Houston Car Wreck Attorney: 5 Things to Do After an Accident
Motor vehicle crashes can happen at any moment on the busy streets of Houston. It only takes one moment of a driver not paying attention to cause a severe accident, leaving innocent people with serious injuries, pain, and even loss of life. For accident victims, the moment of the crash changes their life forever. Many of them will spend a long time in the hospital and rehabilitation, with no guarantee that they will make a full recovery. However, one thing can be recovered with the assistance of a Houston car wreck attorney at McDonald Worley personal injury law firm: compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
The law in the state of Texas ensures that the at-fault party is held responsible for their negligence, which caused serious injuries, as well as significant financial losses. However, just because the law is on your side does not mean that the claims process for an accident is simple. The negligent driver’s insurance company will do everything in its power to minimize your financial compensation or even get your claim denied. This is why having an experienced Houston car wreck attorney to help you evaluate your damages correctly and negotiate your settlement can be very useful.
Statistical Data on Car Crashes in Texas
Unfortunately, the scenario of being involved in an auto accident happens with a high frequency on the roads and highways across our state. The Texas Department of Transportation analyzed data from all truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and car accidents in 2020 and concluded that:
- 1 person was killed in a car wreck every 1 hour and 12 minutes
- 1 person was injured every 2 and a half minutes
- 1 auto accident that was reported to police occurred every 1 minute and 2 seconds
Moreover, motor vehicle fatalities increased in 2020 compared to the previous year: 3,896 (in 2019, 3,656).
Unfortunately, the city of Houston is leading among the most dangerous areas for drivers in Texas. In 2021, our city recorded the largest number of traffic accident fatalities – 330. By comparison, 234 people were killed in car wrecks in Dallas, and 188 in San Antonio.
What Are the Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Houston?
Car wreck attorneys know that driver error is usually the main cause of a head-on collision or rear-end accidents. In other cases, inclement weather conditions, poor road conditions, or defective vehicles can be the primary cause of car accidents.
Returning to the liable parties, experienced Houston car wreck lawyers know that the most frequent causes of crashes are:
1. Distracted Driving
A distracted driver does not need more than a few seconds to lose control of their vehicle and cause a car crash. Texting and driving is the most frequent instance of distracted driving. Although using cell phones while driving is illegal in Texas, many drivers ignore the law and end up causing a catastrophic crash, in which innocent people lose their lives or suffer life-changing injuries.
2. Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also illegal in Texas, but this does not prevent irresponsible drivers from getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks or using controlled substances. Unfortunately, their disregard for the rules and for other road users’ safety often results in serious car crashes.
3. Drowsy Driving
An experienced Houston car wreck attorney knows that truck drivers are most likely to cause a truck accident due to drowsy driving. Trucking companies are putting immense pressure on their drivers to deliver orders as quickly as possible and sometimes the delivery deadlines are unrealistic. This means that the driver must skip mandatory breaks in order to reach the destination on time or risk losing their job if they miss the deadline.
4. Aggressive Driving
Unfortunately, aggressive drivers can be found on every road. They are speeding, tailgating other drivers (especially an inexperienced driver who has just obtained their driving license), changing lanes, and blocking other drivers who try to change lanes.
Both aggressive drivers and reckless drivers are very likely to cause an auto accident because they do not keep a safe distance from other cars and drive too fast to be able to stop or swerve on time to avoid a crash.
What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Houston car wreck lawyers know that your case and the chances of winning fair compensatory damages depend on what you do starting with the first moments after the motor vehicle collision. Here are five important steps to follow after a crash:
1. Do Not Leave the Crash Scene
You must remain at the accident scene at least until the police arrive to investigate and prepare the crash report. Leaving the accident scene is illegal, even if you are not the at-fault party, unless otherwise noted by law enforcement. When comparative fault principles are applied to your case, your evasive action may add a significant percentage of fault to your case and even make you ineligible to seek compensation.
