Award-Winning Car Accident Lawyers in Houston, TX

Sutliff & Stout Injury & Accident Law Firm has been recognized as one of the top 3 personal injury law firms in Houston, Texas, and has helped thousands of individuals with their car accident claims. Our founders, Graham Sutliff and Hank Stout, are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and have been recognized by Thomson Reuters as Super Lawyers in the State of Texas. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.

We know that you are going through a lot and likely have a lot of questions. This Houston car accident page was designed to answer some of the more common questions we receive and to help you understand how the process works. Our Houston car accident lawyers are also here seven days a week to answer any questions you may have about your particular car accident claim or your legal situation. We offer free initial consultations and you don’t pay anything unless we are able to get a recovery for you. Call 713-987-7111 and speak to one of our car accident lawyers today.

Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident in the Houston area, please consider these two questions:

1. Did your accident result in injuries?
2. Was your accident caused by negligence of the other driver?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, it’s in your best interest to give us a call, shoot us a text, or send us an email to discuss your car accident injury case.

We’re proud to be rated among the best car accident law firms in Houston

Not ready to talk to a car accident lawyer? No problem. This page has tons of useful information that will help you understand the car accident claim process and what you should do next.

Houston Car Accident Resources

Hear From Real Sutliff & Stout Clients

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Stephanie J.

I would recommend them to anyone searching for a PI lawyer…

Mr. Stout and Andrea were the greatest help during our lawsuit. They were very informative and empathetic. My sister and I never imagined going through an accident involving an 18 wheeler but I am very thankful that the Sutliff and Stout firm was able to take on our case. I would recommend them to anyone searching for a PI lawyer.

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Carl D.

The staff was warm and welcoming and felt like family…

I’m very satisfied. Hank and Natisha offered great hospitality, and the staff was warm and welcoming and felt like family. They explained the entire process to me so that I knew what was happening every step of the way. I would recommend Sutliff & Stout to anyone who has been in a car accident.

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Beth S.

Words cannot express the kindness of these two attorneys…

I have had the pleasure of working with both Hank and Graham at Sutliff & Stout Law Firm. Words cannot express the kindness of these two attorneys. The empathy for their clients, their analytical ability to solve problems wholeheartedly and their abilities to fight for their clients with accuracy, honesty, and integrity.

To learn more about what you can expect from being represented by Sutliff & Stout,
check out dozens of positive client reviews on Google, Avvo, Facebook, and Lawyers.com.

See All Client Testimonials

What Are The Most Common Types of Accidents?

Many types of accidents plague the roads of Texas. Every car collision is different and results in various types of injuries. Depending on the type of car crash, the victim can end up with life-altering damages. The following are the types of car accidents that frequent Houston roads, highways, and even neighborhoods.

Drunk driving

Distracted driving

Rear-End Crashes

Head-on Collisions

Rollover Accidents

Single-Vehicle Crashes

Chain Reaction Accidents

Accidents Involving Commercial Tractor-Trailer Trucks

Crashes Caused by Dangerous Road Hazards

Crashes Caused by Defective Vehicles

Uninsured/‎Underinsured Accidents

What Are The Most Common Types of Auto Accident Injuries?

One of the main consequences of car accidents is injuries. Depending on the type of crash and the impact, auto collisions can affect any part of the body and can lead to an injury, whether it be minor or severe.

Car accident injuries occur when a moving vehicle suddenly collides with something, causing your body to stay in motion while the vehicle stops. Whenever this happens, a part of your body will violently hit an object or jerk in an aggressive manner, resulting in traumatic injuries. No matter how many safety protections you have, injuries will occur. In some cases, an airbag or a seat belt may inflict additional damage to your person. All injuries will require treatment, ranging from a matter of weeks to several months, depending on the type of injury. In some cases, injuries are permanent and victims are left with life-changing consequences.

Below is a list of common car accident injuries inflicted on victims during a car accident.

Scrapes and Cuts

Whiplash

Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury

Burn Injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries

Internal Injuries

Broken Bones

Emotional Injuries

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

The events that immediately follow a car accident are crucial for your insurance claim compensation. If you become a victim of a car accident, be sure to follow the next ten steps in order for you to have a successful insurance claim for your car accident case.

