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Accident Lawyers

Were You Involved in an Auto Accident in Houston, TX?

According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6.7 million crashes were reported to the police in the United States in 2018—a noteworthy jump from just over 6.4 million the year prior.1

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident—whether it involved passenger vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicycles, an 18-wheeler, or a bus—our auto accident lawyers can help. Our vehicle accident law office has over 45 years of experience winning cases for clients with claims against the biggest insurance carriers in the nation.

Why Hire a Houston Auto Accident Attorney?

When it comes to vehicle accidents, many victims try to go it alone. They mistakenly believe they can handle their insurance provider single-handedly. All too often, that decision leads people down a time-consuming and expensive path. That’s because most insurance companies are hesitant to pay the costs in full—if they can get away with it. Sadly, if an insurance carrier can settle for less, they will. That leaves the injured party with the added burden of paying off costly medical bills and pricey repairs.

If you don’t want to get stuck with the bill, you need to call an experienced car injury lawyer. Only a qualified lawyer knows all of the pitfalls that come with car accident claims. Only a professional knows how to pursue your case thoroughly and aggressively to ensure that no stone is left unturned and no damage is left uncovered.

The Most Important Qualities of Good Houston Car Accident Lawyers

Selecting the right car accident injury attorney in Houston, TX to represent you is one of the most crucial things you can do in the wake of an accident. Here are the three most important things to look for in a Houston car accident lawyer:

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Experience

There is no substitute for experience. Only an attorney who knows the ropes can help you navigate the complex legal landscape that will greet you after a car accident. Courtroom experience is particularly valuable, as litigation is often necessary. Although many attorneys claim to be experienced, they usually bring only a few decades of actual hands-on work. With a century of combined legal experience and almost a half century of car accident case experience, the car accident injury lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. are more than qualified to advocate on your behalf.

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Recovery Rate

Past success is perhaps the single most reliable indicator of future success. Unless you want to gamble with your time and money, it’s best to choose a lawyer that has a proven track record of recovering damages for injured victims. With over $720 million in personal injury recoveries, you can be sure Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris will fight to get you the best possible settlement.

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Trustworthiness

A good attorney-client relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. A personal injury claim can take years, if not decades. Without confidence in your legal team, the process can be one long nightmare. At Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, we know that each one of our clients is special, which is why we work hard each and every day to earn your trust and win your confidence.

Speak with a Houston Car Accident Attorney Now

If you’ve been in a vehicle accident in the Houston area, it’s critical that you contact an attorney immediately. Even if you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries, it’s important to speak with an expert. Not only can a car accident lawyer help you deal with demanding insurance companies, they can also assist you in the event that an injury has gone unnoticed. Since injuries do not always appear right away, immediate contact with an attorney can save you a great deal of trouble in the long run.

At Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer and Harris, we have over 45 years of legal experience. Our Houston law office has dealt with all of the major insurance providers, helping clients get the compensation they need and deserve. Don’t worry about costs when you call—we work on contingency, and we’ll evaluate your case for free.

Common Types of Car Wrecks

Accidents happen for many reasons and in many ways. As long as vehicles are on the road, there will always be a risk of crashes. In order to understand what’s happening on our roads and address the realities properly, experts commonly categorize crashes by type. The following are examples of common types of accidents seen in crash data.

Hit-and-Run Accidents
Left-Hand Turn Accidents
Head-On Collision Accidents
Rear-End Accidents
Single-Vehicle Accidents
Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Backing-Up Accidents
Uber Accidents
Sun Glare Accidents
Highway Accidents
Taxi and Limo Accidents
Parking Lot Accidents
Fatal Car Accidents
Bus Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Truck Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
ATV Accidents

Hit-and-Run Accidents

The term “hit and run” refers to any accident in which a driver hits a vehicle, person, or private property and flees the scene of the crash before any information can be gathered. Hit-and-run drivers tend to leave the accident scene because they are afraid of the consequences, especially if they know there are other issues at play. For example: if they are uninsured, using a stolen car, driving without a license, or operating a vehicle under the influence, they may be especially likely to panic and flee after a crash. Learn more about what to do after a hit and run accident.

Left-Hand Turn Accidents

When making a left-hand turn, it’s common to have to cross traffic coming from the opposite direction. At a controlled intersection, this is at least somewhat assisted by stoplights or a stop sign. Unfortunately, whether or not signs or lights are present, there is still an accident risk. If a person turns in front of moving traffic or speeds through an intersection, a vehicle may end up getting hit, likely from the side (“T-boned”).

Head-On Collision Accidents

This is an especially dangerous type of accident. A head-on collision is one in which the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle (from “head on”). This may happen if a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction crosses the midline/median, or if someone is driving the wrong way down the road. Because a driver sits at the front of a vehicle, these kinds of crashes can easily be fatal.

Rear-End Accidents

This is one of the most common types of car accident. As the name implies, a rear-end crash involves one vehicle crashing into the back end of another vehicle. This may occur when a driver fails to stop, follows too closely, stops unexpectedly, hits a slippery patch of road, etc. Rear-end accidents may involve multiple drivers, as the impact from behind may push the vehicle being hit into the vehicle ahead of them.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Not all car accidents occur between drivers. A single vehicle may spin out, roll over, hit a tree, drive into private property, or hit a person or animal. Whether or not the accident is the fault of the driver, an act of nature or something else, any crash involving only one driver is categorized as a single-vehicle accident.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents

When two or more vehicles are involved in a crash, it’s considered a multi-vehicle accident. Accidents between two or more passenger cars can occur as a result of reckless driving, driver impairment, driver distraction, speeding, defective car parts, and poor weather or road conditions. Hiring the right attorney for a car accident is critical to protect your interests.

Backing-Up Accidents

Backing up in any kind of vehicle is an act that requires care and attention. Even in vehicles with convenient back-up cameras and alert systems, it’s possible to accidentally hit something or someone in one’s blind spot. Similarly, a driver on the road may fail to pay attention to a reversing vehicle and hit it while it is backing into traffic.

Uber Accidents

In recent years, ridesharing apps like Uber have become increasingly popular. Uber drivers don’t need to go through any special training or hold a special type of license, and they are no less likely to be involved in an accident than any other driver. For both Uber drivers and their passengers, a car crash can bring legal confusion with regard to insurance coverage and compensation. Find out if you are covered in an Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing apps.

