If a car accident severely injured you or killed your loved one, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Houston car accident attorney at Ramsey Law Group. Car accident victims need strong, competent legal advocates to protect their legal rights and secure full and fair compensation on their behalf. At Ramsey Law Group, our Houston car accident attorneys have a track record of success in car accident claims and lawsuits and are a respected part of the local and national legal communities.
Let Ramsey Law Group alleviate the legal pressures of your car accident claim and allow you to focus on healing. Call us today to schedule your no-obligation, free consultation. Although we are a Houston-based personal injury firm, Ramsey Law Group handles auto accident cases throughout Texas and the nation.
There is no rule that you must retain an attorney for your car accident claim. However, victims of accidents without attorneys are not entering a fair fight. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims, and deal with claims every single day. Insurance companies have experienced adjusters and teams of attorneys to defend claims just like yours. They can deny, delay, or attempt to underpay your claim. Having a Houston car accident lawyer from Ramsey Law Group on your side helps ensure you receive compensation that covers your total accident losses personally and financially. Instead of giving a recorded statement to an insurance company or their insurance adjusters, call our team to fight for your best interests.
Contact Ramsey Law Group to discuss more about our client-oriented law firm. Our car accident lawyers will give you, and your case the attention they deserve and work diligently to resolve your case.
Most Houston car accident lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that your attorney advances any costs in preparing and prosecuting your claim, and you are only responsible for those costs if there is a settlement. Once you recover compensation, a lawyer will generally take 25 to 40 percent of any settlement or judgment amount as his or her legal fee at the conclusion of the case. If there is no settlement, there is no risk to you, as you will not owe your attorney anything.
Like all contracts, terms can be negotiated. Some car collision lawyers may reduce their contingent fees if there is a quick settlement, and raise it if the case goes to trial. Others may work on a sliding scale fee. A sliding scale fee, for example, could be 30 percent of any recovery up to $10,000; 20 percent of any recovery up to $50,000, etc. However, it really depends on the lawyer, work involved, type of case, and the case’s value. Be sure to discuss this topic with your Houston personal injury lawyer, and understand exactly what is covered in your attorney fees agreement.
A large concern for car accident victims is whether they will have to go to court after filing a claim. Ultimately, it is your choice. Unless the other driver attempts to shift liability or fault onto you by suing you, and you receive a court summons. Car accident claims only end up in court when the two parties cannot agree to solve the dispute in negotiations. The court forces a solution to the problem with the judge’s decision. Filing a lawsuit is often what convinces the other party they need to negotiate with you in good faith. Your attorney can present a compelling argument explaining there is enough evidence for you to win in court. This may convince the other party to settle your claim and give you a fair financial settlement value.
When gathering evidence for Houston car accident injury cases, an attorney will complete an independent investigation to look at the extent and location of the damage to the vehicles, evidence of how the accident happened, photos of the scene, gather police reports, obtain records of medical treatment, pay stubs to calculate lost wages, and will speak to any witnesses.
To maximize the personal injury damages you may receive in your car accident case, you must gather as much evidence as possible immediately after the accident if you are physically able to. That includes notifying the police, taking photos or video of the scene, asking for contact and insurance information from those involved, as well as statements from witnesses and how to reach them. Seek out medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel fine. That way, your medical records will document any resulting personal injuries, and your doctors will be on the lookout for accident-related symptoms. Some injuries begin to exhibit symptoms in the days or weeks following a collision, so the defendant will not be able to argue that an unrelated injury is causing your pain.
It’s important to always contact an experienced auto accident lawyer before speaking to an insurance adjuster. The insurance adjusters are not your friend and whatever they tell you is not automatically true. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible on claims.
The Texas car accident report is a crucial piece of evidence when it comes to filing a car accident claim in Houston. You can purchase a copy of your crash report (CR-3) by visiting the Texas Department of Transportations website.
Auto accidents are the most common personal injury accident occurring in the United States. The most common causes of car crashes today is distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that takes drivers’ attention away from the road. Distracted driving includes activities like:
Cars come to sudden stops in accidents; however, their passengers do not. Passengers wearing safety restraints stop after their safety device engages. Those who are not wearing any safety device are thrown from the vehicle or tossed within the car, thus increasing their serious injuries. Other accident variables that may affect the types and severity of car accident injuries are:
Car accident injuries can require ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, physical therapy, or home health care. Some victims are unable to return to their previous employment or cannot work at all. Not only do car accidents leave victims with medical, financial, and potential mental health issues, but their family members may suffer as well.
Liability for a car accident refers to a party’s responsibility or obligation to pay for the harm they caused to another person and/or their property. In other words, the party who is liable was at fault for the collision. The state requires drivers to carry liability auto insurance, which protects people or companies from having to pay out-of-pocket for the harm they cause.
If an insurance company accepts liability on their policyholder’s behalf, it means they are assuming legal responsibility for your car accident. However, before doing so, an insurance adjuster will investigate the collision to decide whether to pay, negotiate or defend its policyholder against the claim. During their investigation, the insurer will decide:
If the adjuster accepts liability for the accident after determining their policyholder was at fault, it still doesn’t mean they will assume responsibility for your damages. Insurance adjusters routinely argue about the extent of damages.
Texas is not a “no-fault” state when it comes to responsibility for car accidents. Instead, the courts follow a traditional “fault”-based system, which means that the driver at fault for causing an accident must pay for the resulting damages.
