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02/14/2022

From distracted driving to DUI, speeding, etc., negligent drivers cause some of the most devastating motor vehicle accidents in Houston. Not only do these collisions cause property damage and bodily injury, but the accident victims also die in some cases. If you're lucky enough to survive an auto crash, a personal injury attorney in Houston, Texas can help you navigate this challenging situation.

They will help you get maximum compensation to cover your financial and non-economic damages. However, hiring legal representation doesn't absolve you of your responsibilities in the accident claim. There are specific actions you must take to improve your chances of success in your case. It all starts when you realize that you are in an automobile accident.

If you're wondering how you can help your case after a road crash, we've got you. This article discusses your primary responsibilities in a traffic collision. Your accident attorneys will offer you further legal guidance.

What Are The Different Types of Traffic Crashes?

As we mentioned earlier, different reckless actions like drunk driving can result in severe road accidents. These crashes occur in different ways, with some being more dangerous than others. We'll discuss the most common ones below:

  • Head-On Collisions 

Head-on accidents are among the most dangerous auto crash cases in Houston. This type of accident can be highly fatal, especially if the at-fault driver moves at unsafe speeds. 

Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash into each other. As such, it's the front-ends of the automobiles that experience the most damage. Head-on accidents are also called frontal crashes.

Many times, frontal collisions happen because one driver is on the wrong side of the road. It may also be due to unexpected mechanical faults like brake failure. However, many times, it's because the negligent party was inexperienced, drunk, drowsy, or distracted.

Common injuries in a head-on accident include traumatic brain injuries, burns, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc. Accident victims may sustain internal injuries and severe lacerations from broken windows and flying objects. 

  • Rear-End Accidents

A rear-end accident is the opposite of a head-on crash. First, in a rear-end collision, a vehicle crashes into the automobile in front or behind it. Secondly, in this type of accident, both cars were moving in the same direction. As such, the front-end of one motor vehicle hits the rear of the other vehicle and vice-versa.

Rear-end collisions are typically due to tailgating, distracted driving, speeding, low visibility, etc. Arm and wrist injuries, neck strains, whiplash, and back injuries are common wounds associated with this type of crash. Like with every other kind of auto accident, injuries from rear-end crashes can be life-altering or fatal.

  • Vehicle Rollovers 

In a rollover accident, a vehicle trips over its sides or turns upside down on its roof. Although not as common as other accident types, this type of crash can be fatal. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that rollover accidents accounted for 28% of all passenger vehicle fatalities in 2019

There are two types of vehicle rollovers—tripped and untripped rollovers. Tripped rollovers are more common. They happen when the car hits an external object that makes it roll over. In untripped rollovers, the vehicle turns over because of friction, speed, or steering input.

  • Side-Impact Crashes 

As the name implies, side-impact crashes affect the sides of one or more automobiles in the accident. They're also called T-bone or broadside collisions. T-bone accidents form a "T" shape at the point of impact.

This type of crash is extremely dangerous because there are only a few barriers to absorb the impact. That's because the collision point is typically at the driver's or passengers' sides. This is unlike the automobile's front end, where the motorist is a considerable distance away from the impact site.

Broadside crashes usually happen when the responsible party refuses to yield the right of way at an intersection. Refusal to obey stop signs can also result in this type of accident. Side-impact collisions can cause chest pain, abdominal and spinal cord injuries. They can also lead to punctured eardrums, traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and internal bleeding.

  • Sideswipe Accidents

A sideswipe crash affects the opposite sides of two vehicles. It happens when the right side of one car hits the left side of another car as they travel in the same direction. This typically occurs when an automobile is changing lanes or merging into traffic. 

Sideswipe accidents are usually a result of speeding, intoxication, road rage, improper lane changes, and driver inattention. A merging driver can cause a sideswipe crash by taking too long or refusing to use a turn signal. Injuries from this accident type include traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, whiplash, and burns. Sideswipe collisions can also cause broken bones and crushed limbs.

  • Single Car Crashes 

When we think about traffic accidents, we usually imagine at least two vehicles. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, road crashes involve only one automobile and can be as deadly as other collision types.

There are different types of single-vehicle crashes. They include fixed object collisions and accidents involving non-fixed objects, pedestrians, bicycles, and animals. These crashes may happen when the affected motorist swerves to avoid an accident but hits someone/something instead.

It may also result from distracted driving, drunk driving, brake malfunction, and driver fatigue. Single-car accidents can cause paralysis, fractures, internal organ damage, amputation, disfigurement, head injuries, etc.