Sun Glare Accidents

Anyone who has driven toward the sun in the morning or evening is well aware of the value of visors and sunglasses. Depending on factors like the location of the sun, the weather, and the state of the vehicle’s windshield, sun glare can be a mild annoyance or a serious danger. Sun glare can drastically reduce visibility, making it harder for drivers to see their surroundings and identify vehicles or objects in their path. Severe glare can essentially leave the driver feeling temporarily blind, and may even be painful. All of this makes it a risk factor for car accidents.

Highway Accidents

Vehicles on the highway generally travel at a much higher speed than they do on normal city streets. Regardless of the posted speed limit, vehicles on the highway may be traveling upwards of 80 miles per hour. When this kind of speed is combined with reckless or negligent driving behavior, it puts everyone on the road at risk of being hurt in a serious accident. Highways also see a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, which can lead to major truck accidents. Learn more about highway accidents.

Taxi and Limo Accidents

Taxi cabs and limousines can also be involved in car accidents, and any passengers in the vehicle may be injured as a result. Just like any other accident, victims will be able to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance policy. If the taxi or limo driver was at fault and damages are not covered by insurance, a victim may choose to file suit against the taxi/limo company or the driver themselves. Find out if you are covered in a taxi or limo accident.

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots present a number of risks and obstacles that drivers have to navigate carefully. Even in large lots and parking structures, there is often very little space to maneuver. Other vehicles can limit visibility when backing up, and it can be difficult to see other drivers or pedestrians in some areas. As a result, parking lots are a common location for relatively minor “fender bender” car accidents. Learn more about pedestrian accidents.

Fatal Car Accidents

Sadly, the losses caused by a car accident are sometimes for worse than just injuries and vehicle damage. In the worst of cases, drivers, passengers, and other people can lose their lives. When this happens, it leaves victims’ loved ones dealing with grief, stress, and financial difficulties.

Bus Accidents

These crashes can involve public transportation buses, private charge buses, tour buses, and school buses. Buses present several safety hazards in an accident; because of their size and distribution of weight, they are at a high risk of rolling over in a crash. Also, most buses lack seatbelts to protect their passengers.

Motorcycle Accidents

Because motorcycles are some of the smallest, lightest vehicles on the road, they are especially vulnerable in traffic. All too often, negligent drivers will fail to pay attention to their surroundings and ignore their blind spots, causing them to collide with motorcyclists. The driver of the motorcycle can be at fault for the accident, but it is most often the other way around.

Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are often heavy, large, and more unwieldy than a typical passenger vehicle. Trucks towing large trailers have significant blind spots and take wide turns, which can play a role in accidents. When an 18-wheeler collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the results can be devastating.

Bicycle Accidents

With the exception of a helmet, bicyclists have little protection when involved in a collision with a heavy, fast-moving motor vehicle. Most accidents between bikes and cars happen because the driver wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see the person on the bike.

ATV Accidents

All-terrain vehicles (a.k.a. four-wheelers, quads) are unique vehicles with the weight, power, and tire grip to handle all kinds of difficult and messy environments. Texas law forbids driving these kinds of specialized off-highway vehicles on the street, except in very specific situations. Even so, they can still be involved in very serious incidents. An ATV accident can result in severe injuries, especially if the heavy machine falls or flips over on top of someone.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

Hit-and-Run Accidents

The term “hit and run” refers to any accident in which a driver hits a vehicle, person, or private property and flees the scene of the crash before any information can be gathered. Hit-and-run drivers tend to leave the accident scene because they are afraid of the consequences, especially if they know there are other issues at play. For example: if they are uninsured, using a stolen car, driving without a license, or operating a vehicle under the influence, they may be especially likely to panic and flee after a crash. Learn more about what to do after a hit and run accident.

Left-Hand Turn Accidents

Left-Hand Turn Accidents

When making a left-hand turn, it’s common to have to cross traffic coming from the opposite direction. At a controlled intersection, this is at least somewhat assisted by stoplights or a stop sign. Unfortunately, whether or not signs or lights are present, there is still an accident risk. If a person turns in front of moving traffic or speeds through an intersection, a vehicle may end up getting hit, likely from the side (“T-boned”).

Head-On Collision Accidents

Head-On Collision Accidents

This is an especially dangerous type of accident. A head-on collision is one in which the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle (from “head on”). This may happen if a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction crosses the midline/median, or if someone is driving the wrong way down the road. Because a driver sits at the front of a vehicle, these kinds of crashes can easily be fatal.

Rear-End Accidents

Rear-End Accidents

This is one of the most common types of car accident. As the name implies, a rear-end crash involves one vehicle crashing into the back end of another vehicle. This may occur when a driver fails to stop, follows too closely, stops unexpectedly, hits a slippery patch of road, etc. Rear-end accidents may involve multiple drivers, as the impact from behind may push the vehicle being hit into the vehicle ahead of them.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Not all car accidents occur between drivers. A single vehicle may spin out, roll over, hit a tree, drive into private property, or hit a person or animal. Whether or not the accident is the fault of the driver, an act of nature or something else, any crash involving only one driver is categorized as a single-vehicle accident.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Multi-Vehicle Accidents

When two or more vehicles are involved in a crash, it’s considered a multi-vehicle accident. Accidents between two or more passenger cars can occur as a result of reckless driving, driver impairment, driver distraction, speeding, defective car parts, and poor weather or road conditions. Hiring the right attorney for a car accident is critical to protect your interests.

Backing-Up Accidents

Backing-Up Accidents

Backing up in any kind of vehicle is an act that requires care and attention. Even in vehicles with convenient back-up cameras and alert systems, it’s possible to accidentally hit something or someone in one’s blind spot. Similarly, a driver on the road may fail to pay attention to a reversing vehicle and hit it while it is backing into traffic.

Uber Accidents

Uber Accidents

In recent years, ridesharing apps like Uber have become increasingly popular. Uber drivers don’t need to go through any special training or hold a special type of license, and they are no less likely to be involved in an accident than any other driver. For both Uber drivers and their passengers, a car crash can bring legal confusion with regard to insurance coverage and compensation. Find out if you are covered in an Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing apps.

Sun Glare Accidents

Sun Glare Accidents

Anyone who has driven toward the sun in the morning or evening is well aware of the value of visors and sunglasses. Depending on factors like the location of the sun, the weather, and the state of the vehicle’s windshield, sun glare can be a mild annoyance or a serious danger. Sun glare can drastically reduce visibility, making it harder for drivers to see their surroundings and identify vehicles or objects in their path. Severe glare can essentially leave the driver feeling temporarily blind, and may even be painful. All of this makes it a risk factor for car accidents.

