Houston Car Accident Lawyers
Fighting for Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Have you been hurt in a car accident in the Greater Houston Area? Was the other driver or another party at fault for your crash? If so, you should not be dealing with the aftermath on your own. Instead, allow the experienced Houston car accident lawyers of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, to help.
Our dedicated attorneys can aggressively pursue maximum payment for your medical bills, repairs to your vehicle, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your crash. Don’t let the stress of an auto accident take over your life.
Contact the experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC now. We have nearly four decades of combined experience dealing with combative insurance companies. We will review your case for free, with no obligation to you. We also do not charge any fees upfront to start work on your claim. You only pay us if we recover payment for you.
Liability Laws After a Car Accident in Texas
Texas follows an “at-fault” rule to determine who is liable for a car accident. This means that the motorist responsible for causing an accident is also responsible for paying damages, although this is typically paid through an insurance carrier.
An at-fault system is easy enough to follow for simple car accidents where only one person is at fault, however, the majority of car accident cases the injured driver can be found at fault in some way, no matter how small. For example, the injured driver could have been driving a little bit over the speed limit or have failed to use a turn signal.
In these cases, an injured driver can still recover compensation from the more negligent driver through Texas’ “modified comparative fault” rule. This rule says that an injured party who is partially responsible for an accident can still file a claim, however, whatever percentage of fault they are found to be responsible for will be deducted from the overall compensation awarded to them. For example, if you are found to be 15% at fault for the accident, the total compensation awarded to you will also be reduced by 15%.
Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident cases are often far more complex than they appear. A car accident must be thoroughly investigated to determine who is liable. An experienced car accident attorney, like ours at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, knows how to handle all aspects of the investigation. A lawyer will help gather the relevant evidence to prove how the crash happened, who caused it, and how you should be compensated.
You can count on the car accident lawyers at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC to:
- Immediately launch an investigation into the car crash to preserve evidence
- Work with accident reconstruction professionals to show exactly how the wreck happened and who is at fault
- Handle your property damage claim so can get your car back (or get a replacement vehicle) as soon as possible
- Make sure you have access to the medical specialists you need
- Follow up with your doctors to gather all the necessary medical records and bills to support your claim
- Document the full extent of your losses, including time missed from work, future anticipated treatment needs, and pain and suffering
- Negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies for a full and just settlement
- Take your case to trial if a fair settlement is not reached
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Houston due to someone’s negligence, contact the experienced Texas personal injury lawyers of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Texas car accident laws and how insurance companies fight valid claims. We have the experience and the resources to demand justice for you.
How Much Is Your Houston Car Accident Claim Worth?
Car accident victims typically suffer numerous physical injuries, considerable emotional stress, and significant financial losses. Therefore, there are a number of different types of damages that may be included in your car accident claim. Economic damages, such as medical bills, have a clear price tag. Non-economic damages, such as mental anguish, are harder to quantify.
If you have been severely injured in a car accident in the Greater Houston Area, you may be entitled to multiple types of compensation, including payment for:
- Medical Expenses (Past, Present, and Future): Medical bills are often the costliest expense that a person will have after a car accident. A settlement should cover emergency medical care, hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, prescription medications, and your anticipated future treatment needs.
- Lost Wages: Lost wages involve income that was lost due to taking time off work after the accident. Lost wages are calculated based on the amount of work missed and the paychecks missed during that period.
- Lost Earning Capacity: This involves your ability to earn an income in the future if you cannot return to your regular job due to the injuries you suffered. These damages can be challenging to assess, as they are based on estimates of what you would have earned without the injuries.
- Pain and Suffering: Car accident victims often suffer from emotional and psychological pain and suffering due to their physical injuries. While these damages are more difficult to calculate than other expenses, an experienced attorney will help you document how your injuries have impacted your life overall.
If you have been hurt in a car accident due to someone’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury team at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Texas car accident laws and how insurance companies fight valid claims. We have the experience and the resources to demand justice for you.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
To protect your rights to compensation, take the following steps after your car accident:
- Call 911: It’s critical that law enforcement file a police report. Make sure you obtain a copy of that report, or we can help you get one.
- Take Pictures: Take plenty of pictures or videos from various angles of the scene of the accident. Make sure you get photos of your injuries and the damage to the vehicles, as well.
- Exchange Contact Information: Get the name, contact information, and insurance details for any other drivers involved. If there were eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information.
- Seek Treatment Immediately: Do not wait to get medical care. Go to the ER, urgent care, or your own doctor right away. This will give you the best chance at recovery and ensure your injuries are properly documented. Follow your treatment plan and save all paperwork related to your medical care.
