Virtually everyone is going to be in a car accident at some point in their lives. Although in some crashes no one gets hurt, the unfortunate fact is that many car accidents result in serious injuries and fatalities. Often making matters worse are the tactics employed by insurance companies to reduce the amount of money they have to pay on reasonable claims.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we advocate for the interests of people over those of corporations. We consider it our duty to hold negligent drivers responsible, which often means we have to go toe-to-toe with major insurance companies.
The attorneys at Patrick Daniel Law have extensive experience in car accident cases involving serious injuries and death. If you have been hurt or tragically lost your loved one in a crash, find out how we can help by calling (713) 999-6666 today. Your initial consultation is free.
There are many different circumstances to take into account after a car accident. For most people, the biggest concerns are: “How long before I recover from my injuries?” “Will my insurance cover the costs of the accident?” “When will my life get back to normal?”
Many car accident victims don’t start to think about hiring a lawyer until they receive word from the insurance company. Their claim may be denied, or the compensation offered by the insurer may be woefully inadequate for their losses.
In reality, there are a number of good reasons to hire a car accident lawyer – ideally before you ever speak to an insurance adjuster:
We will discuss these and other issues in the following sections. By the end, you should feel confident in your decision to get a Houston car accident lawyer to help with your case.
The clock begins ticking on your accident claim the second it happens. You may be in shock and even banged up, but you can start building your claim at the scene immediately after the accident.
Follow these helpful steps, but pay special attention to step #1 and step #2 before proceeding to the others:
In Texas, you are required to file an accident report with the police if the crash caused over $1,000 in property damage or the accident resulted in injury or death. If someone is seriously hurt (including yourself), call for emergency personnel to respond to the scene.
If you are in a serious accident, treatment will begin at the scene and continue as you are transported to the hospital. Your first priority after being hurt should be to get the care you need, so let the professionals extract you from the vehicle and then take you to the ED as needed.
You may be treated and released at the scene if fire and rescue workers don’t see signs of serious injury. Do not consider this the final word on your condition. Some life-threatening injuries, from head trauma to internal bleeding, progress in severity. This, combined with the adrenaline you feel after the accident, could give you a false sense of security.
If you feel up to it, take the time you need to perform the steps below. Then, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Insurance companies dispatch accident response teams almost immediately to the scenes of major accidents. Their goal is to capture any and all evidence that can reduce what they might have to pay.
While you are on the scene, you should do the same, but with the opposite goal in mind: your records should reflect the full extent of damages. The best way to do this is to capture images and even videos of:
Another set of photos you need to capture is the information for the other driver.
Whether you write it down or take pictures of the documents with your phone, you will need the name, address, phone number, and drivers license number of every driver involved in the crash, as well as the name of their insurance carrier and the policy number on the proof of insurance.
If the driver does not present proof of insurance, make note of this as well. It may impact how your claim is pursued.
If any bystanders are around the scene of the accident, ask them what they saw. For each person you talk to, ask their name and get contact information. In the event that your car accident case goes to trial, their testimony may support your claims against the at-fault driver.
It is certainly in your best interest to contact a lawyer if you were injured in the car accident. This early in your case, it is difficult to know how the injuries will affect your life long-term and, when all is said and done, how much everything will cost.
The insurance company is counting on you to be confused, concerned, and out of sorts. That is their perfect opportunity to have an insurance adjuster call you and ask for a statement.
BEWARE: Any statement you make to the insurance company can and will be used against you. If you say something that suggests you are at fault for the accident, however unintentionally, and the adjuster has it recorded, your options for financial recovery will be significantly limited.
Before the insurance company can take advantage of you, contact the car accident lawyers at Patrick Daniel Law to discuss your options. You are not legally required to make a statement to the insurance company, and we can handle any communications with them on your behalf.
The evidence gathered by accident victims at the scene is often a crucial foundation for subsequent claims. However, lawyers who know how to handle car accidents can do much more to build your case.
Some of the investigative steps our Houston car accident attorneys will take on your behalf include:
Accident reconstructionists have specialized training in the science behind car accidents. Through assessment of the scene in-person and via photos (ones you take as well as professional photography), reconstructionists are often able to determine key facts such as:
Oftentimes accident reconstructionists will create computer simulations of the crash. These models are powerful exhibits if your car accident claim goes to court.
