Houston Rear-End Car Accident Lawyer
Rear-end car accidents are some of the more common types of motor vehicle accidents. While these types of accidents usually cause common injuries that do not threaten your life, your rear-end collision won’t be one of the more serious types. When someone slams into the back of your vehicle, there’s going to be some sort of impact. The faster they’re going at the time of the collision, the more serious your injuries: internal bleeding, neck pain or even brain injuries. Ideally, the insurance company will pay your claim for accident injuries without issue. If that’s the case – great. You’ll sign a quick settlement and get your money in a week or two. However, if it’s denied, you’ll have a much bigger problem. That’s when it’s time to start researching personal injury attorneys in Texas. You should secure legal representation from McDonald Worley Law Firm as soon as possible. Thus, we can review your claim and let you know if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There’s no rule that says you have to hire an attorney for auto accidents claims. You can certainly handle the case on your own. However, you’ll be in a much better position to collect damages if you have experienced accident lawyers at McDonald Worley Law Firm by your side. You won’t have to worry about an insurance adjuster taking advantage of you. You also won’t have to worry about missing any filing deadlines. Your attorneys know the court rules and will make sure your claim is handled properly from the start.
Who is At Fault in a Rear-End Accident?
The general rule is that the rear driver is at fault in this type of crash. They have the last chance to prevent the collision. If they aren’t going above the speed limit, they should be able to stop in time to avoid rear-end collisions. Some of the most common causes for this type of traffic accident are:
- distracted driver
- aggressive driving (weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, etc.)
- drunk driver
- defective vehicles
However, there are times when the other driver will claim you were partially at fault. For example, if your brake lights weren’t working, you may be the fault driver in rear-end accidents. The same is true if you slam on your brakes for no reason. Since every case is unique, you’ll have to let an experienced car accident lawyer review your case. They’ll take several factors into account when evaluating your personal injury claim. If they think you’re entitled to damages, they’ll let you know. If they don’t think your claim has merit, they’ll tell you upfront.
If your auto accident attorney believes the defendant was at fault, they’ll still have to prove negligence. In order to do this, they need to demonstrate the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care: This shouldn’t be all that difficult to prove. All motorists owe a certain duty of care to other people on the road. At a minimum, they must follow all the local traffic laws. If someone is speeding and crashes into your car, you can argue they didn’t honor their duty.
- The other driver breached this duty: This is where your Houston rear-end car accident lawyer comes into play. They know the law and know what it takes to prove negligence. They’ve handled dozens of cases like yours in the past. They’ll review the police report and use it as evidence in your personal injury lawsuit.
- You were injured: It isn’t enough that you were involved in a rear-end collision. You also need to prove that you were hurt. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have suffered any real damages.
- Your injuries were caused by the crash: Unless something intervened, your attorney will be able to show that your injuries were indeed caused by the crash.
If you’re able to prove all these elements, you’ll have a good chance at getting the maximum compensation you deserve.
Why Would Your Houston Auto Insurance Claim Be Denied?
There are all sorts of reasons why your claim could be denied. For the most part, your lawyer will be able to appeal your claim. They have been dealing with insurance adjusters in Texas for years. They know what it takes to negotiate a fair settlement. If, for some reason, this isn’t possible, then you’ll have no choice but to take legal action against the fault parties.
Whether or not a settlement is possible depends on the reason for your insurance denial. If the policy wasn’t valid, there’s nothing your attorney can do to get them to pay. Insurance companies would go out of business if they paid claims to accident victims on closed policies. For most of the other reasons, however, your Houston accident attorney can try to convince the insurance company to pay.
Some of the reasons your claim would be denied include the following:
- The policy was cancelled or lapsed for non-payment (uninsured driver).
- The vehicle the defendant was driving wasn’t covered under the insurance policy.
- The coverage on their policy was too low to cover your damages (underinsured driver).
- The claim is large, and they think they have a chance of reaching a much smaller accident settlement later.