- Consult with a Lawyer: Schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Houston car accident attorney, like ours at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC. An attorney can manage all communication with the insurance companies and the other parties involved.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with Insurance Companies
No matter how helpful insurance adjusters may seem, they are not actually looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies will try to minimize the amount of money paid out on each car accident claim.
Insurance adjusters routinely deny claims or make offers that are only a fraction of the case’s actual value. Keep the following tips in mind when dealing with insurance companies:
- Be careful what you sign. Always carefully read any form or document from an insurance adjuster. Be very cautious of what the other driver’s insurance company asks you to sign. You could sign away your rights. This is why it’s highly recommended that you do not sign anything before consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer.
- Don’t give a recorded statement. The at-fault driver’s insurer may ask you to provide a recorded statement. Don’t do it. They will try to trick you into saying something you don’t intend to and later use the record against you. You have the right to refuse to give a recorded statement.
- Don’t accept a fast payout. Never accept a quick settlement. You might think that your injuries are minor. Then weeks or even months later, you are still coping with symptoms and need additional medical treatment. If you were to accept a quick settlement, you wouldn’t be able to get additional compensation, not even for medical bills, even if your injuries are more severe than you originally thought.
We strongly recommend that you avoid talking to the at-fault party’s insurance company whenever possible. As soon as you can, reach out to an attorney from Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC.
Our team can deal with the insurance company so that you don’t have to. We will handle all communication with insurance adjusters and fight tirelessly to help ensure you receive the full, fair amount you deserve.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of bodily injury in the United States, including catastrophic and fatal injuries.
Common injuries resulting from car accidents include:
- Neck Injuries and Whiplash: An injury to neck muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs, whiplash is among the most common of all car accident injuries. It’s typically caused by a sudden jerking motion and can lead to severe pain, memory issues, lack of concentration, and insomnia, among other symptoms. Accidents may also cause neck fractures and other severe neck injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): An injury that results in bruising, tearing, or other damage to the brain is known as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A mild TBI would be a concussion, which usually heals over a few days. A severe TBI, on the other hand, is typically chronic and can cause a range of life-altering complications.
- Arm and Leg Injuries: The force of a car crash can cause serious injuries to the arms and legs. Be it sprains, strains, crush injuries, or fractures, these injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Often, accident victims will try to brace themselves for the collision, and arms and legs suffer the brunt of the force.
- Chest Injuries: Depending on the impact of the crash, chest injuries can vary from mild to severe. An example of a minor chest injury would be bruising from the seatbelt or airbag. If the crash is severe, it can lead to broken ribs or internal organ damage.
- Back Injuries: The spine is not designed to withstand heavy impact. Back injuries are a common result of car crashes, as are spinal cord injuries and paralysis. The pain and disability associated with a back injury can be severe and long-term.
- Burns: If the vehicle involved in the accident catches fire, occupants can sustain burns. Severe third-degree and fourth-degree burns could require surgery and skin grafting. Some motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes, can also lead to friction burns, or “road rash.”
- Facial Injuries: When an auto occupant’s face strikes the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, or other objects, serious facial injuries occur. This includes fractures, deep cuts, jaw damage, and disfigurement.
- Soft Tissue Damage: When muscles, tendons, or ligaments are torn or stretched during the accident, sprains, strains, and bruising can result. Soft tissue injuries can be painful and may result in a variety of adverse effects.
Have you been injured in an accident? Don't hesitate to contact our team for help today! Initial consultations are always free.
“Mr. Pines is a consummate professional… Mr. Pines always treated me with respect and kindness and you can tell he is a deeply empathetic person. He was always prompt in responding to my emails or phone calls and essentially held my hand through the entire process. I would strongly recommend him to any person.”
The majority of motor vehicle accidents result from the negligent or wrongful conduct of vehicle drivers. Others may occur due to unsafe road conditions, poor roadway maintenance, or even auto defects.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: Cellphones, snacks in the car, video display systems, and other distractions have led to a significant increase in distracted driving accidents in recent years. Drivers who are distracted may take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road, making it harder to see and react in the event of an emergency. Distractions also take a driver’s concentration away from the act of controlling the vehicle, which makes it more difficult to avoid an accident.
- Speeding: Speeding is a significant factor in both causing car accidents and in their resulting injuries. First, drivers moving at high speeds are more likely to lose control of their vehicle and have less margin for error if that occurs. Both of these facts make an accident more likely. Second, the impact force from an accident rises with the speed of the vehicles involved. A more violent impact makes it more likely that drivers and passengers will be seriously injured as a result of the crash.
