Houston is one of the country’s most bustling, up-and-coming cities, and its busy highways (such as I-10, I-45, and I-69) are frequently crowded with aggressive drivers just waiting to cause a collision. Accidents can also occur on suburban or city streets, especially when drivers try to speed through intersections, ignore stop signs, drive while intoxicated, or pay more attention to their phones than the road ahead of them.
Regardless of where an accident takes place, the consequences often include expensive medical bills, costly vehicle repairs, and, in some cases, the profound emotional trauma that can come from surviving a crash. Whether your accident occurred on a city street, a quiet road in the suburbs, or one of the hectic highways surrounding the city, you can rely on the aggressive Houston auto accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm to devote their years of experience to efficiently handling your car accident claim. For a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (817) 476-1797 today.
What Are the Most Dangerous Highways in Houston, TX?
As the largest city in Texas, it’s no surprise that Houston is also a hub for countless highways and freeways. While accidents can happen in any sort of driving environment, highways are some of the most dangerous due to their high speed limits, tricky on-ramps, and unpredictable roadwork zones. Highways also tend to clog with aggressive, distracted, or sleepy commuters during rush hours, adding to the level of danger. Some of the most dangerous highways in Houston include:
- Fort Bend Tollway
- I-10 (Katy Freeway/Baytown East Freeway)
- I-45 (Gulf Freeway/North Freeway)
- I-69 (Eastex Freeway/Southwest Freeway)
- Sam Houston Tollway
- S. 90 (Cosby Freeway)
- S. 290 (Northwest Freeway)
If you were hurt in an accident on these or other roadways in the Houston area, contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. to talk confidentially about filing an injury claim.
What to Do After A Car Accident in Houston
The steps drivers take after an accident are important to any potential injury claim. After an accident, the driver should remain on the scene and call 911 as soon as possible. The dispatcher will send an ambulance if any parties require immediate medical attention.
The next step is to exchange information with all other parties to the accident. This information should include names, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, and the insurance information from other drivers. If possible, taking photos of the crash scene will also be beneficial for any future lawsuit.
Additionally, the name and information of any witnesses to the accident should be collected. Any witnesses will be able to help determine who was at fault. It is also helpful for the driver to write down their own memory of the crash immediately following the accident.
Lastly, any driver involved in an accident should notify their insurance company as soon as possible. Different insurance companies will have varying deadlines for filing a claim. Insurance companies prefer sending their policyholders to doctors who will minimize the extent of any injuries. An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can assist in recovery by referring a doctor that will properly address all of the issues.
What Not to Do After A Car Accident in Houston
The moments immediately after an accident can be highly stressful. It is important for drivers to keep their composure to the best of their ability. The following are common mistakes to avoid after an accident.
Do Not Apologize or Admit Fault
In a state of shock, many drivers will apologize or say things like, “I did not see you there,” after an accident. While this is a natural reaction to an intense situation, these types of statements can also be construed as admissions of fault. Furthermore, you do not need to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. If the other insurance company calls you for a statement, politely decline and refer them to your Houston car accident lawyer.
Do Not Settle Too Quickly
Insurance adjusters wish to settle claims as quickly as possible. For this reason, some adjusters may offer to settle a claim within a day or two of an accident. Drivers should not settle a claim before the extent of their injuries has been assessed. Many injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, do not fully present themselves until weeks after an accident. An injury claim should often wait until the driver has nearly reached maximum medical improvement. An experienced Houston car accident lawyer will be able to accurately advise you on the value of your claim.
Do Not Delay Treatment
After an accident, an injured driver will sometimes put off going to the doctor in hopes that their injuries will heal on their own. This is a crucial mistake when seeking to file an injury claim. First, any injuries sustained should not be left to worsen. Second, a doctor’s documentation of the injury is crucial to proving damages in a lawsuit. Lastly, the insurance company may use a delay in treatment to claim the injuries were not actually that severe.
Common Injuries from Auto Accidents on Houston Highways
The majority of car accidents involve property damage only, with all drivers and passengers walking away without injuries. Another large proportion of accidents involve minor injuries, potentially including whiplash, back pain, or bruising from a seatbelt or airbag. However, more severe injuries occurring in a small portion of car accidents are responsible for intense pain and suffering for victims. Many car accidents can even cause death and permanent injury.
Although injuries vary depending on factors like speed, seating position, and point of impact, some common examples of injuries sustained in Houston car crashes include the following:
- Broken Bones and Fractures
- Burn Injuries
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Dislocated Joints
- Hearing Loss
- Internal Bleeding
- Nerve Damage
- Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
- Puncture Wounds
- Soft Tissue Injuries (e.g., Sprains and Strains)
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Vision Loss
- Whiplash Injuries
If you or a loved one sustained any of the injuries or injury complications listed above, or if you suffered from a different type of injury you don’t see listed here, we encourage you to contact our law offices immediately for a free legal consultation. If you were hurt in a car crash in Houston, financial compensation may be available.
