If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a car crash, you need legal help from experienced attorneys who are prepared to fight for your rights. Don’t expect the insurance companies have your best interests at heart. They don’t.
Minimizing payouts and maximizing profits are their concerns. You need an advocate whose concerns are the same as yours.
Our Houston car accident lawyers have over 30 years of experience helping folks throughout Texas who have been injured in auto accidents caused by the negligence of other drivers.
Our successful efforts on behalf people hurt in Houston car crashes have received recognition from the most important source – our clients. Take a look at the many positive reviews posted by other clients.
We are ready to help you now.
Call us or contact us online now for a free consultation that comes with no risk and no strings attached.
DON’T TALK TO THE INSURANCE ADJUSTERS.
TALK TO US FIRST
Do you know your rights or how to recover your damages after a wreck?
- The adjuster doesn’t care about you or your injuries.
- The adjuster and insurance company only care about saving money.
- They want to pay you as little as possible for your injuries.
Don’t take on the insurance companies by yourself. You need a legal advocate armed with the experience and knowledge required to go after the full compensation your case calls for.
You should seek the best Houston car accident lawyers to handle your case. Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. consistently ranks among the top auto accident lawyers in the city.
Contact us and get a free consultation.
WE GET PAID ONLY IF WE WIN
Are you worried about having the money to pay for quality legal representation?
– Let us put those worries to rest.
We handle all car crash 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. You never pay us anything upfront. If we recover compensation on your behalf, our expenses and fees are deducted from that sum. That means you never have to pay us directly out of your pocket.
If we don’t win your case, you owe us nothing. Simple as that.
HOW OUR FIRM CAN HELP YOU AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
This might be the first time you’ve ever needed a lawyer. If so, you’re probably wondering what we can do for you. Here are just a few examples of the many ways a personal injury attorney may assist a car accident victim:
- During a free initial consultation, we can gather all of the details about the crash and your injuries, as well as information about the other drivers involved. After reviewing the facts, we can provide you with honest advice about your situation and your best legal options for recovery.
- We can help you get the proper medical care you need to get better and we can help you get your car repaired or replaced if it was damaged in the crash.
- We can fully investigate the accident to determine what really happened and who is responsible for it. We can discover all potential sources of insurance coverage and other potential sources of compensation for your losses.
- We can work with medical, financial and vocational experts to get a complete picture of all your losses in order to demand appropriate compensation that takes into consideration everything you lost.
- We can handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance companies and other responsible parties. You can focus on getting better while we deal with legal matters.
- If negotiations fail to produce an acceptable settlement offer, we are prepared to take your case to court if that is what is necessary.
TEXAS CAR CRASH STATISTICS
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Texas, you are not alone.
According to Texas Department of Transportation statistics,
With almost 262 billion miles traveled in Texas in one year, these numbers are understandable, but also preventable. Many of these auto accidents and traffic fatalities occurred in our area, and an analysis of the statistics shows that the trend continues.
COMMON CAUSE OF CAR ACCIDENTS IN TEXAS
- Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
In one recent year, Harris County led all counties with 149 fatal car crashes and 158 fatalities as a result of drunk drivers. Auto accidents stemming from drunk driving can subject the drunk driver to unlimited punitive damages.Chapter 249 of the Texas Penal Code provides:
(2) “Intoxicated” means: (A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.Sec. 49.07. INTOXICATION ASSAULT.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake: (1) while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.Sec. 49.08. INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:(1) operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and (2) is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake. (b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
When somebody drives a vehicle while intoxicated and either injures or kills another, the law allows them to be sued for greater damages than if they had been sober. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver in a car accident, the case must be handled by an aggressive car accident lawyer in order to give you the best chance at recovering as much compensation as legally possible.
- Distracted Driving
like talking on cell phones or texting while driving continues to be a leading cause of wrecks. In just a few seconds, distracted drivers can easily veer off the side of the road causing either a single vehicle auto accident or drift into another lane and cause a multi-vehicle collision.
- Aggressive Reckless Driving
is described 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.
- Drowsy or Fatigued Driving
can actually be as dangerous as drunk driving or driving under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. 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.
- Tire Blowouts
can be the result of many factors including defective tires, improper installation, over-inflation, under-inflation, overuse and road hazards.
Whatever the cause, the basic elements of an auto accident are similar to any negligence claim. You need a Houston car accident lawyer who can build a case to prove that the driver was negligent in the operation of their car and this caused the collision and your resulting injuries.
COMMON TYPES OF INJURIES SUSTAINED IN HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENTS
Car crashes cause a wide variety of injuries, ranging from relatively mild to life-changing or even life-ending.
A few examples of some of the more common and more devastating traffic accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI or concussion
- Back injuries, including slipped disks, nerve damage and severe strains
- Spinal cord injuries, including damage to the spinal cord that results in paralysis
- Neck injuries often referred to as “whiplash”
- Broken bones throughout the body, but especially the ribs, sternum, pelvis, arms and legs
- Knee and ankle injuries, including sprains and tears in tendons and ligaments
- Wrist and shoulder injuries
- Deep cuts and abrasions, including those that leave disfiguring scars
- Internal injuries, which often cause organ damage and blood loss
- Lasting psychological trauma
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- Take care of your injuries.
Your first need after an auto accident is to get medical treatment. A delay in seeking medical attention for an injury can be used against you by the insurance company. Delays in treatment can ruin your claim. More importantly, they can seriously threaten your health.
- Talk to an experienced Houston car accident lawyer, NOT an insurance company.
Insurance company representatives often contact victims soon after a 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 only benefit the insurance company. Remember, the only reason the adjuster wants to record your statement is to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you.
- Act quickly.
You have two years after the accident to file a lawsuit or you will be prevented from doing so by the Texas Statute of Limitations. It may seem like plenty of time but accident victims often wait too long and then their claim for compensation is barred by law. Acting quickly is often necessary when the car accident 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 auto accident 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 in Houston so that evidence and witness accounts will still be fresh.
Talk To An Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer before the Insurance Adjuster
When Someone Other Than the Driver Is at Fault for the Accident
In some cases, a claim for personal injuries from a car accident may also be brought against individuals other than the negligent driver.
If the at-fault driver was driving as a part of work-related duties, then the employer may be responsible for the driver’s negligence and the resulting damages.
If the at-fault driver was at the wheel of a vehicle owned by someone else, 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 someone else to operate it can be held liable for his or her negligent driving when there is an accident. Vehicle 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.
WE ONLY GET PAID IF WE WIN
Mr. Fleming is one of a small percentage of Houston car accident lawyers who are recognized as a specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Contact Us today for a free consultation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOUSTON CAR ACCIDENTS
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in Houston or anywhere else in Texas? If so, you probably have lots of questions about what happens now. That’s completely understandable.
In an effort to help, we have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about car accident claims. These are general answers to general questions. We are ready to provide you with specific answers to your individual questions – and it won’t cost you anything.
To find out more about your potential car accident claim, contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation that comes with no strings attached.
If this is the first time you have been injured in a car accident, you may not be aware of the steps you need to take to protect your right for full compensation. The insurance company of the other driver can take advantage of your inexperience to reduce the value of your claim. That’s why it is critical to get help from a qualified Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible. Do not provide any written or recorded statements before you get help from a lawyer, and do not accept any settlement offer without first discussing it with your attorney.
In many cases, compensation for pain and suffering is the largest component of a car accident case. It’s helpful to know the legal definition of pain and suffering.
In general, “pain and suffering” refers to non-economic damages associated with a serious personal injury. It can refer to not only physical pain but also to emotional distress.
Determining how much you should be compensated for pain and suffering is highly personal to your case. Two people may experience the same injury, but the effect of that injury on their lives can be vastly different.
For example, if you are a new mother, a back injury may prevent you from picking up your child. If you are a runner, it can prevent you from doing the thing you enjoy. Because pain and suffering is highly personal, it’s important to keep a journal and record each day how the injury has affected you. That journal could be valuable evidence in your case.
Here are some factors in determining how much compensation you deserve for pain and suffering:
- The severity of your injury
- The medical treatment and rehabilitation you were forced to endure
- How long it took you to recover from your injury
- The long-term effects of the injury on your life, if you have suffered a permanent injury
The sooner you contact our attorneys after a car crash, the sooner we can go to work documenting your claim and helping you recover the maximum compensation.
If you were injured in a car accident that occurred on the job, you may be entitled to compensation from both workers’ compensation and the insurance company of the at-fault driver. While you can’t collect twice for the same damages, you can maximize the compensation you receive for the damages you have suffered.
If you were injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident, you are covered by Texas workers’ compensation regardless of who was at fault. That means you could recover workers’ compensation benefits even if you did something wrong to cause the crash.
“Work-related” generally means that you were driving on the job. In most cases, the accident would not be covered by workers’ compensation if it happened while you were commuting to or from work or running a personal errand during lunch.
Workers’ compensation covers medical bills and two-thirds of lost wages up to certain limits. It may also provide benefits if you suffer a permanent injury.
In Texas, you may still be able to recover compensation for an accident even if you were partly responsible for causing the crash. However, your compensation in a car accident case will be reduced by any percentage you were at fault. This area of law is known as comparative negligence. However, you can still recover compensation as long as your fault was not 51 percent or higher.
Since fault is such an important part of your accident case, it is important not to discuss fault with the other driver, the police officer, or any insurance company (yours or other driver’s) before you have discussed your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. You could make admissions that could reduce the amount of compensation you receive for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Here is an example. Suppose you are broadsided in an intersection by another driver who ran a stop sign. The other driver was clearly at fault. Unfortunately, a percentage of fault could be assigned to you if you made any of the following admissions:
- You were speeding.
