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Houston Car Accident Lawyer
We Are an Experienced Team of Car Accident Attorneys
Auto accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in the United States. Morrow & Sheppard LLP is privileged to represent people who are injured in car accidents. If you or somebody you love was injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, consider speaking with a reputable Houston car accident attorney on our legal team as soon as you are able. We can discuss your legal rights before they are jeopardized by an insurance company or some other entity looking out for someone else’s best interests.
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Car Accident Statistics
The statistics regarding car accident injuries are shocking. In 2013 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 32,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and 2.3 million were injured. Someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident every 15 seconds, and someone is killed approximately every 16 minutes. Of the fatalities in 2013, 11,977 involved fatalities to occupants of passenger cars, 9,155 to occupants of light trucks, 691 to occupants of large trucks, 4,668 to motorcyclists, 4,735 to pedestrians, 743 to cyclists, with the remaining falling into different categories.
In 2013, of the 32,000 approximate people killed in motor vehicle accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 10,000 were killed in alcohol-related incidents.
While no amount of money can fairly estimate the true cost of a car accident that results in serious injury, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that the annual cost of motor vehicle accidents costs the country a staggering $871 billion per year.
Some states have better track records than others when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. For example, South Dakota has 15.99 car fatalities for every 100,000 members of its population. By comparison, Texas has 12.79 car fatalities for every 100,000 members of its population. And Alaska has 6.94 car fatalities for every 100,000 members of its population.
Texas Statute of Limitations
One of the most important car accident laws to know in Texas is the statute of limitations, the deadline for filing your claim. The state imposes statutes of limitations on all types of claims to encourage timely filing. In Texas, accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file, according to Section 16.001 of the State Code.
The same deadline applies if your claim only pertains to vehicle damage. The courts may “toll,” or extend, your deadline for up to one year if the crash resulted in the death of a loved one. In some scenarios, the clock might not start ticking until the date you discover your injuries. Speak to a car accident attorney about more specific deadlines for your particular case. The best way to stay within the deadline is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car crash.
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What to Do After a Car Accident in Texas?
After a car accident in Texas, your first job is to remain calm. Do not panic or lose your temper with the other driver. Remain on the scene of the accident. Check yourself for injuries, and then see if others have injuries. Move your disabled vehicle to the side of the road if possible. Call 911 and report your accident if it resulted in injury, death or property damage of $1,000 or more. Request an ambulance if anyone appears to have injuries.
Exchange information with the other driver, including full names, contact information, and insurance company information. Take photos of the scene of the crash, property damage, personal injuries, and any other relevant details. Seek medical attention for your injuries right away. If you don’t know whether you have injuries, go to the hospital and explain that you were just in a car accident. Keep your medical records, a copy of your police report, and other relevant information. When you’re ready to seek recovery, consult with a dedicated Houston car accident attorney at Morrow & Sheppard, LLP.
How to File an Auto Insurance Claim in Texas?
Texas is a fault car insurance state, meaning that the party that causes the crash will be responsible for paying the damages. This differs from the laws in no-fault states, wherein each party will pay for his or her own damages regardless of fault. Texas’ fault laws make it important for accident victims to protect their rights and prove the other party’s fault after a collision. Here’s how to properly file your insurance claim:
Call as soon as possible. Don’t wait to report your crash to the insurance company. Most policies have rules in which the driver must report as soon as possible or else risk losing the right to recovery. You will find the number for your insurance agent listed on your insurance card, as well as online or in your policy documents.
Prepare the proper information. When you call your insurer, you will have to answer questions about your collision. Have the following information ready: policy number, the names of others involved in the crash, date and location of the accident, phone numbers of any w
Follow directions. The insurance agent will give you directions as to what to do next. You may need to bring your vehicle to a designated auto shop for an inspection or schedule an inspection with the claims adjuster. Follow directions, documenting all actions you take in regard to your claim.
Wait for claim approval and a settlement offer. Once the insurance company investigates your claim, it will approve or deny it. If your company denies your claim, speak to a Houston car accident attorney about a possible bad faith insurance dealing. Upon approval, you may receive a settlement offer. Consider all your options before accepting the initial offer.
Contact Morrow & Sheppard, LLP. Most settlement offers are far less than a personal injury claim could garner. It is worthwhile to speak to a lawyer during a free consultation about the true value of your claim. An attorney can negotiate a higher settlement with your insurance company, or take your case to trial if necessary.
