Houston Car Accident Attorney
Car wrecks are among the top three causes of injury or death in one’s lifetime. They’re also the number one cause of work-related deaths. Each year over four million car crashes occur in the U.S. and kill thousands of people. Whether small or catastrophic, they can be traumatic. After a car accident, you are confused and scared, wondering who is going to pay for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and how you can continue working. You may need an experience car accident lawyer to help.
All too often, accidents occur when the driver of the other vehicle is not taking the safety of others on the road seriously. Some examples of irresponsible driving include:
- Drunk Driving
- Failing to Yield
- Ignoring Road Signs
- Aggressive Driving
- Traveling at Excessive Speed
- Texting while Driving
- Unlawful Turns or Reckless Driving
Talking on the phone, fidgeting with the GPS, and changing the music in your car are very distracting and dangerous while driving. 80% of all collisions have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors. Driver distraction causes over 4,000,000 crashes per year in North America. Additionally, most fatal crashes occur on rural roads.
Texting and Cell Phone Use Can Cause a Car Accident
Cell phone use causes one accident every 24 seconds. Thousands die each year because drivers use their cell phones while driving. According to distraction.gov, when you read or send a text message, your eyes leave the road for about 4.6 seconds. A car driving 55 miles per hour travels the length of a football field. Texting while driving is essentially driving this distance with your eyes closed.
Talking on a cell phone makes a driver four times more likely to have a crash or near-crash event. Texting makes drivers 23 times more likely to have a crash. Texting while driving slows driver reaction time even more than alcohol.
Houston Car Wrecks Can Involve More Than Just Cars
Although we often think of car crashes and think of two cars hitting one another, car crashes can involve much more than that. All too often, cars hit more than just other cars or trucks. Car crashes can involve:
- Motorcycle crashes
- Bicycle accidents
- People hit by cars
- Workplace vehicle accidents
- Bus crashes
- Passengers injured in car accidents
There are many ways that people can get hurt in car crashes, and when they do, the injuries can be severe.
Car Crashes Can Cause More than Just Inconvenience
Everyone knows the hassle of dealing with the damage to your vehicle. There is the hassle of getting a rental car, repair estimates, and dealing with insurance adjusters. Also, there is the damage that a car accident can cause to the driver, passenger, and even bystanders. The injuries that can occur as a result of a car crash include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and brain bleeds
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering
These injuries can require ongoing medical care, prescriptions, and physical therapy. Also, the injured party will lose wages during time out of work.
What Do I Do After an Accident?
Many people wonder what is next after a car accident. Many of us don’t know how to handle the situation. You can learn more about what to do after an accident in these helpful links:
- What to do after a crash
- Getting a rental car after an accident
- Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company
- Dealing with uninsured drivers
- Who pays my medical bills after a car wreck
- What are car accident damages?
The most important thing to do after a car wreck is to take care of yourself. If the insurance company for the driver who hit you is giving you the run around, an attorney can help.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help with my Car Accident?
Not all car accidents need a personal injury lawyer. Typically, if you aren’t hurt and are only dealing with damage to your car, you don’t need a lawyer. If, however, you have a big accident, are seriously hurt, or you are hurt and need help with treatment, it is probably worth talking to a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers are familiar with the laws applicable to care accidents and the rules of trial. They can help you navigate the complex legal system. If you are wondering whether you need a lawyer to help you with your car accident case, here are a few guides to consider:
- Do you and the other driver or their insurance company disagree on who is at fault?
- Did someone die or suffer life-threatening injuries?
- You don’t think your insurance company should have to pay when it was the other driver’s fault.
- Do you have enough insurance coverage to make you whole?
- Do you need help dealing with the other driver’s insurance carrier?
What to think about when Hiring a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you hire a personal injury lawyer, here are a few things to consider:
- Hire a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury law is its own animal. Although the lawyer who helped write your will may be very competent, they may not be able to handle your car accident case. Hire a lawyer with the experience necessary to get you the most money possible.
- Does the lawyer have good review? Good lawyers often have happy clients. Can the lawyer you are looking to hire provide references? If not, you may not want them working for you.
- Hire a lawyer who can take your case to trial. Although most cases don’t make it to trial, your lawyer should work your case is if it is going to trial.
- Open communication. Many of the topics dealing with damages are sensitive. You need a lawyer that you feel comfortable with, so, you will communicate these sensitive issues.
Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers
Every few minutes, someone is injured or killed in an accident involving an intoxicated driver. In Texas, there were more than 24,000 DUI crashes in 2019. While these statistics are alarming, they don’t come close to conveying the emotional and physical trauma caused by these reckless motorists. Victims often suffer catastrophic injuries that can lead to excruciating pain and debilitating health complications.
While drunk driving is a prevalent issue in the state, in many situations it can be difficult to determine whether someone is under the influence. Here are a few telltale signs you should look out for after an accident:
- The Driver Disposed of Drug Paraphernalia or Alcohol Containers after the Crash: If you see the other motorist tossing items from their car after the accident, you should inform the attending officers.
- The Driver Smelled of Alcohol or Marijuana: If you smell alcohol on the other motorist’s breath or believe he or she was smoking marijuana, they may try to cover up their alcohol/drug use by using gum, mints, or breath spray before police arrive.
- The Driver Used Eye Drops: Marijuana and many other drugs can dry out your eyes, making them appear bloodshot. If the at-fault motorist is under the influence, he or she may use eyedrops to eliminate any redness to mask their intoxication. If you see the other driver using eye drops, let officers know so that they can consider giving a drug test.