  • Pile-Ups/Multiple Vehicle Collisions 

A multiple-vehicle accident or pile-up crash happens when more than two automobiles collide. Multi-car collisions usually happen when a two-vehicle crash affects nearby vehicles. For example, drivers can panic when they witness a collision and make irrational decisions that cause another collision.

This type of accident is complex and extremely dangerous. Common accident injuries from pile-ups include spine damage, cuts and lacerations, head injuries, etc.

Car Collision Liability in Houston, Texas 

If someone else caused your Houston accident injuries, you can claim compensation against their insurance provider. However, the claims process requires your understanding of the state's personal injury law. Your knowledge of rules ensures that you know what to expect and make informed decisions. These are the essential facts you need to note as you pursue your car accident claims:

  • Texas Is an At-Fault State 

The first thing to note about Texas' car accident liability rules is that the state is an at-fault state. This means that negligent motorists who cause road crashes are liable for the consequences.

As such, Texas mandates all drivers to carry auto insurance. This ensures that the responsible party's insurance company will provide financial compensation for the innocent crash victims. If an uninsured driver caused your accident, you may proceed to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The auto insurance requirement for Texas motorists includes $30,000 per person for bodily injury. It also mandates $60,000 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage.

  • Negligence 

One of the essential aspects of Texas' personal injury law is determining liability. Without this, it's difficult to tell who must bear responsibility for the accident. To determine liability, you will have to prove negligence.

To show negligence, you must provide valuable evidence to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. You must also prove breach of duty, causation, and damages. Your auto accident attorney will enlighten you more on this. Typically, the negligent party is the one who drove recklessly and flaunted the traffic rules.

  • Modified Comparative Fault Rules 

In Texas, more than one person can be responsible for an automobile collision. Fortunately, this doesn't stop you from filing a compensation claim if your percentage of fault is 50% or less. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you will forfeit your rights to financial damages. This is called the modified comparative fault rule.

  • Damages 

You can get different types of compensation after a successful auto crash claim in Texas. They are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic compensation covers your financial losses like the cost of medical care, lost wages, damage to property, etc.

In contrast, non-economic damages cover non-tangible losses such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, etc. Punitive damages punish the at-fault driver for their negligence.

  • Statute of Limitations

Texas' personal injury laws dictate how long you have to take to file a claim. This is called the Statute of Limitations. If you pursue your injury claims or accident lawsuits in time, you will no longer qualify to seek compensation.

You have 2 years from the crash date or when you first discovered your injuries to file your accident claims. If the defendant is a government entity, you have about 60 to 90 days to file your claims.

What Should You Do After a Houston Auto Accident?

Being in an auto crash can leave you in shock. However, you must be brave enough to make the right decisions at the accident scene. Your financial compensation depends on it.

These are the basic steps to take after a car crash:

  • Get To Safety 

The first thing to do when you're in an auto crash is to ensure that you're in a safe position. If you're in the way of traffic, it's best to pull your vehicle over at a secure location and get out of your car.

  • Call 911

Dialing 911 helps you do two things—alert a police officer and call for emergency medical assistance. Make the call even if you don't notice any external injuries. That's because you may only observe symptoms much later when it's too late.

You need a medical professional to certify you okay. When law enforcement arrives at the crash scene, they will make a police report. This report is crucial evidence when proving your claims.

Remember to write down the names and badge numbers of the police officers that arrive at the accident site. You may also ask for a copy of the accident report if available. If not, clarify how and when you can get it.

  • Take Photos 

If possible, take as many photos of the accident scene as you can. You may also write down all you remember on a notepad or phone. 

  • Exchange Information 

Speak politely with the other drivers and injured victims. Be sure to get their contact and insurance information. The sole aim of approaching the other parties is to get their contact. Don't discuss any accident details with them.

  • Record Witness Statements and Other Important Information 

If eyewitnesses are on the accident scene, get them to narrate what happened while you record. Ensure that you also pen down their names and contact addresses.

  • Contact an Experienced Lawyer

From gathering pieces of evidence to negotiating your settlement and everything in between, an attorney is necessary for your case. Hire one as soon as possible.

Get Fair Compensation for Your Loss, Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Now!

You are at risk of catastrophic injuries in an auto crash. Sustaining such severe wounds qualifies you for an auto insurance claim against the negligent driver. Holding the at-fault party accountable for the accident ensures that you don't suffer financially for their recklessness. It can also serve as a lesson to other careless motorists.

To increase your chances of fair compensation, it's always wise to hire an experienced personal injury law firm in Texas. Reach out to Calhoun Meredith. We have the skill, experience, and resources to help you get compensation for your injuries. Call our law office and schedule a free consultation with us immediately.

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