Highway Accidents

Highway Accidents

Vehicles on the highway generally travel at a much higher speed than they do on normal city streets. Regardless of the posted speed limit, vehicles on the highway may be traveling upwards of 80 miles per hour. When this kind of speed is combined with reckless or negligent driving behavior, it puts everyone on the road at risk of being hurt in a serious accident. Highways also see a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, which can lead to major truck accidents. Learn more about highway accidents.

Taxi and Limo Accidents

Taxi and Limo Accidents

Taxi cabs and limousines can also be involved in car accidents, and any passengers in the vehicle may be injured as a result. Just like any other accident, victims will be able to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance policy. If the taxi or limo driver was at fault and damages are not covered by insurance, a victim may choose to file suit against the taxi/limo company or the driver themselves. Find out if you are covered in a taxi or limo accident.

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots present a number of risks and obstacles that drivers have to navigate carefully. Even in large lots and parking structures, there is often very little space to maneuver. Other vehicles can limit visibility when backing up, and it can be difficult to see other drivers or pedestrians in some areas. As a result, parking lots are a common location for relatively minor “fender bender” car accidents. Learn more about pedestrian accidents.

Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal Car Accidents

Sadly, the losses caused by a car accident are sometimes for worse than just injuries and vehicle damage. In the worst of cases, drivers, passengers, and other people can lose their lives. When this happens, it leaves victims’ loved ones dealing with grief, stress, and financial difficulties.

Bus Accidents

Bus Accidents

These crashes can involve public transportation buses, private charge buses, tour buses, and school buses. Buses present several safety hazards in an accident; because of their size and distribution of weight, they are at a high risk of rolling over in a crash. Also, most buses lack seatbelts to protect their passengers.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents

Because motorcycles are some of the smallest, lightest vehicles on the road, they are especially vulnerable in traffic. All too often, negligent drivers will fail to pay attention to their surroundings and ignore their blind spots, causing them to collide with motorcyclists. The driver of the motorcycle can be at fault for the accident, but it is most often the other way around.

Truck Accidents

Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are often heavy, large, and more unwieldy than a typical passenger vehicle. Trucks towing large trailers have significant blind spots and take wide turns, which can play a role in accidents. When an 18-wheeler collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the results can be devastating.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle Accidents

With the exception of a helmet, bicyclists have little protection when involved in a collision with a heavy, fast-moving motor vehicle. Most accidents between bikes and cars happen because the driver wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see the person on the bike.

ATV Accidents

ATV Accidents

All-terrain vehicles (a.k.a. four-wheelers, quads) are unique vehicles with the weight, power, and tire grip to handle all kinds of difficult and messy environments. Texas law forbids driving these kinds of specialized off-highway vehicles on the street, except in very specific situations. Even so, they can still be involved in very serious incidents. An ATV accident can result in severe injuries, especially if the heavy machine falls or flips over on top of someone.

Why Hire a Houston Auto Accident Attorney?

When it comes to vehicle accidents, many victims try to go it alone. They mistakenly believe they can handle their insurance provider single-handedly. All too often, that decision leads people down a time-consuming and expensive path. That’s because most insurance companies are hesitant to pay the costs in full—if they can get away with it. Sadly, if an insurance carrier can settle for less, they will. That leaves the injured party with the added burden of paying off costly medical bills and pricey repairs.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Depending on factors including speed, the number of vehicles, and weather conditions, an injury could heal in a matter of days or might not become present for a while after the accident. If you are involved in a car accident you should get yourself checked out just in case, shock can prevent victims from realizing the extent of their problems.

When an auto accident happens, injuries may be severe. Severe injuries can often be addressed through emergency care, surgery, physical therapy, and a period of restful recovery. However, some injuries can have lifelong repercussions, leaving victims with irreparable damage, chronic pain, disability, and/or other ongoing challenges.

Head Injuries
Chest Injuries
Scrapes, Lacerations, Cuts, and Burns
Leg and Arm Injuries
Soft Tissue Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Spinal Injuries
Broken and Fractured Bones
Fatalities

Head Injuries

One of the most serious types of injuries from car accidents are head injuries. An unexpected stop or a sudden change in direction can cause your head to be flung against a window or steering wheel. The more direct a head or brain injury is the more severe it is likely to become. A brain hemorrhage or brain bleed is a possible head injury. Concussions are a less severe outcome as well.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries will mostly take the form of bruises or contusions, but at more severe levels can leave a victim with broken ribs and internal problems. Drivers often will experience a chest injury because their chest will collide with the steering wheel.

Scrapes, Lacerations, Cuts, and Burns

A scrape or laceration can be caused by unsecured objects inside of your car. These objects include cell phones, drinks, books, and more. If the impact is hard enough, any of these objects can break the skin fairly quickly.

Leg and Arm Injuries

Similarly to a head or neck being jerked after a sudden impact, your arms and legs can experience similar problems. Your limbs can be thrown against the vehicle’s door. Car accidents have caused occupant’s knees to hit the dashboard or seat in front of them leading to bruises, scrapes, and sprains.

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury is any damage to the body’s connective tissue—this includes muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A soft tissue injury is the most common form of car accident injury, and it can take many forms. One of the most common soft tissue injuries is a “whiplash” injury. A car accident can cause sudden movements of the neck and lower back; these can lead to long-term problems.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Caused by the force of impact, blows to the head, or objects penetrating the skull, a TBI may lead to long-term cognitive problems or death. Learn more about traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

The impact of a crash can cause the head and neck to move back and forth suddenly, leading to a sprained neck (known as “whiplash”) or other neck trauma.

Spinal Injuries

Impact and compression trauma can cause damage to the vertebrae and spinal cord, potentially causing lasting complications like chronic back pain or paralysis.

Broken and Fractured Bones

These can usually be healed well with proper medical care, but they are still painful, take time to heal, and can have long-term effects on strength and mobility.

Fatalities

Severe car accident victims may be killed upon impact or die as a result of their injuries. Even with the best, most immediate medical care, sometimes victims succumb to their injuries in the hospital.

Head Injuries

Head Injuries

One of the most serious types of injuries from car accidents are head injuries. An unexpected stop or a sudden change in direction can cause your head to be flung against a window or steering wheel. The more direct a head or brain injury is the more severe it is likely to become. A brain hemorrhage or brain bleed is a possible head injury. Concussions are a less severe outcome as well.

Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries will mostly take the form of bruises or contusions, but at more severe levels can leave a victim with broken ribs and internal problems. Drivers often will experience a chest injury because their chest will collide with the steering wheel.

Scrapes, Lacerations, Cuts, and Burns

Scrapes, Lacerations, Cuts, and Burns

A scrape or laceration can be caused by unsecured objects inside of your car. These objects include cell phones, drinks, books, and more. If the impact is hard enough, any of these objects can break the skin fairly quickly.