The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault States
Since drivers in Texas are responsible for any harm they cause, they must carry liability insurance to pay for any injuries and property damage that occurs in an accident. To recover compensation, victims often have the following options:
In a no-fault state, drivers must carry no-fault insurance, also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). After an accident, each driver will file a claim with their own auto insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the collision. In these states, there are only a limited number of circumstances in which an accident victim can step outside of the no-fault system and seek compensation directly from the at-fault driver or their insurance company.
An astonishing one in five drivers does not carry auto insurance in Texas. Therefore, your options for compensation after an accident with an uninsured motorist will likely depend on your auto insurance coverage. If you carry an optional form of insurance, called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), you can collect uninsured motorist benefits under your own policy up to its limits. Similarly, you can file a claim with your auto insurer regardless of fault if you carry collision coverage. However, Texas law does not require drivers to purchase these types of coverage, so if you do not carry them, the only other option is to sue the at-fault driver. Unfortunately, drivers who do not have auto insurance often do not have personal assets to make it worth it to file a lawsuit.
Compensation in a car accident claim takes several factors into account. In addition to medical bills, the accident’s effect on the victim’s remaining life is a weighty consideration. While it is difficult to place a dollar amount on changes in quality and quantity of life, the law allows compensation for these kinds of losses. Potential economic and non-economic damages for a Houston car accident claim may include the following:
When another party’s negligence is responsible for a car accident, you have the right to pursue damages.
Damages are the legal term that refers to the financial compensation awarded to reimburse car accident victims for the losses they suffered as a result of the collision. The types of damages a victim is entitled to will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. The most common types of damages awarded in a car accident claim include:
Actual financial losses that you must provide receipts or bills for in order to prove how much money you’ve lost. Some examples include:
Compensation for subjective losses that do not have a monetary value. For instance:
This type of compensation is rarely awarded and is only granted in cases involving an at-fault party who exhibited an extreme disregard for the safety of others.
Punitive damages also referred to as exemplary damages, are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior by others. When determining whether to award punitive damages, the court will review two factors: 1) the reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct and 2) what amount of money is necessary to have a deterrent effect on the defendant considering their financial circumstances. In addition, the plaintiff (victim) must have also provided clear and convincing evidence that the harm the defendant caused as a result of fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
In Texas, punitive damages cannot exceed $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages plus an equal amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000. Examples of the types of car accident cases in which punitive damages are often awarded include drunk or drugged driving accidents or hit-and-run injury accidents. However, the jury must be unanimous in deciding that the defendant is liable and the amount of punitive damages to award.
A variety of factors can either increase or decrease the value of a car accident case in Houston. Those most common include:
Consistent Medical Treatment
If you fail to seek medical care immediately after a car accident or there is a large gap in your follow-up treatment, the at-fault party’s insurance company can argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
A permanently debilitating injury will dramatically increase the value of a claim compared to a soft-tissue injury that will heal within a few weeks.
You are still entitled to compensation for a pre-existing injury or condition that is aggravated or exacerbated by the accident. However, it can ultimately devalue your claim if it is challenging to differentiate your new injuries from your pre-existing condition and prove your losses are related to the accident. Especially if you were already receiving treatment for your pre-existing condition.
Insurance Policy Limits
Insurance policies have limits, which are the maximum amounts that the insurance company is required to pay out per person injured and per accident under a single policy. If your losses happen to exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, their insurer does not have to pay the difference. Any amount over their limits will be lost, or you will have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally. The minimum required liability insurance in Texas is $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
The Extent of Property Damage
The more extensive the damage to your vehicle, the easier it will be to prove the severity of your injuries and that they are related to the collision.
The county or “venue” in which you file your car accident lawsuit can impact the value of your claim. Some counties tend to favor either the defendant or the plaintiff. In many cases, you can choose to file a lawsuit in the county where the accident occurred or the county where the defendant was residing at the time.
Health Insurance / Medicaid / Medicare
If you initially utilize your personal health insurance to cover medical bills, you can only claim the amount your insurer paid. For example, if your insurer pays a reduced amount, then your damages will, in turn, be reduced.
There are time limits or statutes of limitations that apply to car accident lawsuits in Texas. Texas law requires victims to file personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents within two years after the accident occurs. Texas disallows any claim for compensation outside of these limits. Statutes of limitations vary by state, so it is wise to consult a personal injury attorney to determine what time limits apply to your case. If you want to learn more about a specific statute of limitations or the particular kinds of compensation available to you for your car accident, call our law firm today.
Many people wonder when is the best time to hire a lawyer if they have been in a car accident. If you’ve been injured as the result of a negligent driver that caused your car crash, you will want an attorney to review your case. The attorney will be able to answer the questions you have regarding your Houston car accident. The laws in Texas are here to protect those drivers and passengers who have been injured as the result of negligence on the part of another person, party or entity. Since there is a time limit on when you can find your claim, it’s best to contact an accident lawyer right away. There is no cost to you to get a consultation from a lawyer who can advise you of the process that is involved with filing a lawsuit after a traffic accident.
Ramsey Law Group is proud to offer legal representation to fellow Texans and other personal injury victims in the Houston area and throughout the United States. We have the skills, resources, and experience to take on many different types of personal injury cases against corporations and insurance companies, and we can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Call the Houston auto accident attorneys at Ramsey Law Group today and schedule your free case evaluation: (713) 489-7577. Or send us a message online.