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Can Providing a Recorded Statement Damage My Texas Auto Accident Claim?

Providing a recorded statement to an insurance company following a Texas auto accident can definitely have a negative impact on your claim to compensation. You should always speak with an attorney prior to providing such a statement.

Why Do Insurance Companies Request Recorded Statements?

Like any for profit business, insurance companies are run with the goal of making money. One way of securing profits is to limit payouts to injured victims. A recorded statement is the first move of many that an insurance company will take to erode your claim and limit their driver’s liability.

Under Texas law, a recorded statement provided to an insurance company is admissible in court. This means that even though your statement was not made under oath, it will still carry considerable weight when brought before a judge or jury.

Providing a recorded statement to an insurance company can inadvertently damage your claim to compensations, which is exactly what the insurance company wants.

What Are Some Ways a Recorded Statement Can Affect My Texas Auto Accident Claim?

Insurance adjusters are familiar with claim procedures and motorist liability. When an insurance adjuster calls you with questions concerning your crash, they are looking for information that limits the liability of their driver and information that can be used to downplay the extent of your injuries. Remember, their job is not to help you make a full recovery, it is to make money for their employer and its shareholders.

Providing a recorded statement without consulting with an attorney can often result in:

  • Potential for unintentional inconsistencies – Car crashes can be confusing and disorienting. Further, as time goes on, your recollection of the accident may fade. When an insurance company goes back to compare all the statements you made over a period of weeks or months, they will claim that any inconsistencies were attempts by you to mislead the company and label them as lies before a judge or a jury.
  • Exposure to trick questions – The representative on the other end may ask leading questions or word their inquiries in a way meant to trick or trap you. You may even be pressured into agreeing to facts that are not completely accurate just to get the representative off your back. Even an aggravated response of “I don’t know, maybe” or “I guess” can come back to haunt you later.
  • Exposure to leading statements – Even a statement that seems innocent on its surface can damage your claim depending on your response. For example, by giving a positive response to statements like “I hope your back is starting to feel a bit better” or “Wow, it’s a miracle you weren’t more seriously injured”, you could be tricked into understating the severity of your injuries.
  • Failure to report undiagnosed injuries – Most doctors agree that the full extent of any injuries suffered in a car accident may not be evident until several days after an accident has occurred. If a claims adjuster contacts you within 24 hours of a crash and asks about your injuries, chances are you will not be able to provide a complete list of injuries. This will not stop the insurance company from questioning and attempting to dismiss any injuries that became symptomatic after that initial recorded statement was made.
  • You providing material for cross-examination – By the time deposition or trial occurs, chances are the defense counsel will have reviewed your recorded statements dozens of times. They will craft questions for cross-examination with the understanding that you likely don’t remember everything you said or agreed to in that recorded statement. And when you misremember or contradict yourself in a moment of confusion, they will try to claim your misstatement proves your testimony is not credible.

What Should I Do if An Insurer Requests a Recorded Statement?

If you are contacted by the adverse driver’s insurer and they request a recorded statement, do not provide one. While you generally have a contractual duty to cooperate with your own insurer, there is no such requirement when it comes to other insurers. Do not feel pressured. You should also take the request as a sign that the insurer is trying to limit their liability and you potential compensation, and you should reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately.

Personal injury attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by insurance adjusted to dismantle the credibility of injured victims. An experienced attorney will help you outline a statement that accurately details the facts of an accident.

The attorney will also help identify questions that are meant to erode you claim and coach you on how to provide your statement in a concise way that leaves no room for interpretation.

Your attorney may also recommend that you:

  • Request the statement not be recorded
  • Avoid volunteering information
  • Avoid personal information
  • Avoid long explanations
  • Provide a firm “I don’t know” when you don’t know something, as opposed “maybe” or “I guess that’s possible”
  • Not answer questions unless you are absolutely sure what is being asked
  • Avoid admitting fault
  • Do not respond to any potentially leading statements or questions, even if they seem polite or innocent on the surface (i.e. How are you feeling?, I hope your back is feeling at least a little better, or Wow, it’s a miracle you weren’t more seriously injured).
  • Provide a statement that preempts contributory negligence (i.e. I was traveling within the posted speed limit free of distraction and had the right-of-way when the crash occurred).

Finally, if your attorney determines that providing a recorded statement is not in you best interest, they may advise that you forgo submitting a statement all together.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured in a Car Crash?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.

 

 

 

Will I Have to Go to Court for My Texas Auto Accident Case?

Whether or not you will have to go to court for your Texas auto accident case is dependent on the facts of your case, including how clear liability for the accident is and whether or not the adverse driver’s insurance company is willing to offer a fair and reasonable settlement.

While most auto accident cases are settled without the need for trial, it is important that your attorney treats every claim as though it will be tried to verdict.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Settle My Texas Auto Accident Case?

