Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Home » Houston » Houston Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered a car wreck, you will likely need the help of a Houston car accident lawyer at McDonald Worley to get the justice you deserve. You are probably wondering things like how will I pay for my car repairs, who will pay for my medical bills, and how can I recover compensation for my lost wages. We proudly offer a free initial consultation to all injury victims, allowing them to get answers to all of their questions, while also receiving guidance from an experienced accident attorney.

Our team of personal injury lawyers has nearly 100 years of combined experience defending the rights of injury victims. Our knowledge and expertise have earned us recognition, and we are here to assist you. We pride ourselves on helping people when they need it most, and we are dedicated to obtaining compensation whenever possible for our injured clients.

After an accident, we are here to take the stress off of your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery while we seek justice for you. We are available 24/7 to take your call and you owe us nothing unless we win your case. If you have been injured in a car accident in Houston, contact our offices today and let one of our experts help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages.

An Overview Of Houston Vehicle Statistics

mw-icon-1

You might be shocked to read that Texas hasn't had a single day of zero road deaths since November 7, 2000. Stats show that someone is killed on Texas roads every 2 hours and 20 minutes. Also, someone gets injured nearly every 2 minutes. The total statewide number for annual crashes is over half a million.

In terms of identifying which demographics are most likely to be injured or killed in a crash, the data shows that drivers aged 18 up to 34 as being the highest risk group. Of the fatalities who lose their lives in accidents, studies indicate that more than 4 in 10 weren't wearing seatbelts when the crashes happened.

When looking at accident statistics on a city level, it quickly becomes clear that highly populated and urban areas are home to most of the accidents. More than 3/4 of all accidents happen in urban areas, and Houston leads the way. This city alone accounts for almost 13 percent of state collisions. San Antonio comes in second with over 8 percent, and Dallas is third with just over 6 percent.

These numbers highlight how Houston is the riskiest city to drive in across the state. Houston has more reported accidents than any other city, with nearly 70,000 a year. Houston also leads all other cities in terms of 1,304 incapacitating injury collisions and 245 fatalities.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

It's easy to understand why so many people just leap to conclusions that speeding and drunk driving are the primary culprits behind this data. However, distracted driving is an element that is mostly responsible. Drunk driving and speeding do come in at #2 and #3, but the primary and number one cause is still drivers engaging in things that divert their attention away from the road. Reckless driving follows these causes, and it's defined as a being a blatant disregard for the consequences and safety involved with the operation of a motor vehicle.

Steps To Follow After A Car Accident

mw-icon-1
  • Make Sure Everyone Is Okay

    It does not matter which person is responsible for the accident; the first thing to do is to ensure everyone is okay and safe. It is one of the most human things you can ever do after an accident. If you are able to move your vehicle aside, please do so to avoid your vehicle being hit by other cars in traffic. Safety is more important.

  • Seek Medical Attention

    Even if you are feeling okay; it is always wise to seek medical attention after an accident. Also, you will need to prove the extent of your injuries. This means that you will need medical records showing that you were truly injured and the amount you have spent on medical bills.

  • Call Proper Authority

    It is always wise to involve the police even when your case is minor. For this reason, you should always call 911 and get a police officer to come to the scene of the accident. This allows the police to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident as well as collecting both the license and insurance information of both drivers. They also prepare a police report. It is also wise to get the police officer’s name and contact information because you may need it later.

  • Collect The Other Driver’s Information

    It is wise also to collect the other driver’s contact data. Moreover, if there are passengers, you should collect their contact information as well. Such information is important to your lawyer because he/she can reach out to get witness statements.

  • Speak To Any Witnesses

    If there are witnesses, it would be wise to collect their contact information. Remember, not everyone would be willing to get involved. However, with the help of a police officer, they will be able to provide their personal contact information.

  • Take Pictures

    If possible, take as many pictures of the accident as possible. Due to technology advancements, the majority of phones have good cameras. As such, you should use your phone to take pictures. Remember, the images should be relevant to the accident. Doing this will greatly help your personal injury lawyer to recreate the accident scene.

  • Request A Copy Of The Police Report

    Ask the police officer on duty for a copy of the police report. Of course, you will have to wait until the report is filled. The good news is that you can get one through the Texas Department of Transportation.

Frequently asked questions about auto accidents

mw-icon-1

How Much Does a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

Most people are either hesitant or won’t even bother to try and contact a lawyer after they have sustained a personal injury, as they are under the impression that an attorney will cost them a lot of money.

However, many of the personal injury attorneys based in Houston work on a contingency basis, which means you will only need to pay them once they have won your case. At this stage, the fee that you will be liable for will be based on a pre-agreed percentage, which is usually between 25% to 40%.

