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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.

The Driver of the Truck that Hit Me Had No Insurance. What Are My Options?

If you have been injured in an car crash involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, it may seem like you have no way to seek financial compensation. This is not true! You are entitled to fair compensation, and a lack of responsibility and preparation on the adverse driver’s part does not preempt you from that right.

What Are Some Options I Have After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

If you are involved in an accident and find out that the adverse driver does not have insurance, you can report him to the Financial Responsibility Division for the State of Texas. This division monitors uninsured drivers who are illegally operating vehicles on Texas roadways.

Once this is done, the state can take action against the driver to help ensure that your damages may be paid, such as withholding the driver’s license or requiring the driver qualify for a specialized license pending part of your damages being paid.

Another option is to work through your own insurance company provided you have underinsured motorist coverage. Typically, underinsured driver will carry a much lower deductible than your standard collision coverage and will allow you to start processing your medical and repair expenses.

What if the Uninsured Driver was Operating a Commercial or Company Vehicle?

If the uninsured motorist was operating a commercial vehicle or company vehicle, there may be other types of claims and ways to pursue action against the entity that did not secure the insurance.

This can be complex, but it is possible provided you have an attorney that understands the complexities of commercial vehicle regulations. In such situations, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so they can begin investigating your case and processing your claim.

What Should I Do After an Auto Accident Involving an Uninsured Driver?

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. 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. The authorities will also be able notate that an uninsured driver was involved in the accident.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Should I Go to the Doctor After My Texas Car Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident, it is essential that you seek out medical attention if you are feeling any pain or discomfort. The full extent of your injuries may not be immediately evident to you, and waiting to seek medical attention until the pain worsens could have long lasting consequences.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Automobile Accidents?

In 2015, an estimated 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes — that’s 6,693 people per day. Injuries from auto accidents can range from minor to severe and can leave you with long-term effects on your physical and mental health. No matter the severity, our attorneys work tenaciously to get injured clients the compensation they deserve. Here are the most common types of auto accident injuries:

  • 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

Can Not Seeing a Doctor Hurt My Case?

If you choose not to see a doctor or if you delay your decision, you could negatively affect your claim to compensation for your injuries.

When filing a claim, whether it is through an insurer or a lawsuit, being able to prove your injuries occurred and having records of medical treatment can be used to demonstrate your damages. Additionally, the amount of time you take before seeing a doctor may be used by insurance adjusters to argue against the severity of your injuries or whether your injuries were truly caused by your accident and not something else.

Leave no room for doubt. It is in your best interest and in the best interest of your claim to see a doctor as soon as possible after an automobile accident to determine if you are injured, how severe your injuries are, and to have documentation of any injuries that you may have sustained.

What are the Most Common Causes of Automobile Accidents?

Among the most common causes of automobile accidents are:

  • Speeding – Speeding is estimated to be a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes with 9,957 speeding-related fatal crashes occurring in 2015 alone.
  • Distracted Driving – In 2014, distracted driving resulted in the deaths of 3,179 people and an estimated 431,000 injuries.
  • Drunk Driving – On average, drunk driving claims 28 lives every day. Current estimates say that roughly one-third traffic related deaths are the result of drunk driving.
  • Running Red Lights and Stop Signs – More than 20 percent of all fatal traffic accidents that were recorded in Texas in 2016 occurred at or in relation to an intersection.
  • Reckless Driving Reckless driving covers a number of actions and deals with a general disregard for traffic regulations and safety, whether it be intentional or accidental. This can include failing to adhere to stop signs or other posted traffic signs, unsafe changes of direction or lane changes, or failing to keep proper look out.

What Should I Do After an Auto Accident?

  • 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.

Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes Increase for Second Straight Year

Damaged car from an accident with responding ambulance

On October 7, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released their annual overview of the latest fatal motor vehicle crash numbers. According to the new statistics, in 2016, the number of people killed in auto accidents in the United States increased by 5.6 percent, following an 8.4 percent increase in 2015.

