A car accident can change your life instantly. It may injure you suddenly and limit your ability you work. With no money coming in and high medical expenses, most accident victims are usually unsure what to do. If the accident wasn’t your fault, consider consulting with Houston car accident lawyers to discuss your legal rights.
Texas roads are some of the busiest and most dangerous in the country. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, not a single day passed without death on the Texas roadways in 2021. Over 200,000 persons suffered injuries from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the same year.
Read on to learn what to do after a car accident in Houston.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Houston, Texas
Although accidents are traumatic events, staying calm after an accident is crucial. Below is a guide on the steps to take when involved in a crash:
Step #1: Call Emergency Medical Services
The first thing you should do after an accident is to call 911 to report the crash. The emergency operator will give you guidance on what to do and call emergency services for any injured people.
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run, do not try following the other driver. Ensure to stay on the scene, call the police immediately, and give them a clear description of the vehicle.
Texas law requires drivers to notify law enforcement as quickly as possible after an accident that involves death or injury. Calling 911 reports the accident to the local police even if you don’t think you suffered any injuries. The official report will be beneficial to the legal process.
Step #2: Collect and Preserve Evidence at the Scene
You must prove that another driver caused the accident to recover compensation for your damages and injuries. Collecting evidence from the accident helps strengthen your case.
- Take photos and record videos of the scene and surrounding area.
- When taking photos, pay attention to the vehicle positions and damage to cars.
- Note the road conditions.
- Collect the names and contacts of any eyewitnesses.
- Take clear photos of your injuries.
- Document anything you can remember about the crash.
Do not admit fault or apologize for the cause of the accident and avoid discussing accident details with any person at the scene.
After the police arrive, give them the facts about what happened. Law enforcement may make initial determinations about who is at fault. Contact a Houston car accident lawyer for legal guidance if you feel wrongfully blamed for the crash.
Request a Copy of the Police Accident Report
The police officers that responded to the accident will prepare an accident report. This report contains all basic data about the crash, like location, time, and type of motor vehicle collision. Although it has the police officer’s observations, the written accident report is not conclusive about the cause of the crash.
Texas law allows you to request a copy of the car accident report from the police department that responded to your crash.
Step #3: Seek Medical Care
Fast access to medical attention after a vehicle accident is essential for your health. The medical documentation also helps build a strong personal injury claim. Car accidents can cause various injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, fractures, and spinal cord injuries.
Even when you don’t think you are seriously injured, it’s best to see a doctor immediately after an accident. Some injuries have delayed symptoms and can cause internal bleeding. When you delay receiving medical care, you can weaken your claim. Insurance companies may argue that delayed medical care worsened your injuries.
Step #4: Notify Your Motor Vehicle Insurance Provider
In Texas, drivers must have car insurance cover. Most car insurance companies require notification of car wrecks within a certain period.
Step #5: Consult a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Before Talking to Insurance Adjusters
Answering questions from insurance adjusters or making statements may reduce your chance of recovering fair compensation for your personal injury claim. Even when dealing with your insurance provider, seek legal advice before signing any document or making a formal statement.
Although they may appear friendly and caring, insurance adjusters are loyal to their employers. Their key role is to lower the insurance company’s liability for your claim. So adjusters may use any information collected against you.
Texas is an “at-fault” car insurance state, meaning you can seek compensation for traffic accidents caused by other individuals. Texas requires all drivers to carry car insurance with liability coverage. Local state laws give you various options for compensation recovery, including:
- Filing a claim with your insurance company.
- Filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Since Texas has comparative negligence laws, your compensation may get reduced by a percentage if you are found to be partly at fault for the accident.
Suppose the court awards you $60,000 for your damages but finds you to be 20 percent at fault for the car crash. Your compensation would get reduced by 20 percent, or $12,000 in this example, and your award will be $48,000.
How Much Is Your Car Accident Claim Worth?
One of the major concerns that clients have is how much their car accident claims are worth. A wide range of factors can affect the value of the claim. Some of these factors are:
- The type of your injuries.
- The severity of your injuries.
- The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.
Although it’s difficult to predict a specific amount, experienced Houston car accident lawyers can provide insight on what to expect. Medical care in the U. S is costly no matter the seriousness of your injuries.