Generally, hiring an attorney will help guarantee that any settlements offered by a company in a Texas auto accident claim are fair and cover all of your injuries and losses. When you approach an insurance company without an attorney, the insurer has little incentive to play fair. They know more about law than you do, and they have the money and resources to chip away at your claim.

As soon as you contact Thomas J. Henry, your attorney will begin taking steps to preserve and gather evidence for your claim and will begin working with the insurer on your behalf. The early stages of your case are often the most crucial as the quality of evidence and the ability of witnesses to accurately recall your crash can diminish rapidly.

When investigating your case, your attorney will have one goal – to gather all the evidence necessary to verify how the accident happened and establish who was at fault. They will gather photographic evidence, witness statements, and official reports and may file a temporary restraining order to preserve any evidence that is at risk of damage, destruction, or tampering.

In addition to information about the accident itself, your attorney will request information from your doctor concerning your injuries. Once your doctor has determined that your physical condition is stable, your attorney will begin assembling medical reports, records, and bills. They will also seek out employment records in order to evaluate damages related to loss of wages and loss of earning potential.

When Can I Expect Settlement Discussions to Begin?

When settlement discussions begin often depends on the size and complexity of a case. Larger cases or those involving commercial vehicles may progress further before negotiations begin as neither side wants to appear overeager or desperate to resolve a matter.

Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, both your attorney and the defense’s attorney will begin pretrial investigations. This is known as the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys will begin gathering evidence and may solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, or request sworn testimony under oath, known as depositions. It is rare for insurance companies to engage in serious settlement negotiations before completing the discovery process.

If your case is particularly complex, the defense may wait for the plaintiff’s attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing settlement amounts. This is because expert witnesses can make or break a case. If a personal injury attorney is able to obtain expert witnesses who are knowledgeable and capable of providing compelling testimony, chances are the attorney has done the work necessary to make a valid case during trial.

In other cases, the defense attorney will not want to settle a case until they have filed a motion for summary judgment, also known as a motion to dismiss the case. If the court grants the motion to dismiss, it means the case is over; however, if the court denies the motion, a good personal injury attorney will see this as a potential point of leverage in future negotiations.

What If a Settlement Amount Cannot Be Agreed Upon?

If your attorney and the defense cannot agree upon a fair settlement or if the defense continues to challenge liability, then your case will go to trial – and if your attorney has not prepared accordingly, then your claim to compensation could be in jeopardy.

At Thomas J. Henry, we treat every case as though it will go to trial. This way, if trial becomes necessary, has already gathered the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim before a jury or judge. It is important to understand that trials take time – as such, patience is key. While there is little that can be done to speed up the litigation process, there are ways to use this time to your advantage. While your case is pending, your attorney will coach you on court room procedures and how to handle questioning and cross-examination. They will also continue to review evidence for new opportunities to improve your claim to compensation.

Thomas J. Henry has been successfully trying cases against large companies for the past 30 years and has built a reputation by securing record-breaking jury verdicts. With a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to represent injured clients at a moment’s notice, we have the money and the resources to fight and win against even the largest trucking and insurance companies.

 

 

Motorcycle Passengers Have Higher Risk of Head Injury than Drivers

A new study has found that motorcycle passengers are less likely than drivers to wear helmets and are more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries in crashes, even when helmets are worn.

About the Motorcycle Head Injury Study

For their study, researchers looked at almost 80,000 motorcycle drivers and nearly 6,000 passengers who were involved in crashes between 2007 and 2010. They found that roughly two-thirds of the drivers were wearing helmets at the time of their crash, compared to only 57.2 percent of passengers.

They study also determined that traumatic brain injuries were the most common type of injury for both drivers and passengers, but passengers were found to experience such injuries in 40 percent of cases, compared to 36 percent in cases for drivers.

While the increased rate of traumatic brain injuries among passengers would at first seem to be the result of lower helmet use, researchers found that the increased rate of brain injuries remained among when helmets were involved.

In fact, the rate of traumatic brain injury among helmeted passengers was 36 percent, the same as unhelmeted drivers, while the rate of traumatic brain injury among helmeted drivers was reduced to 31 percent.

Possible Explanations for the Increased Rate of Brain Injuries Among Motorcycle Passengers

Dr. Tyler Evans of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis believes the increased rate of traumatic brain injuries among passengers could be due to an increased risk of ejection from the motorcycle in certain accidents.

He added that in motorcycle crashes that occur at a high rate of speed, the impact may be so severe that a helmet simply cannot protect its wearer.

Evans also opined that drivers may benefit from sitting behind a protective windshield with a firm grip on the steering column, providing increased stability over passengers who often sit at a higher position with little to hold on to.

As somewhat of a side observation, researchers noted that alcohol was associated with decreased use of helmets. Fewer than half of passengers and drivers determined to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of their collision wore helmets, with rates of 42 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

Should I negotiate with the insurance adjuster myself without the help of an attorney in order to settle my Texas auto accident case?