- Aggressive Driving: Drivers who don’t share the road and act in an aggressive manner are much more likely to cause an accident. Aggressive driving behaviors include following too closely, intentionally stopping short in front of someone, cutting off other vehicles, aggressively using the vehicle’s horn, etc.
- Reckless Driving: While drivers who act in a deliberately aggressive or provocative manner can be very dangerous, drivers who are reckless or careless can be just as harmful. Ignoring speed limits, posted signs, and other traffic laws make a driver much more likely to make a mistake that leads to an accident.
- Drunk Driving: Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Drivers who are intoxicated have slowed reflexes and impaired judgment and are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors. All of these factors make them more likely to cause an accident. A driver who’s severely intoxicated by alcohol may also fall asleep at the wheel, leading to an accident.
- Drug Use: Drivers who abuse illegal narcotics or certain prescription medications will experience many of the same effects as drivers who abuse alcohol. Substances that can increase a driver’s chance of being involved in an accident include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, prescription painkillers, sleep aids, and anti-anxiety medications. Even when used properly, certain medications can compromise driving performance.
- Driver Fatigue: In many ways, drivers who are severely fatigued are just as potentially dangerous as drivers intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. High levels of fatigue impair brain function in much the same way as alcohol or drugs, including slowed reflexes and lapses in judgment. A driver who falls asleep at the wheel, even for just a few seconds, can drift out of his or her lane or hit another vehicle.
- Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way: Ignoring stop signs and yield signs, blowing through red lights, improper merges or lane changes, and other examples of failure to yield all put drivers at risk of a major collision. Drivers should always allow for enough space when passing and merging and yield the right-of-way when required by law or posted signs.
- Following Too Closely: Impatient and aggressive drivers lead to many rear-end accidents because they’re following the vehicle in front of them too closely. Without allowing for sufficient time and space to safely apply the brakes, it’s much harder to avoid rear-end collisions.
- Failure to Signal: Proper use of turn signals is essential to minimizing the chance of an accident on the roads. A driver’s turn signal communicates his or her intentions to other drivers, allowing them to prepare for turns and respond accordingly. Failing to use turn signals makes it harder for other drivers to predict what’s happening, which can lead to a crash.
- Bad Weather: Precipitation on the roads—rain, snow, ice, sleet, etc.—makes it harder for vehicles to maintain traction and stay in control. High winds can also make vehicles harder to safely handle, especially smaller cars. Drivers should prepare carefully when driving in inclement weather and be extra cautious.
- Poor Road Conditions: Cracked road surfaces, potholes, poor signage, broken down safety barriers, and other kinds of road damage can all make it harder for drivers to maintain control and avoid a crash. Additionally, defective road construction or design can lead to dangerous blind curves, missing or unsafe speed limits, and other serious hazards.
The Houston car accident attorneys of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC know how stressful being injured in a wreck can be. We are here to help take the burden off of you by seeking fair compensation for your losses. We fight tirelessly for our clients, even when that means going to court.
Our skilled lawyers are standing by, ready to take your call and discuss your case during a 100% free consultation. We offer Spanish-language services and do not collect any legal fees unless/until we recover a settlement or verdict for you.
Contact us online or call our office at (713) 609-1930 today.
In Texas, you have a limited amount of time to file a car accident lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired, you will lose your right to seek compensation for your damages in court.
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Do not wait to speak with an attorney about your legal rights after a crash. The sooner your legal team can begin preserving evidence, the better.
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What is the minimum insurance coverage in Texas?Texas requires all drivers to carry, at a minimum, bodily injury liability coverage of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident and property damage liability coverage of $25,000 per accident. Auto insurers in Texas are also required to include personal injury protection coverage in every policy, although policyholders may decline such coverage in writing.
What should I do after an accident in Texas?
After you’ve been involved in an accident in Texas, take the following steps to help protect your legal rights:
- Get medical care as soon as possible. In the days and weeks following your accident, make sure you attend all doctor appointments, follow treatment plans, and get the rest you need to help you fully recover.
- Contact a car accident attorney right away. A lawyer can review your case in a free consultation to discuss the accident and go over your legal options and next steps.
- Save copies of all pertinent documentation. This includes the police report, your medical records, bills, receipts for copays, estimates to repair your car, etc.
- Give your attorney any photographs or video you took at the accident scene. Let your lawyer know if you saw that anyone else had a dashcam, or if you noticed surveillance cameras in the area.