1. Move to safety.
2. Call the police.
3. Exchange information.
4. Take pictures of the scene.
5. Watch what you say.
6. Medical attention.

7. Set up a claim.
8. Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company.
9. Know your coverage.
10. The claims process.

Proving Negligence or Fault
in a Houston Auto Accident Case

To hold someone responsible for an auto accident, you or your lawyer must show that the person or company was negligent. Negligence means failing to act as a reasonable person would have in the same or similar circumstances. For the most part, the law doesn’t define what is or is not reasonable. Instead, it is up to the judge or jury to decide based on the facts and circumstances involved in the car accident. This is where we recommend you get a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX who knows what they are doing and what needs to be done to make sure you are successful with your claim.

Determining Who Is at Fault

In many cases, after a car wreck, the insurance company will refuse to take full responsibility for the collision even when the insured is clearly at-fault. Because Texas is a modified comparative fault state (i.e. a person’s recovery can be reduced by the percentage that he or she is at-fault for the collision and if the person’s fault is equal to or greater than 51% than his or her recovery is completely barred) auto insurance companies will often attempt to limit your recovery by claiming that you are at fault for the collision. Don’t accept this arbitrary reduction.

The Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyers at Sutliff & Stout can help you prove that the other person was at fault and that you bear no responsibility for the collision. Our Houston car accident attorneys have tried and true methods of establishing exactly what occurred and holding the at-fault person accountable. Some of these methods include the following:

  • Gathering public records;
  • Getting copies of 911 calls;
  • Surveying the scene and surrounding area for surveillance;
  • Obtaining body and dashcam video from law enforcement agencies;
  • Retaining experts to inspect the scene and vehicles; and
  • Having an expert download the ECM (“black box”) on the vehicles involved in the collision.

When it is in your best interest, our car accident lawyers in Houston, TX will file suit so that we can subpoena records, conduct discovery, and take depositions. If the insurance company refuses to be fair, our car accident attorneys will take your case to trial so that a jury of your peers can decide what is fair.

What Documents Do I Need After a Car Accident in Houston?

As noted above, there are three categories to consider when evaluating the strength of your car accident claim. When you are putting together what you need for your automobile accident claim, it is helpful to use those three categories—fault, damages, and ability to pay—when gathering records and evidence to present your claim in the most favorable manner. Keep in mind that paper is your friend. This simply means that it is best to document everything. Insurance companies won’t take your word for it; they must see something on paper so they can document their file. The following is a list of things that you will want to gather, if possible, to help demonstrate and prove that the other person was responsible for the collision.

What is needed to show the other person is at fault for the car accident?

  • Police report
  • Pictures of the scene and vehicle damage
  • 911 call recordings
  • Surveillance
  • Phone records
  • Miscellaneous records

What is needed to show the extent of your damages?

  • Medical and billing records associated with the car accident
  • Insurance records
  • Prior medical records
  • Payroll records
  • Pictures

What is needed to help determine a person’s ability or the coverage available for your car accident?

Most insurance companies will not provide information about their insured’s insurance policy unless you file a lawsuit against their insured. However, you can still gather information to understand what you are dealing with. First, you should figure out your own insurance situation by getting a copy of your declarations page so you can understand what type of coverage is available to you. Lots of folks say they have full coverage, but they don’t fully understand what coverage they have. In Texas, in addition to liability coverage, you can have coverage for the damage to your vehicle, underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), uninsured motorist coverage (UM), personal injury protection (PIP), med pay, and accidental death benefits. Once you have a copy of your declarations page, you will know what coverage you have. If your insurance company says you don’t have UM/UIM or PIP coverage, you need to ask for the signed rejection of such coverage. If no such document exists, the insurance company must provide you with UIM/UM and PIP coverage.

7. Set up a claim.
8. Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company.
9. Know your coverage.
10. The claims process.