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Texas, we strongly advise that you reach out to a reputable, experienced personal injury attorney for legal counsel. Whether you decide to hire an attorney is ultimately up to you, but in most cases it is in your best interest to, at a minimum, seek professional advice about your unique situation from a lawyer.

Oftentimes, auto accident victims will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster on their own. Insurance adjusters are trained to pay out the smallest amount possible to the injured party and will attempt to settle the claim with lowball offers as quickly as possible. A savvy accident attorney in your corner will prevent this from happening and fight for a fair amount of compensation, ensuring that you are not misled or taken advantage of.

Following an automobile accident resulting in an injury, insurance companies move quickly to try and resolve the claim before an injured victim has sought out an attorney by sending a check right away. In many cases, this first settlement offer is very small and likely much less than the true value. An early settlement offer may not take into account all of the damages that the injured party has incurred. If you hire an injury attorney to represent you, they can take a full and accurate account of the damages, including medical costs and lost wages, and determine what you should be owed from the insurance company.

There are certain situations when you should absolutely speak with an injury attorney and strongly consider hiring them to represent you. After an auto accident, seek legal counsel if you have:

  • Suffered a catastrophic injury (spinal cord injury, brain injury, broken bones or fractures, burns)
  • Incurred extensive medical bills
  • Missed significant time at work
  • Been injured by a large corporation or business
  • Been hit by a drunk or distracted driver
  • Lost a loved one in the accident

When the amount of damages is extensive, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. It is simply not worth the risk of trying to negotiate with an insurance adjuster by yourself with so much on the table. In the above cases, injured victims need to be fully compensated for what they have experienced in the accident to cover the massive amount of costs associated with their injuries.

You may also consider hiring an attorney if the insurance company ignores you, denies your claim, contests liability in the accident, or fails to offer a settlement amount that you believe is fair.

When You Can’t Reach a Settlement

Although many auto accident claims are resolved prior to litigation, it is beneficial to have legal counsel if you do not receive a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. A personal injury attorney with trial experience will not be afraid to take your case to court to fight for the compensation you need. When insurance adjusters see that an injured victim does not have a legal representative on their side, settlement offers will be low and insufficient because there is no fear of litigation.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our personal injury attorneys are available 24/7 nights and weekends to take your call and provide you with a free legal consultation. We want to ensure that your rights as an injured victim are protected and that you receive the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Before taking on the insurance company by yourself, give us a call and let us fight on your behalf.

Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.

What is the First Thing I Should Do after a Texas Car Accident?

Following a car crash, two of the most important things you can do are report the crash to the authorities, provided you are conscious and able to do so, and seek medical attention for any pain, injuries, or discomfort.

Is Filing a Report with the Police Necessary?

In Texas, there are very few situations in which filing a crash report with the authorities is not required and it is in your best interest to file a report whenever an accident occurs. Texas law recognizes two types of crash reports, those filed by law enforcement officers and those filed by a driver.

A Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3) is completed by a law enforcement officer investigating a crash when the crash being investigated:

  • results in death
  • results in injury
  • results in damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000 or more

Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires that the responding officer submit such a report to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) no later than the 10th day after the date of the crash at which point TxDOT will retain the report for 10 years plus the current year.

A Driver’s Crash Report (CR-2), also known as a Blue Form, is a report that is completed by a driver involved in a crash that is not investigated by a law enforcement officer. Similar to a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report, Texas Transportation Code §550.061 requires that a Driver’s Crash Report be completed when a crash:

  • results in death
  • results in Injury
  • results in damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000 or more

State retention schedule for Driver’s Crash Reports is one year plus the current year.

For more information on how to file a Driver’s Crash Report, visit or blog entry “How Do I File and Retrieve an Accident Report in Texas?”

Why Is It Important to Seek Medical Attention?

Getting adequate medical attention after an auto accident is vital to both your physical recovery and financial recovery. Failure to seek medical attention for any pain or discomfort that appears after a collision may result in those injuries getting worse. Additionally, the defense will try to claim that any delays to get medical treatment are an indication that your injuries or not that extensive or were not caused by the accident at all.

It is also important to remember that your injuries may not be immediately evident. For example, what seems to be stiffness could be an indication of soft tissue damage. Having a doctor diagnose discomfort will help you better understand your condition and will begin building records which you and your attorney can refer back to when determining damages.

Some examples of injuries you may sustain include:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Strained ligaments
  • Back muscle sprains
  • Scrapes and Cuts
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Chest injuries
    • Bruising
    • Contusions
    • Broken ribs
    • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Jaw injuries
  • Loss of teeth
  • Neck injuries
    • Crushed larynx
    • Crushed trachea
    • Broken neck
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Penetration injuries

Contact an Experienced Automobile Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.

Is it Safe to use a Hands-free Device to Talk on a Cell Phone while Driving?