- Keep a daily journal about how the accident has affected you. Note any physical difficulties you’re having and any emotional distress you’re suffering as a result of the accident. This will help to show the extent of your pain and suffering.
- Stay off social media. Any updates that you post could potentially be found by the insurance companies or the lawyers on the other side and be used against you.
When do I need a lawyer for a car accident?If you were hurt in a crash that someone else caused, you should definitely speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear quickly after a car accident. Insurance adjusters will also swoop in to begin their work of minimizing the value of your claim. An attorney can review the details of your accident, launch an investigation, help you find medical providers, and manage all communication with insurers and the at-fault party. You can bet that the insurance companies will have attorneys looking out for their best interests from the start. You need a lawyer on your side to pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
What is the Texas law against texting while driving?
Texas law prohibits most kinds of cellphone use while behind the wheel, including:
- All texting—no driver may receive or send electronic messages while driving
- Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from any cellphone use while behind the wheel within the first six months of obtaining their permit
- Drivers may not use any handheld devices while in a school zone
- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices
- School bus drivers are prohibited from any cellphone use when children are present
What is comparative negligence?Comparative negligence is a legal concept that states that an injured accident victim is not prevented from claiming compensation just because they bear a portion of the fault for the accident. However, a partially at-fault injured accident victim will have their compensation reduced in proportion to their share of fault. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule, which only bars an injured accident victim from pursuing a legal claim if the victim bears more than 50 percent of the fault for his or her injuries.
What is the car accident statute of limitations?Texas’s statute of limitations on car accident claims typically requires you to file suit within two years of the date of the accident. This can be stretched in certain circumstances, such as for minor children injured in car accidents, or if the at-fault driver commits a hit-and-run or leaves the state of Texas during the two-year limitations period.
Is Texas a no-fault state?
A “no-fault” state refers to those states where drivers are required to have “personal injury protection” (PIP) or medical payment (MedPay) coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. When drivers get into an accident, they are expected to first look to their own policy’s PIP or MedPay coverage. These policy benefits cover compensation for medical expenses or lost wages even before a claim is filed with the driver at fault for the accident. In addition, in many no-fault states, an accident victim’s ability to pursue compensation for pain and suffering may be limited.
However, Texas is considered an at-fault state, meaning that car accident victims may look to the at-fault party to pay for the full extent of financial and personal losses, including pain and suffering.
How much will a settlement for my car accident be?
The size of a car accident settlement will depend on the severity of your injuries and the policy limits of insurance, among other factors. When you’ve suffered more serious injuries, you will likely require more extensive—and, therefore, more expensive—medical treatment. You may also miss time from work, missing out on income and facing lost earning capacity for the future. A car accident settlement should compensate you for these losses.
In addition, when you’ve suffered more serious injuries, you have a stronger claim to compensation for personal losses, such as pain and suffering or lost quality of life. All of this can greatly increase the size of a settlement.
How long does it take to settle a car insurance claim?
The length of time that any car accident claim will take depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the extent of your losses, and whether liability for the accident is being contested. If the other driver doesn’t challenge their liability for the crash, and if your losses can be calculated at an early stage, it can take as little as a few weeks to settle your car insurance claim.
However, if you will need long-term treatment and recovery, or if the other driver contests liability or argues for your partial or total fault for the accident, it can take many more months to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of your claim. This is especially true if your claim ends up in court or eventually goes all the way to trial.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?Like most personal injury cases, in car accident cases, lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means the attorney recovers no fees if you do not obtain a favorable settlement or verdict. You owe nothing upfront. The car accident lawyer will get a percentage of your settlement or award as the attorney fee.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If an uninsured driver crashes into you, you won’t be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, you may have other options for recovery.
You may be able to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your damages without insurance. Your attorney can investigate the at-fault driver and see if any outlets for recovery exist. For instance, the driver’s employer could be liable for your accident if the driver was on-duty at the time of the crash.
An experienced lawyer will also review your own insurance policy to see whether you may be entitled to file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
What if you are partly at fault for your crash?
Texas uses what is known as a modified comparative fault system for car accident claims. With modified comparative fault, a person could seek compensation for damages caused by the car accident even if they were partly at fault. However, the amount of compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim.
In Texas, you are eligible for compensation as long as you were less than 51% at fault for the car accident. However, if you shared part of the blame, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if your damages totaled $100,000, but you were found to be 40% at fault, your damages would be reduced by 40%, or $40,000. Thus, you would be entitled to $60,000.