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We work hard to protect car accident victims in Houston, Texas & secure their financial future. We've been fighting for maximum compensation in every auto accident case we've handled for over 30 years.

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“I was injured in a car accident and had been unable to work due to subsequent surgery and further complications. . . . Within a matter of DAYS, Greg Baumgartner won me $25,000!! When I asked Mr Baumgartner how he got that kind of money out of the car insurance company , he simply said, “Well, they know me”. Greg Baumgartner is good people.”

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Car Accident Attorney in Houston

Do you need the help of a Houston car accident lawyer? Attorney Gregory S. Baumgartner has has handled thousands of auto accident cases and is dedicated to helping his client’s receive justice and fairness by pursuing the highest monetary compensation available.

People injured in an auto accident have the right to be compensated for their injuries and damages. It is Greg Baumgartner’s hope that catastrophically injured car accident victims and clients will be able to use these resources to carry on with their life with as much fulfillment as possible, despite the lasting physical, emotional, and cognitive effects of injuries.

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Were you in a car accident in Houston?

Houston is one of the most congested cities in the country. For this reason, the odds of getting into an accident are pretty high. For over 35 years, we have helped thousands of injured car accident victims in the Houston area.

If you or a family member have been injured in an automobile accident, you probably have questions about the process of making a personal injury claim. You may be wondering what to do next, and possibly, how to handle your property damage claims. Perhaps the insurance company is calling, and the adjuster is seeking information from you.

We suggest that you speak with a Houston car accident attorney before you talk with the adverse insurance adjuster.

We offer free consultations for those who have sustained car accident injuries. To discuss your rights and options, call us at 281-587-1111 or click here to contact us online for more information.

There is never a charge for a consultation. If we accept your case, please know there will be no upfront fee and no cost to you for our representation unless we put money in your pocket.

Should I hire a lawyer after a car accident?

best car accident lawyer in Houston

Some people believe that they can handle their car accident claim themselves and save on attorney’s fees. These people often later find out that they are unable to settle for a reasonable amount. However, by this point they may have taken steps or actions that hurt the value of their case.

Not every accident requires an attorney. However, you should know that insurance companies are not out to pay fair compensation; they are out to save money. That’s why you should seek out a consultation before discussing the claim with the adverse insurance adjuster. The general rule is, the more serious your injury, the more likely it is you will need an attorney to represent you.

While a claim can be handled if it is a minor one by an individual who is not an attorney, a lawsuit is a different matter altogether. We do not recommend nonlawyers seek to file lawsuits on their own. The requirements of a personal injury lawsuit are much too complex for nonlawyers

The belief you can handle a claim by yourself presumes that the insurance company will treat you fairly and the same way they would if you had an attorney representing you.

The fact of the matter is that people who are not represented by a law firm are not treated the same by the insurance company. Without a lawyer, individuals do not have the leverage of a lawsuit or a jury trial.

Insurance companies and insurance adjusters are out to save money for their company. They are not seeking to pay fair value for your damages, such as pain and suffering. While the adjuster may indicate things like "they accept liability," that does not mean that you will be offered fair compensation. It is only after the subject of money first comes up that most people realize the insurance company never intended to offer reasonable damages in the first place.

Studies have proven that personal injury victims who are represented by experienced attorneys net more money than those who try to represent themselves. The number of people who are taken advantage of by insurance adjusters simply because they do not know the fair value of their injuries and damages is shocking.

Receiving compensation for your medical bills and almost nothing for your pain and suffering is not adequate compensation for most injuries. People who have sustained significant personal injuries almost always require an accident lawyer to help them pocket the most money.

And, even if you could get the insurance adjuster to offer a fair settlement, there are many other areas of concern to consider, including medical payback or subrogation. If your health insurance paid some of the medical bills were caused by the car wreck, you can expect them to demand that you pay them back. This is called subrogation. Likewise, if you are treated at the hospital, and your health insurance does not cover the bills, the hospital will usually file a "lien" on settlement proceeds. The unwary can get caught in a very uncomfortable situation without the help of a lawyer. A skilled motor vehicle accident attorney will negotiate these medical payback amounts to help net the crash victim more money

The Houston car accident lawyers at the Baumgartner Law Firm fight for maximum compensation for your injuries. When another person is negligent and causes a car crash, their insurance company should pay just and fair damages for the claim.

The claims process begins with an evaluation of the case. One question you should ask is: what did the other driver do wrong?

Texas is a comparative responsibility state, which means that personal injury victims can receive compensation as long as they are less than 51% at fault themselves.

If we accept your auto accident case, we will handle your personal injury claim from there, which will allow you to focus on your recovery. Our personal injury claims evaluation process includes the following:

  • Obtaining the crash report to aid in determining who may be responsible for the accident
  • Obtaining and reviewing your medical bills and records to calculate your damages
  • Communicating with the insurance adjuster regarding the injury claim
  • Supplying the insurance company with sufficient evidence to evaluate negligence and damages
  • Negotiating with the insurance adjusters
  • Filing a lawsuit when needed
  • Fighting for maximum compensation for your automobile collision

Remember, our consultations with car accident victims are always free. Furthermore, there is never a fee on the cases we accept unless we recover money for you. Call (281) 587-1111!

What information should I have available for my consultation with a car accident lawyer?

During your first consultation, it is helpful to have the following information about your car accident, if available:

  • The date of the car accident
  • The general location of the crash
  • The case number from the officers investigating the collision
  • Any information regarding the identity of the negligent driver
  • Any photographs of your vehicle or the other vehicle
  • A summary of the injuries you sustained in the car accident
  • A list of any medical treatment you have received for your injuries
  • Information about your auto insurance policy
  • Discussions with the adjuster
  • Whether or not you gave a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster

A traffic accident that seems straightforward at first glance can often be more complicated than you can imagine. Accidents in Houston are usually investigated by the local precinct or the Houston Police Department. Occasionally, the Texas Highway Patrol will investigate a severe crash. If you retain us, we will obtain the crash report and provide you with a copy if you so desire. If you want to get a copy of the crash report yourself, click here for a guide on how to do that.

What should I do right after a car accident?

Follow our interactive guide for car accident victims.

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Houston Car Accident Claims:
From Start To Finish

An Interactive Guide


CRUNCH!

You hear metal crumpling. Someone just hit your car. Maybe they ran a red light or lost control of their vehicle. Maybe you were rear-ended by a teenage driver on her cellphone.

Either way, you’re angry and frustrated. You have things to do. Places to go. But now, you're standing beside your damaged vehicle waiting for the police to arrive. You start to feel some neck pain.

All that to say: A single, unexpected moment changed everything.

A car accident can strike at any time. Whether you are on your way to work or headed to the store, it doesn’t matter. It’s moments like these that cause the government to require everyone to buy insurance.

A Guide For All Car Accident Victims

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How To Handle Yourself When Disaster Strikes
  • How To Ensure The At-Fault Insurance Company Covers Any Property Damage And Injury Expenses.
  • What Injury Lawyers Do And How They Can Help You.

Go To Step 1 →

1

Get To Safety

Prevent Further Damage & Injury

 

If you find yourself in the middle of the intersection or on the freeway, you first priority is to move all persons (and vehicles if possible) out of the way of oncoming oncoming traffic.

Houston road illustration
2

Survey The Damage

Call The Police + Gather Evidence

 

After getting to safety, you should immediately dial 911. Make sure to alert the dispatcher if there are any serious injuries.

As you wait for help to arrive, you have 3 goals:

  • Identify Extent of Injuries
  • Identify Witnesses
  • Identify Vehicle Damage

Pro Tip: Use your cell phone to record a statement from the other driver, as well as to store contact information for the other driver and any witnesses.

What Type Of Photos
Should I Take?
3

Get Medical Help

Your Health Is #1

 

After emergency help arrives, it is important to seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel injured, it is important to get checked out for any internal injuries.

Be sure to go in for any follow-up checkups or procedures.


Pro Tip: If you wait before seeking medical treatment, the at-fault insurance company may argue that your injury wasn’t serious and that you don’t deserve compensation for medical expenses.

Common Internal
Injuries

Whiplash Internal
Bleeding
Broken Ribs Punctured
Lungs
4

Hire An Injury Lawyer

Save Time. Get Compensated.

 

Hiring an injury lawyer after a serious accident is one of the best things you can do. Injury lawyers take care of all communication and negotiation with insurance companies. This frees up your time to focus on recovering.

At our law firm, we offer free initial consultations to all Houston residents. Just fill out our contact form — or give us a call to schedule a convenient time for you. We’ll listen to your story and offer our advice.


Pro Tip: Never accept a settlement without consulting a lawyer, especially if injury is involved. Once you accept a settlement, you can never recover anything further in the future.

Time Is Of The Essence

 

In most cases, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations.

Certain exceptions can extend and/or shorten a limitations period.

If the victim is a minor, the limitations may be extended until they are 18 years old.

If you are in an accident caused by a governmental entity in Texas, the statute of limitations may be much shorter — ranging from a few months to six months.

5

File Your Claim

Notify Your Insurance Company

 

It is important to notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.

Many insurance companies allow you to file your claim online. Otherwise, call the number listed on your insurance card.

Be sure to keep track of all adjuster names and contact information.

Pro Tip: There may be multiple active insurance policies that can cover you. For example, if the other driver didn’t have insurance, your own Uninsured Motorist coverage could kick in. An experienced attorney can help identify these policies & maximize your recovery.


Find Your Insurance Company


Learn Fault Factors

Pro Tip: Do not give any recorded statements until you have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

Get To Safety
Survey The Damage
Get Medical Help
Hire An Attorney
File Your Claim

Schedule a Free Strategy Session

Been in an accident? We’re here to help. Fill out the information below to arrange a free consultation
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How is a typical car accident investigation conducted?

auto accident lawyers

Some car wrecks are pretty straightforward, such as: rear-end collisions, one vehicle running a red light, a car failing to yield the right-of-way, or perhaps the other driver was drunk behind the wheel.

