How can a Houston car accident attorney help you?
Houston observes 7.6 accidents per hour!
Houston is considered one of the deadliest cities in terms of car accidents in Texas. Houston had 66,988 traffic accidents in 2021, which makes 184 car accidents per day. Houston drivers spend approximately 119 hours on the road each year.
There are more cars in the city than ever before, pushing the congested infrastructure of the city to its limits. As per a new source, there are 11 fatal car accidents in Houston on average every week.
These alarming statistics indicate that Houstonians need to know how to handle car accidents and know the time limits, compensations, insurance claims, etc. Moreover, if you or your loved one have been hurt in a car accident, this is the quick guide you need to help you throughout the process.
Let’s get started.
What are the types of car accidents in Houston?
Listed below are the types of car accidents in Houston:
Rear-end Collisions: Rear-end accidents usually occur when the back driver fails to stop and collides with the back of the following vehicle. These collisions result from inattentive driving, inappropriate lane changes, and overspeeding. It results in property damage and physical injuries such as whiplash and brain injuries.
Side Impact Collisions: Popularly known as broadside accidents, these happen at intersections when one vehicle hits another at a right angle or on either side- head-on. The possible factors are excessive speed, intoxicated drivers, avoiding stop signs, etc.
Head-on collision: In this severe frontal collision, two vehicles in opposite directions crash into each other head-on due to drunk driving, wrong-way turning, or disregarding road signs.
Single vehicle accident: Such crashes include only one vehicle and happen when the driver hits fixed objects, run-off road accidents, collisions with animals, and other situations beyond the driver’s control.
Multi-Vehicle crashes: Known as pileups, these involve accidents between two vehicles that can further lead to the collision of multiple motor vehicles due to the domino effect.
What are the common causes of car accidents in Houston?
There are various reasons for car accidents. I have tried to identify the most common ones by going through road accident statistics which are as follows:
Drunk Drivers: People get injured or killed or lose their loved ones in car accidents due to someone else being drunk and not being responsible enough to keep others’ safety in mind.
Overspeeding: Houston ranks third in the US for traffic congestion. Further, based on reports of 1,832 motor vehicle accidents, drivers often drive faster than the posted speed limit to compensate for the lost time.
Driving on the wrong side: people do such things to avoid longer routes and save time taking the risk of their own life on the road.
Distracted Drivers: Drivers who multitask while driving, like eating, using phones, and daydreaming, can cause serious injury to someone on the road. According to studies, texting while driving places six times higher chances of being involved in an accident than drinking and driving.
Defect in the vehicle: If any vehicle failure occurs due to circumstances like the steering system not working, airbags exploding, tires bursting, etc. can lead to unsafe functioning of the vehicle and can contribute to significant accidents.
How to prove liability after a car accident in Houston?
To prove that a person is liable after a car accident in Houston, one must prove that a negligent act, recklessness, or intentional misconduct should fall under strict liability.
Negligence: It includes acts where a driver is not careful enough about other’s safety on the road and texting while driving, speeding, jumping traffic signals, etc. To prove another party’s negligence, you must ensure that the following elements are fulfilled: Duty of care, breach of duty, the actual cause, and proximate cause.
Recklessness: Disregarding others safety on the road, like drunk driving, rash driving, changing lanes without giving any signals, tailgating, etc. In such cases, it is easy to decide the liability.
Intentional misconduct: Drivers who intentionally did something or acted maliciously to cause the accident knowing the consequences, entirely fall under intentional misconduct.
Strict Liability: If a car accident occurs due to any defect in the vehicle, then the manufacturer falls under strict liability. The vehicle manufacturer is responsible for paying any damages due to a malfunction.
After the accident, it is crucial to maintain evidence that can be used to analyze the driver’s liability and can be useful for lawyers and insurance companies to determine the compensation.
What happens if you contributed partially to your crash in Texas?
Texas follows a personalized comparative fault doctrine through which responsibility for the collision is distributed between the involved parties at-fault. However, it is not a religious follower of pure comparative rule and adheres to only 51% rule. In other words, if your liability exceeds 51%, you cannot recover compensation from the other at-fault party or their insurer.
