If you’re here because you have recently suffered injuries due to a car crash in or near Houston, let us first say that we are truly sorry for what you’re going through.
We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family. Your only job right now is to focus on healing – both mentally and physically – from your accident.
As your Houston car accident lawyers, our job is to make your life easier. That includes helping you secure the best medical care, getting your car repaired or replaced, gathering evidence to support your car accident case, negotiating with the insurance company, and ultimately, fighting to get you financial compensation that is just and fair.
Our law firm exists to help you pick up the pieces after a car wreck and move on with your life.
We’re proud to be rated among the best car accident lawyers in Houston
Do you have a strong car accident injury claim?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident in the Houston area, please consider these two questions:
- Did your accident result in injuries?
- Was your accident caused by negligence of the other driver?
When you contact our law firm, you’ll speak to one of our helpful staff members who will listen to the specifics of your auto accident.
If we determine that you have a viable case, we will take you on as a client on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Contacting us is 100% free and does not obligate you to anything.
Here are several examples of our recent auto accident case results:
Below we’ve provided details of a few of our recent auto accident case results. To see more sample case results click here.
Answers to your car accident questions
Being in a car accident is traumatic enough, but the hard part often comes after the car accident when you are forced to deal with the aftermath.
Many of our clients come to us with questions about what to do after a car accident, and are unsure about what steps to take.
Here, we have answered some of the questions we are most frequently asked by people like you who have been in a car accident in Houston.
Q: What should I do after a car accident?
The lists below contain pro tips from attorney Hank Stout on what you must do after an auto accident in Houston.
- Move to safety. Bodily safety is always the first priority. Make sure you vacate a busy road and get yourself to safety before proceeding with collecting information.
- Call the police. Make sure the authorities collect data on the scene, as they will be able to help you file a police report. For accidents on private property, the police will not likely create a report, but you can nevertheless file a report regarding what occurred.
- Exchange information. Photograph the other person’s driver’s license, proof of insurance and license plate. Make sure you have all of the necessary information for identification and insurance purposes.
- Take pictures of the scene. After a car accident, photographic evidence will be instrumental in proving who was at fault for the collision. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, their positioning on the road, and the damage to each vehicle. Make sure you have everything you need to prove the facts of the collision.
- Watch what you say. Insurance companies will do everything they can to blame you for the collision, so don’t say anything that could be used against you. Do not indicate fault, even by saying “My bad” or “I’m sorry”. Any statement, no matter how small, can be used against you. Make note of what the other driver says as well.
- Medical attention. If you are feeling pain as a result of the collision, DO NOT WAIT to see if the pain will go away. See a doctor as soon as possible. This will serve to help you on your road to recovery, as well as protect you from the insurance company claiming that your injuries weren’t too bad because you waited to see a doctor.
- Set up a claim. Call both your insurance company and the at-fault insurance company to start the process of setting up a claim as soon as possible.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company. The at-fault insurance company may ask you to give a recorded statement. You are under no obligation to do this regardless of what they may say. It will only serve to hurt your case in the long run.
- Know your coverage. When calling your insurance company, make sure to get them to explain to you your available coverage. You need to have an understanding of what protections you are entitled to, and the specific areas for which you are insured. For example, ask about rental coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection coverage. A clearer understanding of your exact coverage will lead to a more comprehensive settlement.
- The claims process. Learn about the insurance company’s claims process and decide if you think you need help in navigating the process to make sure you get a fair result.
Q: How much will a car accident lawyer cost me?
Most car 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.
Q: How long after my car accident do I have to file a claim?
The statute of limitations is a procedural rule that requires lawsuits to be filed within a specified time period.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is generally two years from the date of the accident.
There are some exceptions to this rule, but only an experienced car accident lawyer can tell you whether these exceptions apply to your case.
Because the Texas statute of limitations will disqualify you from filing a lawsuit if you miss the deadline, it’s important that you talk to an accident lawyer right away after a car accident.
The Texas statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is found at Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003.
Q: What legal claims do I have if I have been involved in a collision?
Depending on how serious your car accident was, you may have a number of civil claims that arise from the collision.
If you were injured in a car accident, you may have a claim for negligence against the driver or party responsible for your injuries. If someone hurt you while driving irresponsibly, he or she can be held accountable for money damages if a court finds that his or her conduct was negligent.
You may also be able to recover money to compensate you for damaged property. If the other driver was reckless or caused your accident intentionally, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are substantial damage awards granted by courts to deter bad conduct.
A car accident lawyer can help you better understand what claims are available to you based on the specific details of your case.
Q: What types of insurance are available to me for my claim?
Whether insurance will cover the property damage and/or injuries you suffered as a result of your car accident depends not only on your insurance policy, but on that of the other driver’s.
A car accident lawyer can review your policy to determine whether insurance will cover your injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Q: Can I handle this without a lawyer?
If you were involved in a very minor car accident, you may not need to hire a 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 lawyer.
Q: Can I recover for my medical bills?
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover the costs of your medical bills.
This includes not only the costs of the treatment you needed immediately after an accident, but the costs of medical treatment you may require in the future.
We understand that medical bills can be very expensive and difficult to deal with. This is one reason why it is so important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as quickly as possible after your case.
A car accident lawyer can help secure funds to pay for necessary and costly medical treatment.
Q: Can I recover for my lost wages?
If you missed work as a result of your car accident, you may be able to recover money to compensate you for lost wages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If your earning capacity was permanently reduced as a result of your injuries, you may also be able to recover damages to account for the earnings you will lose over time.
It can be difficult to calculate the exact amount of wages you are owed. A car accident lawyer can help calculate the amount of wages you are owed, and will fight for your right to be compensated for your lost income in court.
Q: What if I can’t work as a result of my injuries?