In recent years, car accident attorneys are discovering that distracted drivers are causing a larger percentage of car crashes. People who use their cell phones while behind the wheel do not have their eyes on the roadway. Instead, their eyes are on their phones. For serious accidents with severe injuries, if distracted driving is suspected, an investigation can include obtaining the negligent driver’s cell phone records. Getting the cell phone records is part of the discovery process during an injury lawsuit.

Other information from the scene can be necessary in some cases. Our Houston car accident attorneys are finding that security cameras capture many car crashes that otherwise would be in dispute. Likewise, dash cams are becoming increasingly prominent, particularly with commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers.

An investigation of an automobile accident can include the following:

  • Documenting the crash site. For appropriate cases, we will send an accident investigator to work with our personal injury lawyers to obtain information regarding the scene of the accident. Site inspections can include photographing or measuring skid marks, debris in the roadway, and other crucial, relevant evidence
  • Determining whether the crash was captured on security video. We can look for video footage from the city of Houston or local Houston businesses
  • Conducting recorded interviews with witnesses to the collision when appropriate.
  • Identifying Witnesses. People often rely upon the police officer to document the names addresses and observations of any witnesses to a car accident. However, in practice, this occurs much less frequently than one would suspect and usually only happens when concerning a wrongful death or a severe injury automobile accident. Our accident attorneys will seek to identify witnesses when appropriate.
  • Research regarding the negligent driver. We’ll look for any prior criminal convictions, car accidents, and the results of any tickets or citations issued as a result of this accident.
  • Determining whether other potential parties may share responsibility for causing the personal injuries or the automobile collision itself.
  • Determining whether the other driver was "on the job" at the time of the crash.

One factor that is always a consideration with any personal injury claim is the amount of insurance coverage available to satisfy a personal injury lawsuit judgment. If the other driver was working for a company at the time of the crash and was on the job, they may be covered with a commercial insurance policy. The presence of a business automobile insurance policy means that the policy limits will probably be much higher than the statutory minimum in Texas.

Likewise, if the vehicle was an 18-wheeler or big rig, the minimum coverage requirements ensures much higher liability insurance to cover personal injury damage claims. At Baumgartner Law Firm, we always seek to discover all applicable insurance coverage.

In some cases of catastrophic injury or wrongful death, there may be an evaluation of the vehicles themselves. These evaluations may give rise to a claim against about an automobile manufacturing design defect. Product defects can include things like an airbag not deploying after a frontal impact, a recall of a defective car, or a fuel-fed fire caused by a design defect in the gas tank or gas delivery system.

Identifying potential defendants who may have liability after an accident is a big part of the job of our leading Houston car accident lawyers. Getting the most experienced and successful personal injury attorney is an excellent first step to protecting your financial future after a car accident.

What damages are available for car accident injuries?

In Texas, the burden of proof in a car accident lawsuit rests upon the injured victim who brought the lawsuit to court. First, your personal injury attorney must prove responsibility or liability for who caused the crash or the injuries and damages of their client. Then, a Texas jury will determine legal damages for the personal injury or wrongful death sustained in the car accident.

Legal damages for car accidents in Houston include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental Anguish

A skilled attorney will look to utilize the following in a personal injury lawsuit for damages

  • Medical records documenting treatment and injuries
  • Medical bills showing the cost of necessary care caused by car crash
  • Lost wage calculations from employers
  • Medical professionals’ testimony about the injuries caused by the negligence of the other driver
  • Doctor testimony regarding diagnosis, prognosis, and the cause of the injuries sustained in the car crash.
  • Life care planners for those with catastrophic injuries requiring medical damages for a lifetime
  • Friends and family members who may testify about the impact of the traffic accident on their loved one or friend

Our law firm is skilled at helping car accident victims seek and recover maximum compensation for the injuries they sustained in the crash.

Damages for a wrongful death car accident

Houston has some of the deadliest roads in the country. Wrongful death damages are different from those involving injury because damages are determined from the standpoint of the surviving family member's loss of the loved one. Loss of love and affection, care and support, mental anguish, and related damages are based upon the relationship between the deceased and their family members

In Texas, wrongful death car accident lawsuits can be brought by immediate family members who are a spouse, a child, or a parent of the deceased. We know no amount of money can replace a loved one. We have been helping families protect their financial futures by bringing multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuits for over 35 years. Please check out our recent results by clicking here.

According to the National Center for statistics and analysis of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Texas suffered over 3,500 fatalities in traffic accidents in one year alone. Of the number of wrongful death accidents, over 1,300 or roughly 40% of the fatal accidents involved alcohol. Drunk drivers contributed to almost 1,500 of the deadly crashes in Texas in one year alone. The second highest cause was speeding, followed by collisions with semi-trucks or 18-wheelers

If the decedent survives the crash, the estate may bring a lawsuit through a family member for a survival cause of action. In Texas, a survival claim is owned by the estate of the deceased. It is brought as though the deceased had lived for the personal injury damages they suffered before passing. Survival damages would include medical bills, pain, and suffering, mental anguish, incapacity, disfigurement and funeral expenses.

The most common causes of car accidents in Houston

Texas has over 180,000 miles of lanes for interstate highways alone. Because of the sheer number of motorists traveling throughout the state of Texas each day, there are an unbelievable number of vehicle accidents every hour. There is a reportable motor vehicle accident every 57 seconds in the state of Texas — based upon current statistics. Approximately 18,000 people were injured in automobile crashes in the state of Texas in one year alone. There are numerous causes of motor vehicle accidents. Here are some of the most common causes of traffic accidents in Texas that our Houston accident lawyers see:

Distracted driving

You can barely drive down the street in your neighborhood without seeing another driver looking at their cell phone instead of the roadway. The sudden rise of the smartphone, which has enabled instant communication by text, email, and videoconference as well as instantaneous internet access, has become a significant contributor to Houston car crashes. Even though there are laws in Texas about texting and driving, phone usage is still a significant cause of many motor vehicle accidents. Distractions can also include such things as conversations with passengers, tending to children, putting on makeup, or even changing the radio station. Anything that takes the driver's eyes off the roadway for even a second has the potential for causing catastrophic injuries. It only takes a fraction of the second for a distraction to lead to a collision

Speeding

Driving too fast for conditions or above the posted speed limit is a factor in many Houston area car accidents. Coupled with traffic congestion, and in some cases increased highway speed limits, excess speed contributes to numerous  wrongful death car crashes. Loss of control of the vehicle, particularly with inclement weather is often accompanied by traveling too fast for conditions or past the speed limit.

Drunk driving

Approximately one in three fatal car accidents in Houston involves a drunk driver. Despite significant criminal penalties, the possibility of exemplary or punitive damages, and an ongoing Texas campaign to educate drivers of the risks of drinking and driving, the problem persists. There can be as little as .08 level of alcohol in your bloodstream to be legally intoxicated as far as driving is concerned in the state of Texas. Minors violate the law with any degree of alcohol in the blood. Not only can you lose your driver's license and potentially your freedom by driving drunk, but the cost of a DWI is also much higher than most understand.

Violations of traffic laws

In almost every automobile collision, someone violated a statute designed to protect Texan drivers. Often, there are multiple violations by a single driver. These can be such things as drinking and driving, speeding, running a stop sign, failure to yield the right-of-way, and other acts of negligence. If the traffic law was designed to protect innocent motorists and a violation was a cause of the crash, an automobile accident attorney may seek a finding of negligence per se in a personal injury lawsuit against the offending driver.

Failure to maintain a proper lookout

Just as distracted driving can lead to catastrophic injuries, failure to maintain a proper lookout contributes to many traffic accidents. Everyday situations involving failure to keep a proper lookout include: running a red light, failing to yield the right-of-way leading to the T-bone accident, and of course, the rear-end car accident.

Following too closely

The single most significant factor in rear-end accidents usually involves the combination of following too closely and failing to maintain a proper lookout. In Houston’s interstates, particularly during commuting time, it is tough for motorists to maintain an assured clear distance between the vehicle ahead of them. In this situation, extra caution is required to avoid a rear-end collision.

Disregarding traffic signals and signs

Whether it is a red light a driver runs, a missed stop sign, or even trying to make the light, disregarding traffic signals is a massive problem for Houston drivers. Accidents at intersections are particularly dangerous if any of the vehicles are traveling above 30 mph at the time of the crash. Disregarding a stop sign or a red light frequently happens by choice, but it can also be caused by distraction or inattention.

The most common types of car accidents in Houston

A car accident attorney will usually evaluate your claim based upon liability first. While every case is unique, but there are some common denominators for each type of car accident in Houston.

Below are common kinds of car crashes we see in Houston.

Rear-end collisions

Rear-end collisions happen most often when a vehicle is stopped for a traffic signal or traffic. Nevertheless, many rear-end accidents occur when both vehicles are moving. Usually, a driver is distracted or not paying attention when a rear-end crash happens. On interstate highways of Texas, during busy times, extra caution is required to avoid the dreaded sudden stop rear-end car accident. In Texas, the law requires drivers to follow at "an assured clear distance" that allows a driver to stop safely without impacting the vehicle in front of them. A significant number of personal injury lawsuits stemming from car crashes are attributable to rear-end collisions.

Head-on car crashes

The head-on collision usually results in severe injuries because both of the vehicles are traveling in opposing directions when the crash happens. The higher the speed, the greater the chances for catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Our firm has seen many of these types of cases during hurricane events. Another common scenario for a head-on car wreck is when a driver crosses the line due to distraction, or perhaps, intoxication. Beyond that, this type of collision can happen when a driver is not familiar with the area and turns into a one-way street going the wrong direction.

T-bone car accidents

T-bone car accidents can be particularly dangerous. Usually it is the person closest to the impact zone that suffers the greatest injuries. Most frequently, a T-bone crash happens when one of the drivers was negligent and disregarded a traffic signal or stop sign. These types of crashes often involve speeds that lead to catastrophic injuries. Eyewitnesses can be incredibly important for winning a T-bone accident case. The sooner you retain a leading car accident attorney, the better odds you have of an exceptional outcome.

