Conroe Car Accident Lawyer
Experienced Legal Assistance in Montgomery County, Texas
Car accidents can leave injured victims in the hospital and unable to work. Even with good insurance, you could be facing an uphill battle to get your medical bills and daily expenses paid. When this happens, you need a skilled Conroe car accident attorney from Scott Law Firm on your side.
Whether you were broadsided by a drunk driver or rear-ended by a distracted driver, our skilled car accident lawyers can guard your rights and maximize your chances of securing the full value of your claim. With personalized, one-on-one attention and a dedication to delivering quality representation for each and every case we take on, we understand the legal system and can handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.
On This Page:
- Texas At-Fault Car Accident Laws
- Driver Negligence in Car Accidents
- Damages Available to Car Accident Victims
- Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Common Car Accident Injuries
- U.S. Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
- Texas Car Crash Statistics
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- What About the Insurance Company?
- What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
- Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Texas
- Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Call a Conroe Car Accident Attorney Today
Texas At-Fault Car Accident Laws
In terms of car accidents and laws regarding insurance, some states are “no-fault” states, while others have “at-fault” laws in place. Texas is an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents. In short, this means that any driver who is completely or partially at fault for causing a collision will be financially responsible for any injuries and property damage that may result.
While some states require injured drivers to first turn to their own insurance companies for coverage after a collision, in an at-fault state like Texas, you have the right to sue the other party who caused the accident and recover compensation. The responsible party's insurance carrier will be responsible to pay out your claim. If your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver's insurance policy, you may be able to sue the driver directly for negligence and recover the difference.
Driver Negligence in Car AccidentsUltimately, most so-called car accidents aren’t actually "accidental" at all. In the majority of cases, injury-causing and fatal accidents in Conroe, TX and around the nation are due to some type of driver error. Whether it was a case of distracted driving, drunk driving, or simply not observing the rules of the road, it’s essential to determine exactly what factors contributed to your accident.
Proving negligence in a Texas car accident case typically involves the following elements:
- Duty: All drivers have a duty, or a legal responsibility, to obey the laws of the road and drive in a manner that does not place others at an unreasonable risk of harm.
- Breach of duty: A breach of duty occurs when drivers fail to obey traffic laws or otherwise fail to exercise ordinary care behind the wheel. Common examples of a breach of duty may include failing to properly look out for nearby traffic or pedestrians, following too closely, ignoring signs and signals, exceeding the speed limit, or driving while intoxicated.
- Causation: It is not enough to show that a driver made a mistake. Instead, it must be proven that the at-fault driver's breach of duty directly caused the accident.
- Damages: The final element in proving negligence is that the collision must have resulted in real damages. In simple terms, damages are the physical injuries and monetary losses that the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the at-fault driver's breach of duty. Damages may include losses related to vehicle property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, or in particularly tragic cases, the wrongful death of a loved one.
Sometimes, it can take additional investigative efforts to determine if the other driver was acting negligently or dangerously behind the wheel. Not all cases of driver negligence are immediately apparent, so it’s essential to speak with your lawyer as soon as possible about your case.
Damages Available to Car Accident Victims
Damages in Texas car accident claims are typically divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. In simple terms, this means that you may recover compensation for both the quantifiable losses related to your injuries as well as other types harm that are more difficult to assign a direct dollar value to, such as pain and suffering.
The exact value of your eligible compensation will vary based on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the amount of evidence proving the other party's fault, and the amount of insurance coverage available in your case. While it is impossible to predict the value of your case for certain, it is encouraged you consult with our attorneys to get a more realistic idea of your eligible compensation.
Economic damages, also called monetary damages or pecuniary damages, are damages meant to compensate victims for the direct financial costs of their accident. Economic damages are meant to reimburse you for the money you have lost, or will likely lose, because of your injury. More importantly, these expenses can be tracked and proven via receipts, bills, and more.
Economic damages commonly awarded in car accident claims include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Vehicle repairs
- Home modifications to accommodate an injury-related disability
Non-Economic damages, also known as general damages or non-pecuniary damages, account for the more subjective types of harm that a car accident victim has suffered that do not have an easily quantifiable dollar amount. While economic damages are meant to pay you back dollar-for-dollar what you have lost, non-economic damages are meant to assign a dollar amount for the more subjective (but very real) difficulties your injuries have caused you to suffer.
Non-economic damages may be awarded for things like:
- Physical and emotional pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of personal relationships
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
Common Causes of Car Accidents
The causes of car accidents are almost as varied as their effects. However, most collisions can be traced back to some form of negligence on the part of one or multiple involved drivers.
Each year on average, more than 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes, and these wrecks are 100% preventable. Alcohol impairs a person's thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination, all of which are critical to operating a vehicle safely. When people make the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, they’re putting the lives of everybody on the road at a greater risk for injury and potentially deadly crashes. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, too; sometimes one drink is too much.
