Houston Car Accident FAQs
If you’ve been in a car accident recently, this extensive FAQ will provide information and direction as to what you should do next.
What should I do if am am injured in an auto accident?
Your top priority should be your health. Always seek medical attention immediately, it is better to be safe and healthy, than regret not going to the doctor if something is life threatening. Often, the shock and awe caused by the sudden impact might make injuries hurt less at first, Later the pain sets in. Watch out for delayed effects of car accident injuries. Also, make sure your passengers seek medical treatment if they need it.
If possible, then visit with witnesses and write down or record with your phone any statements or impression they might have about the accident. Take as many photos as you can before the cars are moved, if they can be moved. Always call the police, even if you think the collision is not serious. Have the police generate a report and request the police report as soon as it is available. In our experience, these reports are normally available from the City of Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s office within seven to ten days. The investigating officer will give you an incident number on a business card. Make sure you take a picture of the card with your incident number and store it in your phone.
When is the right time to call an attorney if I have been injured in a car accident?
The sooner the better. We get calls daily from people who have tired handling their car accident claim on their own. Remember, the adjuster you are talking to is a professional who deals with hundreds of claims at one time. The adjusters are looking out for the best interest of their employer, the insurance company. The sooner you speak to a personal injury lawyer, they can help you locate the best treatment from the best doctors for your injuries, understand whether you have a case for damages, and what your case might be worth.
What do I say when the insurance company calls me to ask about the accident?
Often if the accident was caused by someone else, that person’s insurance company will call all the parties involved to take “statements.” Be careful because they are trying to conduct an informal investigation to determine who is at fault and who should be responsible for the accident. We recommend you do not talk to an insurance adjuster before you have spoken to a lawyer. Typically, adjusters will use whatever you say against you. From our years of experience, this is especially true if they are looking for an opportunity to contest liability.
An example of a typical contested liability accident is when one party claims to have had green light and the other party claims the same. Considering these potentially contested facts, the adjuster is trying to resolve your claim for the lowest dollar amount possible. Remember, the adjuster is not trying to help you. Let our experienced car accident lawyers deal directly with the insurance company so you can focus one getting your life back in order and your medical treatment.
What type of compensation is available if I am injured in a car accident?
If you are injured, you are entitled for your past and future medical bills, your past and future pain and suffering, and your past and future lost wages. There are a few other damage components available if the injuries are severe. The amount of money you can receive depends on how the accident occurred, the severity of the injuries, and whether you contributed to causing the accident, and how much insurance coverage, if any, is available from the driver that hit you. Keep in mind the minimum policy coverage in Texas is $25,000 for property damage and $30,000 for personal injuries up to two people. If you are in a serious car accident with serious injuries and medical bills, your damages can quickly exceed the policy limits.
How long to I have to file a personal injury claim for a car accident in Texas?
The general rule, with few exceptions, in Texas is that car accident claims must be filed within two years from the date of the incident. There are some exceptions to this, if you are hit by someone who is employed be a public entity such at the city of Houston or Metro, your might have a much shorter time to file. If you are in an accident, always call a personal injury attorney to understand your rights. If you call the Fitts Law Firm, this call is free and confidential and at least your will know your rights.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
This depends on several factors. First, you must consider how the accident occurred. Was is it a dramatic impact? Or was it a low speed impact? Second, you need to consider who was a fault? Third, you must consider the nature of and the effect of your injuries, the time you are incapacitated, the amount and nature of the pain and suffering you experienced, and whether any of the injuries are permanent or everlasting in nature. Fourth, you must know how much insurance is available to compensate you. Normally, you can only determine the amount of available insurance if you have lawyer. The adjuster will never tell you how much insurance is available. Many times your lawyer will have to file a lawsuit just to determine the amount of insurance that is available.
Typically, you will need medical treatment in increase the value of your claim. If you do not seek medical treatment, that will negatively impact the value of your car accident claim.
I have missed work because I am too injured to work, can I get reimbursed for the time I missed from work?
In Texas, you are entitled to lost wages if you are injured in a car accident. Typically lost wages are proven by looking at your past paycheck stubs and comparing them to your paycheck stubs while you are out of work because of your injuries. Depending on the way you’re compensated, these claims can be very easy to prove, and they can be very challenging. Because of the “gig economy” today, there are many people who have trouble proving lost wages because they don’t make hourly or weekly paychecks. To get full value for a lost wage claim, you will most likely need a lawyer. Professional adjusters often will not consider lost wages when they’re dealing with claimants directly.
I am short on money because I have missed work due to my injuries, how can I afford to hire a lawyer?
In our years of car accident experience, we understand that most victims are in the situation. That is why the car accident lawyers at the Fitts Law Firm work on a contingent fee basis. This means that we work for free until we win. If for some reason we are unable to make your recovery in your case, you will owe us nothing.
Can I still make a claim for damages if I was partially at fault in the car accident?
In Texas, yes. Texas law allows you to recover so long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. If a Judge or Jury finds you more than 50% at fault then you are entitled to zero recovery in Texas. If an adjuster believes you were over 50% at fault, they will often offer you zero dollars. If you have a lawyer representing you, they might be able to entice the adjuster to offer you some money to avoid your lawyer filing of a lawsuit, going to court, and ultimately to trial. Often times, the adjusters will make a business decision, weighing the costs of going to court and paying their lawyer, to defend the case versus to settle the claim.
Serious injuries occur in many car accidents. If you have questions about your injuries after a car crash, call the Fitts Law Firm today 1-800-99-FITTS.