Houston Car Accident Attorneys
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Houston has always been a commuter city where 9 in 10 citizens drive to work. With sprawling suburbs and a growing population, congestion on the roads is likely here to stay. While road improvements and an increased law enforcement presence can help lower the number of traffic accidents, crashes will still occur too often—and many are catastrophic. In fact, the Houston area averages approximately 45,000 car accidents per year.
If you were involved in a collision, our Houston car accident lawyers are
here to help.
Abogados de accidentes de auto en Houston
What Happens After a Texas Car Wreck?
It's essential that you remain at the scene after a car accident in Houston until you can speak with the other party. Collect information such as the name, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information of the other driver. Take note of current road conditions and how many people were in each vehicle. When law enforcement officials arrive at the scene, they will be able to compile an accident report.
Carefully guard what you say following a collision. Avoid admitting any liability. In some cases, it is best to wait until you have procured the help of a Houston car injury lawyer. An attorney can advise you on what to say, when to file, and what information to use so you get the maximum compensation possible.
Accidents can leave victims with medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages due to the time taken off of work. Victims may also suffer from emotional injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder. This is why it is beneficial to speak with an attorney like the ones at our firm. We know you may be asking yourself: How will I pay my bills? Will I be compensated? How do I find a car accident lawyer near me? We can evaluate your case, help you file a claim, and ensure that you don't get cut short of your deserved compensation.
Recoverable Damages from Texas Auto Wrecks
With all the damages incurred from a car accident, you may be wondering who will be responsible for covering them. Will you end up paying for your expenses out of your pocket? While every car accident case will be unique, certain types of damages will typically be covered by the insurance company of the responsible driver.
Damages and expenses related to the following are often covered:
- All types of medical bills, including doctor's visits, surgical treatment, and so on
- Anticipated or future medical expenses, such as long-term care or future procedures
- General pain and suffering, which can include mental and physical pain
- Mental distress or anguish, such as anxiety, grief, nervousness, and worry
- Lost wages and earning capacity due to the severity of the injury
- Loss of comfort or consortium due to the death of a spouse
- The value of any property damage caused by the accident
What Are the Common Causes of Houston Car Crashes?
If there is one thing that can be said about car accidents, it's that they are never the same. Each accident will have different extenuating factors and should be handled as such. That being said, specific causes are more prevalent than others. Unfortunately, these causes are almost all preventable through the proper care and caution and can usually be attributed to driver negligence or reckless driver behavior.
Some of the most common causes of Houston car accidents include the following:
Poor Maintenance of the Vehicle
When cars are abused or neglected, it can lead to harrowing accidents. Not monitoring tire pressure, failing to get regular checkups, and the like can all lead to severe accidents.
Aggressive Driving / Road Rage
Driving is not without emotional distress, but that does not excuse drivers who fail to maintain their control. Aggressive driving can manifest in unsafe driving tactics, such as tailgating and speeding.
When drivers get behind the wheel impaired, they don't have the cognitive function to handle the road. Drunk driving can cause them to become drowsy, have slower reaction times, and more.
When the state fails to take care of the highways, it can lead to hazardous driving conditions. Things such as ignored potholes and roads with limited visibility can contribute to severe collisions.
In some cases, a driver can appear to be doing everything right and still be endangering every driver in the area. A driver who is talking on the phone and not paying attention to the road is cognitively distracted. A driver who is adjusting the radio is manually distracted. A driver who is trying to read a map is visually distracted. A driver who is texting while driving is all three.
Some accidents can be attributed to the vehicle's equipment, even if the driver did everything correct, such as when tires are not appropriately aired, brakes give out, or steering locks up.
On long stretches of road, it is no surprise that some drivers are fatigued. While this is uncomfortable, it is also important to remember that it is dangerous. Tired drivers can nod off and can become serious hazards to those people who are around them.
Serious Legal Help After Catastrophic Rollover Accidents in Houston, TX
Every year, approximately 10,000 people are killed in rollovers, accounting for more than 30% of all automobile fatalities. Rollovers were pushed into the spotlight in 2001 during millions of Ford Explorers' recalls. Although many of these accidents are partially linked to defective tires, the SUV's design also contributed significantly.
How Do Rollover Accidents Occur?
Rollover accidents commonly involve SUVs and trucks, but compact cars are not immune. Vehicles especially prone to rollover accidents include SUVs, trucks, and minivans. Because these vehicles have a high center of gravity, a motorist can lose control if brakes are applied at moderate or high speeds or during a tire blowout.
Vehicles are often involved in rollovers when tripped by another object. If a car is traveling at a high rate of speed and clips the edge of another object, the vehicle may become airborne and flip. For example, if a minivan lost control at a high enough speed and clipped the curb, the curb may act as a ramp and lift the vehicle off of the ground. Rollover accidents may also be caused when a vehicle is attempting to turn at too high a speed.
About Traction Control
Previously, the vehicle's crashworthiness was the primary focus of an engineer while determining a vehicle's inherent safety. However, with the popularity of vehicles (like SUVs) that tend to roll over, automobile safety experts increasingly stress the importance of traction control mechanisms to reduce the risk of accidents.
Traction is the grip of a vehicle's tires on the road; it's necessary during acceleration, turning, and braking. The absence of grip causes the vehicle to skid when the driver attempts to increase speed, make a turn, or apply the brakes. Lack of grip on the road is hazardous during bad weather. In conditions of snow, ice, and rain, it is easier for a driver to lose control of the vehicle while turning or braking, potentially causing a rollover accident. When the car comes with a traction control system, this loss of grip is prevented, making for a safe ride.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems use computer technology to control braking systems and enable drivers to retain control of the vehicle. These systems can prevent loss of grip and control, thus avoiding a rollover accident. Installation of an ESC system can reduce the likelihood of a rollover accident by up to 80%. The NHTSA has urged automobile companies to include these as standard features in their vehicles. As a result, some SUV manufacturers have installed ESC systems on new models, but these remain optional features.
Post-Collision Fires in Houston, Texas
Some car accidents turn into massive fires, known as post-collision fires. An impact with another vehicle or object can result in serious traumatic injuries, but a post-collision fire can add even greater injury. Many of those who survive post-collision fires live their lives with serious scarring and loss of feeling. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1979 and 1986, nearly 228,000 people were maimed and killed by car accident fires. To put this on a yearly scale, this amounts to 29,000 accidents annually.
A similar study indicated that 88% of all accident victims would not have been seriously injured had it not been for the post-collision fire. The type of injury caused by fires (serious burns) is often more severe than injuries such as broken bones or whiplash. Although some instances of car accident fires are inevitable, others may have been caused by fuel system defects. A defective fuel system is an issue of product liability and results from a fuel tank or hose being improperly manufactured or designed. This can result in avoidable fires.
Car Fires: Making Investigations Difficult
If a defect in the fuel system caused the accident, our firm is prepared to investigate other vehicles of that make and model to determine if there were defects. Unfortunately, these accidents are complicated and sometimes near impossible to investigate due to the severe charring. Our Houston car accident law firm takes investigations very seriously and will begin quickly to ensure that no evidence gets ignored.
The investigation should begin immediately to ensure your attorney is uncovering every source of liability. Burned vehicles, even if they were not completely burned, deteriorate rapidly through corrosion. Preserving the evidence is vital to the effectiveness of your case. Witness testimony is also crucial when investigating car accident fires. A witness will describe the fire, which could help indicate the cause. Was the fire black? Was it thick smoke? Was there a flashback? Answers to all of these questions are incredibly crucial to a case.
Houston Uber & Lyft Accident Attorneys for Catastrophic Rideshare Accidents
The trend of ridesharing has become more and more popular; however, it brings many new legal complications and questions with it. Who is responsible if a rideshare driver is involved in an accident? Will they or their company pay for damages and injuries? While this is still a very new terrain to navigate, Arnold & Itkin provides comprehensive representation for those involved in Uber and Lyft accidents. Our top-rated car accident lawyers have represented countless people and can utilize the insight and skill gained to benefit yours.
Do Ridesharing Services Have Insurance Coverage?
Both Uber and Lyft ensure drivers under certain conditions. Whether Uber or Lyft insures the driver depends on whether there was a passenger in the vehicle or if the driver was on the way to pick up a passenger. For both companies, the coverage for their drivers is much lower when they are not matched with a passenger; even then, Uber or Lyft will only cover their drivers if their private insurance is lower than the company's policy.
Uber provides the following breakdown of their insurance policy:
- The Uber app is off: Only the driver's private insurance will apply to the accident.
- The app is on, and the driver is "available." A driver's insurance and Uber's contingent liability coverage can be accessed—up to $100,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property damage.
- The driver is picking up a passenger or dropping them off. Uber's commercial insurance coverage applies, which includes up to $1 million per accident for property damage and bodily injury.
Lyft's accident insurance coverage includes:
- The Lyft app is off. Only the driver's private insurance will apply to the accident.
- The Lyft driver is waiting for a match. Only the driver's private insurance will apply to the accident; if their insurance company refuses to cover it, Lyft's policy will apply.
- The driver is picking up a rider or dropping them off. Lyft's $1 million policy will apply.
If you are involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver while they have a client in the car, you can receive compensation from their auto insurance and the rideshare company. It certainly gets more complicated and challenging when that driver is in between trips, waiting for a passenger to match with, or "off-the-clock" after a full day of driving. At this point, you may be wondering how to file a claim. When you have our legal team on your side, we will help you swiftly maneuver through all the complexities of rideshare accidents.
What Are My Rights After an Uber or Lyft Accident?
It can be difficult to know what to do if you've been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver. Your two most important first steps will be to seek medical attention and to get the contact and driver information of all parties involved in the collision. You must be careful about what you say and do as well. Apologizing or admitting fault can affect your ability to recover fair compensation; even if you think you may have been to blame, there could be another factor that you don't know about. Involve an attorney as quickly as possible to protect your interests, and avoid signing anything or accepting a settlement until you have legal counsel.
