehicle. Your friend may very well be personally liable to you for all or part of the damage to your vehicle if there is insufficient insurance coverage. However, collecting from an uninsured person in Texas is not easy and few lawyers will do that work on a contingency fee.
Can I use my Health Insurance After a Car Accident in Houston, TX?
Maybe. Your health insurance policy likely contains a Coordination of Benefits Clause that affects your ability to file a health insurance claim after a car accident. The Coordination of Benefits Clause dictates who pays if two-or-more insurance policies apply to the same situation. Most of these have a clause that says if there is auto liability insurance that would cover your medical care, you must submit your bills to the auto policy first for payment.
You need to be aware that your regular doctor may refuse care because he/she does not wish to deal with this hassle of filing an auto insurance liability claim. You also need to be aware that your health insurance has a legal right to demand reimbursement from YOU out of any settlement if they paid for any medical care caused by the car accident. This is called a Subrogation Clause. Do not make the mistake of thinking the settlement offer from the other driver is all going into your pocket. A subrogation clause resulting in your money going to the medical providers and nothing left for you can really throw you for a loop. other insurance like workers’ compensation will have similar subrogation rights too. Talk to a law firm in Houston, TX to learn more.
What Questions Should I Ask Before Loaning My Car to a Friend?
Because loaning out your vehicle can get you sued if they cause an accident, you will want to do your due diligence on your friend’s driving abilities before even considering allowing them to operate your vehicle in any situation. Failure to do so can result in a bad outcome for you and your friend. The questions you need to ask are:
- Does your friend have a valid driver’s license? If not, do not let them behind the wheel.
- Does your friend have a history of prior accidents, speeding tickets, or other reckless driving conduct such as driving while intoxicated? If so, do not let them behind the wheel.
- Does your friend have their own auto insurance?
- Does your friend have sufficient policy limits to cover a serious accident vs the minimum limits?
- Does your friend have insurance that covers enough to fully pay for your vehicle if they cause a wreck? You do not want their wreck falling back on your insurance and raising your rates if they cause a wreck and have insufficient or no coverage.
- Does your Texas auto insurance policy have sufficient coverage to pay for the damage to your vehicle? (If not, do you have gap insurance to cover the lien difference?)
- Is your friend’s auto policy a Texas auto policy? If not, you need to be aware that it may provide no coverage or only the minimum limits required under Texas law by default.
- Does your auto policy have sufficient liability coverage to protect you if your friend causes a catastrophic car accident and does not have enough coverage to pay for the injury or death caused?
What Steps Should I Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, here are the steps to take:
- If you can see the license plate of the other driver, write it down before you have time to forget it.
- Call the police and report the accident. The Houston police department like many others is overworked and can be slow to respond. It is worth the wait. Insist they come out and make a police report. Documenting a hit-and-run is very important for making a claim against your uninsured motorist policy. They will make you go back to the police station and file a report if you do not do it. Furthermore, sometimes there is evidence or witnesses at the scene that can lead the police to find the hit-and-run driver.
- Document eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses may be helpful in locating the driver who fled the scene. Get their name, address, and phone number.
- Call your own insurance company. If you have comprehensive coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, you need to notify them promptly so they can conduct their own investigation, especially if you have personal injury claims to make on your uninsured motorist policy.
- Call a personal injury lawyer who handles car accidents if you sustained an injury. While in most hit-and-run cases the lawyer is at the mercy of the police investigation, sometimes there are other ways a personal injury attorney can help you identify the other driver either through eyewitnesses or video cameras in the area.
Additional Auto Accident Resources
Tips For Filing Auto Accident Claims
If you would like to learn more about filing car accident claims, please read: Tips for Filing Claims Against Insurance Companies
Download a Free Accident Checklist
We 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.
Texas Car Accident Fatality Statistics
There were 38,824 people killed in car accidents in 2020 across the United States. In 2021, there were 4,489 people killed in auto accidents in Texas. This is up from the 3,619 people killed in 2020 and the 1,876 people killed in Texas car wrecks in 2019. Thus, fatal auto crashes continue to rise year over year in Texas. if you have lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence, get a free case evaluation from Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury and Accident Lawyers today by calling 800-298-0111. When we take personal injury cases, our team will fight to get you the compensation you deserve and you do not pay our expenses nor our fees unless you win.