Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
Most of us experience a car accident at least once in our life. If you’re extremely lucky, this will not happen to you. For the rest of us, it happens. When it does, you need to call a Houston car accident lawyer right away. A good attorney will protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably are looking to blame someone. You may have put out money for medical bills, repairs and lost wages. All of these things can have a major impact on your life. You need to retain an experienced auto wreck lawyer to have your back.
If you’re in the Houston area and are looking for an auto accident attorney, consider McDonald Worley. We are Houston injury lawyers who know what it takes to get you the money you deserve.
- 1 How Much Does a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
- 2 What Payment Options May Be Available to You?
- 3 How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
- 4 How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for an Auto Accident in Texas?
- 5 Can You File an Accident Claim Against the Government?
- 6 What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Texas?
- 7 How is the Value of an Auto Accident Claim Determined in Texas?
- 8 Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Houston
- 9 Types of Car Accidents
- 10 The Insurance Company Denied My Claim. What Can I Do?
- 11 Types of Injuries
- 12 Contact our Houston Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
- 13 Annual Scholarship
How Much Does a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
No lawyer can tell you on day one exactly how much it will cost for them to handle your car accident lawsuit. There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. There is a chance the other driver will be willing to settle your case quickly. In fact, the insurance company may agree to pay your claim at the outset. However, if the defendant disputes liability, they may decide to drag your case to trial.
If your case has to go to trial, it can become expensive. Trials are time-consuming. In order to prepare for trial, your Houston car accident lawyer will have to do a lot of work. They’ll need to investigate the matter in order to prove fault. They may need to hire experts to testify on your behalf. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay for all of these things up front.
Some of the expenses involved in your lawsuit may include the following:
- Medical consults and expert opinions from doctors and specialists
- Medical records and copies
- The costs for things like police reports, depositions, interrogatories, etc.
- Miscellaneous fees such as postage, copies, filing fees, court costs, etc.
If your case involves a lot of fees, your Houston injury lawyer may offer you a variety of payment options.
What Payment Options May Be Available to You?
When you first meet with your car accident lawyer in Texas, they’ll discuss how their fee will be paid. Most car accident cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that your attorney will handle most of the expenses of your case. They’ll be paid a percentage of your settlement or jury award. However, there are other possible payment options.
Some attorneys offer their clients two main types of payment. This doesn’t mean that other arrangements aren’t possible. That is something you can discuss with your car accident attorney during your initial consultation. The two main types of payment are conventional fee arrangements and contingency arrangements which we mentioned above.
Conventional Fee Arrangements
In this situation, your lawyer will bill you for each hour they work. This will be billed at a rate that you agree upon during your consultation. The client is responsible for paying fees as they arise. The attorney won’t front these costs like they do in a contingency agreement. The conventional fee agreement involves a pay as you go system. So, each month you’ll receive a bill. This bill will be expected to be paid in full prior to the attorney doing additional work.
Contingency Fee Arrangements
Most personal injury lawyer in Texas work on a contingency basis. This is the most popular option because they don’t require a lot of upfront payment from the client. In these arrangements, the attorney pays most or all of the costs and fees upfront.
They’re reimbursed when you settle your case. With a contingency arrangement, your attorney will receive a certain percentage of your settlement or jury award. This percentage typically ranges anywhere from 33% to 40%. For cases that go all the way to trial, this percentage will be closer to 40% because of the time and work involved.
The contingency fee arrangement seems to be most beneficial for clients. This way, they don’t have to pay a monthly bill for services. The other good thing about a contingency arrangement is that you don’t pay anything if you don’t win your case.
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.
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.
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 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.
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? Your Houston car accident lawyer can help you calculate your damages. They 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. Your car accident attorney in Texas has 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 car 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)
The seriousness and type of injuries sustained
If your injuries leave you permanently disabled, you’ll be entitled to lost wages. Your attorney will figure out the difference between what you’ll receive on disability compared to what you would have made if you were working. They’ll calculate this for the number of years you have left to retire. Some of the types of injuries considered serious or debilitating are:
- Limb Amputation
- Nerve Damage
- Organ Damage
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Facial disfigurement: If you suffer permanent scarring or facial disfigurement in your car crash, you may be entitled to additional damages.
