Houston Car Accident Lawyers
The experienced accident lawyers at our firm have years of experience helping folks who have been injured by the negligence of other drivers. Have you been the victim of a car accident recently? Do you know your rights or how to recover your damages after a wreck? An insurance adjuster may answer your questions. However, the adjuster works for the insurance company and needs to protect the company’s interests and lessen its exposure after an automobile accident. The adjuster does not work for you. The insurance company only cares about saving money – by paying you less for your injuries from the crash. You should seek the best accident attorneys to handle your case. We have been consistently ranked as among the top auto accident lawyers.
We Only Get Paid if We Win
We handle all auto accident cases on a percentage basis. This means we cover all expenses to pursue the claim with the insurance company and file a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered in the accident. We don’t get our expenses and fees unless there is an award or settlement. If we don’t win your auto accident case, you owe us nothing. There are many types of insurance coverage that can be used to compensate you for your injuries and damages.
It is important to have an experienced car wreck lawyer working for you from the moment you begin dealing with the insurance company — especially before you give a statement to an insurance adjuster. We always give a free consultation in auto accident cases. Contact our lawyers now to discuss the types of insurance coverage available to seek compensation for your injuries.[/fusion_text]
Car Accident Statistics
Driving on busy highways requires care and attention. This is especially true during rush hour when you can expect high volumes of traffic and delays on I-10, US 59, I-45 and the toll-ways. Car accidents can result from drivers who are distracted by talking on cell phones or texting and drivers who speed and are aggressive or reckless.
According to our analysis 2013 Texas Department of Transportation statistics, there were 65,539 serious car accidents with 89,270 people having sustained serious injuries. Many of these auto accidents and traffic fatalities occurred in our area and an analysis of the 2014 statistics shows that the trend continues.
Automobile drivers and passengers who do not use a seat belt or are not properly restrained are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries in car crashes. 44.7% of people killed in car accidents in 2013 where not properly restrained.
Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents can happen for many reasons and Texas law allows you to recover money for your injuries. We handle all types of car wrecks resulting from:
- Drunk Driving (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has reported that since 1980, there has been significant drop in the number of people killed annually as a result of a drunk driver in car crashes. Even with the awareness MADD has brought to the issue, drivers continue to risk their lives and the lives of others when they get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Harris County in Houston lead all counties in Texas in 2013 with 149 fatal car crashes and 158 fatalities as a result of drunk drivers. Intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault are criminal offenses resulting from auto accidents which can subject the drunk to unlimited punitive damages.
- Distracted Driving talking on cell phones or texting while driving continues to be a leading cause of car accidents. In just a few seconds drivers who are distracted can easily veer off the side of the road causing a single vehicle auto accident or drift into another lane and cause a crash involving a number of cars and trucks. The next time you are a passenger in a car, take a look at the other drivers on the road and notice how many are either texting or using their cell phone or other app. You will be shocked. This is happening all the time and will get worse and worse as more people have smart phones and cannot wait a few minutes to respond to the latest text or call. Distracted driving often results in multi-vehicle crashes.
- Aggressive Reckless Driving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive and reckless driving as “an individual who commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property”. Aggressive driving can take the form of speeding, running red lights, tailgating and general disregard for the rules of the road. The leading causes of car accidents from aggressive driving in Texas are speeding and failure to control speed of the automobile. Other leading causes are following too closely, changing lanes when it is unsafe or failure to pass safely on the highway.
- Running Red Lights and other traffic signal violations. Lately, more and more car accidents have been caused by drivers who are texting while driving rather than inattentiveness. Liability is clear when one driver has ignored a red light and caused an accident.
- Drowsy or Fatigued Driving. This can actually be as dangerous as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs – legal or not. If somebody gets behind the wheel of an automobile when it is dangerous whether because of alcohol or exhaustion, they are putting other people on the road at risk.
- Head On Collisions are usually the result of drunk driving or people falling asleep at the wheel.
- Backing-Up Car Accidents are a common cause of injury and death in the United States. Even with the latest technology such as back-up cameras and sensors, drivers are still required to exercise utmost care when backing up a car or truck.
- Tire Blowouts. Tire blowouts can be the result of many factors including, defective tires, improper installation, over-inflation, under-inflation, over-use and road hazards.
Whatever the cause, the basic elements of an auto accident are similar to any negligence claim. Your lawyer must prove that someone acted in a negligent manner causing recoverable damages. This simply means that they were careless in the operation of their car and this caused the collision and your injuries.
Vehicle Accident Injury Cases We Handle
Our law firm represents clients who have suffered serious personal injuries resulting from an auto accident, such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Miscarriage or premature delivery
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head, neck or back injuries
- Joint injuries
- Broken arms
- Injuries caused by air bags
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., we are strong advocates for injured clients’ rights. We will help you recover the full financial damages you deserve for your serious injuries in order to compensate you for surgery, time away from work, extended treatment, and pain and suffering.