Common Causes of Injuries in Houston Car Accidents
Unfortunately, many drivers in Houston do not exercise reasonable care on the road. Negligent behavior behind the wheel can have severe consequences. Accidents are frequently caused by drivers who impair their judgement or take their attention away from the road. The following are some common causes of car accidents in Houston.
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to obey street signs or signals
- Improper turns and lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Wrong-way driving
A driver who commits any of these negligent acts at the time of an accident may be held accountable for injuries suffered by victims of the crash. Drivers who have suffered an accident because of another’s negligent actions should contact a Houston car accident lawyer to review their case.
Proving Fault in a Houston Car Accident Case
In order to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver, the victim must present evidence to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident and the resulting injuries. This evidence could include medical records, crash site photographs, traffic camera footage, eyewitness testimony, and other sources of information about the crash and resulting injuries.
Our dedicated car crash attorneys in Houston have many years of experience evaluating auto accident evidence and can fight to prove that the other driver was at fault for your collision. We can also calculate the immediate and long-term costs of your injures in order to aggressively pursue the maximum compensation while protecting you from accepting an unfair settlement offer that fails to account for your true expenses.
Our lawyers will work to present the evidence in your case in a clear, concise way to help prove to the jury that the other driver was at fault. Any evidence that suggests that the other driver violated some traffic law by speeding, driving under the influence, running a red light, or otherwise breaking the law can be helpful. If the other driver did indeed violate a traffic law leading up to your crash, that traffic law could help you prove they were at fault.
Suing Other Parties for Car Accidents in Houston
Most car accidents are caused by individual drivers. This means that the person behind the wheel will be responsible for the crash, and you can sue them directly for their own fault. When they have an insurance policy, their insurance might pay for the damages, but the individual is still the person you bring the lawsuit against. However, in some cases, other parties could be joined in a lawsuit.
Car accident lawsuits and truck accident lawsuits against commercial drivers often include the driver’s employer in the lawsuit. In these kinds of cases, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and commercial truck drivers can be sued for their own individual fault in the crash, but their employer can also be held responsible for the employee’s actions. If you were hit by a driver who was working within the scope of their duties at the time of the accident, their employer could be held liable. This means they will end up paying for most or all of the damages in the claim.
Employers can also be held liable for their own fault in causing the crash. Sometimes truck drivers, taxi drivers, and bus drivers are given a vehicle to drive, and their employer is responsible for most maintenance and upkeep on the vehicle. Putting a driver in an unsafe vehicle is a recipe for disaster, and the company that put a dangerous vehicle on the road could be held responsible. Similarly, if the trucking company, taxi company, or other company should have known that their driver had a dangerous history of DUI or harmful auto accidents, they might be responsible for accidents their driver causes.
Lastly, some accidents are caused by auto defects. If a driver’s power steering shuts off while they are driving, their ignition turns off, or their brakes fail, it can be difficult for them to control the vehicle. While they might share some level of fault because they failed to get a known issue repaired, the auto manufacturer might also share liability for the crash. Especially if you were injured as a passenger in the car that suffered from an auto defect, you could be entitled to compensation.
Houston, Texas Car Accident Lawyers for Insurance Claims and Settlements
States in the U.S. usually use one of two sets of rules when it comes to auto accident insurance: “no-fault” rules and “fault” rules. In fault states such as Texas, a negligent or reckless driver – or, to be more specific, the driver’s insurance company – can be responsible for providing compensation for the person or people who were injured. Even in a fault state, you might have additional first-party or PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage that would allow your own insurance company to pay for some of your injuries. However, when another driver is responsible for your injuries, you can often hold them accountable, and the courts can make them or their insurance company pay for your damages.
Dealing with insurance companies can be totally overwhelming when you are already struggling to cope with the physical, mental, and emotional fallout of a serious auto accident. Allow our knowledgeable accident attorneys to handle the legal work on your behalf so that you can concentrate on resting and recovering.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, it might be too low to cover your needs, and you should speak with a lawyer before accepting any money. When you do accept a settlement, this often ends your case and locks you in to any damages you received in that settlement. This usually means you cannot go back to court or re-file your case to seek additional damages. Because of this, it is vital to have an attorney represent your best interests and show the insurance companies that you will not be manipulated by low-ball settlement offers.
Can Your Insurance Payments Go Up When You Are Not At Fault?