- You have a history of filing auto accident claims.
- They think you caused the crash.
- They don’t believe you suffered severe injuries.
In order to challenge the denial, your attorney is going to have to present evidence. Some of this will come from the police report or accident report. Other evidence will come from eyewitnesses or a statement made by the other driver.
The Insurance Company Will Need Your Houston Police Report
One of the most important things you can do after your rear-end collision in Houston is call the police. They’ll send somebody from the nearest police department to perform a thorough investigation of the accident scene. They’ll also look to see if either of the drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The other thing they’ll do is arrange for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. This way, you can get the medical care you need. You can also meet with a physician who will run all of the necessary tests to see if you’re hurt.
Without the police report prepared at the crash scene, your accident law firm is going to have a hard time proving your case. Most of this information cannot be obtained any other way. Almost all accident reports include:
- The name and contact information for both drivers
- License, registration and insurance information for everyone involved.
- The name and contact information for eyewitnesses
- Information if either driver was under the influence of drugs.
- Notes about anyone being under the influence of alcohol.
- Statements made by the drivers.
- a description of the road conditions
- Pictures of the vehicles and the scene
As you can imagine, if you don’t call the police officers, there’s no way for your lawyer to get this information. Plus, an eyewitness will be more likely to talk to the police than a lawyer. They don’t want to get involved in a stranger’s auto accident lawsuit.
Will Your Lawsuit Be Filed Against the Insurance Company or the At-Fault Driver?
If your insurance claim isn’t paid, you’ll have to decide whether you want to file a personal injury lawsuit. If so, your attorney is going to make sure you pursue all responsible parties. Even though the driver is the main party responsible for your losses, you still must name the insurance company in your complaint. They’re legally required to represent their client in most accident cases. There’s also the chance that the defendant’s coverage is too low. If this is the case, you’ll need to file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
There’s also the chance that the defendant doesn’t have auto insurance. Although this is illegal in Texas, people still do it. If the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance, you’ll have no choice but to file a claim under your uninsured motorist’s policy. The problem is that the coverage under this policy is typically very low. If it doesn’t cover all your damages, then you’ll still need to file a lawsuit against the individual driver.
Do Auto Insurance Companies Ever Want to Settle After They Deny Your Claim?
Some people think that, once an insurance company denies their claim, there’s no way to get their money. This isn’t true. Sometimes, insurance companies know that they can probably settle for less than the full amount down the road. They know that most personal injury lawsuits settle at some point before trial. They can take their chances and hope to pay less in a settlement. For example, if your damages are $100,000, they may think they can settle for $60,000 or $70,000 if they hold out. They know our clients are desperate for money to pay their bills. They also know that some plaintiffs are eager to take whatever they offer. That’s why it’s important that you have a Houston rear-end car accident lawyer by your side. They won’t be intimidated by the insurance companies. They also won’t take less than what you deserve. However, their ultimate goal is to get you the compensation you deserve. They also want to get you justice. They have to find a fair settlement somewhere in between.
What are the Advantages to Having Your Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Settle?
More than 95% of all injury lawsuits do settle before they go to trial. Trials aren’t in anyone’s best interest. They are expensive and time consuming. It could take months or years to go to trial. Even if you do win, you may end up with a judgment that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Or you could lose. That’s the risk you have to take. Rather than pay medical experts thousands of dollars in fees, it may make more sense to settle early. Since your attorney works on a contingency fee basis, they more they spend in costs, the less money you’ll take home. That’s why it’s a good idea to at least consider settling your case.
However, the main advantage of settlements is that you’re guaranteed a lump sum of money. If you win at trial, the judge will issue a judgment against the negligent drivers. However, it may never get paid. They could file an appeal. Or they may not have any assets. In Texas, it is very hard to execute on a judgment. That’s because the defendant’s wages, property and bank accounts are protected. It’s better to get a lump sum of cash, even if it’s less than what you initially wanted.