Here are several examples of
our recent Houston auto accident case results:

  • $2,300,000.00

    Car Accident Settlement

    Sutliff & Stout successfully resolved a case against Russell Transport, Inc. relating to a head-on collision. As a result of the collision, our client had to have back surgery. Using an aggressive and proactive approach to the case, we were able to successfully resolve the matter for $2,300,000.00 in less than nine months. Net recovery to the client was $1,320,000.00
  • $2,300,000.00

    Car Accident Settlement

    Sutliff & Stout successfully resolved a case against Russell Transport, Inc. relating to a head-on collision. As a result of the collision, our client had to have back surgery. Using an aggressive and proactive approach to the case, we were able to successfully resolve the matter for $2,300,000.00 in less than nine months. Net recovery to the client was $1,320,000.00
  • $2,300,000.00

    Car Accident Settlement

    Sutliff & Stout successfully resolved a case against Russell Transport, Inc. relating to a head-on collision. As a result of the collision, our client had to have back surgery. Using an aggressive and proactive approach to the case, we were able to successfully resolve the matter for $2,300,000.00 in less than nine months. Net recovery to the client was $1,320,000.00

Texas Car
Accident Laws

Every state in the United States has its own set of laws by which citizens must abide. For the state of Texas and people who get involved in a car accident, it’s important to know these laws to determine the outcome of the insurance or accident injury claim.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injury Claims

According to Sec. 16.003 of Texas’ statute of limitation on negligence and personal injury:

“A person must bring suit for trespass for injury to the estate or to the property of another, conversion of personal property, taking or detaining the personal property of another, personal injury… not later than two years after the day of the cause of actions accrues.”

In other words, you have two years to file a personal injury claim after a car accident in Texas. The time to file begins the day the accident took place. It includes all injuries related to the accident, whether it be a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident. Even if there were no injuries and only property damage occurred, the two-year limit still stands. The exception to the rule is if the person is a minor.

The statute of limitations applies to all personal injury claims, from slip-and-falls to car accidents to even dog bites. Texas is strict on its statute of limitations and there are rarely any exceptions to the rule.

It is important to file within the two-year mark due to affirmative defense. This means the statute of limitations only applies if the party being sued asserts it. If you do file a claim after the statute of limitations, the defense party will argue that your claim is barred since you waited until after the two-year limit. Additionally, the defense can file a motion to have your case dismissed. The courts may grant this motion, since you failed to timely pursue your claims. It is also important to note that to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim is 4 years because this claim is a breach of contract claim.

Insurance Requirements

When it comes to car accidents, Texas’ statute of limitations applies to civil personal injury lawsuits only. It does not apply to when you should contact your insurance company. Indeed, the deadlines are entirely separate.

When filing a claim with your insurance provider, most companies require that it be done as soon as possible after the car accident, but this will be discussed in your individual insurance agreement. The timeline can be found in the details of your insurance policy or possibly on your provider’s website.

Is Texas an At-Fault State?

Texas is an at-fault state, so that means you can file an insurance claim or suit against the driver who is “at fault,” or someone responsible for the damages and injuries in a car accident. At-fault drivers can cover the damages by purchasing liability insurance. There are minimum limits with liability insurance, which are:

  • $30,000 for each injured person;
  • $60,000 total for injuries per incident;
  • $25,000 for property damage

Within 15 days of receiving your information, the insurance company must accept or reject your claim. If they reject your claim, they are required to explain why. If they accept any part of your claim, they are required to issue payment within five business days.

There are also laws if you and the other driver are both at fault for the accident. This is called modified comparative fault and this allows the claimant to recover damages as long as he or she was 50% or less at fault. The courts will determine the percentage through investigation of the crash in question. After investigating, the courts will reduce the claimant’s compensation by a percentage that matches the claimant’s amount of fault.

Additional Texas Laws

While statute of limitations and insurance requirements are vital to know, here are other laws Texas residents should be aware of:

Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death

According to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 550.021.,

(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person shall:

(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;

(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident;

(3) immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident and if a person is involved in the accident, whether that person requires aid; and

(4) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.

(b) An operator of a vehicle required to stop the vehicle by Subsection (a) shall do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of this section. An offense under this section:

(1) involving an accident resulting in:

(A) death of a person is a felony of the second degree;  or

(B) serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, to a person is a felony of the third degree;  and

(2) involving an accident resulting in injury to which Subdivision (1) does not apply is punishable by:

(A) imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year;

(B) a fine not to exceed $5,000;  or

(C) both the fine and the imprisonment or confinement.

Accident Involving Damage to Vehicle

According to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 550.022.,

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:

(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary;

(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident;  and

(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.