Leg and Arm Injuries

Leg and Arm Injuries

Similarly to a head or neck being jerked after a sudden impact, your arms and legs can experience similar problems. Your limbs can be thrown against the vehicle’s door. Car accidents have caused occupant’s knees to hit the dashboard or seat in front of them leading to bruises, scrapes, and sprains.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury is any damage to the body’s connective tissue—this includes muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A soft tissue injury is the most common form of car accident injury, and it can take many forms. One of the most common soft tissue injuries is a “whiplash” injury. A car accident can cause sudden movements of the neck and lower back; these can lead to long-term problems.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Caused by the force of impact, blows to the head, or objects penetrating the skull, a TBI may lead to long-term cognitive problems or death. Learn more about traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

The impact of a crash can cause the head and neck to move back and forth suddenly, leading to a sprained neck (known as “whiplash”) or other neck trauma.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal Injuries

Impact and compression trauma can cause damage to the vertebrae and spinal cord, potentially causing lasting complications like chronic back pain or paralysis.

Broken and Fractured Bones

Broken and Fractured Bones

These can usually be healed well with proper medical care, but they are still painful, take time to heal, and can have long-term effects on strength and mobility.

Fatalities

Fatalities

Severe car accident victims may be killed upon impact or die as a result of their injuries. Even with the best, most immediate medical care, sometimes victims succumb to their injuries in the hospital.

Steps to Take After a Houston Auto Accident

When you’ve just been in an accident, it may be difficult to stay calm or remember what you need to do. A car accident lawyer can help you after the fact, but there are things you can and should do immediately to record the incident properly and get the information you need to prove what happened.

One way to make sure that you take the right steps after an accident is to keep a checklist in your glove compartment. This checklist can help you focus, calm you down, and get you into the right mindset for information gathering. When writing your checklist, make sure you include the following steps.

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Check for Injuries and Call 911 If Needed

Immediately following the accident, you’re likely to be at least a little shaken. Do your best to stay calm and take an inventory of everyone in your vehicle. Determine whether anyone is seriously injured and needs emergency medical attention. If they do, call 911 right away and let them know that you’ve had an accident and will need medical care.

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Move Your Vehicle to a Safe Place

If your vehicle is still in traffic and you are able to drive it, move your vehicle to a safe place. Most of the time, pulling off to the side of the road is sufficient. Though it would be ideal to take a few photos of the accident scene before moving any vehicles, your safety (and the safety of other drivers) is most important. If you can’t safely take photos, move your car first.

 

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Report Your Crash to the Police

If you’ve already called 911, police will soon arrive on the scene and begin a police report. If you haven’t, make a non-emergency call to the local police and let them know that you’ve had an accident. When they arrive, they’ll be able to take statements from everyone on the scene and note important details for the record. This official police report can be provided to the insurance company and may be helpful at trial.

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Exchange Important Information With the Other Driver

Once it’s safe and you’ve reported your accident to authorities, you can go ahead and exchange contact and insurance information with the other party (or parties) involved. No matter how upset you may be at this time, try to stay calm and professional during the exchange. Don’t say anything that might be misinterpreted as an admission of fault, like “I didn’t see it coming.”

 

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Take Detailed Notes and Photos

As soon as you are able, begin making detailed notes and taking pictures of the scene, the vehicles, your injuries, etc. Even if you can’t get to a notepad or a phone app, do your best to make mental notes of everything you notice immediately following the accident. All of this information can be helpful in proving your case if there is a dispute.

 

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Contact a Car Crash Lawyer

After you’ve received necessary medical attention and addressed any other immediate concerns, you’re technically ready to file an insurance claim. Before you involve the insurance company, however, it’s important to talk to an experienced car crash attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your rights as a crash victim, how you can protect those rights, and what you can expect from the claims process.

 

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Contact the Insurance Company

Once you’ve spoken with an attorney, it’s time to get in touch with insurance. At this point, your lawyer can take over all of the communication with the insurance company, or you can handle the initial claim process yourself. When you call, let the insurance company know that you have a lawyer so they can contact them as needed.

Gathering Evidence of Car Accident Liability

When you contact the insurance company, they’re going to start with a car accident investigation related to
your claim. Claims adjusters look at the fine details of your situation. You need to gather as much information as possible, including photographs, medical bills, police reports, and witness accounts.

The reason insurance claims adjusters need this information is because they need to make sure they have an
accurate understanding of who is at fault and what falls within the coverage limits. If insurance companies
simply took the word of the person who filed the claim, they would be far more susceptible to insurance fraud.
The more authoritative information you are able to supply to prove your claim, the better.

Important evidence to gather for claims adjusters investigating car crash claims includes:
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Photographs

If you have your phone or a camera, take as many pictures as you can of the accident scene and the damage caused. You should take photos of the entire area and the vehicles from various angles, as well as close-up detail photos of scratches, dents, breaks, debris, etc. Photos of your own injuries pre-treatment may be helpful, as well. If you are unable to take pictures, you may be able to ask a witness or other uninjured party to help.

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Diagrams

In addition to photo evidence, it can be helpful to create a diagram of how things were positioned and what exactly happened during the accident. If you can, try to sketch something down sooner than later so that your memory is still “fresh.” This kind of visual can help illustrate the movement of the parties involved and be combined with your photo evidence.

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Police names/badge numbers

When police arrive to start their accident report, it’s a good idea to take down their names and ask for their badge numbers (especially for the officer making the report). This can be helpful when you’re trying to obtain a copy of the police report, and it can also be useful if your lawyer or the insurance adjuster needs additional information.

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Location of traffic cameras

If there were traffic cameras in the area of the accident, it may be possible for you and your lawyer to retrieve video or photo evidence of the crash from them. You might not notice the presence or location of any cameras while you’re on the scene, but you can certainly check for traffic cameras in the area later on. Even footage of the accident from a distant camera can be beneficial.

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Receipts for accident-related expenses

One of the best ways to ensure compensation for your losses is to hang on to every receipt for anything related to the crash. These may include receipts for things like auto-repair bills, new vehicle costs, hospital bills, and medical supplies. Your attorney can help you determine what other kinds of things may be considered accident-related so that you have evidence for as many financial expenses as possible

Car Accident Claim Compensation

The claims and compensation process can be intimidating. It is somewhat complex, and you’ll have to
provide certain information and answer a variety of questions to prove your claim. With an auto
accident lawyer, however, you’ll get professional guidance and advice that you can trust is in
your best interest. They can also give you a clearer idea of what you can expect.

