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Table Of Contents
- Our Free Houston Car Accident Lawyer Consultation – No Win, No Fees
- Understanding the Different Types of Car Accidents Near Houston
- Common Injuries in Car Accidents Across Texas
- Types of Car Accident Lawsuits in Houston Texas
- Collecting Evidence for Your Texas Car Accident Lawsuit
- Car Accident Victims: If You Are Involved in a Crash and Someone Is Injured, Here Are the Steps You Should Take:
- Reporting a Car Accident in Houston, Texas: Understanding the Timeframe
- Houston Texas Rules for Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company
- Understanding Houston Texas’ Modified Comparative Fault Rule
- Understanding No-Fault States and Texas’s Status
- Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accident Lawsuits in Houston
- What should I do immediately after an auto accident in Houston?
- How long do I have to file an auto accident lawsuit in Texas?
- What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
- What is comparative fault, and how does it apply in Texas?
- Can I still file a lawsuit if I was a passenger in the accident?
- Do I have to go to court for my auto accident case?
- What damages can I recover in an auto accident lawsuit?
- Should I accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer?
- What if I was hit by a commercial vehicle?
- How can a lawyer help with my auto accident case?
- What are some of the worst car accidents in Houston History?
Our Free Houston Car Accident Lawyer Consultation – No Win, No Fees
Understanding the Different Types of Car Accidents Near Houston
When it comes to automobile accidents, there is a wide range of scenarios, each with its unique circumstances and potential for injury. Here’s an overview of the most common types:
- Car Accidents: These are the most common type of vehicle accidents and can range from minor fender benders to multi-car pile-ups. Factors such as speed, distraction, and intoxication often play a role.
- 18-Wheeler Accidents: Also known as semi-truck accidents, these incidents often result in severe injuries due to the size and weight of these vehicles. Complex regulations and laws make these cases more complicated than standard car accident claims.
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents: These involve vehicles used for business purposes, like delivery trucks or company cars. These accidents can involve multiple parties, including the driver, the business owner, and potentially the manufacturer of the vehicle.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Because motorcyclists lack the physical protection that cars provide, these accidents can lead to significant injuries. Causes often include visibility issues, dangerous maneuvers, and the failure of other drivers to respect motorcyclists’ space on the road.
- Pedestrian Accidents: These occur when a vehicle hits a person on foot. Because pedestrians have no protection against a vehicle, these accidents often lead to severe or fatal injuries.
- Bicycle Accidents: Cyclists, like pedestrians, are vulnerable on the roads and often suffer serious injuries when involved in accidents with motor vehicles. Common causes include driver inattention and failure to yield right of way.
- Damaged or Unkempt Road Accidents: Poorly maintained roads, potholes, lack of signage, and other infrastructure issues can cause accidents. In these cases, governmental entities responsible for maintaining the roads may be held liable.
- ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) Accidents: ATVs are designed for off-road use, but their inherent instability and tendency for rollovers can result in severe accidents. These incidents often involve inexperienced riders or excessive speed.
- Boat Accidents: Whether caused by operator inexperience, intoxication, or equipment failure, boat accidents can result in serious injuries or fatalities. Maritime laws often apply in these cases, which can complicate the legal process.
- Truck Accidents: Not to be confused with 18-wheelers, these refer to accidents involving smaller pickup trucks. While they occur for many of the same reasons as car accidents, the larger size and weight of trucks can cause more severe damage and injuries.
- Trailer Accidents: Accidents involving vehicles towing trailers can occur if the trailer is improperly attached, if the driver is inexperienced in handling a trailer, or if the trailer is overloaded.
- Loose Cargo Accidents: Unsecured or improperly secured cargo can fall from vehicles, creating hazardous conditions for other drivers on the road. The driver or the company responsible for loading the vehicle may be held liable in these cases.
Each type of automobile accident presents its own set of challenges when pursuing a personal injury claim. Our Houston-based law firm is well-versed in handling all these types of cases. Our experienced attorneys understand the unique complexities and will work diligently to advocate for your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents Across Texas
Automobile accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, varying greatly in their severity. Some injuries may be immediately evident, while others might not become apparent until days or weeks after the accident. Here is a look at some of the most common injuries sustained in auto accidents:
- Head and Brain Injuries: These can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and can cause long-term cognitive issues, memory loss, and changes in personality. It’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a head or brain injury.
