After a crash, you might be in a state of shock. You might be confused, or you might be angry. These feelings are common and normal. But it’s important to get into a calm mindset before talking to the other driver or the police. It’s hard to speak clearly and rationally if you’re angry or upset.
If you or your passenger(s) is seriously injured, pinned, bleeding, or unresponsive, don’t try to move yourself or the passenger. This can make injuries worse. Call 911 immediately or make sure someone else on the scene calls. If you’re not seriously injured, take a few deep breaths and do the following:
The best way to ensure you get the best settlement is to hire an experienced Houston car accident attorney. The Houston car accident lawyers at the Johnson Garcia LLP firm know when insurance companies are trying to take advantage of people to get a claim off their books. We’ll fight for your rights to get you the best settlement. For more information on how to deal with insurance companies after an accident, view our helpful infographic below.
Houston’s roads, freeways, and highways are some of the most dangerous in the nation. The metro area has some of the busiest roads and heaviest traffic of any state.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2018:
While there’s no legal requirement to get a lawyer after a car accident in Houston, there are many benefits of doing so.
Above all else, getting a car accident lawyer ensures that the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you during a difficult time in your life. Your Houston car accident attorney will protect your legal rights as they negotiate aggressively with insurance companies to help ensure you receive all the compensation you may be entitled to after an accident.
Additionally, your car accident lawyer can answer all your questions and provide legal guidance, which allows you to focus more time on your physical recovery.
If you suffer any type of car accident injury, it’s best to consult with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer right away to learn more about your legal options for compensation. You may assume that your insurance policy will cover your injuries, treatment, and other damages, but there’s no guarantee of that happening.
It’s especially best to consult with an attorney immediately after an accident because according to the Texas Statute of Limitations, you only have two years to file a claim. While two years may sound like a long time, car accident claims are complicated processes that require sufficient time for investigation, negotiations, and taking your claim to court if necessary. Don’t delay.
While you may consider it a minor car accident, you could come to find that you suffered hidden or internal car accident injuries that are affecting your health and financial circumstances in several ways. Also keep in mind that some injuries have delayed symptoms that appear days, weeks, or even months later after the accident. The word “minor” means something different to everyone, so don’t take any chances with your health and future financial well-being. At the very least, take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer to learn more about your legal rights, the insurance claims process, and the steps you can take to obtain compensation for any damages.
Texas is an at-fault state so if another party caused your accident, it’s critical to consult with a knowledgeable Houston attorney as soon as possible to begin the legal compensation process. Don’t make the mistake of relying on your insurance company for guidance after a car accident. When you go at it alone, there’s a greater chance of making a mistake, such as agreeing to less compensation than what your case is worth.
You don’t want to leave any money on the table if you’re injured in a car accident in Houston. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to maximize your car accident settlement, starting with a consultation with an experienced Houston car accident attorney. Your attorney will review the details of your accident, allowing them to estimate the total value of all your damages and injuries resulting from the crash.
You can help your attorney estimate the total value of your case by maintaining all evidence of expenses and losses associated with your car accident. These include photographs of your injuries and property damage, records of doctors’ appointments, medical exams, medical bills, car repair and/or replacement costs, and lost income.
There are a variety of contributing factors that can impact the average settlement for a car accident in Houston.
Some of these include: insurance coverage limits, the severity of the accident and your injuries, proving liability, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, and the long-term impact of injuries on your life.
For example, if you suffer minor injuries in a car accident — such as a soft tissue injury — you shouldn’t expect to receive as much compensation as you would with major injuries, such as bleeding on the brain or paralysis.
From $10,000 on the low end to multi-million dollar settlements on the high end, consulting with an experienced Houston car accident attorney will help you better understand what to expect.
Insurance companies take many steps when determining settlement amounts for a car accident in Houston and Texas.
As a general rule of thumb, insurance companies take into consideration special damages and general damages in determining a first settlement offer. The more severe the accident and your injuries, the greater their settlement amount could be.
Of course, insurance companies aren’t as trustworthy as they want you to believe. They’re in the business of saving money, so don’t expect their first settlement offer to be fair.
Just remember: Even though the insurance company is responsible for making a settlement offer, you’re under no obligation to accept. You have the legal right to hire an experienced Houston car accident lawyer who can negotiate or take your case to court if you’re unable to reach common ground.
As tempting as it may be to accept the first settlement offer — as this allows you to put your case in the past — it’s not generally a good idea. And that’s especially true if you’ve yet to consult with an experienced Houston car accident attorney near me.
Insurance companies are known for making lowball offers in hopes that you accept and close your claim. Doing so allows them to save money, which is exactly what they want.