Hands-free devices come in various forms, from wired or wireless headsets to Bluetooth earpieces or vehicle integration. Many people believe that it is safer to use these hands-free devices versus a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle, but there is mounting evidence that proves the contrary.

It is common knowledge that driving drunk severely impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely, which is exhibited by the more than 10,000 people who lost their lives in drunk driving wrecks in 2016. Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware of the impairment caused by using a hands-free device while driving, which has been found to be as severe as driving intoxicated and no safer than using a handheld device.

It’s easy to understand why much of the public adheres to the common belief that using a hands-free device over a handheld device while driving decreases their risk of a car crash. In the fight against distracted driving, thus far, states have only placed restrictions on handheld devices or the act of texting while driving. Hands-free mobile devices are seen as a solution to the distraction caused by using its handheld counterpart.

In theory, a hands-free device allows drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road, decreasing the level of distraction. In reality, talking on the phone — hands-free or handheld — takes your mind and cognitive attention away from the primary task at hand: driving safely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of distractions:

  • Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel
    • Eating or drinking
    • Texting or dialing on your mobile device
    • Grabbing something in your purse or bag
  • Visual distractions take your eyes off the road
    • Looking at your phone
    • Adjusting the radio or a MP3 player
    • Applying makeup
    • Looking at a GPS or map
    • Checking out the view
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road
    • Talking to passengers
    • Talking on the phone
    • Road rage
    • Operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Operating a motor vehicle requires a driver’s full attention, free from any form of distraction. Any one type of distraction can drastically increase the risk of causing an auto accident. As mentioned before, despite allowing drivers the ability to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, hands-free devices cause a significant cognitive distraction.

It is very clear why texting and driving is such as dangerous activity, as it involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions at the same time. To combat distracted driving accidents, 47 states have laws in place banning this reckless and dangerous habit.

How Dangerous is Talking on a Phone while Driving?

University of Utah Study

A study conducted at the University of Utah found that talking on a cell phone, handheld or hands-free, is comparable to driving drunk in terms of impairment. Participants in the study drove a driving simulator four different times: while undistracted, using a handheld device, using a hands-free device, and while intoxicated to the legal limit of .08 blood-alcohol level.

The researchers discovered that there was no significant difference in the degree of impairment between handheld and hands-free cell phone usage.

While using a cell phone, participants were nine percent slower to hit the brakes, 19 percent slower to resume normal speed after braking, and were more likely to crash. In addition, three of these participants rear-ended the simulated pace car in front of them.

The researchers concluded that impairments associated with using a cell phone can be as profound as those associated with drunk driving. A statistical analysis of the study and previous University of Utah studies showed that cell phone users were more than five times more likely to get in an auto accident that undistracted drivers. This increase in risk is comparable to that of drunk drivers.

National Safety Council White Paper

The National Safety Council (NSC) compiled more than 30 studies conducted by researchers around the world comparing the distractions of handheld and hands-free phone use while driving.

In each of these studies and reports, no evidence was found to suggest that using a hands-free cell phone offered a safety benefit while driving. The NSC addressed the risks created by having a cell phone conversation while driving, including inattention blindness. Inattention blindness is when a driver “looks at” the surroundings in front of them but fails to actually “see” or process the objects.

Due to the cognitive distraction, drivers on cell phones miss an estimated 50 percent of the information in their driving environment. Traffic signals, stop signs, road sign warnings, pedestrians, and other motorists could be regarded but not truly processed by a driver distracted by a phone conversation.

Consequences of Mobile Phone Use while Driving

The following statistics regarding distraction-affected crashes are provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

In 2015,

  • An estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver
    • 15 percent of all injury crashes
  • 3,477 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers
    • 10 percent of fatal crashes
  • 551 nonoccupants were killed in distraction-affected crashes. Nonoccupants include pedestrians, bicyclists, and others.

The National Safety Council and other anti-distracted driving advocacy groups believe that the true numbers of fatalities and injuries linked to distraction-affected crashes are much greater. In a study conducted by the NSC, it was found that only half of fatal crashes tied to known mobile phone use were coded correctly in the NHTSA database. Because every state’s reporting procedures following an accident vary, the data compiled by NHTSA could be skewed to designate a smaller amount of crashes caused by distraction.

Restrictions on Cell Phone Use while Driving in Your State

Laws vary from state to state regarding the use of mobile devices while in the operation of a vehicle. Some regulations restrict only the act of texting and driving, while others ban all handheld use of phones. It’s important to understand that no matter what the law is in your state, driving while using a mobile device, handheld or hands-free, is a dangerous distraction.