2. Seek Medical Care Immediately
Many people suffer catastrophic injuries in a car accident and must be taken to hospital as soon as possible. Even if you believe that you only suffered minor injuries, you should still seek medical attention just to be safe. You may have suffered hidden injuries (such as internal bleeding, internal organ damage, or soft tissue damage) which will start showing symptoms hours or even days later.
But if you go to the hospital a few days later, the medical records will not show a direct connection between your accident and the injuries you suffered. This is a big problem in filing an insurance claim against the responsible driver’s insurance carrier. Their insurance adjuster may claim that you cannot prove that you did not suffer the bodily injury in a different type of accident that took place later.
3. Collect Evidence from the Crash Scene
You should not rely solely on the accident report prepared by the police to prove your case. While you are waiting for the ambulance, use your phone camera to photograph:
- your injuries
- the property damage you suffered (damages to your car)
- skid marks
- the position of the cars after the accident
- potholes, debris, or other dangerous road conditions
At the same time, you should get the other driver’s contact and insurance details and their license plate number. Also, look for any eyewitnesses and ask them to give you their names and contact details so that they may provide testimony to your Houston car wreck attorney.
4. Do Not Discuss Fault with the Other Driver’s Insurance Representative
You may not be aware, but any innocent statement you make can be interpreted by an insurance adjuster as an admission of guilt. This is one of the reasons why many personal injury claims are denied. If your claim gets denied it becomes a huge hassle to get compensated for your damages.
Thus, the golden rule is: do not make any statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster. They may appear friendly and helpful at the beginning, but this is only to lull your suspicions and convince you to sign a quick settlement. The amount they will offer is typically far below the fair compensation for hospital bills, physical therapy costs, lost wages, and other economic damages and non-economic damages.
5. Reach Out to an Experienced Houston Car Wreck Attorney
The only person you should talk to in full detail about the circumstances of your accident and your accident injuries is your Houston car wreck attorney. An attorney with extensive experience will help you during the entire process of filing and negotiating your injury claim. The attorney will evaluate your financial losses as well as your non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional trauma, mental anguish) accurately and fairly.
If settlement negotiations fail, you will need legal representation in a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A qualified attorney with extensive trial experience will fight on your behalf in an attempt to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Types of Damages You Can Include in a Car Injury Claim
Houston car wreck lawyers include the following types of damages in a letter of demand: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent the present and future expenses, costs, and financial losses you sustained as a result of the car accident. These include:
- hospital bills
- medical care expenses during the recovery period
- physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- lost wages
- loss of earning capacity
- nursing care costs
- costs with assistive devices (canes, walking frame, wheelchair)
Non-economic damages compensate you for the physical pain, emotional distress and mental anguish you suffered as a result of the car wreck. Any auto accident is a traumatic event, and many accident victims experience PTSD symptoms, including recurring nightmares, anxiety, and depression.
Finally, if you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and the jury considers that they acted with intentional tort or gross negligence in causing your crash, you may also collect punitive damages. In Texas, the maximum amount of punitive damages is the greater value between:
- twice the value of economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages up to the value of $750,000
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Houston Car Wreck Attorney
If you are in need of legal assistance after a car accident, an experienced and compassionate Houston car wreck attorney at McDonald Worley is here for you. We have a proven record of success in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents. Our attorneys are not afraid to hold a big trucking company liable for your injuries and property damage. We will fight until we win the fair compensation you deserve. If we cannot reach an agreement with insurance carriers in a reasonable period of time, we will represent you in a personal injury lawsuit.
You do not have to worry about expenses with hiring a Houston car wreck attorney, because we work on a contingency fee basis. It is very simple: we take no fees until we win your case. Thus, you do not have to think twice about whether you afford legal counsel for your car wreck claim.
Please remember that you have only 2 (two) years available to take legal action against the responsible party in a personal injury case (the statute of limitations). You can try to negotiate your own claim, but be mindful because the insurance company may try to delay the decision until it is too late for you to file a lawsuit.
This is why you should schedule an initial consultation with a Houston car wreck attorney as soon as possible after your accident: 877-721-3423!