Insurance companies, agents, and claims adjusters work for themselves. They are not in the business of maximizing accident victim recovery. Instead, they strive to keep settlements as low as possible for the good of the company. For this reason, you may find it difficult to get what you truly deserve for a crash without an attorney’s assistance. Follow these steps for filing your claim, but keep a lawyer’s number handy during negotiations.
How to Handle a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Despite it being illegal to operate a motor vehicle without adequate insurance in Texas, hundreds of drivers do so every day. If you end up in a collision with one of these negligent drivers, don’t assume you’ll have to pay for your losses out of pocket. There are ways to handle uninsured or underinsured motorist accidents that work in your favor. First, call the police. Never deal with these drivers on your own or agree to settling things without involving authorities. This can easily lead to the driver giving you false information. Call 911 and report the crash.
Next, exchange information with the other driver and call your own insurance company. Give your insurance agent facts about the crash, including the other driver’s insurance company, if applicable. Your insurance agent will be able to tell you if your own policy provides coverage for collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. If this is the case, you can recover damages through your own insurance policy. If you do not have this type of coverage, speak with a Houston car accident lawyer about possibly filing a personal injury claim.
Legal action may be the only way to recover damages after an auto accident with an uninsured driver. You may be able to sue the driver, the company (if the driver was on the clock at the time of the crash), a product manufacturing company, or other entity for compensation. Texas’ fault laws make it possible to take legal action against drivers who don’t have insurance.
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Common Causes of Car Accidents in Texas
Common causes of motor vehicle accidents that our Houston car accident attorneys have seen include:
- Distracted driving
- Not watching the road
- Checking email
- Accessing the internet
- Checking social media websites
- Using a cell phone
- Texting and driving
- Other distractions within a vehicle (talking with passenger, radio, etc.)
- Running red lights
- Driver fatigue
- Not properly responding to road conditions
- Not properly responding to weather conditions
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident caused by any of the above, speak with a qualified car accident lawyer with extensive experience in auto collisions as soon as possible.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
The severe forces involved in car accidents make virtually any type of injury possible. No two car accident victims will experience exactly the same injuries or outcomes. There are, however, common injuries that tend to occur due to the nature of vehicle collisions. Common injuries include:
Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries. The whipping motion of a vehicle during a crash can damage or sever the spinal cord, as well as cause injuries to the neck and back. Whiplash, neck strain, slipped discs, fractures, spine injuries, and paralysis are examples of these types of injuries.
Head and brain injuries. If something strikes the skull during a collision, it can cause harm to the head and/or brain. Traumatic brain injuries can permanently impact victims, impairing physical and cognitive abilities.
Broken bones. Human bones can only withstand so much pressure before they crack and break. Bone fractures can be very painful, and result in long recovery times and temporary disability.
Psychological injuries. Car accidents can be highly traumatic, inflicting psychological damage on survivors. The courts in Houston permit crash victims to pursue damages for general damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
Crash injuries stem from one of the three types of collisions: the vehicular collision, the human collision, and the internal collision. The human collision (between the vehicle passenger and an object) results in injuries such as lacerations and broken bones. The internal collision (between the organs/systems within the body) can cause injuries to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. All car accident injuries can be serious. Consult with a Houston car accident attorney today for more information about your recent crash.
Why You Should Contact a Car Accident Attorney Right Now
When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Every car accident case is unique. Not all will need a lawyer’s attention, but some claimants will benefit from having knowledgeable legal professionals by their sides. You should retain an attorney if any of the following are true:
- You suffered serious injuries. These include broken bones or other injuries that require hospital visits, surgeries, and/or missed time at work.
- You sustained catastrophic injuries in the crash. Catastrophic injuries are those that result in disability, disfigurement, or permanent scarring.
- Multiple parties are at fault. In many car accident claims, parties other than the other driver are partially at fault for the crash. An attorney can help with these complex claims.
- Your claim involves a government entity (i.e. you want to sue the City of Houston for failing to repair a roadway defect). Claims against the government involve different rules and regulations than typical claims. Ask for a lawyer’s help.
- A loved one died in the accident. Seek a lawyer’s help for wrongful death claims in Houston, as these cases differ from typical car crash insurance claims.
When in doubt, reach out to an attorney. It’s always worthwhile to at least schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Houston following a crash. During this complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation, you can get advice from a real attorney about what you should do next. You may discover that you have a high chance of securing significant compensation from the other driver, a vehicle manufacturer, the City of Houston, and/or another party.
How a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Can Help After a Crash
A severe injury from a car accident is likely to result in very expensive medical and rehabilitation bills as well as other damages. If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, you need a car accident attorney in Houston, TX. The law firm of Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help. Please contact us now for a free, confidential consultation.
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