Here is a brief rundown of cell phone use while driving regulations in the United States:

  • Texting and driving is banned for all drivers in 47 states and the District of Columbia
    • Only Arizona, Montana, and Missouri do not have a ban on texting and driving for all drivers
  • Talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving is banned in 15 states and the District of Columbia
    • Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin have partial bans in place
  • Thirty-eight states ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers

Throughout the country, some local jurisdictions have enacted their own bans on mobile phone use while driving. To see a detailed chart and maps of the various state laws and whether a violation is enforced as a primary or secondary law, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website.

Hit by a Distracted Driver? Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, call Thomas J. Henry. A driver may cite their use of a hands-free device as safe driving, but this is not the case. Our firm has handled many lawsuits involving commercial vehicle and personal vehicle drivers where we have established the dangers of hands-free devices and their comparable risk to drunk driving.

If you were hit by a driver using a hands-free device, it’s important to assert your rights and hire an experienced accident attorney to represent you. Thomas J. Henry has the experience and legal resources necessary to hold irresponsible drivers accountable and recover compensation for the injuries they have caused. Contact us today and speak with an attorney for a free case review. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

What Kind of Driver Behavior is Considered Negligent?

A black car and white car damaged in a crash

When pursuing a personal injury claim after an auto accident, it is generally based on the claim that the person who caused the accident acted negligently. Negligence is the failure to behave with a level of care that any reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. Drivers are required by law to exercise care in the operation of their vehicle and owe a duty of care to passengers, other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike. When a driver’s behavior behind the wheel breaches this duty of care, they may be considered negligent if they caused a wreck.

What actions or behaviors are considered negligent when operating a motor vehicle? Here are a few examples:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper lane changes
  • Insufficient following distance (tailgating)
  • Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
  • Traveling too fast for road conditions (rain, snow, ice, or fog)
  • Running a stop sign or traffic light
  • Unsafe passing or passing in a no passing zone
  • Failure to use turn signal

This list is by no means exhaustive of driving behaviors and actions that could be considered negligent.

An injured person in an auto accident is entitled to recover compensation for damages from the at-fault party, but they must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions actually caused their injuries. If the injury was present before the wreck or was caused in a separate incident after the wreck, you aren’t able to seek compensation for injuries.

Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents

Many of the behaviors listed above that could be considered negligent are also the top causes of auto accidents in the United States.

  • Speeding is one of the most frequently cited causes of car accidents. In 2016, speeding-related crashes resulted in 10,111 fatalities, an increase of four percent from 2015.
  • Drunk driving, or alcohol-impaired driving, continues to be a serious issue to the public on American roadways. Although the number of drunk driving-related fatalities has decreased by 23 percent since 2007, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in these types of crashes in 2016.
  • Distracted driving has received an increase in scrutiny in recent years due to the advent and popularity of smart phones. Driver distraction was reported in 15 percent of injury crashes and 10 percent of fatal crashes in 2015. Beyond mobile phone use, other driver distractions include eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, or talking with passengers.
    • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed in distraction-affected wrecks. Some advocacy groups, such as Stopdistractions.org, contest that distraction-affected auto accidents fatalities are in fact three-times larger. The increase of motorcyclist, pedestrian, and bicyclist fatalities in 2016 may lend credence to this idea.
  • Reckless driving, in legal terms, varies from state to state, but it generally refers to a disregard for traffic regulations. Running through stop signs and performing unsafe lane changes are two very common causes of motor vehicle accidents.

Accidents involving commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers and garbage trucks, share many of the same causes. However, other causes such as improperly secured loads are more apt to occur with commercial vehicles. Find out more in our blog post: What are the common causes of commercial vehicle accidents?

What do these common causes of auto accidents have in common? They are all preventable and caused by human choices. Reasonably careful people operating automobiles do not speed, drive drunk, drive distracted, or drive recklessly. Negligent drivers that cause injuries to other motorists should be held accountable and liable for injured victims and the damages they suffered.

What if You are Partially to Blame for an Accident?

In many accident cases, fault is not cut and dry. A defendant can be found negligent in an accident (due to speeding, for example) but the plaintiff (who was jaywalking across a street) may be assigned some of the fault due to their actions as well. In many states, including Texas, the comparative fault model is followed, which means that a defendant’s liability can be reduced according to how at-fault the plaintiff was in the accident that caused their injury.

Learn more about contributory and comparative fault rules in our blog post: What if I am partially to blame for my injuries caused by another person?

In addition, it may not be immediately apparent that an act of negligence took place in the aftermath of a car wreck. Auto accidents are traumatic events that unfold in a blink of an eye and are accompanied by confusion, frustration, and pain. This highlights the importance of retaining an attorney after being injured in an accident. An experienced auto accident attorney will investigate your accident, find how the at-fault party was negligent, and explore all possible means of recovery.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call Thomas J. Henry. Our accident lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call and evaluate your claim. We can provide you with a free legal consultation and help you pursue a personal injury claim. You deserve compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses. Contact us today for your free case review.

What Are My Legal Rights Following a Texas Car Crash?