The number of people killed in crashes on American roadways totaled 37,461 last year — the highest total number of fatalities since 2008. Although traffic fatalities have been generally decreasing since 2007, an increase in deaths in 2012 and over the past two years has stifled the progress.

Breakdown of Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics

In 2016, there was an increase of fatalities in nearly every segment of the population.

  • Passenger vehicle (cars, light trucks) occupant fatalities totaled 23,714 (4.7 percent increase)
    • Highest total since 2008
  • Motorcyclist fatalities totaled 5,286 (5.1 percent increase)
    • Highest total since 2008
  • Pedestrian fatalities totaled 5,987 (9 percent increase)
    • Highest total since 1990
  • Pedalcyclist fatalities totaled 840 (1.3 percent increase)
    • Highest total since 1991

Crashes involving large trucks in 2016 resulted in 4,317 fatalities, 83.3 percent of which were occupants of other vehicles or nonoccupants.

Several segments of human choice-related fatal crashes also saw an increase in 2016.

  • Fatalities in crashes involving drunk drivers totaled 10,497 (1.7 percent increase)
  • Speeding-related crash fatalities totaled 10,111 (4 percent increase)

Distracted Driving-related Fatalities Decrease

According to NHTSA, fatalities caused by a distracted driver totaled 3,450 — a decrease of 2.2 percent from 2015 to 2016. This figure is contended by anti-distracted driving advocacy groups, such as Stopdistractions.org, whose founder believes that the figure is perhaps three-times larger, according to Bloomberg News.

The National Safety Council conducted a study that found only about half of fatal crashes tied to known mobile phone use were coded correctly in the NHTSA database, causing a skew in the numbers. Each state has their own accident report forms and procedures for recording the causes of a crash, which NHTSA uses to compile their data. In turn, their annual fatal crash reports are only as good and as accurate as the information they receive from individual states.

In addition, the large increase in deaths among motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists may lend credence to the idea that distracted driving-affected crashes are in fact more prominent than reported. Nonoccupants and motorcyclists can be more difficult to notice when a motorist is driving distracted, and there are many distracted drivers on American roadways at any given time. According to NHTSA, approximately 660,000 thousand drivers are using cell phones while driving during daylight hours.

Learn more about distracted driving crashes in our blog post: What is distracted driving?

Injured in an Auto Accident? Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, call Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your injury claim and provide you with a free case review. We have experience handling all types of auto accident cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Let our team of experienced lawyers help you get the compensation you need. Contact us today if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident.

Is It Important to Retain an Attorney for My Texas Motorcycle Accident Case?

Because motorcycle accidents generally result in more severe injuries than auto accident attorney, it is generally recommended that you retain an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you get the financial compensation necessary to cover you medical bills and recovery.

What Kinds of Injuries Are Associated with Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcyclists do not benefit from the protection and safety features enclosed passenger vehicles provide – so, when a crash does occur, the results are often catastrophic or fatal. The severe injuries that result from motorcycle accidents can lead to permanent damage and disability, crippling medical bills, loss of wages, and a lower quality of life.

Among the most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists involved in a crash are:

When these injuries and damages are the result of someone else’s negligence, motorcyclists deserve to be compensating fairly and fully. By hiring an attorney, you are ensuring that you stand the best chance of receiving the compensation and justice you deserve.

How Will an Attorney Investigate My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

As soon as you contact Thomas J. Henry, your attorney will begin taking steps to preserve and gather evidence for your case. This may include filing a temporary restraining order, obtaining witness statements, gathering photographs of the accident, and reviewing official reports such as police reports. The goal is to gather whatever evidence is necessary to verify how the accident happened and establish who was at fault.

If your motorcycle accident is particularly complex or if fault is being contested, your attorney will reach out to one of Thomas J. Henry’s expert witnesses.