What if You Are Found to be Partially at Fault in Texas?
In some states, you can’t recover damages if you were at fault. It doesn’t matter whether you were 1% at fault or 50% at fault. The good news is that the law in Texas is different. Texas follows the comparative negligence rule. Under this law, you can still sue even if you’re partially at fault. If your percentage of fault is less than 50%, you may still have a viable claim. It all depends on the circumstances of your case.
Under this comparative fault rule, you may receive fair compensation in proportion to your degree of fault for the automobile collision that caused physical injury and property damage. Thus, if your lawyer can prove that you were less than 50% responsible for the crash than the negligent party, you have a legal claim to receive financial compensation.
What Kind of Damages Can You Demand in Your Claim?
If your attorney can prove negligence, there’s a good chance you’ll recover damages. Just keep in mind, you can only demand damages for losses you suffered. It’s not your lawyer’s job to make you rich. It’s their job to make you whole. They can never guarantee their clients will get paid. It all depends on a few things. First, it depends on how serious your injuries were. Second, it may depend on whether you were partially at fault. Finally, it depends on whether your attorney can prove that the other party was at fault.
Some of the types of damages you can demand in your lawsuit include:
- Medical bills – If you needed hospitalization to treat your traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, head injury, neck injury, spinal cord injury you could demand reimbursement for your medical expenses. If your health insurance covered part of your medical treatment, they’ll expect to be reimbursed. You can also demand compensation for any future medical care, such as physical therapy and chiropractic treatment. Your medical providers can testify to this if need be.
- Property damage – Obviously, if your vehicle and other personal property items are damaged in the crash, you can demand compensation to repair or replace your car. Make sure you keep copies of any mechanic’s receipts.
- Pain and suffering – These non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for any mental anguish or physical pain caused by the rear-end accident. The more serious your injuries, the greater the chance that you’ll be eligible for pain and suffering. You may also receive financial compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and other emotional problems (including post-traumatic stress disorder).
- Lost wages – If you’re out of work for a certain period of time, you can demand compensation for lost wages. Also, if you end up permanently disabled and can’t work anymore, you can ask for damages for loss of income.
Pocket expenses – any relevant expense, such as ambulance ride, cost to have your car towed away
Punitive damages – in some cases, an experienced attorney can prove that rear-end crashes were caused by gross negligence (which is more serious than the concept of reckless or distracted driving). In this case, the liable party will have to pay you punitive damages, as well.
In order to get any damages, your attorney will have to demonstrate two things. First, they need to prove that the defendant was at fault. Second, they need to prove your damages. This can take some time. You want to give your lawyer in Houston ample time to prepare your case. You also don’t want to miss the statute of limitations. In Texas, you only have a time limit of two (2) years to file your personal injury lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be allowed to sue the other driver. The court doesn’t make exceptions to this rule. There are very limited cases in which they’ll grant an extension. For example, if he injured parties were minors when they were hurt in auto collisions, they have two (2) years from the day they turn 18 years old.
Contact an Experienced Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
There are a few things you need to do after your Houston rear-end car accident. The first thing you need to do, as mentioned above, is call 911. The police will come to the scene and do a thorough investigation. The second thing you need to do is go to the emergency room. Find out if you’re suffered any serious injuries and get the medical care you need. Finally, you need to call and talk to an experienced rear-end accident lawyer. They can review your case (including police reports and medical records) and give you an idea of whether you have a legal claim. They can also give you an idea of what your case may be worth.
At McDonald Worley Law Firm, we know how to negotiate with any adverse insurance company. Over the years, we dealt with a wide range of legal claims just like yours. Whether you were a victim of minor car accidents or you suffered catastrophic injuries caused by a drunk driving accident, you have the right to receive compensation for all types of injuries, physical and emotional.
Our accident attorneys are ready to offer you a free case review. After you hire use, you won’t have to pay any fees until we win your case, so call us: 877-721-3423!