Average Settlements

The amount of money you can receive from a settlement depends on the extent of car accident damages incurred, as well as the terms of the policy covering it. Different insurance companies calculate their offers in different ways, sometimes using multipliers for things like pain and suffering.

Because there are so many variables, there is no one average amount to point to. Typical settlement amounts can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. The best way to estimate what you can receive in your specific case is to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about it.

Can You Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

Car accident victims’ losses can be much greater than just the total cost of car repairs, medical care, and lost wages. Things like physical pain, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and other such personal difficulties cannot be accounted for on a bill, but they are still valid as a kind of damage. To address these challenges, Texas car accident laws allow victims to sue for pain and suffering as necessary.

To show that you are entitled to pain and suffering compensation, your attorney will illustrate the ways in which the accident negatively affected your health, well-being, and quality of life. They may talk about how specific physical injuries directly relate to mental and emotional difficulties. They may also share statements and documentation from counselors, psychologists, pain management physicians, or other experts.

The Insurance Process

For many people, the prospect of dealing with an insurance company after an accident is a daunting one. Whether the policy belongs to you or another driver, it can be tough to know what to expect, how to properly answer questions and what you should provide. This is another thing that an attorney can explain and support you through.

As the insurance process moves forward, you’ll probably lean more and more on your lawyer. After you file the initial claim and receive an offer, your attorney can help you determine whether it’s a reasonable settlement amount. If necessary, they’ll negotiate back and forth with the insurance company to get you the best possible result.

Filing an Insurance Claim

The very first step in the insurance process is filing a car accident claim. This claim is most often filed against the policy of the individual who was at fault in the accident. In some cases, however, the victim’s insurance will offer coverage that the at-fault party’s does not. In this situation, the victim would then file a claim with their own insurance company.

Most insurance companies today allow individuals to file claims by phone or online. Once you’ve completed and submitted the claim form, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to review and investigate it. This adjuster may contact you a few times for relevant information. If you’ve hired an attorney by this point, let them know.

How to Review a Settlement Offer

After a period of reviewing and investigating your claim, the insurance company will make an initial settlement offer. Don’t make any hasty decisions at this point. Any time you are offered a settlement amount from the insurance company, you should give your lawyer the opportunity to review and discuss it with you first. This ensures that you don’t accidentally accept anything that would be unfair to you.

With any car accident settlement, you’ll want to check that the amount offered fully covers all of your accident-related medical costs. Depending on your situation, this may also include estimated costs of future care. If the settlement meets those needs, the next question is whether or not you feel comfortable with the amount offered. If you and/or your lawyer have concerns, there may be further negotiation.

Car Accident Lawsuit Process

In some car accident cases, lawsuits are necessary to get victims the compensation they deserve. Suing for
damages may sound difficult, but your lawyer will guide you through each step, making it as easy as possible
for you. Here’s how the lawsuit process works and what you can expect.

Settlement Negotiations

Before you think about filing a lawsuit, your lawyer will try to settle things through a negotiation process with the insurance company. This isn’t something you’ll need to do yourself; your car insurance claim attorney can do all of the necessary negotiating on your behalf.

Negotiations can take some time, but it’s important to remember that your attorney’s job is to ensure that you get the most fair and complete compensation. As your representative, they are not afraid to push back against the insurance company’s offers as many times as needed to get the best possible result.

When to Start a Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits don’t need to be filed immediately. Most of the time, your attorney should be able to work out a reasonable settlement with the insurance company. If a settlement agreement doesn’t happen and the insurance company refuses to pay fairly for what you are owed, that’s when you might decide to sue.

Settlement negotiations can take a while to complete, and several offers may go back and forth between your lawyer and insurance. If you do end up filing a lawsuit in your case, it will probably be several weeks after the accident.

Mediation

Even after filing a lawsuit, the parties will still have an opportunity to resolve and settle the case without continuing to trial. This is known as “mediation,” and it involves bringing in an unbiased third party to help mediate discussions.

Mediation is not a formal element of the process, and it is therefore not legally binding. However, it can still help the parties avoid trial-related expenses and resolve car crash cases in ways that benefit everyone.

The Discovery Phase

If your case continues on to trial, there will be an initial “discovery” phase. During this time, both sides of the case will be able to ask questions about the case and their evidence. This gives both parties the opportunity to learn what information the other party has.

During discovery, attorneys for both sides may ask the other to prove certain facts, provide relevant documentation, or ask for depositions (testimony) from witnesses or involved parties. Once your attorney is satisfied with what they’ve discovered, they can use it to plan a strong trial strategy.

Motions for Summary Judgment

After discovery, one party can decide to file what’s called a “motion for summary judgment.” This comes into play when none of the material facts in personal injury cases—like who was at fault, what kind of damage occurred, or what the insurance policy covers—are in dispute. The moving party has the responsibility of proving that the facts of the case are really undisputed, and that the outcome can be decided by applying existing law (without a judge or jury).

If the facts of your case aren’t in dispute and the law supports ruling in your favor, your lawyer will likely move for summary judgment. If they’re able to prove that there are no important material facts in dispute, the motion will be granted and the court will rule in your favor.

Trial

If a case is not resolved during mediation or via a summary judgment, it will continue on to trial. During this phase, both sides will present their arguments. Each party’s lawyers will argue their respective cases, using evidence to prove their point to the judge or jury. After they’ve finished, the judge or jury will consider whether the evidence supports the plaintiff’s case, then rule accordingly.

There are many opportunities to resolve a case before this point, so most do not reach trial. Because it’s so uncommon, those that do go to trial often become higher-profile cases. For some victims, settling in mediation is preferable to the visibility of a trial. For others, a trial is an opportunity to hold the insurance company accountable in a more public way.

Types of Car Crash
Collisions

Accidents happen every day for all sorts of reasons. Over the years, experts have been able
to identify trends and key factors in these crashes, giving us a better idea of the problems
at hand. From intoxicated drivers to malfunctioning car parts, the following are a few
common causes and types of collisions.

Drunk Driving
Distracted Drivers (Texting While Driving)
Speeding
Uninsured Motorists
Dangerous Road Hazards
Defective Vehicles

Drunk Driving

It’s no secret that being drunk negatively affects a person’s judgment and motor skills, drastically interfering with their ability to drive. Unfortunately, many still choose to drink and get behind the wheel, believing that they are “sober enough” and still perfectly capable of driving. This is a major risk factor for a car accident.