Asking the right questions is a fixture of any attorney’s job. Though you may have gotten the preliminary impressions from witnesses at the scene of the crash, our car accident lawyers and/or experts involved in the investigation ask more detailed, precise questions as part of building your case.
Ultimately, witness testimony may cut both ways. Some witnesses may support your account of the accident, while others possibly saw the event in a light that doesn’t help your claim. By interviewing different witnesses, our lawyers will be able to prepare for both corroborating and contradictory testimony.
The police report includes a number of crucial details about the accident that our car crash lawyers can use to build your case. We will identify which police department dispatched an officer to the scene and request a copy of the report on your behalf.
The accident report may include important information such as:
As with witness statements, it is important for our lawyers to account for all evidence that may help OR hinder your accident claim. We may be able to challenge errors in the police report, handle questions of contributory negligence if you were cited for the accident, and more.
Our attorneys work with engineers, accident reconstructionists, and other experts to assess the damage to and condition of the vehicles involved in the accident. Examination of the vehicles assists with reconstruction of the crash, as well as determining the presence of any defects that may have contributed to the collision.
Sophisticated technology is everywhere nowadays, from inside our cars to our phones to the surveillance cameras homeowners and businesses use to keep their properties safe. Patrick Daniel Law is committed to innovative legal strategies that harness the power of technology in service to our clients.
Our lawyers will track down and request digital records that pertain to your case. Types of electronic evidence may include:
Digital evidence is often unattainable without the assistance of an attorney. Our Houston car accident lawyers know the procedures for recovering records from a wide variety of parties, and we will put our experience and tenacity to work for you.
Negligence behind the wheel can take a host of different forms. Although most car accidents are the result of driver error, it is important not to overlook other factors that may have contributed to the crash.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we thoroughly investigate the circumstances of each car accident to determine what caused the crash and who is liable. We have handled cases involving:
According to 2019 data from the Texas Department of Transportation, speed was a factor in over 25,000 vehicle accidents. In the counties that make up Houston (Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County), excess speed was involved in 80 fatal crashes.
Driving faster than the speed limit gives you less time to see potential hazards and brake in time to avoid them. Whether those hazards are another vehicle, a stationary object, or a person, the consequences of going too fast can be catastrophic.
Texas Department of Transportation, Speed Involved Crashes and Injuries by County
Safe driving requires our full focus. Unfortunately, many drivers in Houston and other areas of Texas succumb to the abundance of distractions that vie for attention when they are behind the wheel.
Car accidents may be caused by any number of different distractions. These distractions may occupy a driver’s eyes, hands, and/or mind, endangering the distracted driver, his or her passengers, and other people on the road.
In 2019, distracted driving was a factor in over 97,000 crashes and more than 375 fatalities.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, No Texting Rule Fact Sheet
Texas Department of Transportation, Distracted Driver Crashes and Injuries by County
Whether they occur as a result of distracted driving or as a simple failure to check blind spots, accidents involving lane changes present a serious risk of injury. The driver into whose path the at-fault driver moves has little time to react, and collisions often occur on multi-lane roads and highways at high speeds.
In Texas, the legal limit for alcohol consumption is a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC). However, the driver does not have to be legally impaired to be held liable for an accident. Getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs is inherently reckless. Our car accident lawyers will present evidence of the driver’s elevated BAC or other toxicology results to show that he or she was negligent.
The driver may not be the only one liable in a drunk driving accident claim. Our Houston car accident attorneys may also be able to recover compensation on your behalf from the establishment that overserved a visibly intoxicated patron (known as a dram shop law claim).
Harris County had the highest number of DUI crashes in Texas in 2019. Drunk driving was a factor in over 3,600 accidents, 110 of which were fatal.
Texas Department of Transportation, DUI (Alcohol) Involved Crashes by County
The line between reckless driving and aggressive driving is very thin. Recklessness typically gives way to aggressiveness when a driver goes from overlooking a possible danger or violation to disregarding the danger of their actions.