- Fault: If you were partly at fault for your accident, your damages will be reduced. Texas follows a comparative fault rule. This means, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still recover damages. However, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you were 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 20%.
- Medical bills. The insurance for the driver who was at fault should cover most of your medical bills, such as:
- Ambulance Transportation
- Inpatient Hospitalization
- Medical Devices
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription Medications
With all of this said, there are still some numbers that will give you an idea of what your case may be worth. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) and a risk assessment company called ISO, the average claim for 2013 was $15,440. The average property claim (for vehicle damage) was about $3,230. So, unless your accident involves very serious injuries, you can expect to receive an amount similar to these averages.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Houston
If you or your family member has been injured in a car accident, you should call an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston. They can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. They can also answer any questions you may have.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.
Types of Car Accidents
There are all sorts of car accidents. Some happen while you’re stopped at a traffic light. Others happen while you’re driving on the highway. Regardless of how it happens, it can cost you money and pain. That’s why it’s so important you call an auto accident lawyer right away.
Houston car accident lawyers see them all. However, here are a few of the more common types that Houston auto wreck attorneys encounter daily.
Oftentimes, rear-end accidents happen. When you are stopped at a stop sign or red light, the car behind you bumps your car. It may be so light that you barely feel it. Or it may be so hard that your head jerks forward and you smash your head on the windshield.
Typically, the party who hits the other driver from behind is held responsible for the accident. Of course, he may be able to point out that you were partly at fault. If your brake lights were out or you slammed on your brakes, you aren’t entirely innocent. Your Houston auto wreck attorney can tell you about these types of cases. A jury will assign damages based on how much the injured party was at fault.
Let’s say you are stopped at a red light. Fifteen seconds after the light turns red, a car comes up from behind going way too fast. He hits your car. You are injured and your car is damaged. In this case, the other driver is probably 100% at fault. The light had been red long enough for him to see it. He was going at a high speed when he hit you. He cannot claim you slammed on your brakes since you had been at the light for 15 seconds. Your auto accident lawyer should be able to get you 100% damages.
However, let’s say your brake lights are broken. You slam on your brakes at the last second. The light is green. A car going 5 mph behind you had to slam his brakes because you stopped. He bumps your car. You may both be held equally responsible. If this is the case, your damages will be cut in half. There is not much your accident attorney can do to stop this.
Texting and Driving
Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents each year. Our Houston car accident attorneys handle these types of cases every week. Whether the other driver was talking or texting, his being on the phone certainly distracted him.
If someone is texting on their phone, they cannot possibly be paying attention to the road. Their eyes are on their screen, they aren’t on the road and if their hand is busy swiping right, they can’t possibly have both hands on the wheel.
Attorneys used to have a hard time proving texting cases. It is not as hard now as it was 5-10 years ago. Before, you needed an eyewitness to testify that a driver was texting at the time of the accident. This is hard because rarely is an eyewitness paying attention to a random driver. It is even rarer that they are doing so at the exact moment an accident happens.
Now, we have advanced technology. Our attorneys can summon phone records to show the other driver was texting when the accident occurred. He can use your own phone records to prove that you were not.
Juries are sympathetic to people hurt by distracted drivers. If you can prove the other party was texting, it shouldn’t be hard to prove liability. You also should receive a jury award for whatever damages you can prove. Your auto accident lawyer will submit all the necessary evidence to do this.
Some of the most dangerous types of accidents are head-on collisions. They usually involve a driver who is either impaired or who has lost control of his vehicle. Often when you see that a driver did not make it in an accident, it was a head-on collision.
The problem with head-on collisions is that both parties will claim they are not at fault. This is where you need a vehicle accident lawyer. They have the experience to know exactly how to approach cases such as this.
Most head-on collisions involve drivers who are:
- Drunk or on drugs
- Asleep at the wheel
- Distracted, especially texting
Your Houston attorney needs to collect all the evidence to prove the other party is at fault. It is important that your lawyer looks at every picture, police report and witness statement available.
Proving who is at fault in a head-on collision may be difficult. It happens so fast there may not be eyewitnesses who can testify as to what happened. The damage to the cars may be so severe that it is hard to recreate the accident. It is important that you take pictures of skid marks and any other proof of the accident. If you are too injured to do so, the police should do this for the parties.