(b) If an accident occurs on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of a freeway in a metropolitan area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move the operator’s vehicle as soon as possible to a designated accident investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location to complete the requirements of Section 550.023 and minimize interference with freeway traffic.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (a).  An offense under this subsection is:

(1) a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200;  or

(2) a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more.

(c-1) A person commits an offense if the person does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (b).  An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d) In this section, a vehicle can be normally and safely driven only if the vehicle:

(1) does not require towing;  and

(2) can be operated under its own power and in its usual manner, without additional damage or hazard to the vehicle, other traffic, or the roadway.

Immediate Report of Accident

According to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 550.026.,

(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the:

(1) local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality;

(2) local police department or the sheriff’s office if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or (3) sheriff’s office or the nearest office of the department if the accident is not required to be reported under Subdivision (1) or (2)…

Under Texas Transportation Code section 550.026, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident must immediately (“by the quickest means of communication”) report the accident to the local police department (if the accident occurred in a municipality) or to the local sheriff’s office (if the crash occurred outside a municipality) of the crash resulted in:

injury or death of any person, or

damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be safely driven from the scene.

Determining the Settlement Value of a Car Accident Injury Case

When determining what your car accident claim is worth or the value of your damages, you must understand the law and the medicine associated with your injuries. Then you must articulate such damages in an admissible form. Insurance companies won’t just take your word for it; you must show them. If you were injured in a car accident, here are some things you or your car accident attorney in Houston, TX should consider:

Medical Expenses

Lost Wages

Pain and Suffering

What Should I Look Out for When Dealing with
the Insurance Company?

The insurance adjuster is not your friend and is not on your side (regardless of what the commercial says). Insurance companies only make money in two ways:
1) collecting premiums, and
2) paying as little as possible towards claims. Make no mistake the adjuster’s primary function is to pay you as little as possible on your claim. If you decide to handle your car accident claim on your own, here are some things to watch for.

  • Quick settlement
  • Liens
  • Recorded statements
  • Delaying
  • Refusing to cover the care you need after your car accident
  • Arbitrary allocation of fault

If you are dealing with some of these problems after your car accident, fear not, because help is just a phone call away. Our car accident attorneys are well versed in handling and addressing these unfair tactics. And when the insurance company refuses to be fair with you after your car accident, our accident lawyers can help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to hold the person accountable for what occurred. Remember, just because the car insurance company says it, doesn’t make it true. Under our justice system, the jury has the final say regarding who was at fault for the collision and the value of your damages as a result of your car accident.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases

How much will a car accident lawyer in Houston cost me?

Most Houston accident attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis.

When a lawyer represents a client under a contingency fee agreement, the client does not pay the lawyer any money unless his or her claim is successful.

If the client’s claim is successful, the lawyer collects a fixed amount of money from the settlement or verdict awarded to the client. This amount is generally calculated as a percentage of the award.

Our lawyers can help you better understand how a contingency fee case works, so do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Remember, you pay nothing unless your lawsuit is successful.

Can I handle this without a car accident lawyer?

If you were involved in a very minor car accident, you may not need to hire an auto accident lawyer. But if anyone was injured in your car accident, or there was serious property damage, you should probably hire a lawyer.

Related Article: Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

An experienced car accident attorney will help protect your rights in court and during the settlement negotiation process. At Sutliff & Stout, we pursue all available forms of compensation for our clients who have been involved in car accidents.

Often, car accident lawsuits involve complicated legal claims. Therefore, we typically recommend that you do not proceed without a car accident lawyer.

How long will my car accident case take?

How long it will take to settle a claim through insurance or to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to completion depends on a number of factors.

Related Article: What Is the Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case?

These factors include the seriousness of your accident, whether you or others were injured in the accident and how badly, the total amount of property damage or loss caused by the accident, and whether all the parties involved in your accident were insured.

Typically, a personal injury lawsuit takes between one and two years from filing to completion. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, the other party may wish to settle the lawsuit before it reaches court. This can save everyone involved a lot of time and money.

There is no way to predict exactly how long your claim will take, but a car accident attorney may be able to provide some guidance. Contact our office today to discuss your case.

What types of damages are recoverable?

If you were injured in a car accident, you will likely be able to make a claim for the following types of damages:

  • Past and future medical treatment, including ongoing care by specialists, caused by the collision.
  • Lost wages for missed work and loss of future income if your earning capacity has been diminished.
  • Compensation for damage to your vehicle and other personal property.
  • Past and future pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of your injuries.

