Houston Car Accident Lawyer Serving all of Texas
Your Auto Injury Attorneys in the Houston-Katy Area
In 2017, 3721 people were killed and another 17,546 people suffered serious injuries in car accidents in the State of Texas according to a Texas Department of Transportation report. When they happen, automobile collisions can be life-changing. From minor fender-benders to major accidents, it is important for drivers to understand their rights and responsibilities when car accidents happen. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another party, you should know that you have the right to speak to a car accident attorney before giving any statements that can be used against you. You can do this at no cost.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we handle car accidents every day. Our car accident lawyers offer a free consultation and we charge no fees unless we make a recovery. We will fight to maximize your recovery while assisting you to obtain the medical care you need to get on with your life. The role of the insurance adjuster is to minimize the company’s cost. It is not to take care of you. Don’t let an insurance adjuster victimize you a second time.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
First and foremost, 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.
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.
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. There are some habitual bad drivers who 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.
Take photos of everything involved in the car accident. One of the great aspect of smart phones if having a quick convenient way to document things at your fingertips. 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 tow truck driver, witnesses, etc.
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.
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.
When Should I Hire an Attorney after a Car Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident, then the short answer is “yes.” Sadly, many people wait to talk to an auto injury 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” early on and then make a ridiculous low ball offer and quit returning calls later. These kind of tactics cause injured persons to delay in gathering and preserving critical evidence they should be gathering from the start. Even worse they cause people to delay in getting medical care they need. The absence of evidence and the delays are then used against the injured victim to justify a low ball offer when it comes time to settle the case. This is why it is best to get a car accident lawyer involved in the case early when you have sustained injuries.
What if I am At Fault for the Collision?
Many of the car wreck cases that wind up in the court systems are not fighting over who is at fault. Those cases are often fighting over what injuries were caused by the wreck and what is fair compensation amount. If you think you have a simple case and are contemplating going at it without an accident lawyer on your side in order to “save money,” you should read this first:
Contrary to popular belief, there is not automatic liability even in a rear-end accident.
The Secrets of Handling a Car Accident Claim
Before you try to handle a car accident claim on your own, below are some important considerations you should be aware of:
Insurance adjusters typically will not help you find an affordable doctor that will treat you without expecting payment up front. They know that if you have no help, you won't be able to seek the care you need. 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.
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 big 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 you receive. Texas law only requires them to pay for “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.
Payment of property damage to your vehicle is not an admission of liability for your personal injuries suffered in an accident. Don’t be fooled into thinking an insurance adjuster is going to treat you fair 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.
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. Do not ever give a recorded without having an attorney who represents you present.
Juries do not get to see the whole picture. In a civil court of law, much of the police report must be marked out so the jury cannot see it. Evidence of the other driver’s insurance coverage is generally not admissible in evidence.
Insurance companies do not have to tell you how much insurance coverage their insured has unless you file a lawsuit and force them to do it. 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.
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. 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. See: Do I have to pay my health insurance company back out of my settlement?
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. It is best to have a car accident lawyer review all releases before you sign so that you completely understand what you are giving up.
What are the Top Causes of Car Accidents?
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. Some of the common causes and contributing causes to auto collisions are:
- Drinking and Driving
- Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
- Distracted Driving
- Drowsy Driving
- Changing Lanes When Unsafe to Do So
- Failure to Stop for a Traffic Control Device
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Following Too Close
- Malfunctioning Traffic Signal Lights
- Texting While Driving
- Vehicle Defects
- Weather Conditions
Types of Auto Collisions Handled By Injury Law Firms
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 state and/or source of intoxication. Not all lawyers are the same either. Dont you want an attorney with decades of experience handling the tricks adjusters will throw at you? Here are some of the different types of automobile accidents we handle:
- Auto Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Broadside Collisions
- Construction Zone Wrecks
- Dram Shop Accidents
- Head-on Collisions
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Single Car Accidents
- Uber/Lyft Accidents
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Despite all the technology related to safety engineering in automobiles such as crush factors and airbags, there are many ways people are injured every day in car accidents. Some of the more common injuries caused by car accidents include:
- Aggravation of a Preexisting Condition
- Amputation/Limb Loss
- Back, Neck and Spine Injury
- Bone Fracture
- Disfigurement & Scarring
- Herniated, Bulging & Protruding Discs
- Mental Anguish
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Tempomandibular Joint Injury (TMJ)
If you have suffered from any of the above, more information on the effects of those injuries can be found on the related injury page.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
Texas personal injury 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
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
What is the Claims Process?
As you can see from the information on this page there are a number of risks you take by not having an attorney on your side to explain all of the consequences of your actions and the decisions the insurance adjuster may push you to make.
Being in an accident and having to deal with an opposing insurance company for the first time can be both confusing and frustrating. Below is an infographic explaining the typical claims process after an auto collision:
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for Me?
Having an auto accident lawyer on your side can be the difference between winning and losing your case. Additionally, our Houston based injury attorneys 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 and maximizing a settlement,
- negotiating liens, and if necessary;
- litigating the case.
What Does it Cost to Speak to a Lawyer?
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 case. We will tell you what expect and what to lookout for. At the end of your 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.
What Clients Say About Us
Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “After the accident I was really shaken to my core. Being a senior citizen, I wasn’t sure just what to do. I saw your tv ad and I decided to call. So glad I did and from day one I was treated very well. Especially since I didn’t have the pertinent information I should have gotten from the person who hit me. In spite of it all, your people were able to get all the information needed for my case. i consider that a job well done. I am truly grateful for all your help.” – Veda J., actual client.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can a car insurance company deny payment of my medical bills after a car wreck?
- Tips for filing injury claims against auto insurance companies.
- Will my auto insurance rates go up if I file a claim?
- Is a verbal release given to an auto insurance adjuster binding?
- What is a Stowers demand letter?
- What is Colossus?
- What is the difference between a first-party and a third-party insurance claim?
- Why do I need my UIM permission to settle with other drivers/tortfeasors?
- What is a MIST claim?
- What constitutes a minor impact collision?
- Texas Police Officer Crash Report Codes PDF
- Who is at fault in a rear-end auto collision?
- Who is at fault for a sideswipe accident?
- Who is at fault for an intersection collision?
- Who is at fault for a multi-vehicle accident?
- What Texas laws pertain to hit-and-run accidents?
- Who is liable for a tire blowout?
- Who is liable for a car accident caused by malfunctioning traffic signal lights?
If you would like to learn more about how our car accident lawyers can assist you, please watch the video below: