If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Houston car accident, it is important to know that you may have the opportunity to seek financial recovery for your damages. Car accidents often have long-term effects on victims and their families, which may include physical pain, emotional distress, and financial instability. Many car accident victims find that their bills add up quickly, especially if they are unable to work because of their injuries.
Families of fatal accident victims may struggle to manage the debt of their loved ones, and certain necessary expenses such as funeral costs may feel out of reach. Paying for your medical care may be especially difficult if you do not have health insurance. At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, we can help you pursue financial awards for your injuries.
We Handle All Communication with The Insurance Companies
One of the biggest challenges of filing a claim against another party in your car accident case is dealing with insurance companies. Unfortunately, most insurance adjusters do not care about the injured claimant because they have a goal to save their company from financial liability. By providing you with the recovery you deserve, they have to cut into the company’s profit, which may mean more to them than your well-being.
Since 2002, our team has fought back against unfair insurance practices on our clients’ behalf. We see through insurance companies’ attempts to blame the victim or undervalue their injuries, and we can push back for a fair settlement for you. Many times, we are able to negotiate an adequate award amount for our clients outside of court. However, we will take your case in front of a jury if necessary.
The process of pursuing your claim can get complicated, but a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can take over so that you can focus on your recovery. If your injury keeps you from coming to us, we will come to you to get started on your free case evaluation. Contact our legal team today to discuss your case with us.
Why Hire a Houston Car Accident Lawyer?
When you are already dealing with a car accident injury or the loss of a family member, the idea of handling your case on your own may feel intimidating, and we understand why. The Texas legal system is complicated, and managing a claim often means dealing with paperwork, deadlines, and insurance companies and their legal teams. At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, we can deal with all so you can focus on getting better.
Our team of lawyers, paralegals, and support specialists can handle every aspect of your case from start to finish, beginning with your free case evaluation. We will start by investigating the details of your case to determine:
- What happened
- How it happened
- Who is at fault
- The extent of your injuries
Meanwhile, insurance companies and other lawyers will do the same, and they may attempt to make it more difficult for you to seek recovery by rejecting or minimizing your claim. We combat these tactics by building a strong case for you, which often includes the collection of evidence, such as:
- Police reports
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements
- Cell phone records
- Sobriety tests
- Expert testimony
These and other types of evidence can help us prove liability, or who caused your accident. In order to be considered liable for a car accident, a person must have had a duty to keep the victim safe within reason.
This is implied, as each licensed driver assumes the responsibility of taking precautions to avoid preventable accidents. The liable party must also have breached that duty, which led to your injury and your accumulation of damages, for you to have a viable case.
Let Us Help You Seek Damages for Your Losses
After establishing the negligence of another party in your case, we will begin the process of seeking financial recovery for your injuries or the loss of your loved one. Using the amount of your damages as a guide, we will pursue every dollar you may deserve for the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you face because of the accident.
This process usually takes place through negotiations with the other party’s insurance company. Some adjusters may try to make achieving financial recovery as difficult as possible for car accident victims. A car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm knows when adjusters and opposing legal teams are trying to undermine victims’ injuries and losses, and we can use the evidence we gathered to prove your case and seek a fair financial recovery for you.
If a negligent driver left you with injuries or caused the loss of your family member, we want you to know that you are not alone. D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® is here to help you every step of the way. We take pride in caring for the needs of our clients, and we are prepared to provide you with updates and answer any questions you have about your case at any time.
Contact our legal team online for your free case evaluation.
What Are the Steps to Take After a Houston Car Accident?
Car accident victims often experience physical and emotional trauma immediately following a car accident, and they may find it difficult to know what to do after the collision has taken place. First and foremost, all victims with injuries should seek emergency medical care right away, even if they do not have insurance or do not think their injuries are serious. Your health and well-being come before any other decisions at that time.
Once you have been evaluated by a medical professional and have the ability to take the next step in your case, ensure that the accident was reported. Texas Transportation Law §550.026 requires the reporting of all accidents that lead to injuries, fatalities, or extensive property damage.
If the police want to collect a statement from you, know that they do this not to determine fault in your accident but to have a record of what happened. Police reports can often support a victim’s claim, but if you do not feel comfortable, you can choose to speak with a lawyer before proceeding.
If your condition allows you to so, you can take some small steps immediately following the accident that could benefit your case in the long run, such as:
- Exchanging insurance information
- Taking photos and videos of damage and injuries
- Speaking with witnesses
- Avoiding making small talk with other parties
- Recording any odd or unusual behavior, such as if another driver appears intoxicated
Next, you will need to inform your insurance company that the accident has occurred, especially if you plan to seek financial recovery. Remember, everything you say to an insurance representative can be used for or against you later, so a car accident lawyer in Houston may recommend just reporting the basic facts if you choose to report the collision on your own. Otherwise, we can handle all communication with involved insurance companies on your behalf.
If you have not contacted an attorney at this point and plan to pursue financial recovery for your damages, contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® as soon as possible so we can move forward with your case.
Get Help Quickly After Your Car Accident in Houston
You only have a certain amount of time to seek awards in a personal injury or wrongful death case, and some accidents have complicated circumstances that can lead to delays or long settlement proceedings. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get started on your free case evaluation.
This may feel like a lot of information, so here is a quick summary of what you should do after your car accident:
- Receive emergency medical care right away
- Report your accident to the police as soon as you can
- If possible, gather evidence at the scene
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Contact a legal team during or after any of these steps for help
You can reach our legal team by phone. We are ready to answer any questions you have about what to do after your car accident.
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in Houston?
Every year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) releases Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics reports, which include the first harmful event in accidents throughout the state as well as contributing factors in collisions. In 2019, the agency reported that nearly 80% of accidents involved another motor vehicle in motion. More than 4,600 collisions involved pedestrians and over 2,000 affected bicyclists.
TxDOT records the factors of causation in Texas traffic accidents based on whether they occurred in urban or rural areas. In urban areas, including Houston, the top contributing factors in car accidents in 2019 included:
Making Unsafe Lane Changes
Drivers sometimes get impatient and want to pass other drivers. If they’re in a big hurry, they may change lanes without looking, inadvertently striking another vehicle. We often see these accidents when drivers weave back and forth between lanes.
Failing to Yield
Drivers have an obligation to adhere to regulations surrounding right of way in Houston. However, some drivers ignore these rules and cut in front of other drivers, leading to side-swipe and rear-end collisions in many situations.
Ignoring Red Lights and Stop Signs
Stop signs and red lights help to control the flow of traffic throughout Houston. Drivers must come to a complete stop at a stop sign in order to limit the odds of an accident. They also need to obey all regulations for making U-turns or rights on red throughout the city.
Some drivers follow other vehicles too closely. Aggressive drivers often tailgate in an attempt to make other drivers go faster. However, all this practice does is reduce stopping distance, making rear-end collisions more likely as the tailgating driver has less time to stop when the vehicle ahead brakes.
Some of the most prevalent causes of car accidents in Houston and throughout the state include distracted driving. According to TxDOT, more than 1 in 10 of all distracted driving accidents in Texas in 2019 occurred in Harris County.
After reading, writing, and sending electronic messages by phone while driving became illegal in 2017, TxDOT launched their Talk, Text, Crash campaign to encourage drivers, especially in younger age brackets, to avoid using cell phones or engaging in other distractions while driving. Unfortunately, nearly 98,000 car accidents involved distracted driving in Texas in 2019. 378 victims lost their lives, and 2,500 suffered serious injuries.
Another primary cause of traffic collisions in Texas is speeding or driving too fast for conditions, which resulted in approximately 1 in 20 car accidents in Harris County in 2019. Despite campaigns such as TxDOT’s “Own Your Speed” initiative, speeding has remained a serious issue on Houston roadways for many years.
Like distracted driving, driving under the influence also constitutes more than 1 in 10 car accidents in Harris County, specifically Houston. TxDOT has continued to stress to the public the importance of driving sober. Not only can victims experience financial tolls as the result of a drunk driver’s decision to get behind the wheel, but they can also suffer severe or fatal injuries or be faced with the loss of a loved one.
Through their Faces of Drunk Driving campaign, TxDOT reports that over 23,000 DUI-related accidents took place in Texas in 2017, and they led to the loss of more than 1,000 lives and the injuries of over 2,000 others. Despite strict laws prohibiting driving while intoxicated, whether by alcohol or drugs, it remains a significant public safety concern on Texas roads.
Driver fatigue plays a role in many accidents throughout Houston. Fatigued drivers often exhibit many of the same behaviors as drunk drivers, behaving in a careless way and showing poor judgment around other drivers.
Fatigued drivers may also fall asleep behind the wheel, leading to collisions in our area.
Sometimes, driver behavior has nothing to do with an accident in Houston. Manufacturers may make and sell defective vehicles that end up breaking down on the road and causing a major collision.
Sometimes, establishing the cause or causes of a collision can be a challenge, but a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can help you determine how your accident occurred, prove liability, and pursue financial recovery for the injuries or loss you suffered. Call the legal team at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® today to learn more about how we can assist you with your case.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries in Houston?
In 2018, the rate of car accident fatalities in Texas decreased from the previous year. However, more than 12,000 serious injury accidents occurred on roads throughout the state, resulting in nearly 15,000 injuries. Almost 2,000 of these injuries resulted from accidents that took place in Harris County, including approximately 1,200 in Houston alone.
In November 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a technical report called The Characteristics of Crash Injuries Among Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Drivers. While injury patterns vary based on the age of the driver and the type of accident, such as frontal or side-impact, certain areas of the body were more prone to injuries in most circumstances than others.
According to the report, most severe and fatal injuries occurred to the head or chest. As they contain two of the body’s most critical organs, the brain and the heart, injuries to these areas have a serious impact on victims of all ages.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common term for an injury that results from a sudden blow to the head, such as the impact of a car accident. According to the Mayo Clinic, TBI sufferers may experience mild injuries that go away on their own, such as a concussion, or severe injuries that result in long-term or permanent damage. Some of the complications of a TBI include:
- Brain death
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that chest trauma currently ranks second among the top causes of unintentional trauma. In up to 60% of cases, it proves fatal. Significant chest injuries caused by car accidents include:
- Hemothorax, or an accumulation of blood in the lung cavity
- Pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung
- Pericardial effusion, in which blood builds up around the heart
Chest injuries that often have less severe consequences include:
- Rib fractures
- Small hemothorax
- Small pneumothorax
- Contusions (bruising)
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Neck and spinal injuries also occur commonly in car accidents, particularly whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head moves backward and then forward again very quickly, resulting in symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and headaches. Healthline notes that whiplash typically resolves within a few weeks, but some victims experience chronic pain for years after their accident.
The NHTSA reports that upper and lower limb injuries also take place frequently in car accidents. While most victims survive these injuries, they can take many weeks or months to heal completely, which can limit mobility and functioning in the meantime. This can make it difficult for the victim to go to work or even complete daily tasks without assistance and usually requires ongoing medical care throughout the healing process.
Call a Lawyer if You Sustained an Injury in a Car Accident
If you or someone you love suffered these or other injuries in a traffic collision, a car accident attorney in Houston from our firm can assist you in seeking financial recovery for your damages. By investigating your case, gathering evidence, and proving the fault of the liable driver, we can pursue the financial awards you need to get back on your feet.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® at any time to speak to our legal team about your case.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Houston Car Accident?
Like every other state, Texas has its own statutes of limitations on car accident lawsuits. These laws define the amount of time that accident victims and their family members have to file lawsuits.
In most cases, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 gives victims who suffered injuries in a Houston car accident up to two years from the date of the collision to file their claim against the liable party. Similarly, families and personal representatives of deceased victims’ estates may have up to two years from the date of the victim’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Exceptions: Increased Time for People Under 18
However, there are exceptions to these time frames under certain circumstances. For example, if the victim or affected individual is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will usually begin on their eighteenth birthday to allow them adequate time to pursue the claim as an adult.
Exceptions: Late Discovery of Injuries
Another type of case in which victims may have more time to file a claim is one in which the discovery rule applies. In these instances, the statute of limitations begins when the victim should have reasonably known that the injury had occurred.
Car accidents often bring about immediate injuries, but sometimes, delayed symptoms can lead to conditions that are not noticed until much later. Once the victim discovers this injury and that it resulted from the accident, they may have up to two more years to take legal action in their case.
Rules for Filing a Claim After the Loss of a Loved One
Unless the victim is a minor, in which case a parent or guardian can file a claim on their behalf, victims must file their personal injury claims either on their own or with the help of a lawyer. In wrongful death cases, on the other hand, an individual or group of people pursues financial recovery for the damages associated with the loss of a victim’s life.
In Texas, family members typically file wrongful death claims on their deceased loved one’s behalf; the state allows spouses, biological and adopted children, and parents to seek wrongful death awards for their loss, either individually or together. There is no standard for the distribution of awards in wrongful death cases, although juries usually favor the spouse, if one survives.
If the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is not a spouse, child, or parent of the decedent, they may also file a wrongful death claim unless the family prohibits them from doing so. If the decedent did not choose a personal representative for their estate, the court will designate an administrator.
Time Frame to File a Wrongful Death Claim
If you wish to seek financial recovery for your injuries or the loss of your loved one, a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can determine how much time you have left to file your claim and fight for just financial awards to help you get back on your feet.
Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® as soon as possible so we can get started on your case.
How Is Negligence or Fault Proven In A Houston Car Accident?
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), negligence can be defined as failing to exercise the same level of care that someone with “ordinary prudence” would; this includes both specific actions and a person’s failure to act when necessary. What this means may vary by person, so tort law determines the factors that should be considered when questioning whether a person acted with reasonable care. These factors include:
- The foreseeable severity of harm that may result from the act
- What, if any, precautions could have been taken to prevent the harm from taking place
There are four separate criteria for establishing negligence, and each must be met in order to have a case.
- Duty of Care: The person had a responsibility to protect the victim within reason. For example, they may have prevented the accident by obeying traffic signals.
- Breach of Duty of Care: The person failed to uphold their duty to prevent harm to the victim. In the traffic signal example, for instance, they may have run a red light.
- Causation: The person’s breach of duty, running the red light, caused the accident that led to the victim’s injuries.
- Damages: The victim suffered significant damages because of their injuries, such as financial loss, physical pain, and emotional distress.
You may find that proving that the person who caused your accident breached their duty to you is the most difficult part of establishing negligence, but our car accident attorneys in Houston can help by using a specialized formula to determine that a breach occurred. We can also use other legal factors to prove that the liable party had a duty to act and that you suffered injuries because of their failure to do so.
Once we have proved negligence in your case, we can use the evidence we gathered to determine how shared liability applies to your claim. In some cases, more than one party shares a portion of the fault for the accident.
Modified Comparative Fault and the Law in Texas
However, Texas’s modified comparative fault law allows victims who hold less than 50% of the liability for the collision to seek damages from the party that holds the greatest amount of responsibility for causing the accident that led to their injuries.
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, we encourage car accident victims to contact us as soon as they can. You do not have to speak with insurance companies about your accident, even if they pressure you into doing so. In fact, you may be manipulated into sharing more about the accident than you need to, and insurance adjusters may use that information against you when it comes time to establish who is at fault for the collision.
If you were injured in a Houston car accident or lost a loved one to another driver’s negligence, our team can establish negligence in your case and pursue an adequate award amount for your damages. Contact us right away so our legal team can help you take the next step.
Will My Houston Car Accident Lawyer Deal with My Insurance Company?
If you suffered an injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s recklessness or failure to act, a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm will handle all communication with your insurance company for you.
While it is important to report your accident to your insurance company, you may want to be cautious with the information you provide. Anything you share is on record, so even if you make every attempt to stick to the facts, it could come up later in your case.
This is not always bad; if the insurance adjuster compares your report of the incident to the police report and finds consistencies, this could help your case. However, do not expect any insurance company involved in the accident, whether yours or someone else’s, to have your best interest at heart. Some adjusters may use deceptive tactics to save funds at the expense of victims.
Take Care Speaking with Insurance Agents in Houston
One of the primary ways insurance companies try to avoid providing victims with fair settlement amounts is by twisting their words. When you initially reported the accident to the police, you were likely shaken up. Car accidents are traumatic, and it can be difficult to think and speak clearly immediately after experiencing one.
If an insurance company involved finds that anything you said to them later about how the accident occurred does not match the police report, they can attempt to use that information to argue that you lied about how it took place. This lays the foundation for other methods they may use to avoid providing financial recovery to deserving victims, such as denying claims.
Instead of denying your claim outright, the adjuster may try to act like your friend first. They may seem responsive and helpful, and you might feel that they genuinely care about your situation. When they later deny your claim, they may attempt to use the trust they have gained from you to let you down easily.
Let a Lawyer Look Over Any Offer Made by Insurance Agents
If they do not deny your claim altogether, they may instead lowball your injuries and offer you a quick settlement right away to get you off their back. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the car accident claims process, the amount they offer you might seem very generous upfront, particularly if your injury left you struggling financially. Unfortunately, many victims find out too late that their initial settlement does not cover all of their damages.
The lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® see victims suffer from these schemes all too often, and we can help prevent you from being revictimized by insurance companies. We will handle all communication with the insurance companies on your behalf, from reporting your accident to negotiating for a fair settlement amount for you.
We often settle car accident cases out of court, but we are ready to take your case to trial if we cannot achieve adequate financial recovery in the settlement process. Contact our legal team today for your free case evaluation.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Houston Car Accident Claim?
Just as there is no such thing as an average car accident, there is no such thing as an average settlement, either. Even if you took what adds up to be over $250 million awarded to our clients and divided it by the more than 36,000 cases our car accident lawyers in Houston have won, that number may not come close to representing what you or others may receive in a settlement.
In cases involving severe or fatal injuries, we fight to cover not only the value of the current damages but also past and future expenses related to the accident. If less severe injuries are involved, we will still pursue the recovery you deserve, but it will likely amount to less than what victims of more serious accidents and their families can receive.
It can be difficult to determine what constitutes fair financial recovery in your case on your own, especially if insurance adjusters try to undermine or dismiss your injuries. Lawyers use specific methods to determine how much to pursue on your behalf, and while insurance companies often use similar methods, they may come up with vastly different results.
Economic Damages for a Houston Car Accident
Economic damages are usually straightforward to calculate because they come with receipts or invoices. Economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Future economic damages may also be considered when a victim’s recovery is ongoing, such as their future medical expenses or future lost wages. To prove the value of these damages, medical expert testimony may be used.
Non-Economic Damages for a Houston Car Accident
Coming up with a settlement amount for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, can be more challenging, as these types of losses do not have a set dollar amount like wages and medical bills do.
Some lawyers and adjusters will base the value of a victim’s non-economic damages on the total value of their economic damages using a formula known as a multiplier.
Review the Multiplier Method for Determining Non-Economic Damages
Using the multiplier method, adjusters and attorneys assign the severity of an accident victim’s injuries and losses a specific number, usually between 1.5 and 5. Then, they multiply the total amount of the victim’s economic damages by that number to determine a total value for their case that includes the value of their non-economic damages.
In many cases, the multiplier used by the victim’s lawyer is not the same as the one used by the insurance adjuster; the adjuster may use a lower number to try to get away with providing the victim with a lower settlement. This sets the stage for settlement negotiations, which an attorney can handle on your behalf.
Our lawyers cannot promise that you will receive a specific amount for your injuries or provide you with an estimate for your settlement right away. However, we do promise to fully investigate your case, gather as much evidence as possible to support it, and pursue every bit of financial recovery you may deserve.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® today, and our legal team will take over from here.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Houston Car Accident Claim?
Like settlement amounts, the time it takes to settle a car accident claim in Houston varies drastically based on the specifics of the case. Many factors play a role in determining how long the process might take; some claims are resolved within weeks, while others take months or even years to be finalized.
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, we understand your desire for a speedy result. However, when car accident attorneys in Houston rush through cases just to get them over with, their clients may be left with an inadequate settlement amount. We know how frustrating it can be to wait on your settlement, but we take many elements into consideration when fighting for your case to seek optimal results for you.
Elements That Impact Your Case: The Size of Your Claim
One of the primary factors that affects the length of a settlement is the size of your claim. There is a reason that car accident victims who have minor injuries often resolve their cases in a timely manner; it can be much easier to determine how much you need for your damages, and insurance adjusters may not take as much time to lowball damages in smaller cases.
The ones that might make a serious dent in the carrier’s profit, however, get more attention. Car accident victims often find these cases more difficult to manage because they can involve a more complex process for valuing damages and understanding how much the victim needs for past, present, and future damages. Our lawyers manage these cases for our clients, but it may take some time to achieve results.