One can file an insurance claim or lawsuit for a percentage of compensation as long as they are compliant with the bar of 51%. When you are partly at fault, sharing fault will affect the compensation amount reflecting your liability in the accident.
What type of car accident compensation can be claimed in Houston?
There are three kinds of car accident damage available in Texas:
Compensatory Economic Damages: This refers to the monetary loss caused to the person who suffered from the accident, e.g., medical expenses, property destroyed, lost earnings, lost earning competence, etc.
Compensatory Non-economic Damages: These are non-pecuniary and not easy to calculate. It is provided for consequences post-accident grief, disfigured body, amputation of a body part, loss of enjoyment of normal life, etc.
Punitive Damages: These damages are granted to punish the culprit for his reckless behavior causing danger to others. Texas law limits punitive damages for car accidents to the maximum of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages plus non-economic damages, but only up to $750,000.
What steps do you need to take after a car accident to maximize compensation?
After the car accident in Houston, one can apply for compensation for the car accident in Houston. Some steps to be followed are:
1. Collect all the necessary documents: Legal documents are the best proof of everything. In the case of a car accident, collect the Insurance information and contact details.
2. Look out for evidence: Make sure to look for righteous evidence that can act as proof when you speak to an attorney, such as photographs of marks on the road, damage to the vehicle, etc.
3. Seek Medical aid: You must seek medical treatment right away after the accident despite how you feel, follow a treatment protocol advised by the medical professional, and get all the required medical attention at the earliest.
4. Avoid social media: One should avoid posting about the car accident as insurance companies may find statements that contradict your statement.
5. Consult with an expert car accident attorney: Make sure you consult an experienced car accident attorney in Houston to understand the compensation, penalties, and time involved in car accidents in Houston.
6. Get a copy of the written police accident report: The police prepare an accident report containing basic information about the incident. It is recommended that you obtain a copy as it can be an essential document for lawyers to understand the case and the compensation.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston?
Now, you might wonder, is hiring a lawyer necessary? So, the answer is NO!
Are you still advised to hire a lawyer? Definitely yes! Below are the reasons for this:
Analyze evidence and perform investigation: The lawyers possess expertise in locating evidence by speaking with witnesses, investigation officers, and accident reconstruction experts.
Calculating fair compensation per your injuries: Your injury may require additional medical treatment, impacting your ability to pursue future opportunities and return to work. A lawyer can look into these medical compensations and prepare a claim accordingly.
Proving the other party is at fault: The party at fault won’t accept its fault so easily and often point fingers at you. Having a lawyer by your side will have all the facts and corroborating evidence you need to prove that the other party was negligent.
Helping with issues concerning insurance company: You may feel pressured to settle for less compensation. The lawyer will be better positioned to negotiate aggressively on your behalf.
Preparing and filing documents for trial: You might not be able to submit your documents on time due to your injuries, so your attorney will handle this on your behalf to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Is it punishable to leave the scene of a car accident in Houston?
Yes, it is punishable to leave the scene of a car accident in Houston. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 and 550.022 requires every individual to stop their vehicle immediately after an accident involving personal injury, death, or property damage. Failure to do this is known as hit and run or leaving the scene, which constitutes a criminal offense.
Car accidents can cause physical, mental, and even fatal injuries. As the victim of an automobile accident, you might not be sure what to do next. You are unsure about compensation for something that wasn’t your fault, which is where car accident lawyers step in. They help you stay on top of necessary procedures, know your legal options, and put together a well-prepared case, which not only strengthens your case but also speeds up the entire cycle of getting compensation.
What is the time limit to file a car accident claim in Texas?
Texas Statute of Limitations states that car accident lawsuits must be filed within two years from the car crash date. If the lawsuit is not filed within the prescribed time, it becomes a time-barred action, and the suit is dismissed.
Texas enjoys the status of a fault state concerning traffic accidents. This denotes that an injured person can file a suit against the at-fault driver and obtain a claim amount from the insurance company of the accountable driver.