Some of the common injuries caused by head-on accidents are head and brain injuries, neck injuries, and spine injuries. It is, therefore, no surprise that the damages sought in these cases are high. Your Houston car accident lawyer is going to ask that you be fairly compensated for your injuries. We will discuss injuries in depth later in this article.
Some of the scariest drivers are wrong-way drivers. In order to go the wrong way down any street, chances are the driver is impaired. Street signs are very clear. It takes a severely distracted or impaired driver to miss a street sign. Furthermore, wrong-way drivers often drive fast.
This means that when they do cause an accident, damages and injuries will be severe. If two cars are driving 65 mph at the time of the impact, the force will be of 130 mph. This is a lot of force when you consider your face, hands, and body will take the impact.
Because of the nature of the accident, most wrong-way drivers cause head-on collisions. This makes sense since they are going the wrong way (opposite of traffic) down a roadway. The fault should not be hard to prove in these cases. Your Houston car accident attorney should be able to prove fault with ease. It then comes down to what damages your Houston auto wreck attorney can prove.
Very few juries are going to be sympathetic to a driver who was going the wrong way. It will be hard for them to assign blame to the other driver. There are very few excuses a driver can make for driving the wrong way down a street or highway. This is even more relevant if they were texting or sleeping at the wheel. It is a bit easier to prove they were drinking or on drugs, however, it is important that they are tested at the scene. Give your Houston auto wreck lawyer all of these details.
The Insurance Company Denied My Claim. What Can I Do?
Getting in an accident is bad enough. You have to interrupt your life, get treatment and retain a Houston car accident attorney. To have the insurance company deny your claim is adding 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. Let your Houston car accident lawyer deal with the insurance company.
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. Let your Houston car accident lawyer deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
You don’t have full coverage
You may have chosen a coverage that only covers damage to other people. Your Houston auto wreck lawyer can 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 your Houston car accident attorney 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. Have your Houston auto wreck attorney look into this for you.
Regardless of the reason, you need to talk to a Houston car accident attorney 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 Houston auto wreck lawyer or not.
Types of Injuries
Your accident may not seem all that serious. Or perhaps your car was totaled, and the damage was severe. Either way, you probably suffered some sort of car accident injury. The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you deserve to receive. Also, know that some car accident injuries do not present themselves immediately. They may not appear for a few hours or a few days. This is why it’s so important to seek medical treatment right away. Also, it is important that you seek a Houston automobile injury attorney as soon as possible after getting treatment.
You can suffer a number of different types of injuries. It depends on the type of crash and how fast the vehicles were going. Your auto accident lawyer will tell you it’s important to seek treatment immediately. Do not refuse to go to the hospital. This can only hurt your case. It will make your Houston auto accident attorney’s job much harder later on.
Head injuries are always scary. When you suffer a head injury, there is a good chance you will also suffer a traumatic brain injury as well. It is crucial that you seek medical treatment immediately. The hospital can take the MRI and do other tests to see how severe your head injuries are.
Your Houston car accident lawyer will look at all of your medical documentation to see how severe the injuries are. If they are more than what the lawyer bargained for, he may ask an expert to take a look at it for him. It is important that your Houston automobile accident lawyer knows exactly how bad your injuries are. It will impact how much compensation he demands and it will impact how he presents your case.
Head injuries can have long-term consequences. They can keep you out of work and make it impossible for you to do the same career that you were doing before the accident. They can affect your short and long-term memory and they could even leave you paralyzed. Let your car accident lawyer in Houston, TX get you the money you deserve.
Neck injuries can occur from any type of collision. Whether you are rear-ended or hit head-on, if your neck is jostled, it can be injured. You will need to get x-rays and possibly an MRI to determine how bad your neck injuries are.
Once you have received treatment, make sure you give all of your medical records to your Houston vehicle accident attorney keep your lawyer apprised of your treatment plan. You will likely have to get surgeries, manipulation therapy, and physical therapy. Your Houston car accident lawyer will expect you to make all of your appointments. Don’t make his job harder by missing or being late for doctor appointments.
Neck injuries can cause lifelong pain and suffering. Your auto wreck attorney will demand that you be compensated for this. He will present all of these injuries to a judge or jury. He will use these injuries to try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. The case may never have to get to a jury.