Elements That Impact Your Case: The Nature of Your Accident
The nature of the accident itself can also make a difference in how long a claim takes to settle. Law enforcement and investigators can usually piece together what happened before, during, and after the accident relatively quickly when the collision was minor, but in more serious accidents that involve several vehicles, extensive damage, or other factors that can complicate the process of reconstruction, it may take longer to establish liability.
Additionally, if you require ongoing medical care because of your accident, this could slow the process of receiving your settlement. The goal of settling with the insurance company is to make sure all of your losses are covered, so if you are still incurring damages because of your accident injuries, your lawyer must factor them into the equation when negotiating for a settlement with the insurance adjuster.
Elements That Impact Your Case: Deciding Not to Settle
If we must take your case beyond settlement proceedings and into the courtroom, this may also extend the process. However, if an insurance company refuses to settle for a fair award amount, we may think it is worth the extra time to let a jury decide your case so you may receive a higher settlement. As our client, you will always have the ability to decide when to accept or reject a settlement offer.
While we cannot tell you exactly how long it will take to settle your car accident claim, we will provide you with regular updates throughout the process and address any concerns you have about the status of your case until we come to a resolution for you. Contact our legal team today for more information.
What Damages Can I Collect for A Houston Car Accident?
Houston car accident victims often qualify for one or more types of damages depending on the circumstances of their case. If you qualify for financial recovery, a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can help you determine the types of damages you may be able to collect in your case and seek a fair amount of recovery based on your injuries.
These damages may include:
One of the most common types of damages car accident victims receive is recovery for injury-related medical care. Emergency medical bills often amount to more than the victim can handle on their own, and any additional treatment, such as tests, surgeries, follow-up appointments, and medications, can quickly add up as well.
Your lawyer will consider your financial losses for the medical care you received after the accident, care you still receive, and treatment you may need in the future when pursuing recovery for you.
Loss Of Current and Future Wages
If your injuries forced you to take time off work to recover, you may be missing out on the income you need to support yourself and your family. Many accident victims are forced to use their sick time or paid time off because of their injury, but attorneys can help pursue these wages as part of the settlement.
If you cannot return to work for a certain amount of time or if your injury causes you to develop a disability that affects your ability to work permanently, future wages may also be considered.
If your car accident resulted in property damage to your vehicle, you may not have the funds offhand for repair or replacement. Without a vehicle to get around, it would likely be difficult to make it to your doctor’s appointments or to your place of employment if you can still work. Property damage recovery can help you get back on the road.
Cost Of Funeral and Burial
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), even some of the most affordable caskets can cost around $2,000, and that does not include services or burial. When families are mourning the loss of a loved one due to a car accident, they should not have to worry about how they will pay for the funeral, too. A lawyer may include the cost of the funeral in wrongful death cases involving car accident fatalities.
Pain And Suffering
Not all your damages have an exact dollar value, but you may still deserve recovery for them. In traumatic cases such as car accidents, victims may suffer long-term physical and emotional pain that can significantly impact their lives. If you experience mental anguish, permanent disfigurement, or another type of non-economic damage, you may qualify for financial recovery.
The lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® can determine the types of damages you may be able to receive and seek financial recovery based on your specific needs. Call us today and a member of our legal team will gather your information, answer your questions, and explain your options at no charge to you.
How Is Evidence Gathered After a Houston Car Accident?
Evidence may be gathered from several different sources and by many different people after a Houston car accident. You may not realize it, but you may have collected useful evidence yourself after your collision. If the injuries you suffered did not require emergency medical care, you may have had the opportunity to get important information from the scene, such as:
- Names and contact information of others involved
- Insurance information
- Photos and videos of the aftermath of the accident
- Statements from witnesses
- Photos of your own injuries
These and other items you saved from the scene are often extremely useful in a car accident case. An attorney from our firm may be able to use them as part of the investigation into your case and to determine what else is needed to prove liability.
Police Officers Gather Evidence
Immediately following an accident, law enforcement officers may arrive on the scene to observe the situation and take statements from eyewitnesses and involved parties. While the police do not record this information for the sake of determining fault, the facts provided in police reports can help dispute or corroborate others’ recollection of the events, which may contribute to the establishment of negligence or fault in your car accident case.
Insurance Agents Assess Your Claim
Insurance adjusters will also look into the accident as soon as possible and obtain police reports to try to use them to their advantage. They will look at the statements provided and see if it matches what they were told when the accident was reported. If it does not, they may try to manipulate this information to provide victims with less coverage than they need for their injuries.
We recommend not talking to insurance companies yourself, because they may use anything you say against you, even if you did not mean it in the same context. Our car accident lawyers in Houston will contact insurance companies for you to gather evidence for your case.
We Gather Testimony from Medical Experts
If you suffered severe injuries in a car accident, we may call upon medical experts to give their testimony regarding your condition. By providing facts and professional opinions that support your claim, they can help us push back against insurance adjusters who attempt to minimize your injuries or deny your claim.
We will also ask you to present your case to us by answering a lot of questions we have about how the accident happened and what resulted from it. We understand that the sensitive nature of some of these questions may make them difficult to answer, but they play an important role in helping us build your case and pursuing the financial recovery you need to get back on your feet.