If you were involved in a crash in Texas, you have the right to pursue financial recovery for your damages, including mental anguish, pain and suffering, earning capacity, or lost wages, impairment, scarring, loss of consortium, loss of value in a relationship and the adverse driver has a duty to make you whole.

What Injury Are Most Often Associated with Car Crashes?

Roughly 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2015. That averages to about 6,693 injured people every day. These injuries range from minor to sever, and some injured persons may be left with long-term disability. However, no matter the severity of your injury, our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure your rights as an injured victim are upheld.

Among the injuries we see most often in our auto accident clients are:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Strained ligaments
  • Back muscle sprains
  • Scrapes and Cuts
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Chest injuries
    • Bruising
    • Contusions
    • Broken ribs
    • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Jaw injuries
  • Loss of teeth
  • Neck injuries
    • Crushed larynx
    • Crushed trachea
    • Broken neck
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Penetration injuries

What Damages Can I Seek After Being Injured in a Car Crash?

If you have been injured in a car crash, you have a right to pursue compensation for all damages you suffered as a result of your accident and injuries. This can include:

  • Medical expenses such as bills for doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, and emergency transportation.
  • Lost wages such as basic wage loss for time away from work, loss of commissions on sales, loss of fringe benefits, and loss of earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering that you sustained as a result of your accident and injuries.
  • Mental anguish for the fright, terror, anxiety, humiliation, or grief you carry as a result of your accident and injuries.
  • Loss of consortium resulting from deprivation of affection, comfort, society, or sexual relations that was previously provided by your spouse to you or vice versa following your accident.

How Can I Protect My Rights Following a Car Crash?

There are important steps you can take following an automobile accident that can help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones and protect your legal rights as an accident victim.

Steps to take after a car crash include:

  1. Stop immediately after the crash – Even if a collision is minor, it is important to remain at the scene. Never flee from the scene of an accident as it is illegal and will only make matters worse.
  2. Assess the situation – Car crashes can be disorientating. It is important that you take a moment to assess the situation. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Determine if it is safe to exit your vehicle and see what routes are available for a safe exit. Refrain from moving anyone who has suffered a back, neck, or spinal injury if at all possible.
  3. Make the accident visible – Accidents are an unexpected disruption to traffic flow, and numerous accidents occur by drivers crashing into the site of a previous collision. You can prevent further accidents and hazards by turning on your vehicle’s warning lights, setting out reflectors, or activating road flares. It is also smart to keep a flashlight in your car – should an accident occur at night, you can carry the flashlight after exiting your vehicle to make yourself more visible.
  4. Notify the police – If there is an emergency, contact 911.  Otherwise, contact your local police department – even if there are no serious injuries. A detailed police report will go a long way when you file a claim with your insurance company. If there is an injury, be sure that paramedics are called to the scene as well. If there is any confusion whether or not an injury has occurred, err on the side of caution and have an ambulance respond to the scene.
  5. Record the facts – Speak with the responding officers and be as accurate and forth coming as possible. Do not feel like you have to have all the answers. Do not speculate at the facts of the accident or whether you sustained an injury. If you are unsure how the accident occurred or unsure if you have sustained an injury, it is okay to respond with “I don’t know.”
  6. Take pictures – A major benefit that has come with the popularity of cell phones is that the vast majority of people have a camera with them at all times. Take photos of your vehicle, any visible damage, the scene of the accident, and any injuries that you or a passenger may have suffered.
  7. Gather and exchange information – More often than not, the responding officer will obtain insurance information from all drivers involved. If this does not occur, gather the name, phone number, and addresses of all persons involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses. You should also obtain the insurance information of all driver involved by requesting to see each vehicle’s insurance card.
  8. Seek medical attention – Pain and injuries may not be immediately evident following an accident. In fact, much of the pain will occur a day or two following the crash. Again, if there is any uncertainty whether you have sustained an injury, err on the side of caution. There is no harm in getting a check-up at your local emergency room or in making an appointment with your primary physician. Let them have the final say, even if only for peace of mind.
  9. Report the accident to your insurance – Contact your insurance company as soon as you can following a crash – most policies actually require immediate reporting of an accident. This will also let you discuss your medical benefits as well as get your claim under way. As your claim is process, keep a detailed log of any medical bills, updates, changes in health, and crash related expenses such as rentals.
  10. Contact an experienced car crash attorney – If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.

Can I Still Go to the Hospital Even If I Didn’t Take an Ambulance from the Scene of My Car Crash?


Not taking an ambulance from the scene of an accident does not prevent you from going to the hospital at a later time. If you begin to feel pain or discomfort after a collision, it is always best to get a diagnosis and treatment from a healthcare provider.

What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Auto Accidents?

An estimated 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2015 – that averages to an astonishing 6,693 people each day. Injuries from a car crash can range from minor to catastrophic and can result in long-term effects on your physical and mental health. Additionally, the extent of these injuries may not be immediately evident. That is why it is crucial to visit a healthcare provider after an accident.