Five seconds is the average amount of time your eyes are off of the road while sending or receiving a text message. If you’re going 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving have become a statewide and nationwide epidemic. Whether distractions are cognitive, manual, visual, or a combination of all three, they take the driver’s attention away from the task of driving.
Exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for weather conditions, and racing are all dangerous actions that can lead to collisions. Speeding not only increases a driver's likelihood of losing control of their vehicle, but also reduces the effectiveness of occupant protection equipment and leads to far more severe injuries in the event of a crash. According to the NHTSA, speeding has been a contributing factor in roughly one-third of motor vehicle fatalities for more than two decades.
Fatigue or sleepiness can impair a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle in many of the same ways as alcohol intoxication. A tired driver can easily miss oncoming hazards, drift between lanes, and strike nearby vehicles or pedestrians. Always make sure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel, and if you find yourself getting sleepy, pull over and rest.
Following Too Closely / Tailgating
Tailgating occurs when a driver follows the vehicle in front of them too closely while not leaving enough distance to stop without causing a collision if the vehicle in front suddenly stops. Tailgating combined with speeding is one of the most common causes of rear-end collisions.
Defective Auto Parts
Not all car accidents are caused by driver error. Defective auto parts such as brakes, tires, fuel systems, and airbags pose a huge risk to motorists on the roadways. Vehicle manufacturers are required to design and manufacture cars, trucks and SUVs that meet current industry safety standards. When they fail to do so, and people are injured, victims may be able to file claims against the manufacturers for compensation.
Driving a motor vehicle is a dangerous undertaking even in perfect weather, let alone when conditions are less-than favorable. Inclement weather, particularly rain, creates slick roadways that can cause cars to slip and slide without warning. This is especially true at higher speeds.
Teenage drivers can be dangerous on the roadways due to their inexperience. Teenagers presented with new driving situations may not know how to safely react, causing them to under- or over-correct and strike nearby vehicles or pedestrians.
Common Car Accident Injuries
The force of a car accident can cause injury to almost every area of the body. While every car accident is different, some of the most common injuries from car accidents include:
A car accident will often cause a person's head to jostle violently and strike objects within the vehicle, such as the steering wheel and windows. Depending on the severity and force of impact, this may cause injuries such as concussions, skull fractures, or potentially life-changing traumatic brain injuries.
Whiplash is an injury caused by the sudden jerking motion of a person's head and neck during a collision. This violent back-and-forth motion can damage the ligaments and soft tissues in the upper back and neck, causing severe pain.
Internal organ damage and hemorrhaging can potentially be life-threatening conditions if not treated quickly after a car accident. Common types of internal injuries from car accidents include brain bleeds from closed- or open-head wounds, broken ribs, punctured lungs (pneumothorax), abdominal aneurysms, ruptured spleens, and damaged blood vessels.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A car accident can result in a sudden blow to the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues, causing discs, vertebrae, and ligaments to be crushed or dislocated. Since the spine is the body's main center responsible for motor function, any injury to this body part can potentially be devastating. The long-term effects of a spinal cord injury will vary depending on the location and severity of the injury, ranging from minor impairment to complete paralysis.
Amputation / Limb Loss
Arms, legs, fingers, toes, or other appendages can be severed in a crash or damaged severely enough to require surgical amputation. This type of injury can have permanent disabling effects on the victim.
Car accident injuries often extend beyond the physical effects and can cause long-lasting psychological trauma to those who survive, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. These types of emotional injuries are often much harder to treat than physical wounds and can potentially take years of therapy to overcome.
U.S. Motor Vehicle Crashes by the Numbers
According to 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (released December 2020):
- In 2019, 6.76 million police-reported crashes occurred in the U.S.
- 2.74 million injuries occurred in U.S. motor vehicle crashes in 2019
- In 2019, there were 36,096 roadway fatalities in the U.S.
- 41% of all crashes in 2019 caused an injury
Texas Car Crash Statistics
According to 2020 data from the Texas Department of Transportation (released June 2021):
- In 2020, 3,896 people were killed in crashes in the state of Texas, equating to a fatality rate of 1.33 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled
- In 2020, 25 percent of car-crash fatalities in Texas involved drivers under the influence of alcohol
- Collisions in rural parts of Texas accounted for 51.03% of the state's fatalities in 2020
- 865 people were killed in crashes involving an intersection in Texas in 2020
- There were 12,107 serious injury crashes in Texas in 2020 with 14,656 people sustaining a serious injury
What to Do After a Car Accident
Your actions after a car accident can have a profound impact on both your health and your ability to recover compensation through a subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision, it is important you follow these steps.
- Take care of your immediate medical needs. Seek medical help as soon as you can, even if you think you feel fine. You may have suffered a serious internal injury but are numb to the symptoms because of the adrenaline rush of the crash. Get a thorough medical evaluation and follow your doctor's orders exactly.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the other insurance company. Anything you say to an insurance adjuster can potentially be used against you. It is best to leave all communications with the insurance company to your attorney.