Hopefully, if you are in an accident, you will walk away with no injuries. Sadly, this is rarely the case. You likely will have some sort of injury. It is important that you hire an experienced Houston car accident lawyer to handle your case.
Back injuries are very common in car accidents. It doesn’t take much to cause disc issues or muscle strains. You may not feel the pain right away. Again, it is critical that you see a physician right after the accident. You don’t want to make your injuries worse by not getting treatment. Your Houston auto wreck lawyer will ask you if you sought treatment right away or not.
Even the slightest impact in an auto accident can cause back injuries. You may end up with herniated or bulging discs. These are painful and severely limit your movement. Depending on what kind of work you do, a back injury could make it impossible to do your job. This is all-important to your case. Make sure you communicate all of this to your Houston car accident attorney.
After treatment, you may need to get surgery. You may be on medications that make it impossible for you to drive or work. You may have to go to physical therapy or the chiropractor. This can have a serious impact on your life. Your car accident lawyer is here to make sure you get your compensation for this impact.
Some of the hardest injuries to diagnose are internal injuries. If you watch the news, you will see reporters talk about injuries suffered in head-on collisions. They may talk of blood on the brain. They may refer to injuries to the spleen or kidneys. There may even be internal brain injuries.
Car accidents can drastically change your life. They are hard to diagnose, and they are hard to treat. If they are not caught right away, they can even result in death. If you suffer an internal injury, you could end up disabled for the rest of your life.
There are many types of internal injuries. You could read a whole book on them. For our purposes, it is important to know that internal injuries exist. They are a real thing. Car accidents often cause internal injuries. You need to seek medical attention and continue to get checked out.
Damages for internal injuries can be extensive. Your Houston car accident lawyer will do his best to get you compensation. He will use expert witnesses and statements from your doctors. He will show your physical therapy records. If you have had any surgeries, he will show the court these records too.
Some people have nightmares about their faces being damaged. People take great measures to keep their faces looking young and fresh. If you are in a car accident, you may suffer a facial disfigurement. You could suffer bruises or lacerations to your face. You may break a bone around your eye or in your cheek. This can be painful and can cause permanent disfigurement to your face.
Although it may sound vain, facial disfigurements are worth a good bit in damages. A jury would be very sympathetic to a plaintiff with a facial disfigurement. Having damage to your face can affect your life in many ways. You may become afraid to go out in public. You may have problems with your work. It could cause problems in your relationship.
Make sure your Houston car accident lawyer has plenty of pictures to show the before and after of your face. This is a great piece of evidence to show to a jury. Insurance companies know this. It is a negotiation tool for your auto accident lawyer.
Sadly, some car accidents result in the death of a driver or passenger and if this happens to a loved one, call your injury attorney right away. Let them focus on your wrongful death claim while you take care of your family.
A good auto accident lawyer understands that it takes compassion and commitment to handle a wrongful death claim. Houston auto wreck lawyers do not enjoy handling these cases, but they know it is important to do so. Nothing can hurt a family like losing a parent, child or spouse. There are Houston auto wreck attorneys who have experience in nothing but wrongful death claims.
If you do lose a loved one in a car accident, you should get compensation for the damages. The damages represent what you have personally lost as a result of the accident. It is not really what the decedent lost. It takes a special auto accident lawyer to calculate these damages correctly.
When discussing damages, be honest with your Houston car accident lawyer and explain what your family has lost. Furthermore, you may have to answer uncomfortable questions. Just know your Houston auto wreck attorney is asking because he has to.
Contact our Houston Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Houston traffic accidents can be life-altering. If you have been in a car accident, you need a good Houston auto wreck attorney. Call the personal injury law firm of McDonald Worley. They have decades of experience handling these cases. Let them help you get the compensation you deserve.
You may have suffered extensive injuries in your accident. Perhaps the other driver was driving recklessly. You may wonder should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault? Let your Houston auto wreck lawyer review your case. He will look at all of your documentation and see what kind of case you have.
Call McDonald Worley for a free consultation and on your first visit, make sure to bring all of your records. You want to bring the accident report, pictures, medical records, and insurance papers. Your auto accident lawyer will take all of this and open a new claim for you. Let him negotiate with the insurance company to try to settle your case. An accident can be a scary time. Let the lawyers at McDonald Worley give you the reassurance you need. Contact us today!