Personal Injury Lawyers in Houston TX | O'Hara Law Firm

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

Did you know around 19,400 people sustained severe injuries in car accidents in Texas in 2021?

The 2021 death toll was about 4,400—an increase from 3,900 in 2020.

What Are the Common Types of Car Accidents in Texas

While there are several ways that vehicles can collide, it usually plays out with these two common types: rear-end and angle collisions. 

Rear-end collisions involve more injuries than angle collisions. However, angle collisions cause more fatalities.

Rear-End Collisions

This collision happens when one car strikes the other from the back. 

Contrary to common presumption, the back driver is not always the party at fault. 

For instance, the driver in front intentionally slammed the brakes, leaving no time for the driver at the back to stop in time. Or if one driver cuts off the other right before the latter can step on the brakes.

Angle Collisions

This type of vehicle collision usually occurs at intersections and highways. Angle collisions happen when someone runs a red light or doesn’t yield to a stop sign. In many instances, it also results from changing lanes without looking.

Do Serious Car Accidents in Texas Usually Involve More Than One Vehicle

Not really. Some serious car accidents can involve fixed objects or things that aren’t in motion—for example, shrubbery or trees.

Did you know bumping into trees or shrubs accounts for 7 percent of all serious car accidents in the U.S.?

Again, contrary to misconception, the driver involved in the collision isn’t always at fault in this type of car accident.

In some cases, another driver forced the involved driver off the road, causing a collision with a stationary object. Or the latter swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle that suddenly left its lane.

What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in Texas

It’s safe to presume that most drivers know the general rules and safety measures when traversing the roads. But laxity and oversight can get the best of some. This causes accidents.

Here are the four leading causes of car accidents in Texas.

Driving at Increased Speeds

The higher the speed, the higher the likelihood of an accident, not to mention the severity of the injuries.

A vehicle traveling at high speeds needs a greater distance before coming to a complete stop. Plus, it requires more skill from the driver to operate it at high velocity.

In addition, the impact is more significant during a crash for a fast-moving vehicle; thus, the more severe the injuries.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

In Texas, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent means you are legally intoxicated. This also means you are not fit to operate a motor vehicle on a public road. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to arrests. Worse, it can result in an accident.

Don’t let a celebration turn into a misfortune.

Alcohol can diminish a driver’s concentration and hamper his vision. It can also reduce his reaction time. 

Several other factors make a drunk driver a dangerous animal on the road. And human experience tells us this is often a fatal outcome.

So if merrymaking isn’t complete without alcohol, have a friend drive you home instead. 

Distracted Driving

When something takes away your attention while driving, this can lead to a catastrophe.

Take mobile phone use, for instance. If you answer a call while driving, it occupies a significant portion of your brain. You are speaking to someone while holding the device against your ear. Now, you are not fully concentrating on the road.

The same goes for texting while driving. Instead of looking where you’re going, you are looking down at your phone.

Distractions are dangerous. It hampers your reaction time and affects your ability to make split-second judgments.

This is why you should avoid distractions while operating a motor vehicle.

Pull over the side of the road if you think the call or text message is important and requires an urgent response. Then you can attend to your mobile phone.

Distractions are not limited to your phone.

Try to avoid calibrating your mirrors while driving. Also, refrain from adjusting your stereo or staring at billboards, banners, or animals appearing on the side of the vehicle.

Beating the Red Light

Many drivers think stepping on the gas when the light turns yellow before going red is a good idea. This is a common sight at the intersection.

While the idea behind this behavior is to save time, it’s dangerously counterproductive. 

Imagine hitting another vehicle while trying to outmaneuver the incoming traffic. It isn’t time-saving.

You’re not wasting time and fuel if you take the time to slow down as the light transitions to red. It’s safe and responsible driving.

If all drivers properly observe only traffic rules, everyone would reach their destinations timely and in one piece.

Beating the red light not only jeopardizes the integrity of your car, but you are also endangering other drivers with your reckless behavior. It may also incite other drivers to follow suit, resulting in chaos in the streets.

A disorderly intersection is one of the main reasons why traffic clogs up. Now, everyone is late.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt Can Lead to Dangerous Outcomes

Do you have the habit of wearing your seatbelt while driving? Or wearing a helmet if you’re driving a two-wheeled vehicle?

The use of safety gear while wearing is mandatory for a reason: for your safety.

Several studies show that wearing a seat belt (or helmet) can save lives. In serious accidents, it doubles the chances of survival. These safety devices may reduce the severity of injuries, so it’s a good idea to wear them.

What Other Factors Contribute to Car Accidents in Texas

It’s not always the driver’s fault that car accidents happen.

He may be guilty of over-speeding, reckless driving, or failure to follow the road rules. Or he could be driving while under the influence or distracted. 

But sometimes, the driver may land in a precarious situation because of other people’s behavior. Case in point: jaywalkers or careless pedestrians that cross in the wrong places at the wrong time.

Drivers of public utility vehicles may also find themselves in hot water because of their passengers’ reckless behavior, like alighting or boarding when the vehicle is not supposed to stop.

Road conditions can also affect the way drivers control and operate their vehicles. Potholes, diversions, and weathered road signs contribute to road accidents.

As do weather conditions. Heavy rainfall, snow, storms, and fog can diminish vision, contributing to the likelihood of accidents.

What Actions Should You Take After an Accident

Your first concern after a car accident is getting medical attention. The sooner you get treatment, the faster the healing and recovery.

Even if you feel fine, you must get checked for any potential injury. Some internal injuries don’t manifest immediately; some take weeks or months to emerge.

The longer you seek medical care, the more likely the other party will question the veracity of your claim.

Your next concern is how to pursue a claim for damages. This is where filing a formal complaint comes in. You will also need to inform your insurance provider about the accident. It helps to speak with a car accident lawyer in Houston to learn about your other options under the law.

What Damages Can You Recover in Car Accidents in Texas

With the help of a car accident lawyer in Houston, you can claim economic and non-economic damages in car accident cases.

If you experienced any of the following, you could pursue a compensation claim:

  • pain and suffering
  • physical injuries
  • mental anguish
  • disability or disfigurement
  • deteriorating quality of life
  • lost income
  • diminished earning capacity
  • medical expenses
  • hospitalization or rehabilitation costs
  • property damage

This is a partial list. You may qualify for other types of damages.

If you lost a loved one in the same accident you’re in, you may pursue a wrongful death claim.

What to Do in Case of a Hit-and-Run Accident

People driving without a license or auto insurance are likely to leave the scene of the accident. They understand that their failure to secure these requirements can have significant consequences. If not a huge fine, imprisonment.

If you’re unfortunate to find yourself in a hit-and-run situation, try to remember any details about the driver or his vehicle.

  • vehicle’s make, model, and color
  • other descriptions of the vehicle
  • license plate number
  • description of the driver
  • time and place of the accident

The best way to do that is to write the information down. Your second best option is to say it out loud. For example, voice out the plate number. It helps if you want to recall it for later.

If anyone was hurt, call 911. 

See if there were people who witnessed the incident. Check for surveillance cameras within the area. It helps if you obtain footage of the event.

Remember to report the matter to the police.

Lastly, inform your auto insurance provider that you became a hit-and-run victim.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston Help You

An auto accident attorney can help you investigate and pursue your claim for damages. He can gather witnesses and evidence to establish the other driver’s fault and file an action for compensation.

If you need a car accident lawyer in Houston to fight for your rights, get in touch with O’Hara Law Firm. Our competent attorneys can help you pursue your personal injury action for damages in court.

Car Accident Attorney Houston, TX