Car Accidents in Texas: 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Traffic collisions are the leading cause of accidental injuries in our region. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 14,656 people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions in the state in 2020. Tens of thousands more people suffered mild and moderate injuries. Following an accident, it is crucial that you know the right steps to take to protect yourself and your family.
At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, we fight tirelessly to help injured victims get justice and financial compensation. Our team wants to make sure that you have the knowledge and resources to hold negligent drivers and their insurers accountable. In this article, our Houston auto accident attorney answers ten of the most frequently asked questions about car crash injury claims in Texas.
The immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision can be stressful and frustrating. There are few key things that you can do to put yourself in the best possible position to navigate the legal claims process. Here are the key steps to take after a major car crash in Houston:
- Stop your vehicle and exchange information with all other parties involved;
- Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries (emergency medical needs come first);
- Report your accident to state or local law enforcement;
- Document the crash, including taking photo and getting contact details for witnesses; and
- Consult with a Houston car accident lawyer before speaking to any insurance company.
No—at least you cannot bring a successful one. To recover medical expenses after a car accident in Texas, you will need official medical documentation. You should see a doctor as soon as possible after a serious car accident. Not only is doing so important to protect your health and well-being, it is a necessary part of the auto accident injury claims process.
The officer that responds to your collision should write a report. The report serves as an important piece of evidence and documentation. Make sure you get a copy of the accident report after a crash. To do so, you should go through the system set up by the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. You may be able to get the report through the Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) from the Texas Department of Transportation. The Houston Police Department also has its own system for crash reports.
Texas has a two year statute of limitations for auto accident injury claims. If you were hurt in a crash, make sure that you initiate the legal claims process within two years. Failure to do so could render you ineligible to pursue compensation for your injuries. Do not delay: Contact a Houston car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash.
No. Insurance companies are incentivized to look out for their own bottom line. An insurer (even your own insurer) will not protect your best interests. They want to take a statement from you shortly after a crash in order to look for things that they can use against you to reduce their own liability. Always speak to a Houston car crash lawyer before giving a recorded statement to an insurer.
Texas is a fault-based auto accident jurisdiction. Every traffic collision should be investigated to determine exactly what happened. The party (or parties) responsible for causing the crash through unsafe conduct should be held legally liable for the damages. A car accident injury claim may be brought against:
- Trucking companies;
- Highway construction crews; and
- Vehicle manufacturers.
In Texas, car accident liability is assigned in proportion to fault (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 33.001), This is known as the comparative negligence standard. If multiple parties share liability for the same crash, they will share the fault for the resulting damages. For example, imagine that you are involved in a highway crash with two other drivers. The first driver bears fault for 80% of the crash. He or she would be liable for 80% of the total damages. If the other driver is assigned the remaining 20% of the blame, he or she will bear fault for 20% of the damages.
In Texas, injured car accident victims can recover financial compensation for both economic and intangible harm. Your financial recovery should be proportional to the extent of your damages. At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, we fight hard to help injured victims maximize their settlement or verdict. Compensation may be awarded for:
- Automobile repairs;
- Emergency room care;
- Medical bills and health care bills;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning potential;
- Pain and suffering;
- Long-term disability;
- Permanent scarring; and
- Wrongful death.
While it is possible that a car accident injury claim will go to trial, the reality is that the majority of auto accident injury claims in Texas are settled outside of the courtroom. Still, it is crucial that you work with a lawyer who can prepare your case for trial. Insurers only offer fair settlements when they see a strong case developing.
The duration of the car accident injury claims process depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries and the complexity of your case. It could take anywhere from six weeks to a few months to multiple years to get a settlement or verdict.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, our Houston car accident attorney is a skilled, experienced advocate for justice. If you or your family member was hurt in a traffic collision, we are here to help you navigate the claims process and maximize your financial recovery. Call us at (888) 378-1784 or contact us online to set up a free, no obligation review of your case. With a law office in Houston, we represent car accident victims in Harris County and throughout Southeast Texas.