The average person can still ingest a small amount of alcohol without significant loss of judgment or ability. As long as the alcohol content of a person’s blood is below a certain level, they will not legally be considered impaired. In Texas, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08. If a driver in an accident shows a BAC over 0.08, it will be reported as a drunk driving accident. Learn more about not becoming another drunk driving statistic.

Distracted Drivers (Texting While Driving)

Distracted driving is extremely common, and it poses serious risks. One of the most common forms of distraction is texting while driving, which continues to be a problem across the country. When a person’s eyes leave the road, it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur. Even if they do their best to watch the road, multitasking splits their focus and reduces their ability to react to danger.

 Texting isn’t the only form of distracted driving, however. Other examples include eating, applying makeup, using a phone without a hands-free device, and reaching for objects in the backseat. Anything that takes a person’s eyes, hands, or feet away from where they should be can be considered distracted driving. View more about the dangers of distracted drivers.

Speeding

Excessive speed is a common factor in car accidents. The speed limit is an indicator of the safest traveling speed for that road. Experts determine these speeds by looking at things like traffic statistics, terrain features, curve tightness, and even population demographics (could children be at risk?). When a person chooses to ignore this safe limit, they put themselves and others at risk of a crash.

Speeding leads to auto accidents in many ways. If the road turns, excessive speed may cause the vehicle to leave the road. The driver may overcompensate for this, swerving dangerously into other cars or objects. Speeding also reduces the time a driver has to react defensively to dangers, and can drastically increase the force and deadliness of any impact.

Uninsured Motorists

All drivers are required by law to carry at least basic liability auto insurance. This requirement is meant to protect those involved in crashes from being left without coverage, holding the bill for medical treatment and vehicle damage. When an uninsured person causes an accident, they have no insurance policy for people to file a claim against.

If you have added uninsured motorist coverage to your own insurance, you can file a claim with your insurer to pay for damage caused by an uninsured driver. If you don’t have this kind of coverage, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. View more information about uninsured motorist accidents.

Dangerous Road Hazards

There are all kinds of hazards that can make roads dangerous or pose challenges to drivers. Things like weather (ice, snow, rain), road damage, animals, and downed power lines are natural and man-made hazards that can pose a risk of accidents.

Some hazards can be prevented through proper maintenance, repair, and monitoring. Other hazards are harder to predict or avoid, like severe weather or other acts of nature. An attentive driver can navigate most common types of hazards with reasonable care.

Defective Vehicles

If some part of a vehicle malfunctions, breaks down, or is not manufactured responsibly, it can lead to very serious, sudden accidents. Defects often go unnoticed until the moment they cause a problem, and it can be especially dangerous when such problems occur on the road.

Accidents related to defective vehicles and auto parts occur for various reasons. It may be a commercial truck that was not properly maintained by the company, a vehicle with a defective brake system, or a vehicle whose manufacturer ignored clear safety risks. Learn more about defective cars and car parts.

Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving

It’s no secret that being drunk negatively affects a person’s judgment and motor skills, drastically interfering with their ability to drive. Unfortunately, many still choose to drink and get behind the wheel, believing that they are “sober enough” and still perfectly capable of driving. This is a major risk factor for a car accident.

The average person can still ingest a small amount of alcohol without significant loss of judgment or ability. As long as the alcohol content of a person’s blood is below a certain level, they will not legally be considered impaired. In Texas, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08. If a driver in an accident shows a BAC over 0.08, it will be reported as a drunk driving accident. Learn more about not becoming another drunk driving statistic.

Distracted Drivers (Texting While Driving)

Distracted Drivers (Texting While Driving)

Distracted driving is extremely common, and it poses serious risks. One of the most common forms of distraction is texting while driving, which continues to be a problem across the country. When a person’s eyes leave the road, it only takes a few seconds for an accident to occur. Even if they do their best to watch the road, multitasking splits their focus and reduces their ability to react to danger.

 Texting isn’t the only form of distracted driving, however. Other examples include eating, applying makeup, using a phone without a hands-free device, and reaching for objects in the backseat. Anything that takes a person’s eyes, hands, or feet away from where they should be can be considered distracted driving. View more about the dangers of distracted drivers.

Speeding

Speeding

Excessive speed is a common factor in car accidents. The speed limit is an indicator of the safest traveling speed for that road. Experts determine these speeds by looking at things like traffic statistics, terrain features, curve tightness, and even population demographics (could children be at risk?). When a person chooses to ignore this safe limit, they put themselves and others at risk of a crash.

Speeding leads to auto accidents in many ways. If the road turns, excessive speed may cause the vehicle to leave the road. The driver may overcompensate for this, swerving dangerously into other cars or objects. Speeding also reduces the time a driver has to react defensively to dangers, and can drastically increase the force and deadliness of any impact.

Uninsured Motorists

Uninsured Motorists

All drivers are required by law to carry at least basic liability auto insurance. This requirement is meant to protect those involved in crashes from being left without coverage, holding the bill for medical treatment and vehicle damage. When an uninsured person causes an accident, they have no insurance policy for people to file a claim against.

If you have added uninsured motorist coverage to your own insurance, you can file a claim with your insurer to pay for damage caused by an uninsured driver. If you don’t have this kind of coverage, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. View more information about uninsured motorist accidents.

Dangerous Road Hazards

Dangerous Road Hazards

There are all kinds of hazards that can make roads dangerous or pose challenges to drivers. Things like weather (ice, snow, rain), road damage, animals, and downed power lines are natural and man-made hazards that can pose a risk of accidents.

Some hazards can be prevented through proper maintenance, repair, and monitoring. Other hazards are harder to predict or avoid, like severe weather or other acts of nature. An attentive driver can navigate most common types of hazards with reasonable care.

Defective Vehicles

Defective Vehicles

If some part of a vehicle malfunctions, breaks down, or is not manufactured responsibly, it can lead to very serious, sudden accidents. Defects often go unnoticed until the moment they cause a problem, and it can be especially dangerous when such problems occur on the road.

Accidents related to defective vehicles and auto parts occur for various reasons. It may be a commercial truck that was not properly maintained by the company, a vehicle with a defective brake system, or a vehicle whose manufacturer ignored clear safety risks. Learn more about defective cars and car parts.

Car Accident Frequently
Asked Questions

It’s not unusual to have a lot of questions after a car accident. Take a look at the following frequently asked
questions before you take action or make any decisions. If you have further questions, contact our car wreck
lawyers for information.

Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

If you are being denied compensation that you are clearly owed as a crash victim, it’s time to talk to a lawyer. In your initial consultation, the attorney can determine if and how their services can help your case. They can also help you understand your rights as a victim and explain what you can expect from the legal process.