The Importance of Gathering Evidence After a Car Accident
Gathering evidence is an essential aspect of any car accident claim, as it helps us establish fault in your case and negotiate with insurance adjusters who may not have your best interest in mind. You may be able to provide us with helpful evidence, and we can collect other types on your behalf.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Houston car accident, the lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® can help you collect the evidence you need to move forward with your case. Call us today for your free case evaluation.
Texas Car Accident Laws
Texas has state-specific laws regarding auto insurance, liability, reporting accidents, and how long victims and their families have to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the stipulations of these laws are complicated, but a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can help you determine how they apply to your case.
When to Report an Accident
Under Texas Transportation Law § 550.026, those involved in a car accident must file a report with the police if the accident involves one or more of the following:
- $1,000 in damages
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), you must file your report within 10 days of the collision. If a police officer shows up at the scene, they will likely make a report automatically. However, you may want to check to ensure that a report was filed. If any of the criteria seems unclear, such as if you are unsure of injuries or how extensive the resulting damage is, you should file a report to be safe.
Texas’s Laws on Fault for Car Accidents
When it comes to filing insurance claims, Texas is a fault, or tort, state. This means that the person responsible for causing the accident must provide coverage for the victims’ damages through their auto insurance policy. If your damages are minor, you may feel comfortable handling the insurance claim on your own, but if you think you may have a large or complex claim, we recommend contacting us to deal with the insurance company.
Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
Texas also has a modified comparative negligence law, which means that the insurance company responsible for providing coverage will assess the situation and assign a percentage of liability to each party. While one party may be found 100% responsible in some cases, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to designate the victim as partially at fault.
Fortunately, even if the insurance company allocates a portion of the blame on you, you may still be able to seek financial awards as long as your liability does not exceed 50%. However, your award amount may also be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
For example, if your settlement totaled $100,000 and you were found to be 20% responsible, you would receive $80,000 for your claim. A lawyer from our firm can defend you against an unfair award reduction with proof of the full extent of the responsible party’s liability for your accident.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
Texas’s statutes of limitation restrict the amount of time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in your car accident case. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 allows most victims up to two years from the date of their injury to file a claim for recovery, and family members and personal representatives of deceased victims’ estates typically have the same amount of time to pursue a wrongful death suit.
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, our job is to understand Texas state law and apply it to your case so you may receive the financial recovery you need. Your job is to get better and let us handle the rest. Contact us today; our legal team is ready to help you get started on your free case evaluation.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer After a Houston Car Accident?
You can contact a lawyer at any time after a Houston car accident. If your injuries require emergency medical care after your accident, it is important to take the time you need to receive treatment first. Once you feel well enough, you can get a hold of us right away for help.
Some victims prefer to call as soon as possible, while others take time to recuperate after their collision to get started on their case. However, it is important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations in car accident claims typically begins as soon as the accident occurs, so you should not wait too long if you plan to contact a lawyer.
Victims sometimes wonder if it would be worth it to contact a lawyer for help with their case. Ultimately, it depends on the circumstances of your claim. Insurance adjusters may offer fair amounts for small claims with minor injuries, but the process of filing a claim and settling may still be stressful to handle on your own.
Get Legal Help with a Complicated Car Accident Case
If you have a more complicated claim that may result in a substantial award amount, a car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can help you prove liability and pursue financial recovery for your damages. You may consider reaching out to an attorney to assist with your claim if:
- You suffered a serious injury
- Your injury kept you from working
- Your injury may interfere with your ability to continue working
- Other people involved suffered serious injuries
- You lost a spouse, child, or parent in the accident
- You may be partially responsible for the accident
- The accident took place in a construction or school zone
- Your vehicle was seriously damaged or damaged beyond repair
In these cases, we encourage you to contact us immediately after reporting your accident. We can call the insurance company for you to report the accident and speak with the adjuster about pursuing a settlement for your injuries or the loss of your loved one, as well as any property damage that resulted from the collision.
It is also okay to call us weeks, months, or even years after your car accident. In some cases, you might not realize the severity of your injuries until that much time has passed. However, there are deadlines on how long you have to sue for car accident injuries in Texas, so we encourage you to call us as soon as you recognize that you may want to pursue financial recovery for your damages.
If you are dealing with physical, emotional, or financial distress because of your Houston car accident, we do not want you to worry about your case on top of it. You can call us at any time after an accident, and we recommend you contact us as soon as you feel able to speak with our legal team so that you do not miss your chance to pursue financial recovery. Call us today for your free case evaluation.
Are There Any Upfront Costs for Hiring a Houston Car Accident Lawyer?
There is no upfront cost for hiring our car accident lawyers in Houston, and you do not owe us anything unless we achieve financial recovery in your case. Our clients reach out to us during some of the most difficult times in their lives, and the main reason they want to seek financial recovery is that they do not have the funds to cover their injuries and, in some cases, even get by on a day-to-day basis.
When you come to us for a free case evaluation, we can investigate the details of your case to determine whether it would be beneficial to you to use our legal services. In some cases, such as for small claims, it may be more efficient and affordable to you to pursue a settlement from the insurance company directly.
If your case involves a potentially large settlement or involves many types of damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, we can help you seek adequate recovery, which may be difficult to accomplish on your own.
Learn More About How We Charge for Car Accident Claims
We do not charge you at any point during your case; instead, we coordinate with you to establish what you and our team consider a fair commission for recovering an award in your case. This amount varies by case, but there will never be any surprises as to how much we will collect for your claim.