- Neck and Back Injuries: Whiplash is a common neck injury resulting from the sudden stop and start of a car accident. Back injuries, including herniated discs and spinal cord damage, can cause chronic pain and, in severe cases, paralysis.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or total loss of sensation and control over body parts below the injury site. These catastrophic injuries often lead to permanent disability and require lifelong medical care.
- Chest Injuries: These often result from the driver’s chest hitting the steering wheel or from the force of a seat belt. They can range from bruises and contusions to broken ribs and internal injuries.
- Abdominal Injuries: The force of impact can cause injuries to organs such as the liver, kidneys, or spleen. These injuries can be life-threatening and may not show immediate symptoms.
- Upper Extremity Injuries: This includes injuries to the shoulders, arms, and hands. Common injuries include fractures, dislocations, sprains, and lacerations.
- Lower Extremity Injuries: The legs, knees, and feet are often injured in car accidents. Injuries can range from simple bruises to fractures and dislocations.
- Catastrophic Injuries: These are severe injuries that can result in long-term or permanent disability. Examples include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, serious burns, and organ damage.
- Psychological Injuries: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression can occur after an automobile accident. It’s important to remember that psychological injuries are as real and serious as physical ones and require professional treatment.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These include injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They can result in pain, swelling, and reduced function. Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury in car accidents.
Always seek immediate medical attention after an auto accident, even if you feel fine at the time. Some injuries may not show symptoms immediately and can become more severe if left untreated. If you or a loved one have suffered any of these common injuries in an automobile accident, our Houston-based law firm can help guide you through the legal process to seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
Types of Car Accident Lawsuits in Houston Texas
In Houston, Texas, and indeed throughout the state, there are various types of lawsuits that may arise from auto accidents. Here’s an overview:
- Personal Injury Lawsuits: These lawsuits seek compensation for injuries sustained in an auto accident. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of future earning capacity.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuits: If an auto accident results in the death of a person, the deceased’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim. Damages may include loss of companionship, loss of financial support, mental and emotional anguish, and funeral and burial expenses.
- Product Liability Lawsuits: If a defect in one of the vehicles (such as faulty brakes or airbags) contributed to the accident, a product liability lawsuit might be brought against the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty part.
- Dram Shop Liability Lawsuits: In cases where the at-fault driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant while visibly intoxicated, and then caused an accident, a “dram shop” claim might be made against the establishment that served the alcohol.
- Negligent Entrustment Lawsuits: If the at-fault driver was using another person’s vehicle at the time of the accident, and the vehicle’s owner knew or should have known that the driver was unfit to drive (due to factors like intoxication or a suspended license), a negligent entrustment lawsuit might be brought against the vehicle’s owner.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Lawsuits: If the at-fault driver did not have insurance or had insufficient insurance to cover the damages, a lawsuit might be filed under the victim’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, if they have one.
- Gross Negligence Lawsuits: In cases where the at-fault driver’s behavior was more than just careless or negligent, but involved a conscious act or omission, such as drunk driving or street racing, a lawsuit for gross negligence might be brought.
Each type of lawsuit has specific requirements and procedures that must be followed. Furthermore, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a car accident in Texas is generally two years from the date of the accident. Given the complexities involved in auto accident cases, it’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. Our Houston-based law firm is dedicated to providing expert legal representation to victims of auto accidents.
Collecting Evidence for Your Texas Car Accident Lawsuit
Building a successful car accident lawsuit in Texas often hinges on the quality and persuasiveness of the evidence you collect to support your claim. Here’s a look at the types of evidence that can be crucial:
- Police Reports: If the police were called to the scene of the accident, they likely generated a report detailing their observations and findings. This report can provide important evidence about the circumstances of the accident, including potential violations of traffic laws.
- Photographs and Videos: Pictures or videos from the accident scene can be instrumental in showing the severity of the collision, the extent of injuries, and the conditions at the time of the accident. This includes photographs of vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs, and injuries.
- Medical Records: Medical reports and bills document the nature and extent of your injuries, the treatment received, and the cost of that treatment. They can be critical in demonstrating the impact of the accident on your physical health.