Why Is an Uber or Lyft Accident Different?
When you are involved in a rideshare accident, it is crucial to understand that it is different than a typical car accident. Uber, in particular, is a good example. They do not consider their drivers to be employees, but independent contractors, and may be quicker to deny injury claims because of this.
Further, both Uber and Lyft use applications that can take a driver's attention off the road. This often means these accidents can be the fault of the drivers. Nearly anyone can become an Uber or Lyft driver, so long as they have personal auto insurance, a license, and meet a few other requirements. Many of these drivers do not have any training or experience with transporting clients, making it dangerous for them to be on the road all day long. With an increased chance for accidents, it is crucial these companies take extra precautions to insure their drivers.
Houston Car Accident FAQ
Do I need the best Houston car accident lawyer?
If you were involved in a minor fender bender and suffered no injuries, you may not need an attorney to help with your car accident claim. However, if you suffered serious trauma, you should consider talking to a legal professional as quickly as possible. The insurance companies—yours and the other driver's—are not guaranteed to treat your fairly. They may try to deny your claim or offer a settlement that barely covers your medical bills. An attorney can help you seek fair compensation for every loss and injury you've experienced.
What is the first step in pursuing compensation after a Houston car crash?
First, as an accident victim, you should have your attorney investigate the case to determine who can be held responsible for the accident. You should ask questions like: Could the accident have been prevented? Was the other driver operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was the other driver talking or texting on their cell phone? Was the other driver driving faster than the speed limit or too fast for weather conditions? If the car accident could have been prevented, you may be able to successfully file a claim to recover the financial compensation you deserve. Our Houston injury firm can help you understand your rights and options.
What kind of Houston car injury law firm do I need?
Filing a claim after a motor vehicle accident will be complicated. Your lawyer will have to understand every aspect of the crash and have skills in negotiation and litigation that can be used in your favor. Additionally, they should be able to prepare your case as if it will go to trial, even if it can settle outside of court. Your results will be better if your lawyer can prepare the case for any scenario. Having the ability to litigate in a courtroom is a rare talent. Many auto accident attorneys claim to have courtroom skills without the experience or the track record to back their claims. However, if you've been hurt in an accident, it's not optional: You need to have an attorney on your side who can fight for you in court. This skill is key to a successful settlement. Find a lawyer with substantial case wins and who has a thorough understanding of the laws that impact your case.
About Houston, TX
With a population of more than 2.3 million people in 2020, Houston is one of the most populous cities in the country. In fact, it is the fourth largest in the United States and the sixth largest in North America by population. Houston is the seat of Harris County and covers an area of 637 square miles. Some of Houston’s nicknames are Bayou City, H-Town, Space City, and the 713, and the area is culturally rich and diverse, with a strong economy and constantly growing population. Houston also comes in second (after New York City) for the most Fortune 500 company headquarters within its city limits.
Houston is a popular tourist destination, with the Houston Museum District alone attracting more than seven million visitors each year. Central Park sits on nearly 1,500 acres in the heart of Houston, and the city has more than 650 parks and outdoor spaces to enjoy. Other popular attractions include the Downtown Aquarium, Children’s Museum Houston, and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Space Center Houston offers an in-depth look into the role Houston played in putting the first man on the moon, plus so much more. Plus, the city is still home to NASA headquarters.
For visitors and residents, getting around Houston is easy with the area’s roadway systems. The Houston freeway system is responsible for more than 40% of vehicle miles traveled; 3 interstate highways cross through Houston along with U.S. routes and state highways. Interstates 69, 45, and 10 are the major freeways in the area. Houston also has toll roads to provide other options for commuters, and the region’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) covers an area of more than 1,300 square miles. Three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport, and Ellington Airport, serve the area.
Houston Links & Resources
- City of Houston Official Site
- Houston Wikipedia Page
- Things to Do in Houston
- Houston DMV
- Houston Traffic Info
- Weather in Houston, TX
- Houston News
- U.S. Census Bureau: Houston
Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Don't Back Down, No Matter What
Before you can secure compensation for these damages, you must be able to present a compelling case. In cases where you can prove the other driver acted negligently, it can help strengthen your case and help you pursue a fair outcome with the help of your car accident attorney. Without a strong claim that demonstrates the other driver's fault, you may miss out on the valuable compensation you deserve.
Though it may seem like you or the other driver's insurance company are on your side, remain hesitant and take everything these companies promise with a grain of salt. Remember, insurance companies look out for their bottom line before anything else and will not honestly care about your situation. That is why you need a legal advocate you can trust to work on your behalf to secure full, fair compensation.
At Arnold & Itkin, we know how damaging car accidents can be. We fight to make sure clients recover everything they need to provide for themselves for the rest of their lives. Serving clients nationwide from Dallas, TX to Baton Rouge, LA.