Sideswipe crashes

Sideswipe crashes happen when a driver is careless in changing lanes. The law in Texas requires a driver to ensure that they can make a lane change safely. Most of the time, the at-fault driver did not see the other vehicle. Occasionally, a sideswipe crash can happen because a big truck driver did not want to wait for the other vehicle to allow room. As in other car accident claims, eyewitnesses are incredibly important.

Rollover crashes

Rollover accidents usually involve high speeds or a combination of high speeds and other events such as a sharp curve, defective vehicle, or tire blowout. The lower the center of gravity of your car, the less chance of a rollover accident. Conversely, the higher the center of gravity of the vehicle you are operating, the more likely it is that you will be involved with a rollover. Eighteen-passenger vans and SUVs are often most susceptible to rollover.

Rideshare accidents

With the rise in popularity of rideshare platforms, such as Uber and Lyft, injuries while utilizing these services are becoming commonplace. Whether you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, a driver for Uber or Lyft, or struck by a rideshare vehicle, the same rules of the road apply. Rideshare accidents required a specific evaluation of insurance policies that may provide liability coverage for personal injury compensation. An investigation will include whether the company’s insurance policy applies, which can depend on whether the driver was committed to a ride when the collision occurred.

Motorcycle collisions

The main factor in motorcycle incidents involves failure to see the motorcycle rider. The higher the traffic, the less chance there is of seeing a motorcyclist. Motorcycle collisions typically involve broken bones, head injuries, or worse because of the lack of a physical barrier between the rider and the other vehicle. Wearing protective gear such as leather and a helmet, together with increased visibility of colorful clothing, can help prevent a motorcycle crash.

18-wheeler trucks

Big rigs and tractor-trailers have blind spots that are significantly large. Even a cautious trucker can cause an accident by not being patient in checking their mirrors. The blind spots for these big trucks are on either side of the truck and immediately in front of and directly behind the trailer. Additionally, there are many rear-end big rig crashes caused by the increased stopping distance for the semi-truck. Big rig accidents will always require a truck accident attorney.

Common Houston car wreck injuries

Any car crash can cause injury. Generally, the higher the speed at which the crash occurs, the more likely severe damage happens. Sometimes the collision can be devastating, and yet everyone walks away relatively uninjured. Other times, what seems like a minor crash turns into a nightmare for the injury victim. Auto accident attorneys see injuries and damages from crashes every single day. Sometimes the victim is the driver of the vehicle; other times, they are simply a passenger in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our law firm represents injury victims who have been injured due to the fault of another. If another motorist was negligent, call us for a consultation regarding your rights and options. There is never a charge for personal injury consultation. Call 281-587-1111.

Some of the most commonly injuries caused by car crashes in Houston are:

Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries are rarely diagnosed at the ER. In severe collisions where a fracture is suspected, a sophisticated test, called an MRI, is often done in the emergency room. However, if a fracture is not suspected or is ruled out by an x-ray, a back or neck injury involving a disc is usually not diagnosed until a specialist orders an MRI. One common misconception is that if you are released from the emergency room and not admitted to the hospital overnight, everything is going to be okay.

Usually, it is only after failure of conservative treatment such as physical therapy, medication, and home exercise that the proper diagnosis is determined after an MRI is done. X-rays do not show problems with the spinal cord, such as a herniated disc, bulging disc or slipped disc. It is only with more sophisticated testing, such as the MRI with a CT scan, that the issues with the spinal cord, neck, or back can be appropriately diagnosed and treated.

Neck and lower back injuries are common with rear-end impacts. It is the sudden move forward of the head in a "whiplash" type movement that can lead to disc problems, which are way more serious than what has been called soft tissue injury. One factor that attorneys see frequently is radiculopathy, or radiation of pain into the arms or legs, as a signal that something more is going on with the discs or spinal cord. Neck or lower back surgery can be necessary if the discs protrude into the spinal canal or discharge material from the disc. Likewise, a fracture of any part of the spinal cord usually requires surgical intervention and may require the installation of hardware near the spinal cord. Acute spinal cord injury can result in permanent damage, disfigurement, and disability.

Head or Brain Injury

Head injuries can happen in even minor car crashes. Not long ago, there was a Houston woman involved in a fender bender. She and the other driver exchanged information and went their separate ways, not even calling the police. No one suspected or thought that there would be an injury claim made from that car accident. Later that day, the woman developed a headache. The headache continuously got a little worse as time went on. A few days later it got so bad that the woman went to the emergency room for help. She never left the hospital. What seems like a minor crash turned out to be a fatal collision. In short, brain injuries cannot be seen and cannot easily be diagnosed. If you are in an auto accident and suspect a head injury, get yourself to the hospital and get it evaluated.

The concussion is the most common closed head injury of all. Contact sports have gotten very sophisticated recently, as have guidelines for treating and dealing with concussions. Automobile accidents are a leading cause of concussions. The vast majority of concussions lead to short-term issues that resolve over time. However, there are other instances where the head injury or brain injury is permanent. A head injury can be a life-changing situation for many people. Typical signals of a brain injury or closed head injury include mood swings, memory loss, headaches, and irrational behavior. Neurologists and neuropsychologists are commonly consulted to accurately diagnose and treat a brain injury after an auto accident.

Shoulder Injury

Injury to the shoulder happens many times in T-bone or side-swipe accidents. The shoulder is a very sophisticated mechanism that is sensitive to injury. Unfortunately, if there is a shoulder injury, it usually involves a tear to a tendon and will require surgical treatment to alleviate the pain and help resolve the problems. Shoulder surgery can be tough to recover from, even when it involves a minimally evasive orthoscopic procedure. It is not unheard of for someone to struggle with 3 to 6 months of recovery after surgery. This type of injury occurs often with commercial vehicle crashes where the driver or passenger side is struck by the other vehicle. Insurance adjusters frequently fight causation from a medical standpoint, even when the injury is well documented in the emergency room.

Chest injuries

Chest injuries can be particularly painful and often stem from frontal impacts. Broken sternum and collarbones are a few of the injuries personal injury attorneys see frequently. Treatment for a fractured sternum usually includes rest and pain. Broken collar bone scan requires surgical reconstruction by adding plates and screws if it is a compound break. Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the break and whether surgery is needed.

Ankle, Foot, and Knee Injuries

Fractures of the ankle or foot are another common injury that vehicle accident lawyers see on an ongoing basis. The cause of the fracture will depend on the type of crash and impact. A break can be caused by the foot being driven to the side or pushed into the peddles. Surgery is often needed for many car wreck victims. Knee injuries almost always involve some type of therapy, if not a surgical treatment. Most injuries are related to the tendons and not the bones. Our Houston lawyers know what needs to be done to present your car crash injury in a favorable light to a Harris County or other Texas jury.

Call us at 281-587-1111 or fill out the online contact form by clicking here.

Can I get medical treatment if I don't have health insurance?

Yes, if we accept your auto injury case, we can help you get necessary medical care.

There is no doubt about it; getting necessary medical care in Houston is an expensive proposition. A single trip to the emergency room with a few X-rays can quickly run into the thousands of dollars. Ongoing treatment adds up quickly, as medical providers are not cheap. Just the ambulance ride alone can be over $1,000. If the injuries are extensive, the medical bills can add up even more and become overwhelming. Unfortunately, the financial burden of medical bills hits at the same time that the injured person is unable to work — compounding the financial strain on them and their family after an accident. Pain and suffering can linger without prompt medical treatment

One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to get your injuries treated and appropriately diagnosed. One mistake that car accident attorneys in Houston see on an ongoing basis is the individual who tries to "tough it out" and not go to the doctor when they need to. Not only can this prolong their recovery time, but it can also hurt their personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters and insurance companies always take exception to gaps in treatment. This is true whether the lapses happen between the accident and your first check-up, or between your initial diagnosis and follow-up treatments.

If the gap in seeking medical treatment or in between medical treatments is sufficiently large, it makes your car crash personal injury case much more difficult. Ultimately, it is up to a medical professional, typically a doctor, to testify that the accident caused the injuries. If there is a large gap between the time of the collision and the first medical diagnosis, it becomes difficult for a doctor to provide that necessary testimony

For those who do not have health insurance, the burden of medical bills when it is difficult or impossible to work can be overwhelming. At the Baumgartner Law Firm, if we accept your case, we will work with you or your health insurance company to help you get the treatment you require for injuries sustained in a car wreck.

If you have no health insurance, contact us to discuss your options for receiving medical treatment without having to pay upfront out of your pocket. We are happy to help.

What does it cost to hire the best lawyer for my Houston car accident?

In short, nothing upfront.

All of the cases we agree to take on are handled on a "contingency fee basis." A contingency fee means that our pay as your personal injury attorney is contingent, or depends, upon our recovering money for your damages from the insurance company. If we are unable to recover money on your behalf, you owe us nothing. We advance litigation costs as necessary to develop your car accident injury case as needed. In the event that we are successful in recovering money, we will get paid back for our out-of-pocket expenses from the settlement.

In short, there is no out-of-pocket expense for you to hire us as your car accident attorneys. You should always seek to hire the best car accident lawyer in Houston you can find.

Our law firm has been protecting the financial future of injured Houstonians for over 35 years. We have recovered countless multimillion-dollar results. Our high success comes from the fact that we limit the number of cases we accept to provide the best possible service to the clients we do take.

By limiting our cases, we focus the time, attention, and resources necessary to maximize compensation for our clients. If you have been hurt in a car accident in Houston call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation. There is never a charge for an initial injury accident consultation. Feel free to ask your questions, and we will do our best to answer those for you.

Call us at 281-587-1111 or fill out the online contact form by clicking here.

What is the statute of limitations in Texas?

The general statute of limitations for car accidents in Texas is two years from the date of the crash. You must either settle your claim or file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired. If the statute of limitations has expired, you may have waived your right to seek compensation for your injuries. Never wait until the last minute to seek help from a qualified and experienced auto injury attorney.

How much is the average car accident settlement?