This approach makes it easier for you to receive the legal assistance you deserve, and it gives you the confidence of knowing we are working hard on your case. Since we do not get paid unless you do, we have an obligation to you and our team to work together with you to try to achieve the best possible result.
We understand that every case involves taking a risk, and we take that risk with you. If for some reason we are unable to achieve financial recovery for you, you do not owe us anything for our time and services. However, you may still be responsible for other costs, such as those associated with filing your claim or hiring an expert witness for testimony.
Our Promise to You
The attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® will be transparent and honest with you about your financial responsibility from the start, and you can be assured that we do not collect payment unless you do. Contact our legal team anytime to start on your free case evaluation.
How do I Know If I Have a Strong Car Accident Injury Claim?
Having a strong car accident injury claim requires taking quick action, but you do not have to do all of this on your own. It can be helpful to have some information available to our car accident lawyers in Houston during your initial evaluation, such as:
- Names and contact information of others involved
- Insurance information for you and other drivers
- Photos and videos you were able to take at the scene
Otherwise, your attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to build your case against the liable party and their insurance company by performing an investigation right away. We take action as soon as possible so that we can collect the evidence we need before it is lost or forgotten, and we use it to prove negligence and strengthen your case.
Your lawyer will contact law enforcement for a copy of the police or accident reports associated with your collision and call the insurance company with which you will file your claim. When it comes to contacting the liable party’s insurance company to file your claim, we will make all the calls for you. This will establish early on with the insurance company that you are working with an attorney and cannot be manipulated into accepting less than what you may deserve.
Speak with Us About What Happened Right Away
Insurance companies often take the information provided to them and compare it to the police report to see if they notice any gaps or conflicting details. We make sure to get your recollection of the accident right away while your memory of it is still fresh, and we will contact eyewitnesses right away for their statements, as well. This allows us to get the facts straight right away and push back against invalid claims by the adjuster.
Documentation of your damages can also support your case by demonstrating the value of your losses. Some of the types of documents that we may request include:
- Medical records
- Financial statements
- Records of lost wages
- Vehicle repair bills
Essentially, moving quickly to investigate your case lays the foundation for a strong claim. Starting with the information you can provide to us from the scene, we can then move to the police report and eyewitness statements, which we can use to prevent the insurance company from making false claims about liability. Other types of documentation can help us pursue adequate financial recovery for your injuries.
After you report your Houston car accident to the police and receive the medical treatment you need for your injuries, make D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® your next call. Our lawyers will help you build a strong case and seek financial awards for your losses. Call our legal team now to get started before your time runs out.
What Should I Do When an Insurance Company Offers Me A Settlement for a Car Accident Claim?
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a traffic collision and the liable party’s insurance company calls to offer you a settlement, you may want to reject the offer and connect with a car accident attorney in Houston from our firm right away.
It may seem convenient when they call and offer you cash upfront; you might feel like it saves you the hassle of having to deal with the claim yourself, especially if you are in the process of recovering from your injuries. Unfortunately, this offer may not be for your benefit but for theirs.
We Understand the Goal of Insurance Agents in Houston
Many car accident victims do not know that the primary goal of some insurance adjusters is to get away with providing those who deserve coverage with a low settlement. Their first offer may not be their best offer, but it does work to their advantage when victims unknowingly accept it, only to realize once they have had a chance to assess their damages that it is not enough.
If you try to negotiate with an adjuster, they may come up with ways to confuse or trick you into believing that you do not qualify for more. They may start by developing a friendly relationship with you and then try to convince you that you were at fault for the accident, that your injuries were not as bad as you claim, or that you do not qualify for a settlement at all.
Other strategies they may use to try to keep you from receiving a larger settlement may include:
- Delaying your claim for as long as possible with the hope that you will eventually give in
- Telling you that they need the information to support your claim that they do not actually require
- Hiding potential benefits or the extent of available coverage from you
- Telling you that if you hire a lawyer, the lawyer will take your entire settlement
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, our clients often tell us about the new and creative ways insurance adjusters try to take advantage of them when they are at their most vulnerable. Insurance companies do not like hearing from us because they know we can disprove any false information they may give to car accident victims, and if they continue to refuse to negotiate, we will take further legal action against them.
Our lawyers recommend contacting us as soon as you hear from an insurance company with an initial offer. We can help you avoid the stress of dealing with their tactics and fight for fair recovery for your injuries. Call our legal team today so we can move forward with your claim on your behalf.
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Houston Car Accident?
While some claims do end up in front of a jury, our car accident lawyers in Houston can usually settle them without going to court. Going to trial can be costly and lengthy for all involved parties, and it is usually in everyone’s best interest to avoid it if possible. However, if the insurance company refuses to compromise on a fair settlement amount for your injuries, it may be worth it to go to court.
The process begins when your lawyer files your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This informs the company that you are seeking financial recovery for injuries you suffered in an accident caused by their policyholder. Then, we will draft an official demand letter, in which we provide evidence to support the claim and make a request for a specific amount.
It is possible that the insurance company will accept the terms of the demand letter and move forward with issuing you your settlement, but it usually does not happen this way. Instead, they will likely reject this first request and negotiate by coming back with a lower offer. This process continues until you and your lawyer feel that you have reached a fair amount.