Examples of aggressive driving that commonly cause car accidents include:
The most extreme type of aggressive driving is road rage, where a driver is genuinely attempting to harm somebody else. In 2019, road rage was a factor in nearly 1,500 crashes in Texas.
Texas Department of Transportation, Crash Contributing Factors
Automobile safety has been a headline item for nearly as long as the automobile has been around, and some of the most publicized product liability cases in U.S. history have featured defects in cars, trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles. While automobiles are infinitely safer today, defects and part failures still pose a danger to drivers and passengers.
Some of the most common defects involved in auto accidents involve the following parts and systems of the car:
Defective product claims of any kind are complicated. Corporations will use the full force of their money and legal teams to combat legitimate claims. Therefore, it is important to level the playing field by working with a lawyer who is well-versed in auto defect litigation.
Roads that experience heavy traffic endure significant wear and tear. Weather events such as heavy rain can also make roads impassable without proper grading and drainage.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a defective or damaged road, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Road defects that may lead to a car accident include:
Liability for defective road accidents can be complicated. You may be able to pursue a claim against the government agency responsible for the road, as well as the construction company and/or the subcontractors who designed and built the road.
Claims against the government in Texas are subject to special rules and tight deadlines. You only have six months to file a claim (or less, depending on where the accident occurred; claims against a municipal authority in Houston, for example, must be filed within just 90 days), and you must follow specific procedures in filing your claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with these steps, but it is important to act quickly.
You may assume that you and you alone are responsible if you crash your car. However, if another driver cut you off, swerved into your lane, or forced you off the road, that driver can be held responsible for the damages you sustain in an accident that only involves your vehicle.
The key for establishing fault in a single-vehicle accident is prompt investigation. Witness statements, surveillance camera footage, and other evidence can help us identify the driver who caused you to crash.
The positioning of the vehicles in your car accident claim plays a large role in the seriousness of your injuries and who is at fault for the crash. The attorneys at Patrick Daniel Law handle all types of car accident claims in Houston and other areas of Texas, including:
Of course, not all car accidents only involve passenger vehicles. At Patrick Daniel Law, we represent clients in claims that run the full gamut of motor vehicle collisions:
If you have been injured in a car crash or any type of vehicle accident, our lawyers will fully investigate to determine who is at fault. We will develop a legal strategy tailored to the facts in your particular case, and pursue compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
In spite of all the safety features on cars today, vehicle collisions are still one of the major causes of serious injuries and deaths in the United States. Even accidents that occur at relatively slow speeds can have life-changing impacts on drivers and passengers.
Major types of injuries in car accidents include, but are not limited to, the following. Tragically, some of these injuries can be fatal even with timely medical intervention.
The brain is a complex and sensitive organ. If you suffer head trauma in a car accident, it is important to be evaluated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as soon as possible.
Brain injuries can range in seriousness from a concussion to an open head wound resulting in severe brain damage. The long-term effects of a TBI are often not apparent until the injury has stabilized.
The head and face are particularly vulnerable in the event of a car accident. Some of the common injuries to the face in a crash include:
Facial injuries in a car accident may require extensive treatment. They can also result in scarring and disfigurement that permanently alter your appearance.
Whiplash is a common outcome of car accidents at any speed. The force of the impact in the accident causes the head to move rapidly in multiple directions, resulting in hyperextension and flexion of the cervical vertebrae (the bones in the neck) and damage to supporting soft tissue in the neck.
Another potential injury to the neck in car accidents is damage to the discs that separate the cervical vertebrae. These discs, which support the neck and facilitate its movement, may become herniated or rupture in a car accident. A herniated or ruptured disc can result in chronic pain and loss of function that gets worse over time.
As with the neck, vertebrae in the upper and lower back (known as the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, respectively) may suffer disc injuries in a car accident. Supporting structures such as muscles and ligaments may also be damaged, further compromising movement and stability of the back.
Fracture of one or more of the thoracic and/or lumbar vertebrae is known as a broken back. A broken back is not the same thing as a spinal cord injury (see below), but it can be extremely painful and limit mobility.
When people think of a spinal cord injury, they usually think of the worst-case scenario: paralysis. Although paraplegia (paralysis of the lower extremities) and quadriplegia (paralysis of the upper and lower extremities) may occur as a result of a car accident, paralysis is not a guaranteed outcome of a spinal cord injury.