If you feel the amount of compensation you’re offered by insurance is fair, you might not need to hire an accident lawyer. Before you accept any offer, however, you may want to speak to an attorney to confirm whether their offer is truly in your best interest. There may be additional damages you aren’t aware of or are forgetting to account for.

Why Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

Insurance companies are very particular about approving claims. This extreme caution is often a good thing that protects against insurance fraud. Unfortunately, they can also stretch the definition of caution, finding any excuse to deny claims and cut costs. If you’re in a vulnerable state and just want to “get it over with,” you might give up on fighting their decision. This is why having a lawyer is so important.

All Houston auto crash attorneys represent the rights of their clients and fight on their behalf. Talking to insurance companies and arguing for what you deserve is just part of what we do. When you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you need an attorney to handle the paperwork, make sure you’re treated fairly, and allow you to focus on recovering.

What Is the Cost of a Car Accident Lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer after a Houston auto collision is completely free. Our Houston auto accident legal team does work on a contingency basis. It costs nothing to retain an attorney, and the cost of services depends (or is contingent) on whether our legal team recovers damages in your case. In other words, if you don’t receive any money, you don’t have to pay us a thing.

When you come in for a free consultation, one of our attorneys can walk you through how contingency works, what kind of work we’ll need to do, and how much those things may cost you in the case that you do receive compensation.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you’ve been injured or the impact was significant enough to raise concerns about concussions or whiplash, you’ll want to seek medical care right away after the accident. If you initially feel fine but begin to experience symptoms in the weeks following your crash, you should follow up with a doctor as soon as possible. Some complications from car accidents can have a delayed onset, and any crash-related health effects are important to your case.

How Do I Get a Car Crash Report?

After any car accident, you’re going to want to get an official crash report to record what happened. With a report compiled by an unbiased authority, you’ll be able to refer to details of the incident without it being just your word versus the other driver’s. In Texas, drivers are also required to report any crash in which a person is injured or there is at least $1,000 of damage.

Accident reports are generally written up by the police. If anyone is injured in the crash or there is an emergency situation, call 911. When authorities arrive on the scene, a police officer can take the report. If there is not an emergency, you can call the police department’s non-emergency number and let them know that you’ve been in an accident and need a report. Ask the officer(s) where you can get a copy of the report when it is finished.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

In personal injury litigation, the term “pain and suffering” refers to the kinds of harm that don’t come with a bill. It accounts for the personal toll of things like pain, anxiety, depression, trauma, and emotional distress.

In the case of a car accident, vehicle damage and physical injuries are only part of the story. The other mental, physical, and emotional repercussions can be just as impactful, if not more so. In addition to payment for expenses incurred, payment for pain and suffering is often necessary to fairly compensate for those issues.

What Is a Policy Limit?

A policy limit is the maximum amount of money that an insurance company will pay for a given claim. This limit varies depending on the policy terms and the kinds of coverage you’re enrolled in. Often, policies with higher monthly premiums will offer higher policy limits. To determine your insurance company’s limit for a specific claim, consult the details of your most recent policy documents. Your attorney can also help you find this information if you’re unsure.

What If the Car Accident Was My Fault?

Texas is considered a “fault state,” which means that damages in car accidents are covered by the insurance of the party that was at fault in the accident. If the crash was your fault, any other drivers or passengers involved can file a claim against your insurance for compensation. You can also file a personal injury claim with your insurance for your damages.

The amount your insurance company will pay depends on the details of the coverage you carry. Regardless of fault, you should always be able to get the fair compensation your policy entitles you to receive. This is why you pay monthly premiums, after all.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

In the state of Texas, there is a statute of limitations of two years for injuries sustained in car accidents. This means victims have two years from the date of the accident to file car accident lawsuits. After that period, they will no longer be able to take legal action. This is just another reason why it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, or when delayed signs of injury become evident.

Can a Passenger in an Accident Sue?

Yes, Texas law absolutely gives rights to auto accident passengers. As a crash victim, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party at fault. This may be the driver of another vehicle, or it could be the driver of the vehicle you were in.

It’s possible that the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy includes personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In such a case, the insurance company will likely offer more compensation than they otherwise would. Personal injury protection, for example, is a no-fault form of coverage that provides a minimum of $2,500 to cover medical treatment and lost income.

What If the Other Driver Had No Insurance Coverage?

If the other driver in the crash didn’t have any insurance, you’ll most likely have to rely on your own insurance coverage. Whether or not your auto insurance will cover claims in such a situation depends on the details of your policy. Collision coverage, for example, might cover some of the vehicle damage sustained in an accident with an uninsured driver.

The best way to protect yourself from issues like this is to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This provides compensation for losses sustained in an accident with someone who does not have insurance (or does not have enough insurance). At most insurance companies, this is an additional type of coverage you can purchase and add on to your existing policy.

What Are the Steps After I Hire an Attorney?

After you hire an attorney, the law office will let the insurance company know they’re representing you. You’ll work with the lawyer to gather relevant information, which your attorney will use in negotiating on your behalf. If you, your lawyer and the insurance company can agree upon a settlement amount, you can officially accept payment and sign a release. If you can’t come to an agreement, you might file a lawsuit.

Am I Going to Have to Go to Court?

Not necessarily. It all depends on the risks you’re willing to take and how long you’re willing to wait for payment. If the insurance company is willing to offer you a fair compensation amount or you feel that it’s not worth the risk of fighting for more, you might choose not to go to court. If the insurance company continues to push for less and you feel it’s worth moving forward, your case may move on to a car accident injury trial.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

The amount of money we can recover for you depends on the details of the case and the insurance coverage that applies. A greater extent of damages may mean higher possible compensation. Again, though, it depends on the situation. The stronger your case is, the more likely you are to get the kind of compensation you expect.

Should I Accept a Settlement?

Any settlement offer the insurance company makes will need to be reviewed by your attorney. If your attorney feels the offer is fair and not significantly less than what you might be awarded in court, you can certainly accept the settlement. If your attorney believes that it’s in your best interest to continue to court, you’ll be encouraged not to accept it.

How Long Does the Settlement Process Take?

The amount of time it takes to reach a car accident settlement agreement varies by case. At our law firm, we wait until any necessary treatment is completed to begin negotiating with the insurance company. They will of course try to minimize the company’s costs, so it’s up to your attorney to volley back and forth with them and get the best possible outcome. This can take some time.