- Witness Testimony: Statements from people who saw the accident can provide an objective perspective on what happened. If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information so your attorney can reach out to them if needed.
- Expert Testimony: Experts such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and economists can provide testimony on the cause of the accident, the nature and long-term implications of your injuries, and the economic impact of the accident on your life.
- Employment and Wage Documents: If your injuries caused you to miss work or affected your ability to earn income in the future, documents like pay stubs, tax returns, and a letter from your employer can help substantiate your claim for lost wages and diminished earning capacity.
- Vehicle Damage Estimates: Estimates from auto repair shops can demonstrate the extent of the damage to your vehicle and help establish the force of the collision.
- Insurance Policy Information: The at-fault driver’s insurance policy, as well as your own, can provide important information about available coverage and compensation limits.
- Personal Journal: Keeping a diary that documents your pain levels, emotional state, medical appointments, and how your injuries have affected your daily life can be helpful in showing the impact of the accident on your personal and emotional well-being.
Collecting and preserving evidence can be a complex task, but it’s vital for the success of your case. An experienced auto accident attorney can guide you through this process, ensuring you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. Our Houston-based law firm has extensive experience in handling auto accident lawsuits and we’re ready to help you build the strongest case possible.
Car Accident Victims: If You Are Involved in a Crash and Someone Is Injured, Here Are the Steps You Should Take:
- Ensure Safety First: If possible, move to a safe area to prevent further accidents. If it’s not safe or possible to move, stay inside your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.
- Call for Help: Dial 911 immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to have a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term effects.
- Report the Accident: When law enforcement arrives, provide a truthful account of the events. This report can be crucial when making a personal injury claim. Never admit fault at the scene; the determination of fault is a legal matter.
- Document the Scene: If it’s safe and you are able, take photographs of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, visible injuries, and any relevant road conditions. These can be valuable pieces of evidence.
- Exchange Information: Gather the names, addresses, contact details, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident. Also take down the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s essential to get checked out by a healthcare provider. Some injuries can take days or weeks to manifest symptoms. Delaying medical treatment can potentially harm your health and your claim.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you can. Be truthful and detailed in your account.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer: Reach out to a legal professional experienced in car accidents. At our law firm, we can help guide you through the process, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Remember, your health and well-being are paramount. Following these steps can help protect your rights and strengthen your potential personal injury claim. If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident in Houston, Texas, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.
Reporting a Car Accident in Houston, Texas: Understanding the Timeframe
In the state of Texas, drivers are required to report any motor vehicle accident that results in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. The Texas Transportation Code stipulates that such a report must be filed within 10 days of the accident.
This Crash Report, often referred to as a “Blue Form” (Form CR-2), is filed with the Texas Department of Transportation. The report includes details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, details of the vehicles and drivers involved, a description of the accident, and information about any injuries or property damage.
It’s crucial to understand that this 10-day limit is unrelated to any deadlines set by your insurance company. Most insurers require you to report an accident as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours, so they can start processing your claim. Failure to promptly report an accident to your insurer could potentially lead to a denial of your claim.
It’s also important to note the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to a car accident. This is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit and in Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage. This is a strict deadline, and if you miss this filing window, you will likely lose your right to sue.
Given the complexities surrounding the timelines for reporting an accident and filing a claim, it is always recommended to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the various legal processes and ensure that you meet all necessary deadlines. At our Houston-based law firm, we are experienced in handling car accident cases and are ready to assist you every step of the way.
Houston Texas Rules for Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company
While there isn’t a strict timeframe under Texas law for reporting a car accident to your insurance company, most insurance policies stipulate that you must report an accident promptly – usually within 24 hours or as soon as reasonably possible. If you delay reporting the accident to your insurance company, you risk having your claim denied or the payout reduced.
For the statute of limitations, Texas follows a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you have two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. This two-year rule applies whether you are suing for injuries (bodily injury or wrongful death) or property damage.
Also, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims in Texas. This means you have two years from the date of the accident to make a claim or dispute a claim settlement with your insurance company under these coverages.