Other issues associated with spinal cord injury include a loss of sensation and motor function in the affected area(s). Though perhaps not as debilitating as paralysis, these issues can significantly impact your quality of life and your livelihood.
The chest and abdomen are vulnerable areas in a car accident. The force of the collision may cause injury to vital organs such as:
If you experience pain in your chest or abdomen after a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. Each of these organs plays a crucial role in your health, and damage that is not caught in time may result in serious complications.
As with organ damage, internal bleeding after a car accident is a medical emergency. If you experience lightheadedness, fatigue, difficulty breathing, or unexplained bleeding outside the body, you may have suffered internal trauma to blood vessels, tissues, and/or vital organs.
So far we have talked about trauma to the head, neck, and back. Bones in these areas can all suffer serious fractures in collisions, though they are not the only broken bones that we see in car accident cases.
Other parts of the body that are prone to bone breaks in an accident include:
Some broken bones are treatable with a cast or splint. Others, however, may require surgery to repair, followed by extensive physical therapy to restore function.
Amputation injuries are among the most catastrophic outcomes of any car accident. Losing a limb is both physically incapacitating and emotionally traumatic. In addition to complicating the activities you used to perform every day with ease, you may view yourself differently or experience embarrassment and self-consciousness about the injury.
Short-term, car accident victims who lose a limb may have to undergo extensive physical and vocational therapy to adjust to life after an amputation injury. Long-term, they may be confined to a wheelchair or forced to use a prosthesis for the rest of their lives.
It is crucial for fire and rescue personnel to arrive at the scene of a car accident as soon as possible. Fires may break out due to leaking gasoline and other fluids, or as a result of defects in the fuel tank and other systems.
Burn injuries require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Victims may suffer disfigurement, loss of function and sensation in the affected area, and/or a range of complications such as infection, hypothermia, and more.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we are committed to pursuing results many other law firms are unable to achieve. The compensation you may be entitled to in your car accident case will depend on the damages you and your family have suffered.
Our lawyers will investigate the accident and work with you to understand the full impact of the crash on your life – present and future. You may be entitled to compensation for:
Car accident victims often face significant medical expenses. If the car accident was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of:
In addition to your present medical expenses, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of ongoing treatment. This includes future bills for physical therapy, counseling with a psychiatrist, occupational rehabilitation, and more.
When you have been seriously injured, you may be unable to work for weeks, months, or more. Many workers have limited (or, in some cases, no) sick leave, paid time off, and other programs that enable them to continue earning income when they can’t work. As a result, they miss out on the money they need to cover regular household bills and other expenses, not to mention the costs they incur from the accident.
Lost wages is another significant type of damages in car accident claims. You may be able to recover all of the income you lost in your time away from work.
If you are unable to return to your prior job and salary as a result of your car accident injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for loss of earning capacity. This is the legal term for future wages and benefits you would have received had you not been hurt in the accident.
Damages for pain and suffering compensate car accident victims for physical pain and discomfort, as well as the emotional burdens associated with a painful, debilitating injury.
Pain and suffering is generally a major part of the non-economic damages in your car accident claim. Instead of compensating you for actual financial losses (i.e., the money you may spend on medications to manage pain), pain and suffering damages are a form of recompense for the physical and emotional hardships you experience due to the negligence of the at-fault driver.
Pain and suffering damages must be supported by the evidence. There is no “golden formula” for calculating the compensation you deserve, although insurance companies lean heavily on equations to determine what they think these non-economic damages are worth in your case.
Your Houston car accident lawyer will investigate the accident and hire experts to understand how your injuries affect you physically and emotionally. Based on the evidence, not an algorithm, your attorney can advise you much you may be able to recover for pain and suffering.
Similar to pain and suffering damages, you may be entitled to compensation for psychological issues stemming from the car accident such as:
As with pain and suffering, damages for mental anguish must be supported by the evidence in your case. This may include evaluations by your doctors, expert testimony on the injuries you have sustained, and more.