The good news is that the longer the process takes, the higher the settlement amount is likely to be. There may be a lot of renegotiating and discussion throughout, and pushback from the insurance company can prolong things. We know that waiting for a case to be resolved can be frustrating. We ask that clients be patient during this part of the process, as it’s what allows us to get the maximum amount of compensation for them. If we cut negotiations short, we wouldn’t be doing our job.

How Much Money Will I Get From My Settlement?

The amount of money one can receive in a settlement varies from case to case. Your settlement total will depend strongly on the kinds of damages you’ve suffered, how they’ve affected you, and how much treatment and repairs have cost you. You may also be compensated in advance for things like future treatments, medications or inability to work. A lawyer can help you estimate the amount you may be able to receive based on your specific damages.

The Insurance Adjuster Keeps Calling Me—Should I Speak With Them?

When we begin working on your case, we will notify the insurance company that we will be representing you. At this point, the insurance adjuster should be calling us to discuss the case, not you. If an insurance adjuster continues calling you, simply tell them that you’ve hired an attorney and ask that they contact us instead.

Even if the reason for their call seems like no big deal, it’s important not to accidentally share information or make statements that could affect your claim. An off-hand comment like “I didn’t even see that car” could be misinterpreted as an admission of negligent or distracted driving. For your protection, it’s best to let us handle all the communication with the insurance adjuster.

Wrongful Death Claims

In addition to the millions of injuries and the millions of dollars of vehicle damage sustained in crashes, there are thousands of car accident-related fatalities each year. For the families of crash victims who have lost their lives, their financial and personal losses go far beyond just paying for medical bills and car repair. In these cases, a representative may file what is known as a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.

When someone dies in a car crash, there can be devastating and long-lasting results for their loved ones. If the victim has a spouse and a family, for example, not only will their partner and children grieve for the person they lost, but they may also struggle to pay related costs and make up for the loss of crucial household income.

Monetary compensation can’t make up for the loss of human life, but it can cover related costs and help grieving families cover living expenses. Hospital bills, funeral costs, lost income, and pain and suffering are all examples of damages that can be sued for in a wrongful death case.

Why Choose Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris for Your Car Accident Lawsuit?

The vehicle accident lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris in Houston have spent the past 45 years dealing with the biggest insurance companies on behalf of crash victims. We know how to advocate on your behalf. We will help you no matter what type of crash you’ve been in—vehicle, truck, pedestrian, motorcycle, bicycle, bus—or what type of injuries you’ve sustained.

Our verdicts and settlements are among the most impressive in the state of Texas. We are dedicated to getting justice for injured victims. Our Houston personal injury lawyers can offer you free legal advice and help you get what you deserve.

Contact a Top-Rated Houston Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been in a car accident in the Houston, TX area, it’s time to contact the personal injury attorneys at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris. Call our Houston car accident law firm at 713-893-0971 (click to call) to discuss your case. We’ll set you up with a free consultation to talk to one of our attorneys about how we can help you.

United States and Texas
Car Accident Statistics
Overview

According to the National Safety Council, it is estimated that 38,800 people died in car
crashes in 2019 alone in the United States. During that same year, approximately 4.4
million people sustained injuries seriously enough to need medical attention.
2

Fatal vehicle crashes involving older drivers (65+) or at least one large truck are both
estimated to have increased in 2019 across the United States, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
3

In Texas, the statistics are just as concerning. Consider these numbers from the Texas Department of Transportation for the 2019 calendar year4:

  • Every 2 hours and 26 minutes, a person was killed in a crash, resulting in total 3,610 deaths.
    • Pedestrian fatalities: 660
    • Motorcyclist fatalities: 410
    • Pedalcyclist fatalities: 68

 

  • Number of individuals killed in Texas car accidents involving:
    • Driving under the influence: 886
    • Distracted driving: 377

 

  • Every 2 minutes and 3 seconds, a person was injured in a crash, resulting in:
    • 256,338 individuals experiencing some form of injury
    • 15,843 individuals sustaining serious injury

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Texas

In 2019 alone, deaths involving a driver operating a vehicle under the influence made up 25 percent of the total number of deaths in Texas car accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.4 There were 14,806 crashes involving a driver under the influence of alcohol and 3,148 crashes involving a driver under the influence of drugs.5

Speed was also a high contributing factor of crashes in 2019, including5:

  • Failed to control speed: 142,022 crashes
  • Unsafe speed: 23,416 crashes
  • Speeding (over limit): 2,166 crashes

Additional common contributing factors of car accidents in Texas in the 2019 calendar year involve forms of distracted driving and reckless driving, including5:

  • Failed to yield: 97,610 crashes
  • Driver inattention: 86,567 crashes
  • Failed to drive in single lane: 39,599 crashes
  • Changed lane when unsafe: 41,587 crashes
  • Followed too close: 24,486 crashes
  • Disregard Stop or Go signal: 20,073 crashes

Common Locations for Car Accidents in the Houston Area

Common locations for automobile accidents in Houston, TX (and the surrounding area) include:

  • Intersections
    • Intersections with Beltway 8 tend to be accident prone; in 2018, there were 103 accidents at the intersection with Bissonnet St. and 114 at the intersection with Beechnut St., according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation.6
  • Rural roads
    • Accidents that occur in rural areas can be especially fatal, in part due to the additional time it takes for emergency responders to arrive. In 2018, rural accidents accounted for 55 percent of Texas accident fatalities.7
  • Areas that are busy during rush hour

These are common locations for rear-end accidents and other “fender-benders.”

Texas Auto Accident Laws

Chapter 550 of the Texas Transportation Code governs legal issues surrounding traffic accidents and accident reports.8 The following is a subsection of this code that relates to Houston auto injuries and fatalities.

550.021 Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death

  1. The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person shall:
    1. immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;
    2. immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident;
    3. immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident, and if a person is involved in the accident, whether that person requires aid; and
    4. remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023. 
  2. An operator of a vehicle required to stop the vehicle by Subsection (a) shall do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
  3. A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of this section. An offense under this section:
    1. involving an accident resulting in:
      1.  death of a person is a felony of the second degree; or
      2.  serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, to a person is a felony of the third degree; and
    2. involving an accident resulting in injury to which Subdivision (1) does not apply is punishable by:
      1.  imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year;
      2.  a fine not to exceed $5,000; or
      3.  both the fine and the imprisonment or confinement.

Been Involved in a Houston
Car Accident?

You don’t have to go it alone. An experienced legal team can work with you to get the fair compensation you
deserve. Contact Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. to begin your complimentary case evaluation.

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Jonathan S. Harris and Matthew D. Shaffer are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Other attorneys are not board certified.  Principal office is located in Houston, Texas.