- You failed to look both ways before entering the intersection.
- You were sending or reading a text.
- You were drinking.
Insurance company adjusters are experienced at getting people to make admissions that will reduce the value of their claim. Once you hire our lawyers to represent you, we will speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
Our lawyers will carefully review the facts of your case and protect your interests at every phase of your case, including determining comparative negligence.
When you are injured in an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will not pay damages such as medical bills and lost wages as you go. Rather, the company will wait until your case is resolved.
This could be several months and in some cases more than a year after the accident happened. As a result, you typically submit health care and disability bills to a secondary payer such as private or group medical insurance, short-term disability or Medicaid. After your case is resolved, the secondary payer may recover payments from your insurance settlement or award through a process known as subrogation.
Subrogation could be an important issue in your accident case, as it determines how much money is left in your pocket after your case is resolved. For this reason, it is important to have an attorney represent you in the subrogation process.
As experienced car accident lawyers, our job goes beyond resolving your case by negotiation or jury verdict. Our lawyers will:
- Evaluate all potential secondary payers to determine which is the most advantageous.
- Negotiate with the secondary payer so you keep as much money as possible. In many cases, secondary payers will accept less than 100 percent.
- Negotiate with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to maximize your recovery.For example, the secondary payer of medical bills may have provided services at a discount. We will seek the full cost of those services.
The other driver failed to carry insurance or the insurance isn’t enough. Now what?
You may have options if you are injured and the at-fault party has no insurance or not enough insurance coverage.
Texas has financial responsibility laws that requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to help cover losses due to their own fault or negligence. In 2011, the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage for bodily injury was increased to $30,000 for one person (up from $25,000).
Often, $25,000 or $30,000 simply isn’t enough coverage to fully compensate persons injured through no fault of their own. Even with mandatory financial responsibility laws, many drivers in Texas simply do not carry insurance at all.
Your attorney can and should investigate the at-fault party’s personal assets to determine the possibility of recovery beyond liability insurance. However, in most cases, people who lack insurance coverage also lack the assets necessary to pay a judgment.
The good news is that there may be other options for recovering compensation.
Texas also requires your automobile insurance company to offer you Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, known as UM/UIM coverage. This law helps protect drivers from devastating consequences of being injured at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Because the law requires your insurance company to offer UM/UIM coverage, you can only reject it in writing. If your agent didn’t obtain your written rejection, then you may have coverage equal to the limits you carry for your own liability protection.
Your insurance company will have certain requirements of you before you can rely on your UM/UIM coverage. Those requirements should be outlined in your policy. Your insurance company may try to take offsets or claim credits against the amount of UM/UIM coverage it should pay you – some of which may not be allowed in Texas.
It is important to let your attorney investigate all available sources of recovery – beginning with liability and UM/UIM coverage – to compensate you for your injuries.
No. Oftentimes an adjuster will attempt to pressure an injured person into giving a statement after a car accident. In Texas, liability is not established on the basis of what information the other driver’s insurance adjuster attempts to secure from you.
You are not required to provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company’s representative. Remember, if you have serious injury, the adjuster’s job is to try to save the insurance company’s money – not protect your rights!
Rather than try to negotiate with a trained adjuster regarding your serious injuries, you should seek the advice of a qualified personal injury trial lawyer.
Following an auto accident, many people do not know where to start to obtain a copy of the accident report. The first thing you should do is determine which law enforcement agency investigated the car accident.
Usually, the investigating officer will give you a slip of paper indicating their department name and the officer’s name. If the car accident investigator did not give you the information, you should figure out where the accident happened. Generally, a car accident will be investigated by one of three agencies – the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the County Sheriff or a city police officer.
If the accident happened;
- In the city limits of an incorporated city, you can contact the police department of that city and ask about getting a copy of your car accident report.
- Outside the city limits then the County Sheriff probably investigated the matter and a call to the accident division of that department will probably work.
- If the sheriff did not investigate the crash, you should try the DPS office nearest the accident scene.
Some agencies allow you to order an accident report online while others might require a written request be sent in the mail. In all cases, the cost of an accident report is only a few dollars.
Car accident reports issued by law enforcement agencies can be powerful evidence when negotiating with insurance companies about your injuries. The opinions of the investigating officer will be shown in the report regarding the cause of the accident and fault of the parties involved.
However, it is important to remember that the police do not have final say on who is financially responsible for an accident. That is a civil matter and is ultimately up to the courts if the parties cannot reach a settlement.
You do not need to obtain a copy of an accident report yourself before you seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. We always obtain the report for our clients.
If you have any questions about car accident reports or your claim, contact us by email or call us. We always provide a free consultation.
We Only Get Paid If We Win