The Rights of a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident
If you were a passenger in a car – whether riding in a taxi, limo or with a friend, on a highway or in the city – and sustained injuries in a crash, you have the same rights to seek compensation as any other victim. This may seem obvious but some people may hesitate seeking compensation if their friend or relative was the driver that caused the accident. Sometimes this is because they don’t want to accuse the friend of wrongdoing or they are concerned that the friend or relative’s insurance rates will go up. First of all, a friend probably won’t care if you seek rightful compensation from their insurance company. Furthermore, if there was another person injured who is seeking compensation then the insurance company is unlikely to increase the rates any more if you make a claim. Many people believe that they can’t bring a claim if a relative was the at-fault driver. This is not true. You certainly can bring a claim against the insurance company if you were hurt in an accident that was caused by your relative. Don’t let the adjuster tell you otherwise.
When Someone Other Than The Driver Is At Fault…
In some cases, a claim for personal injury from an auto accident may also be brought against individuals other than
the negligent driver. If the driver was working for another company or individual, then the employer may be responsible for the driver’s negligence and the resulting damages. Furthermore, even if not working, the owner of the vehicle may be liable for the negligence of the driver.
This is known as liability for negligent entrustment. Under this cause of action, the owner of a vehicle who allows another to operate it can be held liable for his or her negligent driving. Car owners may be liable if they negligently entrusted the vehicle to somebody they knew, or should have known, to be a reckless, incompetent or unlicensed driver.
Your Advocates Before The Insurance Company And In The Courtroom
Can you collect compensation for a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident even if you were not in the designated safe areas? Are you entitled to workers’ compensation if injured in a car wreck at work? The answers to both of these questions is “yes.” If you are hit by a car while jaywalking (crossing the street not in the intersection) or while the “don’t cross” sign is on, you can still recover damages for your injuries if the driver of the car was negligent. For instance, if the driver was not paying attention, speeding or drunk, you can bring a claim even if you may have been somewhat at fault. Also, if you were hurt in a vehicle accident while working, you can file a Texas worker’s compensation claim AND pursue damages against the other driver.
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., you will talk to car crash attorneys who are focused on your best interests. They will answer any personal injury questions you have honestly and in a way that you can understand.
What To Do After A Car Wreck
- Take care of your injuries your first need after an auto accident is to get medical treatment. Some people injured in an automobile accident put off going to the doctor or emergency room. Unfortunately, a delay in seeking medical attention for an injury can be used against you by the insurance company. We have seen this happen time and time again. An accident victim is hurting but puts off going to the doctor because they hope the pain will go away. After a lengthy delay, they cannot stand the pain any longer and see a doctor only to find out that they actually have a serious injury cause by the accident. Invariably, the insurance company and its lawyers claim the delay in treatment is evidence that here were NO injuries sustained in the crash. It is ironic that an accident victim who tries to avoid medical expenses is later accused of bringing a fake claim but this is exactly what happens. Therefore, even if you want to delay hiring an attorney, DO NOT delay seeking medical care if you are hurting. Do it immediately. The faster you seek medical help, the sooner you may be able to heal from your injuries.
- Talk to a car crash attorney, not an insurance company. Insurance company representatives often contact victims soon after their car accident to obtain a recorded statement or offer a low-ball settlement. When you are recovering from an injury, you are not in the best condition to answer an insurance company’s detailed questions. Adjusters who take recorded statements are as skilled as trial lawyers in framing questions and eliciting answers that will benefit only the insurance company. Remember, the only reason the adjuster wants to record your statement is to reduce the amount of money you are entitled to under the law. Adjusters will also attempt to settle with victims before a lawyer is hired. Why do you think this is the case? It is because the adjuster does not want you to hire a lawyer. They would rather pay you less than the law requires and then get you to sign away all of your rights to future compensation for pain and suffering and medical expenses. Report the accident, and see your doctor, but then talk to a lawyer immediately.
- Act quickly there is a statute of limitations in Texas of two years. This means that you have two years after the car accident to file a lawsuit. It may seem like plenty of time but accident victims often wait too long and then their claim for compensation is barred by law. The clock ticks on while people are tending to their injuries and medical care. Insurance adjusters know this and are keenly aware of this deadline but they NEVER inform the accident victim. When the injured victim has no lawyer, the adjuster will drag out negotiations until the day after the two year deadline and then refuse to pay anything. Acting quickly is often necessary when the car collision scene needs to be investigated or witness statements taken. Evidence sometimes needs to be preserved with a court order. When you are the victim of a serious injury, the insurance company will be working hard to collect facts and evidence to bolster a defense to your claim and minimize your damages. It is crucial that you contact experienced car accident lawyers soon so that accident evidence and witness accounts will still be fresh.
Find out more about what to do after an accident by visiting our Car Accident FAQ Page.