- Take lots of photos. This includes getting pictures of the accident scene, damage to all vehicles and their positioning, tire tracks and skid marks, traffic patterns, weather conditions, and any other details that help to explain what happened. If you can, get photographs of your injuries before they are treated.
- Fully heal before you go back to your daily schedule. Take the time you need to recover from your injuries and do not do anything that can push back your recovery period. Attend all follow-up doctor's appointments and do not attempt to go back to work or engage in strenuous activities until you are cleared to do so.
- Don’t post accident details on social media. You could be setting a trap for yourself as any information you post online about your crash can potentially damage or destroy your case.
To know your rights, contact a Conroe car accident attorney at the Scott Law Firm for a free consultation.
What About the Insurance Company?
If someone hits you, your claim is against the person that hit you. If that driver has liability insurance, then their insurance company has an obligation to defend their insured against a claim. It’s important to understand that the insurance adjuster of the driver who hit you does not have any duty or obligation to you. They represent the other driver’s insurance company. They don’t have to be honest or fair with you. Their job is to try to pay out as little as possible on any and all claims against their insurance company. They’re not looking out for injured individuals, they’re looking out for the company’s bottom line.
Insurance claims can be an uphill battle without the assistance of a trained attorney who understands how these companies operate. Your lawyer will be able to guard your interests against the insurance company's tactics, ensure you are treated fairly, advocate on your behalf for a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries, and if necessary, take your case to trial.
What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
Things get even more complicated if the other driver does not have insurance or if they do not have enough insurance to cover the full value of your losses. In this case, you may be able to seek compensation under your own insurance policy if you have opted to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). While traditional liability coverage pays others for accidents you may cause, UM/UIM coverage pays you for your medical expenses, car repair bills, and other damages in the event that someone hits you while driving without adequate insurance. This coverage also applies in the event you're the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Insurance companies in Texas are required to offer UM/UIM coverage, though it can be waived in writing.
If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, your options are far more limited. You may be able to file a civil lawsuit directly against the responsible driver in pursuit of damages, but collecting on any judgment you may receive may be difficult since uninsured drivers often have little in terms of personal assets. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is important you speak to an attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Texas
It is important to know that your time to take legal action after a car accident is limited. In Texas, most car accident lawsuits are subject to a two year statute of limitations, meaning you typically have until the second anniversary of your accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This same deadline applies to property damage and wrongful death lawsuits related to car accidents, though it can be extended in certain rare cases.
If you do not file a claim in civil court before the applicable filing deadline, you will effectively lose your right to sue and will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries. Since it can sometimes take months to gather evidence and build a strong case after an accident, it is critical you get an attorney from our firm involved as early as possible to guard your rights.
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Being involved in a car accident is a jarring experience that will undoubtedly come with many questions. To help put your mind at ease, we have put together some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How will my medical bills be paid?
After an accident, the at-fault party's liability insurance will cover your medical expenses up to the limits of their policy. Unfortunately, actually securing this compensation from the other driver's insurance company isn't always a quick process.
If you have health insurance, your immediate medical bills may be covered under your existing coverage after your deductible is met. Additionally, you may be able to secure coverage for your medical expenses under your own auto insurance coverage if the at-fault driver did not have insurance or if you were the victim of a hit and run accident. Finally, if you choose to file a lawsuit, your attorney may issue a letter of protection guaranteeing your health care provider will be reimbursed for your medical expenses via any future settlement that is secured.
Will I have to go to court for my car accident case?
Possibly, but this is unlikely. Most car accident cases are resolved in the form of an out-of-court settlement before a lawsuit is ever filed. You generally will only need to pursue litigation and appear in court in the event that the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries, or if there is a dispute about liability for the crash.
While going to trial may sometimes be necessary to secure a higher monetary award, it also comes with the risk that you will lose and come away empty handed. Our attorneys will advise you of your options and help you choose the most appropriate course of action.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer in Conroe, TX?
Nobody should have to worry about whether or not they can afford quality legal representation after being injured in a crash. At Scott Law Firm, we accept all auto accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not pay anything for our services unless we are successful in your case. Instead of a traditional retainer, our fee will be a certain percentage of any settlement or jury award we are able to secure on your behalf. If we are not successful, you will not owe us a dime.
Can I handle my auto accident case without an attorney?
There is no law requiring you to hire an attorney after being injured in a car accident, however it is usually in your best interests to do so. Minor crashes that result in little more than a busted fender and a few scrapes can likely be handled without an attorney's involvement. However, in cases involving more serious injuries, such as those involving missed time from work, hospitalizations, surgeries, or death, it is in your best interests to hire an attorney. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so if you are on the fence about what to do, you have nothing to lose by at least reaching out.
Call a Conroe, TX Car Accident Attorney Today
Anybody who has ever been in a car accident knows that it can turn your life upside down. If an injury occurred due to another driver’s dangerous, negligent, or distracted actions, call a car accident attorney at Scott Law Firm today. You may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages associated with the injury. Most importantly, you will pay nothing unless we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf.
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