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Strained ligaments
  • Back muscle sprains
  • Scrapes and Cuts
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Chest injuries
    • Bruising
    • Contusions
    • Broken ribs
    • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Jaw injuries
  • Loss of teeth
  • Neck injuries
    • Crushed larynx
    • Crushed trachea
    • Broken neck
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Penetration injuries

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Involved in a Traffic Accident?

There are important steps you can take following an automobile accident that can help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones and protect your legal rights as an accident victim.

Steps to take after a car crash include:

  • Stop immediately after the crash
    • Even if a collision is minor, it is important to remain at the scene. Never flee from the scene of an accident as it is illegal and will only make matters worse.
  • Assess the situation
    • Car crashes can be disorientating. It is important that you take a moment to assess the situation. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Determine if it is safe to exit your vehicle and see what routes are available for a safe exit. Refrain from moving anyone who has suffered a back, neck, or spinal injury if at all possible.
  • Make the accident visible
    • Accidents are an unexpected disruption to traffic flow, and numerous accidents occur by drivers crashing into the site of a previous collision. You can prevent further accidents and hazards by turning on your vehicle’s warning lights, setting out reflectors, or activating road flares. It is also smart to keep a flashlight in your car – should an accident occur at night, you can carry the flashlight after exiting your vehicle to make yourself more visible.
  • Notify the police
    • If there is an emergency, contact 911.  Otherwise, contact your local police department – even if there are no serious injuries. A detailed police report will go a long way when you file a claim with your insurance company. If there is an injury, be sure that paramedics are called to the scene as well. If there is any confusion whether or not an injury has occurred, err on the side of caution and have an ambulance respond to the scene.
  • Record the facts
    • Speak with the responding officers and be as accurate and forth coming as possible. Do not feel like you have to have all the answers. Do not speculate at the facts of the accident or whether you sustained an injury. If you are unsure how the accident occurred or unsure if you have sustained an injury, it is okay to respond with “I don’t know.”
  • Take pictures
    • A major benefit that has come with the popularity of cell phones is that the vast majority of people have a camera with them at all times. Take photos of your vehicle, any visible damage, the scene of the accident, and any injuries that you or a passenger may have suffered.
  • Gather and exchange information
    • More often than not, the responding officer will obtain insurance information from all drivers involved. If this does not occur, gather the name, phone number, and addresses of all persons involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses. You should also obtain the insurance information of all driver involved by requesting to see each vehicle’s insurance card.
  • Seek medical attention
    • Pain and injuries may not be immediately evident following an accident. In fact, much of the pain will occur a day or two following the crash. Again, if there is any uncertainty whether you have sustained an injury, err on the side of caution. There is no harm in getting a check-up at your local emergency room or in making an appointment with your primary physician. Let them have the final say, even if only for peace of mind.
  • Report the accident to your insurance
    • Contact your insurance company as soon as you can following a crash – most policies actually require immediate reporting of an accident. This will also let you discuss your medical benefits as well as get your claim under way. As your claim is process, keep a detailed log of any medical bills, updates, changes in health, and crash related expenses such as rentals.
  • Contact an experienced car crash attorney
    • The role of your attorney is not simply to file a lawsuit. An attorney is responsible for protecting your rights and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. A good attorney will help you obtain and protect valuable evidence, provide legal advice before you provide a statement to the insurers, ensure you receive the medical attention you need, and press insurers to process your claim in a timely and fair manner. Should your rights be infringed upon, the best attorneys are those who are willing and ready to go to trial.

Is Motorcycle Accident Law the Same as Car Accident Law?

While there are nuances and differences in the investigation of a motorcycle accident compared to the investigation of an automobile accident, motorcycle operators and passengers are awarded the same legal protections and rights as an occupant of an automobile.

How Will an Attorney Investigate My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

Before anything else, your attorney will advise you to get adequate medical attention. Any pain or discomfort need to be brought to your doctor’s attention as injuries may not be immediately evident. Getting proper medical attention and having your injuries diagnosed in a timely manner is not only essential to your physical recovery, it will also help build your personal injury case.

While you focus on your physical recovery, your attorney will do the work of investigating your accident, building your case, and dealing with the insurance companies and opposing parties.  This may include filing a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence, obtaining witness statements, gathering photographs of the accident and scene, and reviewing official reports. The goal is to gather whatever evidence is necessary to verify how the accident happened and establish who was at fault.

Your attorney may also consult with an expert witness to better establish the events leading up to your accident. Expert witnesses, also called judicial experts, are individuals recognized by the judicial system for their specialized knowledge in a particular subject. For you motorcycle accident, expert witnesses could include:

  • Biomechanical Engineers
  • Automotive Forensic Consultants
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)

Once your injuries have been diagnosed and your condition is considered stable, your attorney will get in touch with your medical provider and begin assembling medical reports, records, and bills. They will also seek out employment records in order to evaluate damages related to lost wages and loss of earning potential.