The fee range is also dependent on the amount of work that the lawyer has put into your case or when you accept a settlement from an insurance company before court proceedings commence.

In these cases, you will probably owe the lawyer less than you would have if the case reached the stage of having to go to court.

This type of pay structure will mean that you will only need to pay your lawyer a fee when you are granted with a settlement. It will also mean that the lawyer is committed to your case, due to the fact that their pay will be dependent on the settlement amount they can get for you.

Certain attorneys, on the other hand, work with different types of payment arrangements. These usually include either flat fees or hourly fees.

These options might be a preferable option in certain cases, yet most clients will be better served when they agree to a contingency basis.

How Do I Know if I Have a Case?

Determining whether or not you have a case depends on three things. First, your lawyer will have to decide if there are enough damages involved to make it worth their while. If your case is only going to settle for a couple of thousand dollars, it may not be worth their time and effort. This may seem harsh, but it’s the truth.

The second thing your lawyer will look at is whether the defendant has resources. If there’s an insurance company involved, there’s a good chance your damages will be paid. However, if the suit is against an individual, your attorney is going to want to know if they have assets. If not, it may be difficult. Your judgment may not be worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

Finally, you need to determine if you can prove liability. If there is no evidence to support your claim, your lawyer will have a hard time proving fault. There has to be sufficient facts and evidence to prove that the other party was responsible for your injuries.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for an Auto Accident in Texas?

Regardless of where you live, your state has laws that govern how long you have to file a legal claim. This law is called the statute of limitations. If you don’t file your claim within this window, your claim will be barred forever. This means you’ll lose your chance of recovering from the defendant.

Learn more about how much time do you have to file a claim

Since the statute of limitations is different for each different type of claim, it’s a good idea to have an experienced car accident lawyer in Texas handle your claim. They know the law. They’ll make sure your claim is filed in time. This way, you preserve your right to collect damages.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

The statute of limitations for car accidents in Houston is only two (2) years. This means you have exactly two years from the date of your crash to file suit. If you don’t file within this period, your claim will be barred. This means the court will probably dismiss your claim when they see it’s past the statute of limitations. If not, the defendant’s lawyer will file a motion to have your claim dismissed. This motion will be granted by the judge.

What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Texas?

Determining the value of your case can be complicated. There are almost 250,000 car accidents in Texas every year according to the Texas Department of Transportation. About 7% of these are considered serious, leaving their victims with severe injuries.

Type of Damages You Can Demand after an Auto Accident

If you or your loved one suffer serious injuries in your crash, your medical bills are quite high. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should cover these medical bills. But how much is your case worth aside from medical bills? Our Houston auto accident lawyers can help you calculate your damages. We can also explain what things go into determining your case’s value.

How is the Value of an Auto Accident Claim Determined in Texas?

The important thing to remember is that every case is unique. No two cases are the same. This means that two people who suffer the same kind of injuries may settle their claims for different amounts. Our accident attorneys have to review your case before they can tell you how much it may be worth.

Some of the factors that go into determining the value of your vehicle accident claim include:

Insurance Policy Limits: Texas requires all drivers to carry a certain amount of auto insurance. Some drivers may choose to purchase additional coverage. However, the minimum amounts are as follows:

  • $30,000 per injured person
  • $60,000 per accident (for injuries)
  • $25,000 per accident (for property damage)

What Can I Do if the Insurance Company Denied My Claim?

Getting in an accident is bad enough. You have to interrupt your life, get treatment and retain an accident attorney. To have the insurance company deny your claim just adds insult to injury – quite literally.

In a perfect world, you would submit your claim to your insurance company. They would immediately mail you a check to cover damage to the car. They would cover your medical bills and injuries right away. However, this is not a perfect world. Your insurance company may deny your claim. They may deny your appeal. 

Below are some possible reasons why an insurance company may deny your claim:

You let your policy lapse, or it was canceled

If you failed to make the payments on your insurance policy, it will be canceled. If you don’t provide info as requested, the policy may lapse or be canceled. In either of these cases, you are probably not insured at the time of your accident. Our accident attorneys can deal with the insurance company on your behalf.

A car is on fire after an auto accident with a Houston police officer arriving on the scene

You don’t have full coverage

You may have chosen the coverage that only covers damage to other people. Our Houston auto wreck lawyers will call and speak with the insurance company for you. If you have liability insurance only, it will not cover claims for damage to your car. Depending on your policy limits, you may not even have enough insurance to cover your personal injuries.