Insurance companies will look for any reason to increase a driver’s payment. Even if a particular driver was not at fault, their insurance premiums may still increase. Insurance is all about risk. Regardless of fault, insurance companies can deem a driver who has been involved in multiple accidents to be a greater risk. A 2021 state of insurance analysis by Zebra determined that a not-at-fault accident raised rates on average $67 per year in 2020. However, there are ways to avoid a premium increase with the assistance of an attorney. A Houston car accident lawyer can help you avoid a premium increase when settling a claim.
What Compensation Is Available for Car Crash Injury Victims in Houston, TX?
The amount of financial compensation that is available for a crash victim varies depending on the circumstances of the accident. Every crash is different, and each victim suffers different injuries and damages. As expected, damage to your vehicle is usually claimed in a car accident case, whether that be the total value of the car or the cost of reasonable damages. Additionally, injury victims can often claim damages for their injuries, including pain and suffering damages, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering are often very personal, as each person experiences pain differently. The physical discomfort of minor or moderate injuries like whiplash can also contribute to high levels of discomfort and pain that can lead to higher damages, even if the physical injury is not “severe.” However, more severe injuries and permanent disabilities often result in the highest pain and suffering damages because it is often so obvious to a jury how much that injury must hurt and how it will affect the victim’s life for years to come.
Damages for lost wages can be paid to account for the time you will spend out of work. If your injuries are severe enough, you could spend weeks or months in recovery, and even then, you might not be able to return to work. If you cannot go back to work, the court could order damages to replace your ongoing wages or any reduction in earning capacity in addition to the lost wages you have already lost during recovery.
Damages for medical expenses can be quite high in many cases involving serious brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, or permanent disabilities. If you suffered massive trauma, you could require life-saving surgeries and hospitalization, which should be paid for by the party who caused the crash. You should ideally never have to spend a penny on rehabilitation, home nursing care, or other ongoing treatment for injuries that you did not cause, and our attorney can fight for that outcome.
Other damages might be available depending on the injuries you faced and what happened leading up to the crash. In some cases, serious recklessness might even lead to additional punitive damages to help punish the at-fault driver for especially dangerous conduct. If a loved one was killed in a car crash in Houston, you can also seek additional damages for their loss.
Dangerous Roads in Houston for Car Accidents
Our Houston car accident lawyers are proud to represent the people of the Greater Houston area, including The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Baytown, and more. We handle Houston auto accident claims arising from crashes and collisions at dangerous intersections, in parking lots, in parking garages, and on highways throughout the metropolitan area, including the following roads:
- Fort Bend Tollway
- Hardy Toll Road
- Sam Houston Tollway
- Westpark Tollway
Call our attorneys today if you or a loved one was injured in a car crash on any of these roads or any other problematic roads with high car accident rates in the area.
How to Read A Houston Car Accident Report
Accident reports are completed by law enforcement officers who respond to crashes. These reports can provide key evidence in securing compensation for any injuries suffered. Furthermore, some insurance companies require a copy of the accident report to file a claim. Houston drivers may obtain a copy of their accident report by following this link. The form can be confusing. As such, our Houston car accident lawyers can offer in-depth guidance about what this document says and what information will be helpful for your case.
The first page of a Houston car accident report will show the date, time, and location of your crash. This page should also include the information of other drivers involved in the accident. Lastly, an injury code box is included on this page to list the types of injuries sustained.
The second page will list all charges filed against any driver, passenger, or pedestrian at the scene of the accident. Also included will be a crash narrative and diagram of the accident. The officer’s opinion of the crash will appear on this page and can be beneficial when establishing fault. Lastly, this page includes information about which hospitals victims were taken to.
The third page will include information about any commercial vehicles involved in the accident. This information is highly important to any potential injury claim. Here, drivers can find the name, address, and contact information for the commercial carrier. This page also offers additional information about cargo trucks, vehicle weights, and the vehicle’s driver.
Finally, the fourth page of a Texas accident report will explain some of the codes and language used in the document. This page is much easier to understand with the assistance of a Houston car accident lawyer.
Call Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation Today
Please do not hesitate to contact our law offices for a free legal consultation if you or a family member was recently injured in a car crash in Houston. Our law firm also handles car accident claims arising from auto defects and defective car parts, such as faulty tires or defective brake systems. Our Houston car accident lawyers have been representing victims of car crashes for decades, and we have had cases where injury victims or their families recovered upwards of a million dollars in damages. Each case is different, and we cannot help you understand what your case might be worth without examining the particular facts of your case. You might also be under strict deadlines to file your case, so it is important to call a lawyer as quickly as you can to get the help you need. For your free legal consultation, call Queenan Law at (817) 476-1797 today.