- The Driver Switched Seats with a Passenger: It’s not unheard of for drunk drivers to switch seats with their passengers after an accident so that they can claim that the sober passenger was behind the wheel all along. If you witness this happen, you should inform the responding officers.
Accidents Involving Cars and Motorcycles
As a biker, you’ve probably learnt to be distrustful of other motorists. After all, reckless, distracted, and drunk drivers injure and kill riders every day. Whether it’s a sedan sliding into your lane without warning or a truck making an illegal turn in your direction, life in the saddle can be a nerve-wracking experience.
In 2018, nearly 5,000 riders were killed in accidents in the country and thousands more injured. In Texas, more than 400 bikers lost their lives in 2019, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For those who survive these collisions, life may never be the same again. Many victims suffer severe injuries, racking up thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries suffered by bikers in accidents:
- Road Rash: In an accident, riders are often flung from their bikes and sent sliding across the rough tarmac. This friction can scrape through multiple layers of skin, exposing the tissue and muscles underneath. Without immediate treatment, these severe grazes can become infected, leading to serious health complications.
- Broken Bones: Due to their design, motorcycles will almost always topple over in an accident. As such, even if you aren’t ejected from your vehicle during the initial collision, you will likely be thrown to the ground. This impact can result in broken legs, arms, wrists, feet, and hips.
- Head Injuries: In Texas, riders over the age of 21, who have obtained the proper certification and insurance coverage, are not required to wear helmets. However, foregoing this protective gear can leave you at a high risk of suffering a brain injury in a crash. Even a mild concussion can result in long-term health complications, while more severe brain injuries may permanently impair your cognitive and physical functions.
- Neck Injuries: Many motorcyclists suffer neck injuries in accidents. While these injuries are often relatively mild and temporary—i.e., a broken collar bone—they can also be extremely serious, resulting in permanent paralysis.
Uber & Lyft Auto Accidents
While rideshare services have been banned in some cities, they remain popular in metros across the county. In Houston, a growing number of commuters have come to rely on these modern “taxis” to get around. Rideshare services are affordable and arranging a trip is as easy as tapping a button.
However, this convenience can come at a cost. Accidents claims involving a rideshare accident are typically more complex than the average road wreck. Drivers are employed as independent contractors, making it difficult to determine liability after an accident. Personal injury attorney Chelsie King Garza has handled a wide variety of accident claims, and can assess your situation to determine who might be liable for your losses.
Both Lyft and Uber provide coverage for their drivers, and other rideshare companies have begun to adopt similar policies to these tech giants. However, unlike typical auto insurance policies, the coverage available will depend on the driver’s “status” at the time of the accident:
- Period 0: If the driver is not logged into the rideshare app, neither Uber or Lyft will provide any coverage. As such, you would have to file a claim against the rideshare driver’s insurer.
- Period 1: If the driver is active on the app but has not yet approved a ride request, Lyft or Uber will provide coverage for any wreck caused by the driver. This coverage includes $25,000 in property damage liability, up to $50,000 per person injured in the collision, and $100,000 in total injury liability per accident.
- Period 2: If the driver has agreed to a trip and is on their way to collect a customer, liability coverage will increase to $1 million.
- Period 3: If the rideshare driver is transporting a customer, the companies’ policies include coverage for damage to the drivers car and uninsured motorists’ coverage in addition to the insurance limits listed above.
Car Accidents Involving Bicycles
From lush parks to beautiful winding trails, Houston isn’t short on options for avid cyclists. However, laws in the state do little to protect riders, with the Bicycle Friendly State Report Card ranking Texas’ cycling conditions an abysmal 27th overall. In 2019, there were more than 2,500 accidents involving cyclists statewide.
As a cyclist in Houston, you already know that the road can be a dangerous place. Often, it takes just one distracted, speeding, or intoxicated driver to turn your tranquil ride into a trip to the ER. Let’s look at a few of the most common causes of bicycle accidents:
- Distracted Driving: From motorists texting on their phones to drivers gulping down coffee behind the wheel, distracted driving is a nationwide epidemic that leads to thousands of accidents every year. Even minor distractions are enough to take a driver’s attention away from the road, increasing the odds of them causing an accident.
- Speeding: The faster you’re driving, the less time you have to react. Additionally, at greater speeds, it will take longer for you to come to a complete stop. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why speeding motorists are one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents in the state. High-speed collisions are also more likely to result in catastrophic injuries.
- Unsafe Lane Changes: Many cyclists are injured when drivers turn or merge into a lane without first making sure the road is clear.
- Failure to Yield: From intersections to roundabouts, there are numerous locations through the city at which motorists must yield to oncoming traffic—including cyclists.
Pedestrian Auto Accidents
Like most heavily populated cities, Houston is often crowded with cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other vehicles. For those on foot, navigating the city can feel like a dance with death. After all, drivers are often negligent, distracted, or forget to yield causing serious harm to those caught in their way.
Thousands of pedestrians are struck and killed by motorists in the United States each year, and many more suffer life-altering injuries such as brain trauma and spinal cord damage. It’s not uncommon for victims to accrue thousands of dollars in medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you should visit the doctor for a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible. Not only will a prompt diagnosis ensure you receive the treatment you need to begin your recovery, but you will also have access to up-to-date medical records to prove your damages if you plan to file a claim.
While it may be clear that the driver is entirely responsible for causing the accident, the insurer may still challenge your claim. Pedestrian accident attorney Chelsie King Garza can help guide you through the claims process by answering your questions and advising you on the steps you should take to protect your claim.
Hire a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured by a driver who was texting and driving, or by a neglectful driver, Chelsie King Garza can help. Contact an experienced car wreck attorney to help you receive the care you need and the recovery you deserve.