There is no magic formula for evaluating car accident injury claims. Ultimately, the amount can be limited by liability factors, available insurance coverage, the extent of legal damages, or what a jury in Harris County will pay. Some auto insurance companies use computer algorithms to make offers to personal injury victims. These programs are designed to minimize what the insurance company pays. The insurance company uses the software to maximize profits for the company.

In Texas, there is no legitimate oversight over insurance company profits. Instead of insurance being used to spread risk as was intended, auto insurance coverage in Texas has become a honeypot for insurance carriers. Other states require insurance companies to pay out a certain percentage of the premium dollars collected on claims. Texas has no such requirement.

All this boils down to the fact that if the insurance company can pay pennies on the dollar, it will increase their profits. An adverse insurance company is never your side. When the insurance company has substantial exposure, it is common for the adjuster to insinuate that you may not need an attorney. If you hear suggestions such as this, it should be your clue that you need to run, not walk, to the best personal injury lawyer you can find.

Every car accident case in Houston involves three separate issues in order to evaluate monetary damages. Those three are:

  1. Liability.
  2. Damages.
  3. Extent of insurance coverage.

Liability can be a factor if there are extenuating circumstances such as a drunk driver, or if you or the driver of the vehicle are partly at fault. Texas is a proportionate responsibility state, meaning you can be partly at fault and still recover legal damages if you are less than 51% at fault. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to your actions.

Damages are independently valued in each specific case. Factors such as medical treatment, objective diagnosis, recovery time, disability and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and emotional damages all play a role in evaluating the value of the case. Lost wages are part of legal damages in Texas.

The amount of insurance coverage will vary depending on the type of vehicle and the coverage available. The minimum liability limits in Texas are $30,000 per person, $60,000 in total. Commercial vehicles such as big rigs or company trucks can have substantially more insurance coverage. Also, your auto policy may provide benefits that can be helpful after an automobile accident, even when you are not at fault. One of the first things a car accident law firm will do is analyze all available insurance coverage as soon as possible after the crash.

Is the insurance company settlement offer for my car accident fair?

The only way to answer the question about the fairness of an insurance company offer after an injury from a car accident is to go through the process outlined above regarding liability, damages, and insurance coverage. Generally, if the injuries are objectively documented, such as broken bones, head injuries, or spinal cord injuries, you should always consult a leading car wreck lawyer before accepting an offer. The more severe the injury, the more you will need the best lawyer you can get. If the damages are minor and your doctors are confident you will require no further treatment, you may still want to consult with an auto accident law firm.

How long does a car accident lawsuit take in Houston?

Not every case requires a lawsuit. 15 or 20 years ago, about 80% of all automobile accident claims were settled before filing a lawsuit. In the meantime, Texas has enacted "tort reform," which has encouraged automobile insurance companies and adjusters to take a more hardline approach with injury victims. The net result of this law change is that more often than not, a lawsuit is required to get the insurance company’s attention focused rightly on your claim. That is not to say that the case will end up going to a trial, as most cases settle before the trial starts. But, the odds of a car accident lawsuit being filed are much higher today than they were before “tort reform.”

The process from the attorney’s perspective begins with the signing up of the case. After the lawyer is hired for the injury claim, the initial investigation process begins. However, the negotiation process does not usually start until the car accident victims have been released from treatment or reached maximum medical improvement and the medical records are obtained.

It is only then that the attorney can present the claim to the insurance company for negotiation about a settlement. This process can take from 3 to 6 months after doctors have discharged the injury victim. The main reason for the delay is the length of time it takes doctors and hospitals to respond with medical records and bills. That can take much longer than you would expect.

If a lawsuit is filed, your "day in court" can be as early as a year from the date of filing in Harris County, Texas, but most often it is closer to two years. The exact day is up to the court, and it is not unusual to have multiple settings before a trial is conducted on a case.

Learn how our Houston car accident lawyers can fight for maximum compensation for your injuries!

At the Baumgartner Law Firm, we put our client’s interest first. That has been our driving principle for more than three decades. We take a personal interest in every client. We are not a volume law practice. We are incredibly selective in the cases we agree to take on for a reason. We want to know at the end of the day that we have done everything possible to get you the most money we can.

Call us for a no-obligation consultation. There is never a charge for an initial injury case consultation. Call us at 281-587-1111.

Your Houston Car Wreck Information Center

After The Car Accident

Reporting A Car Accident

How To Report A Car Wreck In Houston, TX

houston car accident lawyer
Notifying the police of a car accident can be very important even if you are not injured. When the police come out to investigate they generally make an official crash report, which can be very helpful if the person who hit you suddenly changes their tune after the cars leave the scene.

It is shocking how often a person who is at fault for the crash indicates they are sorry at the scene but somehow, after they’ve contacted the insurance company, the accident is now “your” fault. Reporting an accident to the police can help prevent this from happening.

Police officers will generally interview both drivers and record their recollection of how the accident occurred. This gives you an important witness to prevent the guilty party from “changing her story”.

This article was intended to provide helpful information on how to report your car accident and other important information.

Call 911 For Serious Car Accidents

By reporting your car accident to authorities, a police officer will investigate the crash and generally will prepare an accident report that will contain a diagram of the vehicles and also offer the officer’s opinion whether any laws were broken and who was at fault. While portions of the accident report may or may not be admissible in a personal injury trial, they can provide powerful incentive for the adverse insurance company to accept responsibility and attempt to settle a claim.

Houston Police Department Auto Accident Number

You can also call the Houston Police Department auto accident number, which is: 713 247-4072. Again, it is important to document the accident facts before the story may change by the person who is responsible for the crash.

The Houston Police Department also has a nonemergency number of 713-884-3131 and you can visit the Houston Police Department’s website for even more helpful information.

Obtaining An Accident Report

The Texas Department of Transportation handles all accident reports in the state of Texas. Police officers that investigate accidents are supposed to write a report on any crash that results in injury, wrongful death, or damage to property that is more than $1,000. The report should be submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days from the crash date. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.062.

Obtaining A Crash Report

To obtain a copy of your car accident report you can go online and obtain one through the Texas Department of Transportation website.

You’ll need some basic information in order to obtain the report such as:

  • Names of the parties involved in the accident
  • Date of the accident
  • Location of the accident

Additionally, the state charges a fee for the crash reports, which are six dollars for a copy for eight dollars for, certified copy of the official crash report.

Important Information To Obtain

Important Information to Obtain After A Car Wreck

Documenting your accident to the extent you can is an important step in preserving your claim.

Information That should be obtained if you are able at the scene

  • The other drivers name address and telephone number
  • The drivers license number of the other person
  • The license plate of the car that hit you
  • The name address and telephone number of any witnesses
  • Taking photographs of the resting place of the vehicles before they are moved
  • Taking photographs of the damage to your vehicle and the vehicle that hit you
  • Recording any statements by the driver that hit you indicating fault.

Taking photographs and recording voice memos with your cell phone can obtain much of the information needed from the scene of an accident.

If you can get the other driver to give you a statement on your phone it will go a long way to prevent them from changing his or her story later on.

If you were seriously injured, you may not be able to obtain the necessary information as you're being transported to the hospital. Do not worry, as the investigating authority will undoubtedly get the majority of the information for you. However, it is important that you ask the officer as soon as you can if they documented any witnesses and obtain the names and telephone numbers of such witnesses.

Police officers routinely do not record the witness’s names even though they can provide very powerful evidence should the case go to trial.

Do’s & Don'ts After A Car Accident

THE DO’S and THE DON’T’S

What To Do After A Houston Car Accident

THE DO’S

Do take advantage of free consultations from a qualified personal injury attorney.

Do look at your declaration page of your own car insurance policy to find out what coverage you have and if it may help you with the wreck.

Do notify your own insurance company after you are in a car accident even if it is not your fault.

Do take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, the other person’s vehicle and the other driver.

Do keep track of who you speak to regarding the accident such as the name of your insurance adjuster, the name of the other adjusters and telephone numbers and titles of those who may contact you.

Do keep receipts for all of your out-of-pocket expenses such as medical expenses, rental car or other expenses caused by the accident.

Do understand that in Texas, you will only be entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle on the date of the accident, plus tax title and license if it is totaled out.

Do let your medical providers know that you were in an accident and make sure you keep your explanation of how it occurred short and to the point.

THE DON’T’S

Don’t give the adverse insurance company a recorded or written statement without first speaking to a qualified personal injury lawyer and decided how you are going to proceed.

Don’t expect the adverse insurance company to be fair. They are out to pay as little as they possibly can on any claim you make.

Don’t accept the insurance companies valuation of your vehicle without doing your own research on what the car is worth.

Don’t necessarily feel you have to go to the repair facility suggested by the adverse insurance company.

Don’t get in the middle of the repair process between the shop you choose and the insurance company. Let the shop you trust handle your repairs and let them deal with the adverse insurance company directly. Just make sure the repairs or to your satisfaction when you pick up your car.

Don’t consider settling the personal injury claim from an automobile accident until you have got a handle on your personal injuries. Never consider settlement before you are certain as to the nature and extent of your injuries. Many insurance companies will show up shortly after an accident and offer a small amount that may include “estimated medical expenses”. This approach shifts the risk of serious injury on your back and off the insurance companies – don’t do it.

Don’t believe that the words ”we accept responsibility”, or ”we're going to pay this claim” means that the insurance carrier intends to be fair with you. It is their hope that you trust them and do not seek out a qualified personal injury lawyer.

Don’t give a blanket release of medical records or employment records to the adverse insurance company.

Don’t believe that an adjuster or insurance company will treat you the same individually as they would if you had an attorney.

Contact a personal injury lawyer who handles car accident claims.

If you’ve been in a serious car accident speak with an accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Knowing your rights and options is an important first step in any insurance claim after a car wreck. Contact the Baumgartner Law Firm for a free no obligation consultation - (281) 587-1111.

Seeking Medical Care After A Car Accident

Seeking Medical Care After A Car Accident

Houston brain injury lawyer

If you have been injured in a car wreck seeking prompt medical attention is critically important to not only your health but also your personal injury claim. Many people believe that their symptoms will simply go away and they do not seek medical attention until much later.