We Gather Evidence for Car Accident Lawsuits
Strong evidence for your case can help support your claim throughout the settlement negotiation process, particularly when insurance companies try to avoid offering more by making baseless or inaccurate claims. Your lawyer may introduce any of the evidence they collected while investigating or building your case, such as:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Photos of injuries
- Proof of lost wages
Some settlement processes take longer than others, especially those that involve more substantial damages, but our attorneys eventually settle with the insurance company in most cases so that the case does not have to go to court.
However, we will not settle on an inadequate settlement to avoid taking your case in front of a jury. If we take your case to court and you are required to appear, we will meet with you beforehand to prepare you so that you know what to expect, and we will be there to provide you with legal support and representation the whole time.
Although we can usually settle Houston car accident cases out of court, we will take the next step if necessary. If you are considering filing a claim for the injuries you suffered in a traffic collision, call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® today so that we can help you achieve the financial recovery you deserve. Your initial case evaluation with a member of our team is free.
What Happens If he At-Fault Party doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
In Texas, drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover property damage, medical bills, and lost wages for the other driver and their passengers in the event that they cause a car accident. According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), minimums are:
- $30,000 for injuries per person
- $60,000 for injuries per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Unfortunately, not all drivers maintain the insurance policies they need to drive legally, and if they cause an accident, their lack of coverage can seriously affect their victims. If an uninsured driver’s negligence led to the accident that resulted in your injuries or the loss of your loved one, you may still be able to recover damages.
Although Texas is a fault state, which means victims must file claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company, the state does take into consideration the fact that this could leave victims high and dry if the other driver does not have the necessary coverage.
Do You Have Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance?
For this reason, most drivers carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company for your injuries. In fact, if you do not want this coverage, you must submit your rejection in writing to your insurance company.
If you opted out of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you could file a lawsuit against the liable driver directly for causing your accident. While some victims can recover damages this way, it can be a challenge, as the other party may not have the funds to pay you even if your case is successful.
A car accident lawyer in Houston from our firm can help you weigh your options and decide if you might benefit from filing a lawsuit against the driver or if it would end up costing you in the long run.
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, we can file your claim for you and pursue a fair settlement amount for your injuries or losses. Contact the legal team at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® for more information on how we can assist you with your case.
How Does a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Car accident lawyers in Houston may use more than one method for calculating pain and suffering damages, which vary based on specific considerations.
One approach, the multiplier method, involves taking an agreed-upon value for your economic damages and multiplying them by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your non-economic damages. Your lawyer may also use the per diem method, in which they multiply the value of a day’s worth of losses by the number of days you have been affected.
No victim experiences pain and suffering the same way, and we will take that into account when determining how much we will pursue for your non-economic damages. Some of the questions we consider when attempting to place a value on pain and suffering include:
- How severe are the victim’s injuries?
- Can the victim work the job they held prior to their injuries? If not, can they work in a limited capacity or not at all?
- How have the victim’s injuries impacted their ability to support themself?
- Does the victim suffer any long-term or permanent disabilities as a result of their injuries?
- What type of injury-related pain does the victim deal with on a regular basis?
- Does the victim suffer any mental or emotional effects because of their injuries, such as anxiety or depression?
- Do their injuries affect their ability to enjoy life?
- If the claimant is a surviving member of the victim’s family, did the claimant lose a spouse in the accident?
By speaking with you about your case and the injuries you suffered, we can answer these questions to determine what seems to be a reasonable amount of non-economic damages to pursue in your settlement.
As with other types of damages, not all victims qualify for pain and suffering. However, even if you cannot seek financial recovery for non-economic damages, you may still be able to receive awards for the economic losses associated with your accident.
The lawyers at D. Miller & Associates® understand that the effects of your Houston car accident may reach beyond financial instability and into physical and emotional agony.
We also know that, while no amount of financial recovery can take away your pain, it may help provide you with the resources you need to improve your life. Contact our legal team today for your free car accident case evaluation.
What Will My Houston Car Accident Lawyer Look for In My Claim?
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, our car accident lawyers in Houston take on a variety of cases, including the big, complex cases that other lawyers may turn away. We are not intimidated by complex cases, and we take pride in helping accident victims fight back against the insurance adjusters who may want to keep them from receiving the recovery they may deserve.
If you are questioning whether you should reach out to us about your Houston car accident case, here are some of the types of circumstances we look for when taking on a claim:
- If you suffered a severe injury as the result of the accident that required emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgery, and/or ongoing treatment.
- If the injuries you suffered caused you to miss time at work or prevented you from returning to your prior position altogether.
- If the accident caused serious property damage to your car, which may affect your ability to get to work and manage your daily tasks.
- If you lost a spouse, child, or parent in the accident and need financial recovery to replace the income they provided you with.
Keep in mind that if you are not sure whether you should seek the assistance of a lawyer, we provide free case evaluations for your peace of mind. If we determine that we can help you with your case and you decide to move forward with us, you do not owe us anything unless you receive a financial recovery.
If we partner on your case, a lawyer from our firm will look for a variety of things to build your case, including:
- What parties may be liable for your accident
- What options you have for pursuing financial recovery from them
- Evidence their liability
- Evidence of the value of your damages
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® Today
If you or a loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries in a Houston car accident caused by a negligent driver, we can help you determine if you have a case. Call our legal team today to get started. Allow us to put you first, starting today.
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