If you cannot work as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits. Even if you receive disability benefits, you may still be entitled to recoup lost wages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Securing disability benefits after a serious injury can be a very complicated and lengthy process. To discuss whether you are entitled to receive such benefits, contact our office today.
Q: 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.
Q: What should I look for in a 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 a lawyer who will aggressively pursue your claims. Make sure your lawyer has experience trying cases before a jury, as well as negotiating favorable settlements for his or her clients outside of court. Ask your lawyer to discuss their techniques with you.
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 lawyer, you have the right to terminate the relationship.
Q: 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 car accident 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 car accident lawyer can help.
Q: What are my rights concerning repairs to my vehicle?
If your vehicle was damaged in a car accident, whether you are entitled to have it repaired or replaced depends on the insurance policies of the parties involved in the accident (including your own).
If you feel as though your insurance company, or the insurance company of the another driver, is denying your claims for vehicle repairs in bad faith, a car accident lawyer may be able to help.
In many cases, insurance companies will try to avoid paying repair costs. If you have been denied a claim for car repairs after a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer right away.
Q: Is the at-fault driver’s insurance company required to provide me a rental car?
Whether the at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to provide you with a rental car depends on his or her insurance policy.
A car accident lawyer can review the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to determine whether you are being unfairly denied access to a rental car after an accident.
You may also be able to obtain a rental car through your own insurance provider. If you need help with this process, contact a car accident attorney today.
Q: What happens if my car is totaled?
If your car is totaled, you may be able to recover the fair market value of your car right before the accident occurred by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
In the meantime, you will need to secure alternate means of transportation. You may be able to obtain a rental car through your insurance policy or that of the other driver.
Depending on the policies, you may also be entitled to receive a check in the amount of your vehicle’s fair market value to replace your car.
If your car was totaled in a car accident, a lawyer can help you navigate the often complicated process of obtaining a replacement vehicle.
Q: What if I owe more than my car is worth?
If your car is considered a “total loss” (or “totaled”) after a car accident and you still owe money on the vehicle, you are not relieved of your obligation to make your car payments.
Ideally, you will receive a check after your car accident from your insurance company (or the other party’s insurance company) that covers the amount of money you still owe on the car.
However, the value of a vehicle is not determined by the balance of the car loan. Instead, it is determined by the fair market value of your car right before the accident. You may end up still owing money on a vehicle that has been destroyed in a car accident.
If you are concerned about making payments on a vehicle that was totaled in a car accident, a car accident lawyer may be able to help. Contact us today to discuss your options.
Q: If my health insurance is paying for my medical bills, do I have to pay it back?
You may be required to reimburse your health insurance provider or Medicare after winning a personal injury lawsuit or settling the lawsuit out of court. Whether you are required to do this depends on a number of factors.
A lawyer can help you understand whether you must repay your health insurance provider after a personal injury lawsuit or settlement, and how to go about doing so.
Q: How long will my auto 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.
Q: 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.
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.
Q: What if I don’t have a doctor?
If you do not have a doctor, we may be able to help you find one. Contact us today to discuss options for your treatment.
Q: 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. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and recover the money you deserve.
Houston Roads Are Among the Most Congested in Texas
Each year the Texas A&M Transportation Institute ranks the 100 most congested roadways in Texas. According to their 2017 study, Harris County is home to six of the top 10 most congested roads in the state. The six Harris County roads on the list are likely all too familiar to Houston drivers:
- W Loop Fwy / IH 610
- Southwest Fwy / IH 69 / US 59
- Eastex Fwy / IH 69 / US 59
- Katy Fwy / IH10 / US90
- Gulf Fwy/ IH 45
- North Fwy / IH 45
The trend observed by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is that growth-induced traffic gridlock is getting worse every year. Simply put, busier Houston roads create more opportunities for serious car accidents.
And if ever increasing traffic weren’t enough for drivers to contend with, the data shows that accidents caused by distracted drivers are also on the rise.
Distracted Driving Crashes in Houston Are on the Rise
We’ve all seen it (and some of us are guilty of it ourselves): Drivers cruising down Houston highways at 70 MPH staring directly at their cell phone. While there are many different forms of distractions that can contribute to car accidents, none are more common or more distracting than cell phone use.
Last year we surveyed over 900 Texas drivers, asking the simple question: How often do you use your phone while driving? We were surprised when 60% of respondents answers that they never use their phone while driving:
Crash data from the Texas Department of Transportation suggests that many in that 60% group may not be telling the truth. According to our analysis of raw crash data, crashes caused by distracted drivers have increased each year from 2012 to 2016:
Distracted Driving Crash Increases in Houston from 2012-2016
Crashes in 2012: 5,998
Crashes in 2013: 6,605
Crashes in 2014: 7,276
Crashes in 2015: 7,319
Crashes in 2016: 7,373
Doing the math…
From 2012 to 2016 the total number of distracted driving car accidents in Houston has increased each year. There were 1,375 more distracted driving crashes in 2016 than 2012, which is an increase of nearly 20%.
Drunk Driving Causes Thousands of Crashes in Houston Every Year
The dangerous of drunk driving are well known. The impairment caused by alcohol consumption frequently leads to devastating vehicle collisions which often result in incapacitating injuries and even deaths.
We recently examined crash data from the Texas Department of Transportation to answer the question: Which Texas cities have the highest drunk driving fatality rates?
Unfortunately, Houston clocked in at #9 on that list with a devastating 4.36 annual drunk driving deaths per 100,000 residents:
Sutliff & Stout are Experienced Houston Car Accident Attorneys
If you were seriously injured in a car accident and live in Houston or the surrounding areas, call Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm today for a free and confidential case review.
Our lawyers will work with you every step of the way and will be dedicated to helping you secure the compensation you deserve.