Insurance companies are looking for any excuse they can find to reduce what they pay or not pay and discounting the medical treatment is a favorite trick.

It’s one of those "darned if you do, darned if you don’t situations" in that you can expect an insurance adjuster to question the timing of your treatment — whether it was too long after the accident, or too early after the accident.

Adjusters will indicate that someone waited too long to get treatment or too long to be diagnosed with the proper injury. Additionally, adjusters can be expected to indicate that some treatment was not medically necessary because an appropriate period of time has not passed. An example would be getting an MRI shortly after the accident when the insurance company would prefer that you waited months later and to get the necessary testing.

The best plan is to follow your doctor’s recommendations for your treatment without regard to what the insurance company believes or wants to do. While adjusters would like to substitute their judgment in their attempts at reducing their settlement for their doctors, your health is more important than any insurance claim.

Advanced Testing May Be Necessary

Often a person is “discharged” from the emergency room with instructions to “follow up” with a physician. It is only after an MRI or CT scan is done that a proper diagnosis can be made. Emergency rooms usually only do those tests when severe injury is suspected.

If you have health insurance, it is always a good idea to submit your bills to your health insurance company for payment. If your health insurer does not want to pay because it was a car accident, you may want to consider contacting the Texas Insurance Commissioner to file a complaint. See Reporting Insurance Company Abuse.

If you do not have health insurance, you will either need to pay for your treatment out-of-pocket, go to a hospital emergency room or find a medical provider who will allow you to pay them out of the proceeds of a settlement.

Prompt Care is Important

It is important that you seek prompt medical attention because as we set forth above, if you delay in seeking treatment, the adverse insurance company will claim that the accident did not cause your injuries, regardless of the objective factors.

Many insurance defense law firms have doctors who do nothing but testify before the insurance company and whose opinions are always that the injured victim was not hurt or that the medical treatment they received was excessive and uncalled for. This is called a defense medical examination and the doctors in Houston who perform this type of service for the insurance industry are infamous in their opinions that the victim was not hurt or is exaggerated. One highly used doctor in the Houston area is famous for his opinion that after the accident victim walked out of the emergency room, no further treatment was required.

If you have questions regarding a personal injury claim from a car wreck or would just like to know your rights and options speak to a Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.

Steps To Take After A Car Accident (Infographic)

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Texas Car Accident Infographic

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Tips For Dealing With The Insurance Company

Things The Insurance Company Does Not Want You To Know

5 Things The Adjuster Does Not Want You To Know

Question for insurance adjuster
Being in an automobile accident is stressful in itself. Dealing with an adverse insurance adjuster can be very frustrating and actually can hurt your case if you are not careful.

Here are five things that adverse insurance adjusters wish you did not know.

1. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT MEAN PAYING FAIR COMPENSATION

One trick that adjusters use all the time to deter people from hiring a personal injury attorney is to indicate that they “accept responsibility” or that they acknowledge that their insured was at fault for the accident. This admission is usually made in the first or second contact by the adjuster, with the effect of the victim believing that they can handle the case himself or herself without involving an attorney.

Because the victim now believes that the insurance company has accepted responsibility, they mistakenly assume that they will be paid fairly for their injuries.

This trick is especially effective because many people who need an attorney believe that they can handle the claim themselves and only learn that they cannot when they first discuss money with the adjuster.

Sadly, all too often, damage has been done to the case by the failure of the victim to hire an attorney early on in the process.

The general rule is the more serious your injury the more likely you are to need an attorney to obtain fair value from an insurance company. The earlier you retain an attorney the better chance you have for a full and fair settlement.

2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT

Many adjusters will tell an innocent victim that they must take a statement or the adjuster will not be able to pay compensation on the claim. Usually this is at this stage of the property damage claim and the accident victim feels pressure to give a recorded statement.

There are some cases where you may be obligated to give a statement such as when you are dealing with your own insurance company. Even then, prior to giving a statement to your own insurance company you should take advantage of a consultation with a personal injury attorney.

With a third-party insurance company, you are never obligated to give a statement.

3. IF YOU DO GIVE A STATEMENT IT WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU

Giving a statement to an adverse insurance company is almost always a mistake. Insurance adjusters learn how to take statements in a manner that is likely to elicit admissions from the victim.

The purpose of the statement from the adverse carrier is not to learn your side of the story, or even learn of your injuries. It is to get things on the record that can undermine or hurt your case.

You can expect questions relating to how the accident happened with an eye toward what your potential responsibility may have been, even when it’s clearly the other person’s fault. Here are examples:

  • Were you wearing your seatbelt?
  • When did you first see the other vehicle?
  • Did you hit your brakes?
  • Where were your eyes looking?
  • Do you have a cell phone? Were you on the phone? What is your cell phone number? Who is your provider?

As you can see, the questions are clearly designed to get responses that may be able to help defend the case. Some of the questions that you will be asked to serve no purpose other than to potentially help in defense of the case.

4. THE INSURANCE COMPANY WILL TAKE ISSUE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT

To the surprise of many, especially after they have been told that the insurance company is assuming responsibility for the claim, the adjuster will take issue with the medical treatment that your doctors provided to you.

You will hear things such as “we didn’t include that”, “we don’t allow that” or similar phrases that indicate your medical treatment, which your doctors felt was necessary, was not satisfactory to the insurance company at this point. This is a method designed to reduce what they may have to pay, if you fall for it!

These statements do not necessarily mean your medical treatment was unnecessary or unreasonable — only that the insurance company will use whatever tactics they can to reduce or try to reduce what they have to pay for the case. This is a particularly nasty approach because if you fall for it, you will be paying for medical treatment that was caused by the defendant’s conduct.

The best way to combat this is to hire an attorney to handle the claim for you.

5. A SERIOUS INJURY REQUIRES A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

The truth of the matter is that in cases of a very serious injury, such as one involving a surgery or permanent disability, a personal injury attorney is necessary to get full and fair value for your claim. The more serious the case, the more you need an attorney to help you.

Insurance companies do not get their name on huge skyscrapers by paying fair value to those that they can pay less than fair value. Additionally, there are many issues such as healthcare reimbursements that must be dealt with to maximize a personal injury settlement for the victim.

There are studies that show people with attorneys net much more money than those who handled the case on their own.

With a serious injury you need a very serious attorney to help you and hiring one early in the process can be an important first step. Choose an attorney with a track record of success in the type of case that you have and not a lawyer who may occasionally handle a case like yours.

To speak with a personal injury attorney from the Baumgartner law Firm, call 281-587-1111.

How To Handle Property Damage Claims After A Car Accident

How to Handle Property Damage Claims After a Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car wreck you want to get your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible. Many times, getting an answer or even feedback from the negligent parties insurance carrier is difficult.

Look to Dealing With Your Own Carrier- If the Adverse Insurer is Not Helpful

Most of the time, victims would be better off handling the claim through their own insurance company provided they have collision coverage. This is true, even though you will be out your deductible initially. It is been our experience that your own insurance company generally will treat you better than someone else’s insurance company.

Additionally, your own insurance company will be more responsive and often much more fair about the procedure.

People do not want to involve their own insurance company after a wreck that was not their fault.

While this is understandable, your own insurance company may be the better route to take because they are in the business of claims handling and will deal with the negligent driver’s insurance company and take that burden off of you.

If you elect to go through your own insurance company to get your car repaired or get the fair market value of your car if it is totaled, make sure you ask your insurance company to collect your deductible from the negligent parties carrier.

Your own insurance company will seek to obtain your deductible back at the same time they collect the money that they have spent for the repair or replacement of the vehicle. In effect your insurer will collect from the other insurer the money your company spent to repair or replace your car, if the accident was the other persons fault.

It’s been our experience that if the accident was not your fault, your own insurance company probably should not hold the accident against you.

Tort Reform Has Made Insurers in Texas Bold

People who deal with adverse insurance company adjusters are sometimes surprised and shocked with how they are treated in the claims handling process. There are two main reasons for this phenomenon in Texas.

The first reason is that the other party’s insurance company does not owe you a duty and will generally delay or deny as long as they possibly can. Moving slowly is the rule rather than the exception. Also, if the driver who caused the wreck is not straightforward with their own insurance company the claims handling process can be further delayed.

The second reason is that in Texas, our civil justice system does not generally provide a remedy for claims handling abuses by the adjuster for the other party. Tort reform has exacerbated the attitude and treatment that many innocent families are subjected to by an adverse adjuster.

Pick Your Own Shop and Let Them Deal With the Insurer

If your vehicle is repairable, it is usually preferable to take it to a shop you are comfortable with and let the shop deal directly with the insurance carrier. Beginning in the middle between the repair shop and the insurance carrier is not usually a satisfactory position to be in for many people.

It is always a good idea to obtain photographs of the damage to your vehicle before it is repaired. This is especially true if you were injured in the accident and the property damage is significant.

Rental Cars

If your car is repairable, the adverse at fault insurance company usually will pay for a rental vehicle subject to certain specified limits. Most insurance companies have preferred rental agencies and can quickly set up a rental vehicle through one of their companies.

If you go through your own insurance company for rental car coverage look at your insurance policy to see the limits of your coverage so there are no surprises at the end of the rental.

Diminished Value

For newer vehicles that are wrecked in a manner that will reduce their value, you may consider making a diminished value claim in addition to repair costs. The burden to establish the diminished value will be upon you and getting  written estimates from car dealers about the decrease in value to submit to the adjuster-can be helpful in that regard.

Total Loss

If your vehicle cannot be repaired and is “totaled” (which is when the repair costs exceed the value of the vehicle), then the insurer handling the claim will be responsible for the fair market value of the vehicle plus tax, title and license fees necessary to obtain a replacement vehicle of comparable value.

Expect an adverse insurance company to look to values that are the lowest they can find when looking to total a vehicle. You on the other hand should go online or to a dealer and obtain factual information regarding the value of your vehicle at the time of the accident.