An ambulance ride could cost around $1,000, while an emergency room visit can set you back between $1,000 and $20,000, depending on your injuries. Each client has different medical costs and losses. Irrespective of the amount, you deserve fair compensation from the liable party.
In Houston, you can seek compensation from responsible parties for:
Economic damages are the losses you suffer, which have a specific monetary value. Examples of economic damages are:
- Medical Expenses: Medical expenses cover all treatment costs related to the injuries suffered in the car accident, including future expenses.
- Lost Wages: These include the income you cannot earn when recovering from an injury.
- Lost Earning Capacity: Such damages cover the income you will be unable to earn in the future because of injury or permanent disability.
- Damage to Property: These costs are to repair or replace your car.
Talk to a car accident lawyer in Houston to determine what economic damages you deserve.
Non-economic damages refer to the losses you suffered but have no specific dollar value. Here are some of the common non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental or emotional distress.
- Physical impairment.
- Loss of consortium.
Houston car accident lawyers help determine the total damages you suffered and will demand fair compensation.
Aspects of a Strong Car Accident Injury Claim
Many factors determine the strength of your car accident claim in Houston. They include:
- Liability: Texas is a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction. You cannot recover money from an accident if you are over 50 percent at fault.
- Immediate medical treatment: Receiving prompt medical attention helps boost your chances of success.
- Consistency in medical treatment: Following the doctor’s treatment plan strictly strengthens your case.
- Severe or permanent injury: Insurance companies often take cases of victims with catastrophic injuries more seriously.
- Significant property damage: Insurance companies often treat the case with more seriousness if your vehicle is significantly damaged in a crash.
- Strong evidence: Evidence makes or breaks your case. Examples of evidence include camera footage, eyewitness statements, and police reports.
Seek guidance from a car accident lawyer in Houston to avoid costly mistakes that could weaken your insurance claim.
Common Car Accident Injuries
When involved in a car crash, you may suffer from a diverse range of injuries, such as
- Amputation: Accidents can cause injuries that lead to amputation of limbs.
- Fractures: Broken bones are the most common car accident injury.
- Traumatic brain injury: Head injuries can affect your life.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal injuries can cause paralysis, making them life-changing.
- Soft tissue injuries: These injuries can affect various tissues in the body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The Top Causes of Car Crashes in Houston
Accidents are usually unique, with distinct extenuating factors. Almost all accidents are preventable with proper care. Driver negligence and reckless behavior are the major cause of crashes in Houston.
The following are some of the top causes of Houston car accidents:
Drivers who engage in distracting activities behind the wheel endanger other drivers and pedestrians in the area. Using the phone or adjusting the radio manually can distract a driver and cause a serious car crash.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Cars are mechanical machines that need routine maintenance for optimal performance. When drivers neglect cars, it can cause catastrophic accidents. Routine maintenance activities like monitoring tire pressure and regular service help prevent accidents.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Some drivers cannot maintain their control when driving. Aggressive driving can lead to unsafe driving tactics like speeding and tailgating.
Alcohol can impair the cognitive skills and judgment of a drunk driver. Drunk driving often reduces your focus and reaction time, which can easily lead to a serious accident.
Fatigue while driving is dangerous. Tired drivers can doze off while on the wheel, becoming a hazard to people around them. Studies have even shown that drowsy driving can have similar effects to drunk driving.
When relevant local authorities fail to maintain the roads and highways, it can create hazardous driving conditions. Roads with limited visibility or potholes can cause unexpected collisions.
Some accidents happen because of faulty equipment, such as defective breaks or a steering lock-up.
Reach Out to Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Today
Have you been involved in a minor car accident? If so, you probably don’t need a personal injury lawyer. But if you suffered severe injuries and are missing work because of the accident, consider hiring a Houston car accident lawyer.
Seeking compensation for damages can be overwhelming. An auto accident attorney will help you navigate the complex world of settlements and insurance. Houston car accident lawyers will consider all the factors of your injuries that you may not be aware of and will demand fair compensation for these factors.
Most Houston car accident lawyers operate under a contingency fee basis, saving upfront legal fees. If you are a victim of injuries from a car accident, call us today to evaluate your case.