Loss of consortium damages compensate you and your loved ones for the disruption your injuries cause to familial relationships with a spouse, child, or parent. Depending on how your relationships are affected, these damages may be known by different names:
In any car accident claim, it is important to take into account not only how the victim is affected but the impact on the whole family.
Special damages are a type of compensation designed to offset the costs of lifestyle adjustments you need to make for the unique circumstances of your life after a car accident. You may be able to recover special damages for:
It is crucial to hold on to all receipts, estimates, and other paperwork outlining what you paid or the projected cost of these and other expenses. Your Houston car accident attorney will account for all of these losses and pursue fair compensation as part of your claim.
In some instances, punitive damages may also be available in your car accident claim. While this “extra” compensation is awarded to you, the purpose is to deter the defendant in your case and others in similar situations to engage in the same kind of behavior.
The jury may choose to award punitive damages if they determine that the defendant’s conduct constitutes willful or excessive recklessness. For example, in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the jury may take into account how high the driver’s blood alcohol content was or his previous DWI convictions to determine if his conduct meets the standard for extreme negligence or misconduct.
In addition to personal injury cases stemming from car accidents, Patrick Daniel Law also has experience helping families with wrongful death claims when their loved one dies in a car accident. We recognize that no monetary recovery will make up for your loss, but a verdict or settlement in your favor makes it possible for you to pay bills and rebuild your lives with the peace of mind that comes from not facing financial pressures on your own.
Our car accident lawyers will pursue the full compensation you and your family deserve via a wrongful death lawsuit. Available damages may include:
Compassion is one of the hallmarks of the client experience at Patrick Daniel Law. Read our reviews to see what clients have to say about working with us.
Ultimately, the amount of compensation you can recover after a car accident is unique to the circumstances of the crash, your injuries, and other facts in the case. The “average” settlement has little to do with what you deserve based on your losses.
The auto accident lawyers at Patrick Daniel Law have extensive experience pursuing compensation on behalf of clients who were injured in car crashes. We have resolved claims through successful settlement negotiations, and we have won jury verdicts in cases where the insurance company would not offer a fair settlement.
In achieving these results, we have found that there is no such thing as an “average” client. So, there is no such thing as an “average” settlement, either.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, you should speak to a lawyer before accepting. The offer may seem fair based on your current losses, but insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing and underpaying on car accident claims.
Once you accept a settlement from the insurance carrier, you will be unable to pursue additional compensation. Even if your injuries turn out to be worse than you thought or you incur unexpected expenses related to the accident, you will be forced to manage with the amount from the settlement.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid signing away your rights prematurely and getting less than you deserve.
Every state has a statute of limitations that places a time limit on car accident claims and other types of personal injury cases. In Texas, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the accident.
With this in mind, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been in a car accident. Key evidence can be lost in 2 years, which may limit the compensation you are able to recover.
Your initial consultation with Patrick Daniel Law is free. Furthermore, you pay no upfront costs and owe us nothing in fees until we recover compensation on your behalf through a jury verdict or settlement.
This is known as a contingency fee agreement. It enables the victims of car accidents to pursue justice for their injuries without having to worry about an upfront or ongoing financial commitment (especially when they are already facing medical expenses, loss of income, and other challenges).
After a car accident, it is important not to make any assumptions. You won’t know if you have a claim or what damages may be recoverable until you speak to a lawyer with experience in car accident cases.
People come to Patrick Daniel Law when they need help the most. We are honored to be their law firm of choice, and in return our team fights mercilessly to achieve justice in their case.
When you hire Patrick Daniel Law to represent you in your car accident claim, our firm will:
Ultimately, Patrick Daniel Law is your advocate in claims against parties that may seem untouchable: insurance companies. After an accident, insurers will do everything they can to avoid paying. If you don’t hire representation, they have the staff, resources, and money at their disposal to do just that in your case.
Patrick Daniel Law helps protect clients from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. We can help you, too.
As one of the most populous cities in the country, car accidents are an everyday occurrence in Houston. Serious injuries and fatalities happen in these crashes all too often, forever changing the lives of victims and their families.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident in the Greater Houston area, please contact Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 or complete our online form.
Your initial consultation is free, and you don’t owe us fees unless we prevail in your case. Find out how our experienced trial lawyers can help you today!