Be wary of companies that appear to be “independent” of the insurance company that is hard to give a value for your vehicle. Those companies work for the insurance company that hired them and know where their bread is buttered. Be prepared to counter the lowball efforts with real facts from authoritative sources.

Obtaining rental car reimbursement from an adverse carrier when your car is totaled is very difficult as there is case law indicating that the adverse carrier does not owe rental car reimbursement when the vehicles totaled. Nevertheless, some of the more reputable insurance carriers do in fact pay for your loss of use until the time they tender an offer to you and settlement of the property damage claim.

If your vehicle is “totaled” you may want to look to your own auto policy for rental car coverage.

What To Provide The Insurance Adjuster With In A Texas Auto Accident Injury Claim

What to Provide the Insurance Adjuster With In a Texas Auto Accident Injury Claim

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An insurance adjuster will need the documentation of all injuries in order to evaluate and settle a personal injury claim. The following is a list of specific items the adjuster will need to see in order to evaluate your injury.

  • The accident report: If you have it, give it to the adjuster. If you don’t, the adjuster can obtain it.
  • Copies of your medical bills
  • Copies of your medical records that are related to the treatment you received for the injuries of the accident
  • A letter signed by your employer documenting lost wages during the time you missed work because of any injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Information regarding your health insurance policy.
  • Whether or not you are on Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Photos of your injuries

The One Question the Adjuster Hopes You Don’t Ask

Handling an Injury Claim Without A Lawyer? Here's The One Question You Need To Ask The Adjuster.

question for insurance adjuster

The one thing you must ask the adjuster!

One question anyone who is contemplating handling their own car accident injury claim should ask the adverse adjuster is: “how are you going to calculate my pain and suffering?”

Frequently, folks call us several months after their accident and are frustrated with their dealings with the adjuster. In a typical scenario, the adjuster indicated at some point that they were “accepting liability” and the people expected fair treatment from the adjuster. That was a huge mistake.

Many insurance companies now use a computer algorithm to determine damages, and the computer model they use takes into consideration things such as: "do you have a lawyer?" and "is the lawyer any good?", but what the computer model doesn’t include is much, if anything, for pain and suffering.

So, as early on as you can when handling your own injury claim, once the adjuster has indicated they are accepting the claim, ask specifically and demand an answer to the question:

How are you going to pay me for my pain and suffering?

The adjuster will not want to answer that question and probably will give you a runaround answer that does not truly address the question. For most people, especially those with serious injuries, this is a legitimate question that needs to be answered. If the adjuster can not answer the question, it is your indication that you need a qualified injury attorney.

If your car accident is minor, and the injuries you sustained resolve quickly and are not that serious, how you get paid for pain and suffering may not be a big deal.

For those with broken bones, disc problems, nerve damage, head injuries or other serious ailments, how you are paid for pain and suffering is a significant question, and one, I predict the adjuster will not really ever answer.

There is a reason why the insurance company does not want you to hire an attorney!

Is The Compensation You Are Offered Fair?

Am I Being Offered A Fair Settlement?

Question for insurance adjuster
One question many personal injury victims have is regarding the fairness of a settlement offer initially made by the insurance company. It is important for personal injury victims to understand that the insurance carrier will try to pay as little as they possibly can on any claim.

Insurance Adjusters

If an insurance adjuster can get away with paying $0.10 or $0.20 on the dollar, the adjuster will likely get a raise or a bonus, but at minimum, certainly a pat on the back for settling the case cheap.

It is extremely difficult for individuals unfamiliar with personal injury on a daily basis to determine what is a reasonable and fair settlement offer by an insurance company. There is a reason why many insurance companies indicate early on, that “they accept responsibility”. That reason is to prevent you from believing you need legal help.

Here are some guidelines for analyzing the fairness of a settlement offer!

You were not at fault but the insurance company seeks to sign new partial responsibility for the crash

One tactic that many insurance companies use is to attempt to shift responsibility from their insured to you or another person as a method of reducing what they are offering you.

While the police report in its entirety may or may not come into evidence in a personal injury trial, portions of the actual report should come into evidence. While the determination by the officer at the scene is not binding on the judge or jury and gives you an idea of whom an impartial third-party thought was at fault for the crash.

The offer of settlement has excluded some of your medical expenses that were actually paid!

Texas has had pretty radical tort reform, which adversely impacted every personal injury claim-taking place in the state of Texas. One of the provisions of the tort reform was to limit the amount available for recovery for medical expenses to the amount that was “paid or incurred”, which means the out-of-pocket payments by you and your health insurance company and not the gross amount billed by the healthcare provider. However, if you are on the hook as owing a balance after payments by your health insurance company that should be included in your medical total.

One tactic that many insurance companies use to try to reduce what they pay out for a car accident is to “disallow” some medical expenses under justifications that include:

  • The service was not necessary
  • The service was overpriced
  • The medical expenses unrelated to the accident
  • The procedure or test was done too early or too late
  • Various other excuses

While this tactic is common, it is not that effective when a case is taken to trial as the insurance carrier will need to obtain some testimony to support their position regarding the disallowing of a medical expense – in most instances.

The Offer Does Not Include Fair Lost Wages

Many adjusters will attempt to disallow lost wages simply by indicating that the medical records do not indicate the necessity for missing work. In other words, they want a written statement from the doctor. While it may seem funny to some, we have seen this tactic used for people who were so badly injured that they couldn’t even get out of bed.

The Insurance Adjuster Discourages You From Hiring An Attorney

If the insurance adjuster you are dealing with discourages you from speaking with an attorney that is probably your first clue that you probably need legal representation. It is only after the initial offers made by the insurance company that personal injury victims understand that they really need an attorney to help them. Unfortunately, by then many times damage has been done to the claim.

Future Medical Needs

If you have future medical needs that are real and concrete and explained to you by your medical providers, that should be a part of you’re discussions regarding a reasonable settlement amount? If a physician testifies in a personal injury trial that the victim needs ongoing medical treatment and the reasonableness and necessity of the cost of it that should be appropriate for consideration by the judge or jury.

If you have future medical needs that are clearly identified in the medical records, and the adjuster is not including that in your settlement offer- it may not be fair.

Very Serious Injury

The general rule of thumb is if your injury is very serious you probably need an attorney. If your injury is minor and her medical expenses small, you may or may not require the services of an attorney to help you through the process.

Limited Insurance Coverage

Every personal injury claim is unique and must stand on its own merits. Nevertheless, attorneys who handle personal injury claims learn through experience the value of an individual claim. The value can only be determined after a thorough review of the facts of the accident and studying the medical records with a fine toothcomb. Additionally, the amount of insurance available to cover the crash can play a part in many valuations particularly when the insurance coverage is limited.

Many people sustain very bad injuries but the insurance coverage is inadequate and unless your defendant turns out to be independently wealthy, the amount of insurance coverage is a big factor.

Houston Auto Accident Injury Attorneys

Hiring an experienced and reputable car accident attorney is often the best step for handling a claim with the insurance company. The ability to file a lawsuit and march toward a jury trial serves as leverage forcing a reasonable evaluation of a damage claim when liability is relatively clear.

To get help on a car accident case in Houston call the Baumgartner Law Firm at 281-587-1111.

Do You Need A Car Accident Lawyer?

Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?

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You’ve been in a car accident and are wondering whether or not you need to hire an attorney to help you through the claims handling process. Often, personal injury claims can be complex and this article was written to give you an idea of the situations in which you may want to hire an attorney and those in which you may be able to handle yourself.

The Accident Factors Are Complex

If there are multiple vehicles involved in an accident, it is more likely that you will need help for handling the claim. Likewise, if you are injured by a crash with a commercial vehicle such as a semi truck, garbage truck or even a company vehicle you may want to get help early on in the process.

The Severity Of Your Injuries

The general rule of thumb is the more serious the injury the more likely you will need to hire an attorney to assist you with the process. Extremely serious injuries such as those involving permanent disability and/or surgeries almost always require an attorney to handle effectively. Alternatively, very minor injuries such as a whiplash type injury with moderate medical treatment may not require the assistance of counsel.

Health Insurance Subrogation

After a car accident, if you’re Health Insurance Company paid your medical bills and someone else was responsible for the accident, you may want to hire an attorney to help you with the claim and also handled the insurance pay back issues. Recent changes in the law in Texas make hiring a personal injury attorney very attractive proposition when you have health insurance subrogation. In effect, if your health insurance company paid a significant amount of medical bills you may get credit for retaining an attorney to collect from the third party. In this situation is no reason not to hire a lawyer.

Ridiculous Offers

If the insurance company you are dealing with makes you a ridiculous offer of settlement you may need to hire a car accident attorney to assist you with the claim. Be aware that if you wait too long to call an attorney many lawyers will not take the case as a policy matter. Also, if you have never handled a personal injury claim before there are things that the insurance company can ask you to do which can actually hurt your claim.

Future Medical Needs

In situations where the personal injury victim will require ongoing or future medical care hiring an attorney is probably the appropriate route to take. It is difficult for non-lawyers to be able to navigate the minefield of future medical expenses in relation to a fair settlement and other issues such as health insurance payback.

Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer

If you feel you are going to need the help of a car accident lawyer make sure you speak with an attorney who is both experienced and reputable in your community. There is no substitute for experience and results.

Be wary of retaining a law firm, which will treat you like a number and not a person. High-volume personal-injury practices of some law firms are not calculated to lead to maximizing the settlement offers to their clients.

There are many sources that you can research online to determine the reputation of the law firms that you are considering. Martindale Hubbell offers the most fair assessments of attorneys in the Houston area because they base the assessments on blind reviews from other Houston attorneys. Some of the other rating companies have “paid” relationships with clients and they tend to favor the people that pay them. Take those paid relationship ratings with a grain of salt.

General Tips For Dealing With The Adjuster

How to Deal With Insurance Adjusters

Personal injury claims
We get many calls from injury victims who get frustrated after dealing with an insurance adjuster representing the negligent party's insurance company. The main complaint that we hear is the adjuster was rude, followed by ridiculous lowball offers.