If you have a more specific question about your damages, we suggest you give us a call for a free consultation.

What should I look for in a Houston car accident lawyer?

The lawyer-client relationship is a very important one. You should look for a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable communicating.

Related Article: Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Ask if the lawyer has experience handling cases similar to yours. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from past clients.

In personal injury cases, it is important to have an attorney who will aggressively pursue your claims. Make sure your car accident attorney has experience trying cases before a jury, as well as negotiating favorable settlements for his or her clients outside of court.

Be sure that you are clear on how much your lawyer plans to charge you if your case is successful. Your lawyer should never be unresponsive to these types of questions.

If you ever feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with your car accident lawyer, you have the right to terminate the relationship.

What if I don’t have medical insurance?

If you were injured in a car accident and do not have medical insurance, you should contact a lawyer right away.

You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to have the necessary funds available to pay for your medical treatment.

Medical bills can be very expensive. Many people are forced to file bankruptcy as a result of unmanageable medical bills. If you do not have health insurance, a compassionate and experienced Houston car accident attorney can help.

What if the other driver doesn't have insurance?

Texas law requires all people who drive in Texas to pay for the accidents they cause. Most drivers do this by buying auto liability insurance, also known as car insurance.

Texas specifies a minimum amount for all drivers. The current minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage.

Related Article: Texas Car Insurance Requirements

If the other driver involved in your car accident doesn’t have insurance, or was underinsured at the time of the accident, we can help you file a civil lawsuit against the driver to recover money damages.

Sometimes, this is the only way to get you the money you deserve to compensate you for your injuries and other losses.

If you have insurance, you may have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as part of your policy. This means that your insurance company will help cover some or all of the costs of your accident if it was caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Getting in an accident with an uninsured driver can lead to complicated legal proceedings. Our Houston car accident attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and recover the money you deserve.

Should I go to the doctor?

We recommend that you go to the doctor after a car accident, even if it’s just for a precautionary check-up. Often, people don’t realize that they may have been injured in a car accident.

The symptoms of common car accident injuries like whiplash, back and neck injuries, and muscle stiffness may take time to develop. If left untreated, some of these injuries can become worse over time.

After visiting the doctor, it will be determined what treatments such as surgery or physical therapy are needed for your recovery. Make sure to ask for copies of your medical records and any billing statements associated with your medical care. These records will be important to have on hand during the insurance claims process, as well as if you file a personal injury lawsuit.

What it’s Like Being a Client

If you have been in a car accident, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous about this new process. Our car accident attorneys understand these feelings and what you are going through and we are here to help. From the moment you call our office, our staff and car accident lawyers will listen to you and try to understand your particular situation. We understand that every person’s situation is different and requires a personalized approach to effectively assist that person through the process. While we cannot undo what has occurred, we can help you through the car accident claims process and help you get the medical treatment you need to get on the road to recovery. Our car accident lawyers will walk you through the process and explain each aspect of the process to you. We do this so that you can make the best decision for you and your family as to how to proceed after a car accident.

To schedule a free consultation, give us a call, shoot us a text, or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speak With Our Board-Certified Houston Car Accident Attorneys Today

The Sutliff & Stout Law Team understands the logistics and intricate legalities that are involved in a car accident case. We know how to investigate a case, speak with insurance companies and, when they’re being difficult, file a lawsuit if need be. The lawsuit and claim process is lengthy and tiresome, so having a Houston car accident attorney on your side will be in your favor for your case.

The team at Sutliff & Stout is committed to the care and safety of our clients and justice in their cases. We fight to recover the maximum compensation available for our clients, and we won’t stop until we do. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Houston or the adjacent areas, do not wait to contact our law firm. Call us at 713-987-7111 for a free, noobligation consultation with the Board-Certified car accident lawyers from Sutliff & Stout.
If you’re looking for a competent and experienced attorney to build a viable case, look no further than the top-rated team at Sutliff & Stout. We are Board-Certified personal injury attorneys guided by a passion for serving others and the belief that everyone deserves competent legal representation. Our firm is recognized by Texas Super Lawyers and has been named one of the National Trial Lawyers 40 under 40. Over the years, we have won our clients millions of dollars in settlements and will work tirelessly to do the same for you.

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