The only time you should accept the first settlement offer is if your attorney suggests that you do so. Otherwise, it’s best to have your attorney enter negotiations.
You’re under no obligation to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company.
If you reject the first settlement offer, your legal team of experienced Houston car accident lawyers will continue to negotiate with the insurance company in hopes of reaching a number that you consider more in line with the amount of your car accident injuries and damages.
Should these negotiations come up short, it may be time to file a Texas personal injury lawsuit. This allows you to take your case to court, where a jury and/or judge decides if you should receive compensation and how much.
Keep in mind that negotiations between your Houston car accident attorney and insurance company may continue, even after you file a lawsuit so you can still reach a settlement before going to trial.
Generally speaking, there are two ways that an insurance settlement is paid out: in a lump sum or as periodic payments, such as once per month or several times per year.
You may have a preference, so this is something to discuss with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer upfront. He/she will keep this in mind as they negotiate the terms and conditions of the settlement with the insurance company.
When it comes to communicating with an auto insurance adjuster, the best thing you can do is remain quiet and avoid discussing details about the accident or your injuries. Better still, rather than talking to the adjuster yourself, refer all correspondence to your Houston car accident lawyer.
Not only does this help you avoid saying the wrong things, but it also shows the insurance company that you’re serious about receiving all the compensation you may be entitled to.
If an auto insurance adjuster contacts you directly, politely decline to speak with them and/or give any recorded statements. Let them know that your attorney is handling all conversations on your behalf.
You hope that your car insurance rates won’t go up as a result of an accident in Houston, but it’s still possible this could happen.
This depends largely on factors such as your driving history, where the accident occurred, your insurance company, and if any liability is placed on you.
For more information, contact your insurance company directly. They can answer your questions and help you understand the impact of your claim on future premiums.
Proving pain and suffering can be a challenge, especially when it comes to car accident injuries that you cannot physically see. However, it’s not impossible.
Some of the documentation you can use to your advantage include: medical bills, medical records, expert testimony, and psychiatric records.
The more documentation you collect, the easier it is for your Houston car accident attorney to prove your pain and suffering.
In the state of Texas, a basic multiplier is used to calculate the value of pain and suffering in a car accident claim.
Both lawyers and insurance companies use a formula that starts with adding up all economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills. The total number is then multiplied on a scale between 1.5 and 5.
For minor accidents and injuries, the multiplier will be on the low end. As the severity increases, so does the multiplier. A multiplier of 5 only comes into play in the most serious of car accident claims. For more information about how your pain and suffering damages may be calculated, consult with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer near you at Johnson Garcia LLP.
In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to accept the first offer from an insurance company. Tips for negotiating a car accident settlement include: gather all necessary accident evidence and injury documentation, maintain accurate records, emphasize any details that work in your favor, get everything in writing, and don’t rush through the process.
Rather than risk making a mistake that ruins your claim, it’s best to rely on an experienced Houston attorney to negotiate a car accident settlement on your behalf. They know how to negotiate aggressively with insurance companies, what to say, what not to say, and when to take a hard stance.
It’s generally better to settle out of court due to the extended time and cost required in taking your car accident case to trial. Not only does this save you time, but it also reduces the amount of stress placed on you during this difficult phase of your life.
Of course, if you’re unable to settle out of court, you shouldn’t shy away from filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your damages. Your Houston car accident lawyer may continue to negotiate with the insurance company before the court date so it’s still possible to settle before going to trial.
Insurance companies make lowball offers for one simple reason: to save money.
If they’re successful, meaning that you accept their lowball offer, they’re able to close the claim without paying out as much money as your case may actually be worth. The more money an insurance company pays out, the less profit they earn.
Insurance companies will continue to make lowball offers as long as car accident victims continue to accept them. Many people do this because they don’t know better and/or they simply want to put this chapter of their life in the past.
The best way to avoid a mistake is to consult with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer. They’ll estimate the full value of your accident claim and negotiate aggressively on your behalf while advising you as to what is and is not a fair offer.
You’d like to think that your insurance adjuster is on your side, but more times than not, adjusters may tell lies in an attempt to settle your car accident injury claim for less than what you may deserve.
Insurance adjusters will tell a variety of lies, such as: your policy doesn’t cover a specific type of loss, you’re obligated to provide a recorded statement, you need to sign a release form to receive payment, and you only have a certain period of time to accept a settlement offer. These lies may land them and the insurance company in hot water regarding bad faith practices.
Knowing that insurance adjusters are not trustworthy can help you take a more cautious approach to the claims process. You can protect by hiring an experienced Houston car accident lawyer to correspond with all insurance company representatives on your behalf.