It may help to understand that the typical insurance adjuster probably has up to 200 open files at any one time. They have a lot of pressure from their bosses and the guidelines that they are operating under are very strict.

This does not in any way condone behavior that is taken as rude; but it does help to understand the adjuster's position and where they may be coming from. Additionally, insurance adjusters view the situation as an open file or claim number. To the personal injury victim, it is personal. To the adjuster, it is strictly business.

Now, understanding that the claim is a business decision for the adjuster and that they are generally limited in the parameters that they operate in, personal injury victims can help themselves by following a few suggestions.

ALWAYS BE NICE

Even when an insurance adjuster is rude or short with you it is never a good idea to respond in kind to them. Two wrongs never make a right and these are the same people that you are asking to write you a check.

AVOID THREATS

Threatening an insurance adjuster is something that almost everyone would be tempted to do but it is also very counterproductive. They’ve heard it before and they don’t care. I will file suit – okay! Going to get a lawyer – okay! Threats to adjusters are counter productive.

ASK QUESTIONS

Asking questions of the insurance adjuster will help clarify their position and also give you some insight on what you may need to do to move your case forward. Often if you follow the advice above, an insurance adjuster may actually give you helpful advice. We have had many personal injury clients over the years that were told by an insurance adjuster that they should probably hire a lawyer.

REALIZE YOU MAY NOT KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

In a big city like Houston the odds of a person being in more than one accident over a ten-year period are pretty good. If you’ve been through a personal injury claim before you may have an idea of what is needed, but if you haven’t, you probably don’t. Consider taking advantage of a free consultation with the personal injury law firm early on after the accident.

TRY TO LOOK AT IT FROM A THIRD PARTY PERSPECTIVE

Looking at the cause of the accident and the injury claims from a third-party perspective can be very beneficial to a personal injury victim. Injuries by their very nature are personal and the victims tend to view it from their own perspective. If the case cannot be settled and you end up hiring a personal injury lawyer who files a lawsuit, is likely that 12 strangers may decide the value of the case. Looking at your situation as though you were stranger can help you better understand the reality of the claim.

TAKE ACTION

Probably the biggest single factor that can impact the case is for someone to delay either taking action on the case or getting medical treatment that they need. In some cases, it is important to preserve evidence and actions are often necessary to accomplish that. Also, long gaps in treatment or even delays for initial treatment can have a negative impact on the case. From the third-party perspective discussed above, a juror may ask if the injury was so severe or problematic, why did the victim wait so long for treatment?

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE CONSULTATIONS

Some of the best Houston personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims. Obtaining advice on what to do and why soon after an accident can at least set you on the proper path toward resolution.

TORT REFORM

Texas has had fairly significant tort reform, which has negatively impacted the value of almost every personal injury case. In some instances, the negligent party actually gets the benefit of a personal injury being personally responsible and carrying health insurance. This can be a topic to cover with a free consultation from a leading personal injury law firm. If someone is telling you what a case is worth, and their case was not recent, those days are long gone.

A SETTLEMENT IS FOREVER

Often, people end up settling a case and then inquiring later on whether there’s anything more they can do to get more money from the case. This can be particularly dangerous when involving serious injuries and a quick settlement. The greater the exposure for the insurance company the more likely that they will try to limit that exposure by dangling a carrot in front of you as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, insurance carriers are in the business of profit making and not in the business of being fair to the injury victim. If an insurance company can pay $.10 on the dollar for a claim they will do so. Avoid quick settlements -if you have any questions regarding the extent of your injuries. The more serious your injury the more likely you will need help.

ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT MEAN PAYING FAIR VALUE

Personal injury victims routinely are told after a clear liability accident that the insurance company will “accept responsibility” or words to that effect. The accident victim takes that to mean that they can then expect a fair settlement offer. That is a big mistake. Accepting responsibility usually only means they will offer something- often less than the medical bills.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO HIRE A LAWYER, DO SO EARLY

If you’re going to hire a personal injury attorney to help you with your accident case, you’re better off hiring one early in the process then you are after having tried to handle it on her own for a while. Then only will you get advice that you need up front but you can stop worrying about the case and let the attorney handle it. And most importantly you did not damage the claim by doing something you should not have done.

Understanding The Auto Accident Claims Process

Timing Of A Car Accident Injury Case

Timing of A Houston Car Accident Injury Claim

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It takes much longer than many people expect to settle a personal injury claim in the state of Texas. The adjuster handling your claim will need specific information to document in their file and evaluate your injuries and their liability exposure in order to move forward with the settlement. See what to provide the adjuster.

Texas Injury Evaluation Process

The injury evaluation process begins with receipt of the medical records that relate to the injuries you sustained in the accident. Obtaining medical records from your doctors and medical providers can take much longer than many people anticipate. The state of Texas sets the maximum fees that can be charged to you for obtaining your medical records from the providers.

Once the adjuster has received her medical records, the records are reviewed to see what injuries have been outlined, as well as your diagnosis and prognosis. What your doctors have to say about your injuries is very important evidence in a personal injury case. Note that not all doctor testimony will be treated the same. Many insurance companies take these reports and the testimony of some doctors and chiropractors with a grain of salt.

Additionally, the insurance adjuster should be in receipt of information proving your lost wages during the time you were recovering from your injuries. This can be in the form of statements from your employer or potentially your W-2s for the period and any prior periods.

After the adjuster has obtained all the necessary information, the settlement process can proceed fairly quickly. However, in Texas, the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident and a victim must have filed suit within such time or they will have forever waived the claim. There are certain exceptions regarding minors and others. If you have questions, you should contact your attorney to discuss them immediately.

If the case ends up in litigation, the process can take up to two years to obtain a jury trial in Harris County, Texas. There are certain fast-track procedures that can be utilized to obtain an earlier trial date.

If you believe you may need a lawyer to assist you in a personal injury claim stemming from a car accident, contact the lawyer of your choosing immediately and do not wait until the last minute. Many reputable personal injury attorneys have policies that prevent them from accepting cases that are very close to the statute of limitations. By waiting until the last minute, you may not only hurt your case but also limit the attorneys who may be interested in helping you.

Common Defense Tactics In Car Accident Cases

Common Defense Tactics In Car Accident Lawsuits

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It is helpful to understand the mechanisms used by defense attorney and insurance companies in defending car accident claims. This article is intended to give you an overview of some of the common defense tactics in defending a claim.

TATIC: Blame You

In Texas, we have a negligence scheme that involves allocating fault between the plaintiff (personal injury victim) and the defendant (negligent driver). If the defense attorney can convince the jury that you are partly at fault it can reduce or eliminate your damages from the accident.

For this reason the most common tactic of a defense for a car accident claim is to seek blame for the role of the claimant in the accident. For instance, if you were rear-ended the tactic is to claim that you stop suddenly or swerved quickly into the other lane of traffic this susceptible to blame for your actions. If the other driver ran a red light, you can anticipate the defense will be that really their light was green and your light was red.

TATIC: Suggest You Did Not Prove Your Case

You always hear a defense attorneys suggest that you did not adequately prove your case and that you have the burden of proof.

TATIC: Imply You Are Doing It For The Money

A common defense tactic is to assert or imply that you are only looking for the money and not really for justice after the accident. This is a common theme among defense attorneys and they will suggest that your treatment and other actions were based upon building a lawsuit and not related to reasonable medical help. This tactic is actually much easier and more effective than many people anticipate because it requires no proof on the part of the defendant only implication.

TATIC: Attack Your Credibility

The defense will always attack the plaintiff’s credibility and if not outright call them a liar suggests that they are exaggerating and not being truthful with the judgment of the jury. The unfortunate part of this tactic is it does not matter how straightforward and truthful the victim is the tactic will be utilized anyway.

TATIC: Attacking Your Medical Care

The common subject of a defense lawyer’s examination and closing arguments is the amount and necessity of your medical treatment. The defense will attempt to imply that you did not really need the treatment, and were only doing it to build your lawsuit. Additionally, they will argue that you waited too long warhead to bigger gaps in between treatment or that you got treatment earlier than necessary. It’s one of those darned if you do darned if you don’t situations.

TATIC: Attacking Your Lost Wages

The defense attorney will imply that you did not really need to miss work or that if you did you are exaggerating the amount of your compensation or your calculations of your lost wages. This can be particularly difficult for self-employed victims.

TATIC: Blame The Lawyers Greed

Many defense lawyers will seek to tie your attorney to your doctors and imply that the attorney sent you to the doctor for the purpose of the case, and not for medical treatment. On other words, the defense will imply that the case is phony. Most personal injury victims are shocked when they realize that these tactics are going to be used against them when their injuries are real and their claim is substantial.

It is very difficult for many personal injury victims not to take personal offense to tactics that attack their credibility and their sworn testimony. Some defense attorneys are more skilled than others at implying shady conduct as opposed to accusing the plaintiff of exaggerating or lying out in the open.

Legal Deadlines To File A Case

Legal Deadlines To File A Case In Texas

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Everyone has heard of the “statute of limitations” and if you have been hurt in an accident that was the fault of someone else you must know about the limitations that may affect your case.

Statue of Limitations

The general personal injury statue of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the accident. Within that time you must file a lawsuit and thereafter use diligence in your attempts to serve the defendant to preserve your ability to move forward with your lawsuit.

There are certainly exceptions that can extend and/or shorten a limitations period. One example is if a personal injury victim is a minor, the minor’s limitations may be tolled until they are 18 years old in order to give the child a chance to move forward in their case.

Alternatively, if you are in an accident that was caused by a governmental entity in Texas there may be certain notice provisions that you must comply with in order to perfect your right to sue the governmental entity or employee. Some municipalities have very short notice provisions from a few months to six months and it is very important that you comply with the formal notice provisions that may apply to such entity.

There are other legal deadlines that can impact a personal injury claim in Texas such as a statute of repose for products that are over 15 years old at the time of the accident. This specific limitation is one that does not serve well the citizens of the state of Texas because it can give you immunity after certain period of time to foreign manufacturers such as those from China, Korea or Japan. We hope that the new leaders in Austin will repeal this draconian law that hurts Texas families and helps foreign companies.

