Car Accident Attorneys Providing Compassionate Legal Representation to Injured Victims in Houston, Texas
Have you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in an automobile accident? Car accidents are not only violent and traumatizing events, but they may leave victims with lasting damage to their finances and quality of life. If you’ve suffered due to a car wreck that was not your fault, you should not be expected to be responsible for costly medical bills and other expenses which arise after the accident. And while many of us would like to hope that our insurance provider will provide adequate financial recovery for our insurance claim, too many of us learned that insurance companies would prioritize their own financial interests instead of standing by their customers.
You deserve fair compensation for your injuries and to be treated with respect by your insurer and the other party’s insurance company. If they were responsible for your accident, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit and seek damages.
To recover financial compensation from any potentially liable parties, you may be required to prove that their negligence played a deciding factor in the cause of the accident. Achieving this legal victory can be difficult for a car accident victim still recovering from their injuries and fighting to keep their head above water as costly medical bills pile up. It is strongly advised that you seek the professional guidance of an experienced car accident lawyer to represent your legal claim.
At the Houston-based Shariff Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys from Houston are committed to helping clients recover compensation that allows them to return to their lives without the financial burden of the accident’s aftermath weighing them down. If you would like to discuss the potential for your car accident claim in more detail, please contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team by calling (713) 881-9739. We are here to help.
How Common Are Fatal Car Accidents in Texas?
Texas has earned a reputation for its big hats, tough work ethic, and larger-than-life aesthetic. But it also has its problems, not least of all on the roads. Unfortunately, the state has also earned itself a reputation as the most dangerous state for drivers. The numbers reflect this unenviable title, showing that the Lone Star State has five times as many fatal car crashes annually than other states, with Houston being the deadliest city for drivers in Texas.
These numbers are more complicated when you look a little closer, however. For example, while Texas easily has the most deaths on its roads, the state ranks closer to the middle of US fatal wreck rankings when you look at fatalities per capita. Florida has more car accidents in general but fewer fatalities, and California has a high number of accidents but a comparatively small number of deaths. That said, these numbers are rising in Texas, while driver education courses are seeing dwindling numbers as the year progresses.
In Texas, the most reported demographics for traffic fatalities are people between the ages of 21 and 25, with men suffering more than twice as many traffic deaths as women. Drunk driving is responsible for approximately 40% of car accident deaths, instances of drivers speeding come in second place at around 33%, and motorcycles are involved in close to 10% of all Texas traffic fatalities. Curiously, most Texas auto accident fatalities are related to single-vehicle crashes. Over the past decade, over 50% of all motor vehicle accident deaths involved only one vehicle.
What Does the State’s ‘Proportionate Responsibility’ Modification of Comparative Fault Laws Imply?
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning that the parties responsible for an accident may be held legally and financially liable in a civil court case. Comparative fault is a version of at-fault law that says that multiple parties can be liable for one accident. Under comparative fault or comparative negligence, the responsibility for an accident will be divided up, and the blame will be distributed across multiple parties. For example, one party may be 70% responsible and another party only 30% responsible — and the amount of money they pay in damages will reflect this.
Texas operates with a modified understanding of comparative negligence, which it calls proportionate responsibility. Under comparative fault, the accident victim can be partially responsible for the accident. With proportionate responsibility, the plaintiff cannot recover anything in damages if it is determined that they are 51% or more responsible for the accident. This means that, even if you hold some responsibility for the car crash, so long as that responsibility is not over 50%, your lawyer may be able to pursue compensation for your claim.
What Types of Car Accident Cases Do We Represent?
Our law firm has represented motorists in both severe and minor accidents. No accident or injury is too small to be unworthy of legal consideration.
We can assist you with a car accident case such as:
- Accidents involving an uninsured driver.
- Bicyclist and motorcyclist accidents.
- Bus accidents.
- Distracted driving accidents.
- DUI accidents, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Head-on collisions.
- Hit-and-run incidents.
- Pedestrian accidents.
- Rear-end collisions.
- Rideshare accidents.
- Sideswipe accidents.
- T-Bone collisions.
- Truck accidents.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
If you are injured in a car accident, it is crucial that you seek medical treatment immediately. While you may not believe you are badly hurt, some injuries take hours, days, or weeks to manifest fully. If you try to brush off the injuries and assure the negligent driver that you are well, those claims could be used against you should you ever decide to take your car accident case to court.
Injuries commonly seen in auto accidents include:
- Broken bones.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Internal bleeding.
- Loss of sight and or hearing.
- Organ damage.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Wrongful death.
What Causes Car Crashes?
In addition to drunk driving, driver negligence is the most common cause of car accidents on Texas roads. Distracted driving is on the rise in these days of ubiquitous personal handheld technology. Texting while driving, speaking into a cell phone, or using a GPS navigation device are commonly responsible for distracting a driver from the road. Speeding, swerving in and out of lanes, merging at dangerous times, and failure to yield are other causes of a collision. In some cases, the disrepair of the road or defective vehicles can cause a driver to lose control and collide with obstacles. Personal grooming, eating, and talking to passengers in the car can also cause accidents.
What is the Difference Between a Car Crash and a Car Accident?
Most people think that a car crash and a car accident are terms that can be used interchangeably. However, these are two different ways of legally defining an incident involving motor vehicles. When you are in a collision, it is essential to understand whether it was a crash or an accident.
What is a Car Accident?
Understanding what an accident is can help you clearly define when an incident on the road is an accident and when it is a crash. An accident is an unexpected event that did not involve any fault or misconduct on the part of either party. An accident does not involve negligence, it is just simply an unfortunate incident that happened. An example of an accident is when two drivers are obeying speed limits and traffic signs, but the cars collide due to the effects of bad weather. Clearly, an accident cannot lead to a lawsuit because no one can be held responsible.
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to use the word “accident” to imply that neither driver was at fault. From our experience, this is not always the truth. Instead, the insurance companies are twisting the description of the accident in an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and they want to avoid making a payout whenever possible. If the other party’s insurance is insisting on labeling the collision an accident and refusing to pay you the compensation you deserve, having a team of talented lawyers, like ours, on your side can come in handy.
What is a Motor Vehicle Crash?
On the other end of the spectrum, a car crash is an incident caused by someone’s negligence or wrongdoing. Another term used for this type of incident is a “preventable collision.” This is a collision where a driver did not take every responsible precaution to try to avoid the impact. In these incidents, one or both drivers may have been acting negligently through their actions, such as running a red light, or their inaction, including a failure to brake. When a crash occurs, there is the potential for a legal claim to be brought against the at-fault driver.
For help determining whether you were in an accident or a crash, give our knowledgeable legal team a call. We will gladly review the details of your case and help you decide whether you should bring a claim against the other party.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Car Crash?
Crashes happen suddenly and can leave you shocked and badly injured. While it can be challenging to keep your head after a crash, staying as calm and collected as possible in these scary situations can be beneficial to both your health and your future claim. Important steps you can take following a crash include:
- Ensure the safety of yourself and other victims: If possible, move to a location on the side of the road that is out of the way of traffic. However, you should avoid moving anyone with a possible spinal injury because it could make it worse. Call 911 if anyone has severe injuries.
- Contact the local authorities: Police reports provide vital evidence about the crash and who may be responsible. If the police have not arrived, contact them to inform them of the incident.
- Collect information from the other driver(s): Get their name, address, registration information, and a photo of their insurance card.
- Take photos of the crash site: Crash scenes are usually cleaned up very quickly so the regular traffic flow can resume. Vital evidence can disappear, so it is crucial to have many photos from different angles that can be used to reconstruct the collision if necessary.
- Gather witness information: Eyewitnesses can also provide important information on the crash. Request the name, address, and phone number of anyone who saw the incident.
- Contact an experienced car crash lawyer: A trusted lawyer can begin investigating the case and will inform you of any further steps you need to take.
Why Are the Descriptions We Use So Important?
Using the word “crash” instead of “accident” may seem like a matter of semantics, but in law, the words you use matter. By calling an incident an accident instead of a crash you could be giving the wrong idea of what actually occurred and not placing responsibility where it belongs for the resulting damages.
Even the prestigious Associated Press updated their AP Stylebook in 2016 to clarify the differences between these two terms. Under the new guidance, journalists were encouraged to use the words “crash” or “collision” instead of “accident” to avoid incorrectly exonerating an individual from responsibility for the crash. This is particularly important in cases where an individual’s negligence in the matter has been claimed or proven.
Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Your Case?
Personal injury protection or PIP coverage is designed to cover all medical expenses up to the policy limit. $2,500 is the minimum that a driver can have in PIP coverage in Texas, though it is highly advisable to buy additional coverage. A $2,500 PIP claim may not be adequate to pay for your medical bills if your injuries are severe. With the help of a lawyer, it is possible to recover punitive damages as well as compensation that goes beyond your PIP coverage.
Your attorneys will review all the evidence pertaining to your case in an attempt to establish negligence on the part of the other drivers so that you can receive the maximum compensation for your claim. At The Shariff Law Firm, our lawyers will review the police reports and your medical records, speak with eyewitnesses, and obtain expert testimonies that may help your case.
What Types of Damages Could Be Recovered in a Car Accident Settlement?
With a strong case, you may be awarded compensation from the at-fault parties. It is unlikely that the at-fault driver or drivers will have the funds in hand to pay the settlement agreement, so it is more likely that those damages will be recovered from their insurance company. Compensation may take the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages you may recover include:
- Cost of ongoing medical care.
- Cost of physical therapy.
- Future lost income due to inability to work.
- Lost wages.
- Medical expenses.
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages you may recover include:
- Emotional trauma.
- Lost companionship.
- Lost quality of life.
- Mental pain and suffering.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have suffered a severe injury in a motor vehicle accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. After that is done, please contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case. You have legal rights as an accident victim. It is unfair for you, the injured victim, to be held responsible for injuries in an accident that was not your fault.
If you do not act quickly, it is possible for the other parties involved in the crash to claim that you were at fault for the accident and try to recover damages from you instead. Speaking to a lawyer is not only about getting the settlement you deserve. It may also be about protecting your legal liability should things go sideways in court.
If you lost a family member or a loved one in a car accident, you might be able to hold liable parties accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of financial compensation can ever hope to return your loved ones to you, these finances could go a long way towards easing the burden left due to the accident and lost income.
For help filing a wrongful death suit, please contact one of our talented attorneys. The Shariff Law Firm, PLLC offers a free case review for all prospective new clients, so if you are curious about the potential of your case or want guidance about how best to proceed, please take advantage of this free consultation. Our legal team is respected across Houston for providing compassionate legal representation to injured clients and grieving family members. If you do not feel that we are the right team for you and your goals, you are under no obligation to retain our legal counsel after the free initial consultation. To schedule your free case evaluation, please contact our law office at (713) 881-9739.