An expert witness, also known as a judicial expert, is an individual who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject that an average person may not have. In addition to an expert’s opinion, they may also deliver expert evidence by visiting the accident site or by using facts from the field of their expertise.

When it comes to investigating your motorcycle accident, Thomas J. Henry may incorporate the help of:

  • Medical Doctors and Physicians
  • Biomechanical Engineers
  • Automotive Forensic Consultants
  • Accident Re-constructionists

What if I Lost a Loved One to a Motorcycle Crash?

If you lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident which you believe was caused by another driver, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney. Wrongful death lawsuits can be especially complex due to the nature of the damages claimed. A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for harm that was caused to family members of the deceased as a result of the victim’s death. Damages that can be sought include:

  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of love and emotional support
  • Loss of financial support

You need an attorney who can demonstrate the true cost of loss of companionship or loss of emotional support.

You may also be able to file what is known as a Survival Action claim. A Survival Action seeks damages caused to the deceased. In a survivor claim, a family asserts that a defendant’s negligence caused pain and suffering to their loved one before their loved one died and that the defendant should not be free of liability for that pain and suffering caused simply because the victim has died.

In a survivors claim, the pain and suffering damages are paid to the victim’s estate (parents, children, and/or spouse).

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of motorcycle injury victims and work to make sure that the person responsible pays for the pain he/she caused.

Because we understand that being injured in a motorcycle accident causes lifetime pain and suffering, we put constant pressure on the insurance company and driver involved to ensure you receive the maximum monetary compensation you deserve. If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends and we represent clients/victims all over the country.

If I Miss Work as a Result of a Texas Car Accident, Can My Lost Wage Be Recovered?

If you missed work as a result of a car crash, Texas law allows you to recoup any wages you may have lost from the person responsible for your accident and injures.

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages are any income you were or will be unable to earn as a result of your injury. As such, lost wages are not limited to those you have already missed out on and may include future income you will be unable to collect.

Generally, Texas law breaks lost wages down into three categories:

  • Lost wages – wages you lost during a period you were unable to work.
  • Loss of earning capacity – if you have sustained a long-term disability from an accident and cannot make as much money as you did before your accident.
  • Lost opportunities – this would include things like missing a job interview while you were recovering.

An important thing to remember is that if you lost your previous job due to your injuries and returned to work for lower pay, you may be entitled to the difference in pay between your previous job and the job you now hold.

Are Lost Wages Limited to My Hourly or Salary Pay?

When dealing with lost wages, all forms of lost income are considered. Whether you are a part-time worker, an hourly employee, or even self-employed, as long as you can document the wages you have lost or will lose, you can make a full recovery.

Beyond basic wage calculations, you may also claim:

  • Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work
  • Loss of commissions on sales
  • Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury
  • Loss of fringe benefits
  • Loss of pension benefits

At Thomas J. Henry, we will oftentimes review your case with vocational experts and economists in order to accurately establish what wages were lost.

Can I Recover Vacation and Sick Leave I Used Following a Texas Car Crash?

Using sick leave or vacation pay due to an accident or injury is considered the same as losing pay itself.

Therefore, you are able to be reimbursed for the sick leave or vacation pay provided you can show:

  • You missed work because of the accident.
  • You have documentation showing the use of sick leave or vacation during that time period.

In addition, if you work in a commission based industry, you can still claim wages that would have result from commission on sales you missed while you were out of office. Remember, you were not “on vacation”, you were out of work to recover from an accident.

What if I Have More Questions About Wages Lost After a Car Accident?

If you have any questions about the wages you have lost or need help calculating just how much you are entitled to, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys can provide a free consultation so you better understand the laws surrounding your case and your best course of action. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our offices, we will send one of our attorneys to you.

Thomas J. Henry has been successfully resolving trucking accident claims for more than 25 years. We have the experience and resources to take on even the largest insurance companies. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends – attorneys are standing by.

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