As with any legal matter, it’s always advisable to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an accident. They can help ensure that you fully understand the relevant timelines and take action within the appropriate time frames, protecting your rights and your ability to seek compensation. At our Houston-based law firm, we stand ready to help you navigate these complex legal waters.
Understanding Houston Texas’ Modified Comparative Fault Rule
The “modified comparative fault” rule is a principle used in certain states, including Texas, to determine how much compensation a person can recover in a personal injury lawsuit if they were partially at fault for their own injuries.
Here’s how it works: Suppose you’re involved in a car accident, and it’s determined that you were 20% at fault, while the other driver was 80% at fault. Under the modified comparative fault rule, any damages you’re awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages, this amount would be reduced by 20% to account for your portion of the fault, leaving you with $80,000.
There’s an additional stipulation under Texas’s modified comparative fault rule known as the “51% bar.” This means that if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you are not entitled to recover any damages.
In other words, you can recover damages in a lawsuit only if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident. If you’re 51% or more at fault, the law bars you from recovering anything. This rule can significantly impact the outcome of personal injury lawsuits, which is why it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney who can effectively argue your case.
Keep in mind that determining fault in an auto accident can be a complex and contentious process, often requiring extensive investigation and negotiation. Our Houston-based law firm has significant experience in navigating Texas’s modified comparative fault rule, and we’re ready to fight for your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Understanding No-Fault States and Texas’s Status
A “no-fault” state refers to a jurisdiction where drivers have insurance to cover their own injuries and damage rather than insuring to pay out to the other person. In a no-fault state, a driver’s own insurance company typically covers their damages and medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. This system limits the ability to sue other drivers, except in cases of severe injuries or expenses that reach a certain threshold.
No-fault insurance laws are designed to keep minor accidents from becoming major lawsuits. They aim to reduce the legal and administrative costs associated with insurance claims and to ensure swift payments for injured drivers.
Texas, however, is not a no-fault state. It operates under a “fault” or “tort” system for car accident insurance claims. This means that the person found at fault for an accident is financially responsible for the damages resulting from the accident. If you’re involved in a car accident in Texas, you have three options to seek compensation:
- File a claim with your own insurance company if the loss is covered under your policy.
- File a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.
The choice among these options often depends on the specifics of your accident, the extent of your injuries, and the coverage provided by your insurance policy. Always consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your options and the best course of action. Our firm specializes in Texas auto accident laws and we can help guide you through this complex process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accident Lawsuits in Houston
What should I do immediately after an auto accident in Houston?
Ensure your safety and the safety of others, if possible. Call 911 if anyone is injured. Document the scene, exchange information with the other driver(s), and report the accident to the police. Seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured right away, and contact an experienced auto accident attorney.
How long do I have to file an auto accident lawsuit in Texas?
In Texas, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit. This is known as the “statute of limitations.”
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can turn to your own insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If not, you might have to sue the at-fault driver personally, but collecting damages can be challenging.
What is comparative fault, and how does it apply in Texas?
Texas follows a “modified comparative fault” rule. This means if you’re partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover damages.
Can I still file a lawsuit if I was a passenger in the accident?
Yes, as a passenger, you can file a claim against any party who was at fault in the accident, whether it’s the driver of the vehicle you were in or another driver.
Do I have to go to court for my auto accident case?
Not necessarily. Many auto accident cases are settled out of court. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, it might be necessary to go to court to seek the compensation you deserve. We strive to provide our clients the most hands off lawsuit experience possible.
What damages can I recover in an auto accident lawsuit?
You may be able to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Should I accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer?
It’s generally recommended not to accept the initial offer, as it may not fully compensate you for your damages. It’s beneficial to consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer.
What if I was hit by a commercial vehicle?
If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, the company that owns the vehicle may also be held responsible. These cases can be more complex, so it’s essential to work with an attorney experienced in commercial vehicle accidents.
How can a lawyer help with my auto accident case?
A lawyer can help by evaluating your case, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if necessary. They can guide you through the complex legal process and advocate for your rights.
What are some of the worst car accidents in Houston History?
Click here to read more about the worst multi-vehicle accidents in Houston’s History. They can be more common than you think!
These are general answers and may not fully apply to your specific situation. For advice tailored to your circumstances, contact our Houston-based law firm to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney.