Houston Car Accident Lawyer
There are more than 10 million motor vehicle accidents per year and the chances of serious injury or fatality while on the road is a very real possibility. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident within the I-10 corridor, including I-45, Highway 59, the 610 loop, Beltway 8 and the Sam Houston Toll Road, among others, then you may be eligible for compensation.
As one of the largest traffic centers in the nation, Houston is a city that receives more than its fair share of accidents due to negligent drivers. Our team of Houston personal injury attorneys will explore every aspect of your case, using even the smallest detail to strengthen your claim and hold the responsible party accountable.
If you have been involved in a car wreck, the entire experience can be very traumatic – from the immediate effects of the crash to filing a claim or lawsuit for damages. Car accident claims can arise from many types of accidents, including high and low-speed impact crashes, rear-end crashes, head-on crashes, T-bone crashes, car wrecks on I-10, multiple vehicle accidents, and DWI/DUI or drunk driving accidents. Ben Bronston & Associates can help you with all of these types of claims.
Que hablamos Español – Abogado de Accidentes en Houston.
Car Crash Personal Injury Cases
Ben Bronston & Associates can assist you with personal injury cases involving automobiles including:
In addition to more frequent types of car accident claims, we can also help commercial drivers, as well as those injured in a taxi cab accident, including taxi cab drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and drivers hit by taxi cabs. Our skilled attorneys are also experienced in helping people involved in bus accidents, commercial truck accidents, or motorcycle accidents.
It is important to consult with experienced car accident lawyers in Houston immediately. Houston personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations (SOL), which bars any subsequent lawsuits after this period has passed. This means anyone who was injured in the accident and wants to bring a claim for damages cannot do so after this two year period.
Houston Transportation Network
Houston’s transportation network includes a 575.5-mile freeway and expressway system, 13 miles of train tracks for the METRO light rail service, intercity rails and buses, and a sprawling layout for pedestrian travel. In Houston’s 10-county metropolitan area, the roads and highways see heavy traffic each and every day. Major construction projects contribute to congestion. Despite efforts by the Texas Department of Transportation such as HOV lanes and timed freeway entrances, the freeways in Houston are still heavily congested during daily rush hour. It’s almost impossible to avoid heavy traffic while traveling through downtown Houston.
Types of Car Wreck Claims | Houston Crash Statistics
Looking only at Houston’s crash rates, you’ll find that the city sees more motor vehicle collisions on average than any other city in Texas. In 2016, there were 67,241 crashes in Houston. Of these crashes, 1,118 resulted in incapacitating injuries and 237 were fatal. Houston recorded a much greater number of accidents than the second-highest city, San Antonio, which had 46,175 accidents. In 2016, Harris County saw 1,573 speed-involved crashes, 14,804 distracted driver crashes, and 2,926 work zone crashes. It’s clear that irresponsible, negligent, and reckless drivers are responsible for the majority of crashes in Houston.
If you are a car accident victim in Houston, Texas, don’t hesitate to talk to our car wreck lawyers at Ben Bronston & Associates. You may have grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the other driver or another party. Our lawyers can help you explore your legal opportunities, and take the right steps toward justice and damage recovery. Speak to us during a free case evaluation. Call (800) 617-4236 or go online to schedule yours today.
There are a variety of car accident claims throughout Houston. Some of the most common car collision claims involve the following:
- Low-Speed Crashes
- Rear Impact Accidents
- Head On Impact
- Side / T-Bone Collisions
- Vehicle Roll Over
- Drunk Drivers
- I-10 Traffic Accidents
- Passenger Injuries
- Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists
- Multiple Vehicles
- Whiplash Injuries
- Defective Roads
These often occur from the other driver’s negligent operation of their vehicle. A driver can operate their automobile negligently if they engage in excessive speeding, drive while drunk, use a cell phone, fail to pay attention, fail to avoid hazards on the road, or if they are unable to adjust to the road’s conditions.
Main Causes of Car Accidents in Houston
Examining the common causes of car accidents in Houston is a great place to start if you want to avoid them. Gleaning insights into how and why crashes occur in your hometown can make you more aware of what not to do while on the road. National organizations have spent years gathering and analyzing car wreck data to track the most common causes of collisions. Here are the leading causes of urban Texas auto accidents in 2016 (the most recent year data is available) in order from greatest to least number of crashes.
Causes of Texas Car Accidents in 2016
The top 10 causes of urban Texas car accidents all have to do with driver error. Obeying the rules of the road, such as traffic signals and yielding the right-of-way, could prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents in the Lone Star State each year. Other factors commonly involved in crashes include driving under the influence (987 Texas deaths) and driver distraction (455 deaths). As a driver, you can help prevent a collision by paying attention to the road and always obeying the law.
What to do After a Car Wreck in Houston
- First: Be PreparedIt is helpful to keep the following items on you in case you are involved in a car accident:
- Insurance card
- Vehicle registration
- List of emergency contacts
- Medical information
- Jumper Cables
- Rags or towels
- Disposable camera or camera phone
- Second: Be Safe.Move your car to a nearby location that is safe, but make sure not to leave the scene of the accident. Check if anyone is hurt and call 911 for medical assistance. Finally, contact the police about the accident.
- Third: Stay Calm.Don’t panic after the accident, make sure to remain cm and polite, and cooperate with the police. Most importantly – do not admit fault.
- Fourth: Exchange Information.Collect any contact information from anyone involved in the car accident and any other witnesses, drivers and the tow company if you were towed. Obtain a police report and collect all information about the vehicles involved, such as make, model, year, license plate numbers, insurance carriers and insurance policy numbers. Also, make sure to take pictures of damage to all vehicles involved in the accident.
- Fifth: Contact an Attorney.Never give an insurance company a statement without your attorney. Never sign any documents or accept a settlement before reviewing the long-term and short-term implications with legal counsel.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Stop at the scene of the accident. There are serious consequences for hit-and-run drivers.
- Move your car to a safer location out of traffic if you are able to do so.
- Turn on your hazard lights or set out cones or flares if you have them.
- Call 911 for emergency medical assistance. Even if you don’t believe at first that you have suffered serious injuries, it is smart to get a full medical examination. Many potentially life-threatening injuries are not immediately apparent.
- Resist the urge to apologize to other drivers or admit fault, even if you think you did something wrong. All of the facts are not clear in the chaos and trauma of a crash.
- If you are able, use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles, their position, the road conditions and anything else that may seem relevant.
- Cooperate with the police who investigate the accident. Answer their questions truthfully, but don’t answer more than what you’re asked and don’t speculate about the cause of the accident.
- Provide your insurance information, driver’s license and registration to police. Make sure that you receive this information from all other drivers involved in the accident.
- Get contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident, including vehicle passengers and bystanders.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner your attorney can get started on investigating the accident and building your case, the better the chances for a successful outcome.
What Your Responsibilities Are
- Stop at the scene of the accident.
- Report the accident to law enforcement.
- Cooperate with the police as they conduct their investigation into the crash.
- Provide the police and other drivers with your driver’s license, vehicle registration and auto insurance information, as well as your contact info.
- Report the accident to the insurance company that covers the vehicle you were driving.
How to File a Car Insurance Claim in Houston, Texas
Is this the first time you’ve had to seek insurance coverage for injuries and damage suffered in a car accident? If so, the process understandably seems confusing and intimidating. There could be a lot of money at stake, and you’re probably concerned about dealing with the complex rules and requirements insurance companies require.
Even if you have dealt with a car accident insurance claim before, much of the process probably remains a mystery. The worst part is that you have to face this ordeal at a time when you are trying to recover from serious injuries while also coping with mounting medical bills and lost income because you can’t work.
Car insurance companies have the upper hand when people are injured in auto accident, and they know it. Insurers are interested in their own bottom line, not yours.
Our car accident attorneys work directly with car accident victims like you to seek insurance money for medical expenses, car repairs, lost income and other losses, including your pain and suffering.
Filing a Car Wreck Claim
After a collision, most drivers first attempt to file a claim with their insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. However, insurance companies will only cover the amount of damage up to the policy’s limits. So, if the other driver was at fault and they were uninsured or underinsured, your medical bills and the costs of your car’s damage may not be covered.
Additionally, if the other driver denies they were at fault, your claim could be denied completely. Insurance companies also generally take a lengthy time to process claims and often dispute the costs associated with the crash. They may refuse to pay all or part of your medical bills and damage to your car. Most insurance companies will also not pay for your time off from work and any additional pain and suffering you may have experienced.
Therefore, if you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston who will immediately begin preparing the case and help you receive the damages you deserve.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Houston
Once you have consulted with qualified legal counsel, they will file a petition claiming the other driver was at fault and is liable for your damages. “Damages” is used to refer to what is commonly referred to as compensation.
In order to receive damages from the other driver, you must be able to prove they were negligent when operating their vehicle. A car accident claim involves all of the following elements:
- Duty – The plaintiff or the injured party must be able to prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act with reasonable care when operating their car. This is a general duty and is required by every driver who operates their vehicle.
- Breach – The plaintiff must also prove the defendant breached their duty by failing to act with reasonable care when operating their vehicle.
- Causation – The plaintiff must also prove the defendant’s conduct was the actual and proximate cause of their injuries.
- Damages – The plaintiff must have suffered some form of injury as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
The plaintiff must be able to prove all of these elements by a “preponderance of the evidence”. A preponderance of evidence is the plaintiff’s burden of proof in the lawsuit, which means it is more likely than not that the traffic accident occurred due to the defendant’s negligence. This is a very low burden of proof and means that only 51% of the evidence has to be in the plaintiff’s favor in order to win.
There are also two types of general negligence theories – comparative negligence and contributory negligence. Houston follows the comparative negligence theory under section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This means if the plaintiff is at least 51% responsible for their injuries, they cannot file a lawsuit for their damages from the other party.
Additionally, according to section 33.013 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, if the plaintiff was 50% or less responsible for their injuries, the amount of damages they are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of their fault in the accident. Under the theory of pure contributory negligence, which is not followed in Houston, if the plaintiff was even 1% at fault for their injuries, they are barred from filing a lawsuit.
What Compensation Can I Get For a Auto Accident
Chapter 41 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines the various forms of damages permitted in Texas for a car accident lawsuit, which is listed below.
- Economic Damages – Economic damages compensate the plaintiff for any actual loss or financial loss they may have suffered. These damages are commonly known as compensatory damages and do not include exemplary or non-economic damages.
- Non-economic Damages – Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the victim for any physical pain or suffering, mental or emotional pain or anguish, loss of companionship and society, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment or disfigurement, and/or any other non-financial loss they may have suffered. These damages do not include exemplary damages and are usually included in compensatory damages.
- Exemplary Damages – Exemplary damages are also commonly known as punishment or punitive damages. They are generally awarded to the plaintiff if the defendant acted with such gross negligence they should be punished for their actions. In order to receive exemplary damages, the plaintiff must show the defendant acted with malice by intentionally causing the injury, or because the defendant knew his conduct created an extreme risk of severe injury and consciously disregarded that risk.
- Compensatory Damages – Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages, but not any form of exemplary or punitive damages.
What is Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
Personal injury protection covers medical expenses such as ambulance rides, doctor visits, and therapy, lost wages due to injuries, and other expenses that resulted from injuries sustained in a car accident. It is important to note that PIP is known as a no-fault benefit. This means that you can make a PIP claim on your policy regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Under Texas law, whenever you take out an insurance policy, the insurance company must give you the option of including personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in your policy. If you decline PIP coverage, you are required to sign a waiver, explicitly waiving the coverage option.
Resources for Car Accidents in Houston
This website provides information on the civil court process and gives you access to cases results, forms, court rules, information for jurors, and other important services. The Harris County civil court is located at:
Houston, TX 77002
This agency is responsible for traffic supervision and law enforcement on Texas highways. Their goal is to help maintain public safety through various efficient and effective programs.
This link provides information on how to obtain a crash report after an accident has occurred. A crash report can be ordered online through this website.
Car Wreck Attorneys Near Houston | Ben Bronston
Attorney Ben Bronston is licensed to practice law in all areas of Texas and experienced with personal injury claims arising from auto accidents. If you are unable to come into either office for a free consultation, our lawyers can travel to you.
Contact Ben Bronston & Associates for a consultation about your claim and options for obtaining compensation. Our law firm proudly represents adults and families injured in accidents across the greater Houston area.