Your name isn’t on the policy

Perhaps you were driving someone else’s car when the accident occurred. Or maybe you were driving a commercial vehicle and you were not listed on their policy. Let our attorneys deal with any discrepancies with your insurance policy.

You didn’t report it

If you are in an auto accident, you need to provide the insurance company with the pertinent info. If you don’t do this, you may waive coverage.

Regardless of the reason, you need to talk to our attorneys about your issue. You don’t have a lot of time to appeal a denial. You need to get the paperwork done and submit documentation of the accident. The insurance company will hold you to firm deadlines whether you have a lawyer representing you or not.

Let our Houston car accident lawyer deal with the insurance company.

Can You File an Accident Claim Against the Government?

While you are allowed to file a claim against the government, it will probably be dismissed. The government is immune from suit in almost all situations. There are only a few exceptions to this rule.

One of these exceptions is when your case falls under the Texas Tort Claims Act. This act partially waives the government’s immunity and allows plaintiffs to file suit in two situations:

  • Injuries and damages caused by motor vehicle accidents
  • Injury or death that is the result of a condition of personal or real property

In order to be found liable, a government employee must be shown to have met the following criteria:

  • They were acting within their scope of employment at the time of the injury
  • They would’ve been found liable if they were a private citizen and not a government employee

If you meet both of these conditions, your claim against the government will probably be allowed. However, there are limits to how much you can recover. In a car accident case, you can only demand personal injury damages for up to $250,000. There is also a notice requirement for government claims.

The statute of limitations in these cases is still two (2) years. But you’re required to put the government on notice much earlier than that. The general notice required is six (6) months, however, some cities are even shorter than this. For example, Houston requires that you provide notice with three (3) months of the date of your accident.

What Happens if the Other Driver is Uninsured?

So, the other driver doesn’t have insurance or their insurance is insufficient to cover the damages, what happens now?

If you have been injured and the at-fault party has no insurance to cover your damages, you might still have some options for compensation. For example, there is the Letter of Protection.

Texas laws require financial responsibility from all motorists and they must carry the minimum amount of liability insurance to cover damages caused by their negligence. This amount was increased in 2019 from $25,000 to its current amount of $30,000 for each person.

Even still, $25,000 to $30,000 will still not be able to cover most damages and fully compensate people injured in an accident. Even though there are laws that make carrying insurance a mandatory responsibility, many people in Texas simply don’t carry this insurance.

Our attorney will perform an investigation into the other ways the at-fault party could provide compensation without insurance, but those without insurance don’t usually have the assets to cover the damages either.

But, there is still a way to recover compensation. One other option may be the demand letter.

Texas laws also require your insurance provider to offer you Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, also called UM/UIM. This law acts as a safeguard to protect victims of an accident from being left with no options after being injured by another’s negligence on the roads.

Because the law requires this coverage to be offered, the only way you will not have this coverage I if you specifically declined it in writing. If you did not submit any such rejection, there is a good chance you still have this coverage. This should amount to the coverage limits you pay for liability protection.

There will be some important points that will need to be followed before you can hope to rely on your UM/UIM coverage. You can find more information on this inside your insurance policy. You can also expect some insurance providers to make offsets of claim credits against the UM/UIM coverage they promise to provide and this is allowed to a certain extent by Texas Law.

Having an experienced legal aid guide you through this process and investigating all points of recovery is the best way to compensate for injuries.

What If I Might Be Partially at Fault in a Car Accident?

This law is different in every state. In Texas, you will still be entitled to a certain amount of compensation even if you were at-fault to a certain extent. Of course, the amount of coverage you can expect to receive will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you may have in the accident.

This is called the concept of comparative negligence basically, you are entitled to compensation as long as your responsibility in the accident was 49% or less.

Because correctly identifying fault is the fulcrum of the accident case, you will want to be very careful what you say and not discuss the fault with the other motorist involved, the police at the screen, the insurance providers or anyone else until you have discussed it with your lawyer. You may say or do something that inadvertently reduces the strength of your case or your capacity to collect compensation for your injuries.

For example, imagine you had been broadsided at a busy intersection by a motorist who had run a stop sign. Obviously, running the stop sign makes the other driver at fault, but this fault could be diminished if you make any of the following admissions:

  • You were speeding
  • You were drinking
  • You failed to check for oncoming traffic in both directions before entering the intersection
  • You were sending or reading a text

The insurance adjusters are highly experienced at setting people up to make these admissions and do so with the sole purpose of minimizing the amount they must pay in compensation. If you have a lawyer guiding you on your process, they will be able to handle all contact with your insurance providers.

You can also count on our qualified Car Accident lawyers to review all aspects of the case and ensure that yo