Once all the evidence of your accident, injuries, and damages have been thoroughly reviewed, your attorney may begin to solicit an offer from the insurance company of the person responsible for your accident.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycles accident can be caused by a number of factors; however, most will involve some type of human error. When that human error is the result of negligent or reckless behavior, then you can pursue a claim against the person responsible.

Some examples of negligence that can result in a motorcycle accident are:

  • Speeding – Motorists traveling at a high speed can mistake how fast a motorcyclists is traveling, resulting in a rear-end accident.
  • Not allowing for a safe following distance – A motorcycle can stop much more rapidly than an automobile or commercial vehicle. By following too closely behind a motorcycle, motorists greatly increase the risk of a rear-end accident.
  • Failure to maintain proper lookout – Because motorcycles are smaller and more easily hidden by objects or blind spots, other vehicles are less likely to see them. Many automobile drivers claim they “never saw” the motorcycle before a collision. This is an example of not maintaining proper lookout.
  • Distracted driving – Distracted driving is not limited to cell phone use, though that is perhaps the most common example. Whenever a motorist is engaged in an activity that removes their attention from the operation of their vehicle, they are committing distracted driving. This can include looking after children, texting, talking on the phone, eating, reading, or watching videos.
  • Drunk driving – Drunk driving is a leading cause of traffic-related deaths and is estimated to be a factor in roughly one-third of all Texas traffic deaths.
  • Mechanical issues – A defect in a motorcycle’s design or manufacturing can easily cause an accident; this could be the basis for a product liability case.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Crash?

There are important steps you can take following an motorcycle accident that can help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones and protect your legal rights as an accident victim.

Steps to take after a motorcycle accident include:

  1. Stop immediately after the crash – Even if a collision is minor, it is important to remain at the scene. Never flee from the scene of an accident as it is illegal and will only make matters worse.
  2. Assess the situation – Car crashes can be disorientating. It is important that you take a moment to assess the situation. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Refrain from moving anyone who has suffered a back, neck, or spinal injury if at all possible.
  3. Make the accident visible – Accidents are an unexpected disruption to traffic flow, and numerous accidents occur by drivers crashing into the site of a previous collision. You can prevent further accidents and hazards by turning on your vehicle’s warning lights, setting out reflectors, or activating road flares. It is also smart to keep a flashlight in your car – should an accident occur at night, you can carry the flashlight after exiting your vehicle to make yourself more visible.
  4. Notify the police – If there is an emergency, contact 911.  Otherwise, contact your local police department – even if there are no serious injuries. A detailed police report will go a long way when you file a claim with your insurance company. If there is an injury, be sure that paramedics are called to the scene as well. If there is any confusion whether or not an injury has occurred, err on the side of caution and have an ambulance respond to the scene.
  5. Record the facts – Speak with the responding officers and be as accurate and forth coming as possible. Do not feel like you have to have all the answers. Do not speculate at the facts of the accident or whether you sustained an injury. If you are unsure how the accident occurred or unsure if you have sustained an injury, it is okay to respond with “I don’t know.”
  6. Take pictures – A major benefit that has come with the popularity of cell phones is that the vast majority of people have a camera with them at all times. Take photos of your vehicle, any visible damage, the scene of the accident, and any injuries that you or a passenger may have suffered.
  7. Gather and exchange information – More often than not, the responding officer will obtain insurance information from all drivers involved. If this does not occur, gather the name, phone number, and addresses of all persons involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses. You should also obtain the insurance information of all driver involved by requesting to see each vehicle’s insurance card.
  8. Seek medical attention – Pain and injuries may not be immediately evident following an accident. In fact, much of the pain will occur a day or two following the crash. Again, if there is any uncertainty whether you have sustained an injury, err on the side of caution. There is no harm in getting a check-up at your local emergency room or in making an appointment with your primary physician. Let them have the final say, even if only for peace of mind.
  9. Report the accident to your insurance – Contact your insurance company as soon as you can following a crash – most policies actually require immediate reporting of an accident. This will also let you discuss your medical benefits as well as get your claim under way. As your claim is process, keep a detailed log of any medical bills, updates, changes in health, and crash related expenses such as rentals.
  10. Contact an experienced car crash attorney – The role of your attorney is not simply to file a lawsuit. An attorney is responsible for protecting your rights and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. A good attorney will help you obtain and protect valuable evidence, provide legal advice before you provide a statement to the insurers, ensure you receive the medical attention you need, and press insurers to process your claim in a timely and fair manner. Should your rights be infringed upon, the best attorneys are those who are willing and ready to go to trial.

What Should I Do If I was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced motorcycle injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to hear your claim. We can visit you wherever you reside, whether it be at your home, workplace, or at the hospital. Call us today for a free case review.

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