If you have any issues or questions regarding a potential limitation or the timing of a personal injury claim contact your attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

It is much better to speak with your attorney shortly after the accident then later on and find out that an important date or deadline had been missed.

Legal Damages In Texas Auto Accidents

Car Accident Damages In Texas

Auto Fire
If you were seriously injured in a car accident, one question you will have is: "What compensation is available for my injuries?" The following is a general primer for the legally recoverable damages available in the state of Texas for personal injury or a wrongful death.

Personal Injury Damages In Texas

The basic jury question for personal injury cases is what sum of money it paid now in cash, would fairly and reasonably compensate the victim for his or her injuries, if any that resulted from the occurrence in question? Both past and future, if any:

  • Physical pain and mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • “Paid or incurred” medical expenses
  • Exemplary or punitive damages – in appropriate cases only.

Children and spouses can receive damages when their husband, wife, or parent has been seriously injured in some cases. The law generally looks to place a dollar amount on the actual losses suffered by the children or spouses.

Wrongfu Death Damages in Texas

The general wrongful death damages in the state of Texas are as follows:

  • Pecuniary losses – meaning the loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel and contributions of a pecuniary value that the air would have received from the decedent had he lived.
  • Loss of companionship and society
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of inheritance

The specific question regarding wrongful death damages depends upon your relationship with the decedent. In other words spouses have a question as to minor or adult children.

As with personal injury car accident claims, exemplary or punitive damages or available in wrongful death or survival causes of action when the wrongdoer offends the community because of the nature of the wrong, the character of the conduct involved, the culpability of the wrongdoer, the sensibilities of the parties involved and the extent to which the conduct of offends a public sense of justice and propriety in Texas.

Important Resources

Lost Wage Form (PDF)

About Texas Car Insurance

Texas Automobile Insurance Explained

Checking Tires
In Texas, everyone that owns a car is required to carry auto liability insurance in case of an accident. This insurance coverage pays to repair the other driver’s car or pays damages up to the policy limits when the accident was your fault.

The minimum coverage in the state of Texas for liability is 30,000 for each injured person with a total of 60,000 per accident. Property damage coverage is a minimum of 25,000 per accident. This is known as the minimum 30/60/25 coverage.

While liability coverage is what is required in Texas, people who can afford to do so should consider additional coverage. We recommend that those that can obtain under insured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage as well as personal injury protection coverage.

There are many accidents throughout the state of Texas with drivers who do not actually have valid car insurance at the time of the crash. If you happen to be in an accident with one of these people and the crash was their fault, you may end up holding the bag, unless you have uninsured motorist coverage.

Unfortunately, Texas has a very high percentage of drivers who do not carry liability coverage. The problem has been exacerbated by the Department of Insurance in Texas allowing insurance companies to sell “junk policies”.

Many people who believe that they have insurance coverage only to find out that they do not after a car wreck.

Proof of Financial Responsibility and liability coverage is required in at least the following circumstances:

  • When asked by an officer.
  • When in an accident.
  • When you register or renew your registration.
  • At your annual car inspection

Fines can be up to $350 and more for the first offense of failing to have proof of financial responsibility.

Use caution when obtaining insurance coverage.

Common limitations or exclusions from coverage include the following:

  • Named driver policies – covering only those who are specifically named in the policy.
  • Excluded drivers – does not cover people excluded under the policy.
  • Business use exclusion – does not provide coverage if the vehicles used for business purpose at the time of the accident.

There are many other exclusions and one should read their policy closely or sit down with their insurance agent and go over your policy at the time of purchase or renewal.

It is much better to spend 15 minutes with your agent than end up with a large bill you are not planning on paying because you do not have the coverage you thought you did.

A. Liability Coverage

Liability coverage pays damages suffered by other people when you are at fault in the accident.

Common damages include the following:

  • Personal injury damages.
  • Repair costs for replacement their market value for damaged vehicles.
  • Rental car expenses for the other driver while their cars being fixed.

Liability coverage generally includes you and your family members, people driving your vehicle with your permission and family members attending school way from home. However it is prudent to check your own policy for exclusions or limitations of coverage (given the junk policy problems in Texas).

B. Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for the cost of repairing your own car after an accident. If your vehicle were totaled out you would only receive the fair market value for your vehicle less your deductible.

C. Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage pays the cost of repairing your car or replacing it if it is stolen, damaged by the weather or other events other than an automobile accident. Comprehensive coverage will also pay rental car if your vehicle happens to be stolen.

D. Medical Payment Coverage

Medical payment coverage pays medical and/or funeral bills from accidents up to the amount of the limits. It covers you, your family members and passengers regardless of fault. Unfortunately, if you collect from a third party such as a negligent driver medical payment coverage requires you to pay your insurance company back. For this reason, personal injury protection is preferred over medical payment coverage.

E. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection covers the same medical expenses as medical payment coverage but it also covers up to 80% of your lost wages. Additionally, medical payment coverage does not need to be repaid if you collect from the negligent driver. The minimum limits of PIP coverage are $2500 but you can buy more coverage if you are inclined. Personal injury protection must be rejected in writing.

F. Underinsured/ Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

In Texas and particularly in Houston, underinsured and uninsured motorists coverage is essential if you can afford it. The sheer number of drivers who are driving without insurance coverage makes the odds of your being in an accident with an uninsured driver very high.

Underinsured coverage pays your damages up to the policy limits when the person that caused the accident did not have enough liability coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage pays your damages when you’re involved in an accident caused by another and they did not carry liability coverage.

You must specifically reject underinsured/underinsured motorist coverage and your insurance carrier must offer you the option of purchasing such coverage.

G. Rental Coverage

This type of coverage pays for a rental car if your car has been stolen or damaged in an accident. Usually the benefit is a set dollar per day with a limited number of days.

H. Towing Coverage

This coverage pays for towing a car after an accident and can also include other labor charges such as jumping your battery when your vehicle is disabled.

General Information

Everyone who carries automobile insurance coverage should consider sporadically pricing comparable options from other insurance companies. Many people are surprised that the savings they can accrue if they have been with a company for a number of years without obtaining competitive quotes.

Consumers should also research insurance carriers that are considering buying auto insurance from. Many of the major companies have worked hard on their reputation for customer service. Others have developed a reputation for failure and refusal to pay legitimate claims and requiring litigation to resolve a claim.

Many Texas families are unnecessarily subjected to litigation simply because the insurance carrier they chose has determined to play hardball with every person who makes a claim. This dilemma has been magnified under the provisions of “tort reform” implemented several years ago in the state of Texas.

Additionally, the failure to have a real remedy when an auto insurance company abuses the claim handling procedures has been a real problem for Texas families.

Make sure the insurance company you choose to do business with has a good reputation of being fair in the claims process or you may find the claims process extremely upsetting.

Additional information regarding insurance coverage can be found at www.tdi.texas.gov.

Reporting Insurance Company Abuse

Reporting Insurance Company Abuse in Texas

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If you feel you have been abused by your insurance company will open avenues to contact me at Texas Department of insurance and filed a complaint.

We Report Insurance Company Abuse

You can also research your insurance company to obtain information such as the number of justified complaints that have been filed against the company in recent history.

You can download the complaint form here.

The Texas Department of Insurance also has a very helpful page that describes different situations in which you can obtain help from the Texas Department of Insurance.

It should be noted that in the recent past, some people feel the Texas Insurance Commissioner has one more pro-insurance company and less helpful to Texas families than they would like.

Common Questions

When should you hire a lawyer for a car accident?

Generally, the earlier that you retain an attorney for a car accident in which you are injured, the better. It would help if you spoke with an attorney before giving any recorded statement to the adverse adjuster after an injury accident. Hiring an attorney reduces stress and can increase the odds of a favorable settlement. Why delay?

How much does an attorney charge for a car accident?

Personal injury attorneys handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no fee charged upfront for the attorney's services. Attorneys get paid if they recover money for their clients. It is best to ask the attorneys you are considering what their contingency fee is and what expenses they expect to get reimbursed for.

How much money do you get for pain and suffering from a car accident?

There is no set formula for pain-and-suffering from a car accident. Sometimes a jury will decide what is proper to award the victim. Essential factors include how bad the property damage looks and what the treating physicians say about the injury. Also, objective findings in medical testing and other circumstances from the accident, such as a drunk driver, can be a factor in valuing pain and suffering.

Why should I get an attorney for car accident?

The best reason to hire an attorney for an injury sustained in a car accident is to maximize your financial recovery. Insurance companies do not treat those who don't have a lawyer the same as those who do. People without an attorney have no leverage of filing a lawsuit or an impending trial date. Additionally, with every injury claim comes the work of presenting the case. Why not hire an attorney? Who you select as your attorney can also impact the value of your case. Choose wisely.


Successful Auto Injury Lawsuits

It is important to hire a competent car accident attorney in Houston, as soon as possible after being involved in an auto accident and to communicate fully with that attorney so he or she can begin gathering evidence. Physical and medical evidence are important to a case and a lawyer needs to be able to begin gathering it as soon as possible. Experts are also key elements in a successful auto injury or wrongful death case. Gregory S. Baumgartner and his Houston-based law firm maintain an extensive bank of experts including reconstructionists, investigators, law enforcement personnel, technology experts, treating physicians, and specialists in nearly every medical specialty.


Contact A Houston Auto Accident Attorney

One of the critical choices you will make is who you choose to represent you after a serious car wreck. Gregory Baumgartner has been helping Houston personal injury victims for over three decades with an awesome record of success.

Although a client’s presence is necessary for some aspects of the litigation process, the Texas-based firm of Gregory Baumgartner attempts to minimize inconvenience to our clients and the amount of time that is needed from them. The Baumgartner Law Firm wants clients to be at peace knowing legal matters are being taken care of for them, allowing them to maintain their lifestyle as much as possible and focus on becoming whole again

Call us for a free consultation today at (281) 587-1111.

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